Saturday, December 29, 2007

Technical Feedback


I've been getting email into the Grubbstreet address (see right) that the pictures are not showing up on other people's machines. If this is happening to you, then drop me a line, telling me machine and browser you're using. I think it is a comcast thing, but I'm not sure. Thank you for the interruption, and I'll be back to ranting soon.

More later,

Friday, December 28, 2007

Rise of an Empire

We tend to be a bit parochial here in the States, even when it comes to such things as computer games, an international phenomena.

I have mentioned here before that I was working on a game with Blue Byte Software in Düsseldorf - Settlers: Rise of an Empire. My contribution has been story, continuity, and cut screen scripts, similar to my work with ArenaNet. The game has been released, and did quite well in Europe, but was much quieter on this side of the Atlantic (where there is a lot more attention to Assassin's Creed, also by parent company UbiSoft).

That's a pity, because I thought the concept was really cool, and I appreciate all the work by the brilliant team, including Benedikt Grindel, Andreas Suika, and Alex Brueggemann (who were my main contacts in a very long-distance work relationship).

But I was surprised to learn that we (meaning the game) had picked up no less than six awards for the German Developer Prize, including "Game of the Year", and, my fave "Best Cutscene Intros". That last one made me particularly happy, since I thought they turned out great (One friend, looking over my shoulder during the development, said he would BUY the game based on the cutscenes).

L to R: Benedikt, Pepe (graphics artist), Andreas, Alex, Ralf Wirsing (director of Ubisoft Germany) and presenter Arne Peters.

Congratulations to the team, and delighted to see that Settlers: Rise of an Empire has gotten its well-deserved props!

More later,

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Xmas Xhaustion

If I am very, very lucky, the leaden feeling that has taken over my body is merely exhaustion, topped by a mild hangover. If I am less fortunate, I am finally succumbing to a long-avoided cold (I hope not, touch wood).

The holidays can be a hectic times, even for those without kids or close relations near at hand. In our case, we spent the last few days wrapping up last-minute Christmas shopping, preparing for the Grand Holiday Feast, and cleaning. Lots and lots of cleaning. I think we hold parties primarily as an excuse to clean up the house. I think it's the first time I vacuumed in the home office since the LAST major shindig, and I was surprised to discover I actually have a rug underneath all my clutter.

I did I have a chance to break away and attend Monkey King and Shelly's Christmas Eve. It was a haven of LJ bloggers - Sigtrent, Oni Anne, Freeport Pirate, Nikchik, MysticalForest, TrueUnicorness, and the everpresent LittleElfHat. Met Quizro for the first time (Hi, Wade!). It was fun (conversation was made, lives were updated, absinthe was studiously avoided), but I had to get back to the house, where the lovely bride was in the grips of fighting the cheescake for the Grand Holiday Feast.

Ah, the Grand Holiday Feast - Made less stressful by the aid of the attendees. Bill and Miko brought mini-calzone hot pockets. Wolf and Shelly brought a waldorf salad. John and Janice brought peas. We provided the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and rolls, as well as rumaki appetizers and cranberry cheesecake and (Death by) chocolate cake). There was a plethora of champagne, wine, desert wines, and hot tea with the meal. With all the aid, it was a lot less stressful than usual, and thank you to the guests. My only regret is that we let the 24 pound bird stay in the over about a half-hour too long so that it was tasty but not a succulent as in years past(but the gravy made up for part of that). Bonus points for the fact that we got Christmas snow - a light dusting during the day that melted by the time it was time for everyone to go home.

All said and done, it is all said and done, and I am exhausted, still waddling around the house and feeling heavy-headed. I hope this is the result of a sin of commission (imbibing too much) as opposed to a sin of omission (not taking better care of myself while cleaning everything).

More later, and Happy Boxing Day.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bless Us All, Everyone

Grubb Street wishes you and yours a Merry Christmas and a very happy holiday season.


Peace on earth, and to all peoples, good will.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


So, about a year ago I broke my computer. It was a stupid thing, a drop of some 4 inches with the computer in its supposedly-protective case, but the Fujitsu design (by no means unique) is such that any sharp impact breaks the the thin glass tube used to light the back screen. This was the third time it had happened, but the first time when the computer was out of coverage, which meant pricey repairs.

Soon afterwards, the Lovely Bride needed a machine to access some web sites (her iMac dates from before the millennium). Instead of doing the smart thing (getting a new machine), we chose to slave my broken machine into service. Which means I had to attempt to get the machine repaired (which was interesting, but, alas, a failure), then hook it up to another monitor (which took a little longer, since the monitor in question was also stone-age tech).

And after it was all said and done, the sound went dead. Further mounting frustration. In attempting to make repairs, did I kill something important on the sound card? I checked the various control panels and programs and, as far as they were concerned, it should work. So I felt even crankier about it - not only had I fobbed off a blind machine on the Lovely Bride, but a deaf one as well. It was as if the machine was purposefully seeking its revenge on me.

Then, in the past week, the LB started to hear faint sounds from the machine. Nothing definite, but small pings and sounds from the web sites.

Now I was driven to full-bore madness - not only had I given my bride a busted machine, but NOW it was somehow healing itself and trying to communicate (the other option was that the LB was experiencing dementia, an option discussed and reluctantly discarded). It was a technological ghost, a condemnation of my inability to repair it. So I sat down one more time with my old foe, and strove to figure out what I missed this time.

And it was at that point I found a little disk on the side of the machine, with faint numbers far enough apart that they didn't show up. And spinning the dial, the computer left the world of the mute and rejoined the world (to the tune of Nowhere Man by the Beatles). The Lovely Bride had jostled the dial moving the machine around. Yet finally, I had triumphed over it. And so just for good measure, I got her set up with iTunes as well.

But now I'm angry with myself for screwing up and not catching this sooner. Argh.

And speaking of the Beatles - Here, enjoy this.

More later,

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Loud and Clear

It is interesting what you find when you're looking for other things. I was digging on the Bigs as far as the writer's strike, and came up with something about Clear Channel.

Clear Channel is a big, though not in Hollywood. They are a radio and billboard conglomerate, owning 1,100 radio stations, 30 TV stations, and a good chunk of that roadside signage you see on the highway. They have been powerful with their conservative slant and support for the current administration.

So it is with surprise that I came across the fact that they are now owned by a private equity firm, Bain Capital. They bought them last year.

Now here's the interesting bit, Bain Capital was founded by three partners, one of whom was presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Odd how this doesn't get mentioned anywhere. Now, mind you, Romney has officially left Bain, but there is this Cheney/Haliburton vibe going that no one has seemed to pick up (compare it to the horrors expressed over the fact the Murdoch/FOX has a marked preference for Guiliani).

None of this is "news" - just came across it when digging through the wikipedia about ownership (Oh, other cool thing - Romney was president/CEO for the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City - good job, that (No, seriously)). It is hiding in plain sight. But no one seems to connect that one of the companies that has benefited from media consolidation has a strong connection with a major contender.

More later,

Monday, December 17, 2007

More from the Flood

Yeah, I'm going to keep coming back to this. As well as back to the writer's strike as well. It is one of the strengths of blogging is that you can pick your subjects and stay with them as long as you choose to. Me, I'm still concerned about the effects Katrina has had on the Gulf Coast, including such locations as Biloxi, which has pretty much slid off the radar while New Orleans, hardly in a better position, gets the media attention (if not much in the way of better treatment).

Anyway, the flood from a few weeks back. While I noted that we were pretty safe up on the hill, down in the Renton Valley things were a tad bit dicier. Most of the localized flooding we got was the result of storm sewers being clogged up by debris and massive rains, but it was still pretty impressive. These filmmakers got some good shots outside of the local IKEA, where the road was overwhelmed (and the businesses were slightly higher up. (And here's a clip of Snoqualmie Falls - known best for the site of the hotel in "Twin Peaks").

Also, down in the Chehalis area, the Seattle Times is reporting that Weyerhauser, the big lumber operation, is re-examining its policies, seeing how it clearcut a bunch of hillsides that were officially too steep, but for which they got permission after a company geologist vouched that they was safe. Now that a good chunk of those hillsides have washed into downtown Centralia, they're having second thoughts about the wisdom of that move (and the geologist who gave the thumb's-up should be relocated to Phoenix by now).

And lastly, the flood did have an effect on my local commute. Part of I-405, the chunk between routes 167 and 169, was severely undercut by a sinkhole (yeah,, you heard right, a sinkhole and requires emergency repairs. Said repairs involve lane closures and are definitely screwing up the daily transportation, mainly because travel options are relatively infinite for the chunk of land between the foothills and the lake. The Times takes due notice, then goes back to campaigning for more coolness for I-520. Ah, well.

More later,

More later,

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Memes for Sunday

You are what you own:

Your Score: The Cat

You scored 55% domestic, 33% gregarious, 39% trickster, and 55% intellect!

Domestic, Solitary, Serious, Intelectual: you are the Cat!

Cat represents a balance of strength in both physical and spiritual, psychic and sensual powers, merging these two worlds into one. Curious, intelligent, and physically adept, cat people tend to live in a world all their own.

This test categorized you based on four different axes of personality, which were then associated with a different animal. The four axes, as well as all possible results are explained below.

Wild/Domestic: This first axis categorizes you based on how much you are drawn to the outdoors, versus how much you are drawn to civilized situations. Domesticity has many shapes and forms, and varies from the joy of dolphins leaping next to a ship to the steadfast loyalty of a family dog.

Gregarious/Solitary: This axis measures how solitary you are. If you scored high, it means that you enjoy the company of other people, while a low score indicates that you prefer a more solitary lifestyle.

Trickster/Serious: This axis measures how well you line up with conventional trickster archetypes. People who fall into this archetype have a sense of humor and an excitable, highly chaotic streak. Scoring low doesn't mean that you don't have a sense of humor; it just means that you probably don't think dynamite is very funny.

Intellectual/Emotional: This last axis determines whether you are more emotional -- acting based on feelings and instinct, or rational and intelectual -- acting more on thought than on your gut feelings.

Link: The Animal Archetype Test written by crumpetsfortea on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Plus - Crud, It turns out that I'm Elminster.

I Am A: Lawful Good Human Wizard (7th Level)

Ability Scores:







Lawful Good A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished. Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion. However, lawful good can be a dangerous alignment because it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Wizards are arcane spellcasters who depend on intensive study to create their magic. To wizards, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art. When they are prepared for battle, wizards can use their spells to devastating effect. When caught by surprise, they are vulnerable. The wizard's strength is her spells, everything else is secondary. She learns new spells as she experiments and grows in experience, and she can also learn them from other wizards. In addition, over time a wizard learns to manipulate her spells so they go farther, work better, or are improved in some other way. A wizard can call a familiar- a small, magical, animal companion that serves her. With a high Intelligence, wizards are capable of casting very high levels of spells.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Post Office

So one of the challenges of living an eighth of the way around the globe from your genetic relations is Christmas presents, not only the selecting of, but the delivery to. So any thoughts of procrastination are driven out by the inborn need to get everything together. And while my Noble Siblings may be understanding about "its in the mail", getting the gifts to my Good Parents are a priority (a sympathy my Noble Sibs will understand and endorse).

So this morning I was up early to get to the Post Office to get their gifts on their way. I brought a book, because if there is one thing about the Post Office in the holiday period, there will be a line.

And such a line. The PO opened at 9, and there was a line of some forty people, queuing politely (the Brits would be SO jealous), curling around the outer office. There was despair among the peoples. And then technology rode to the rescue.

A polite young postmistress came out and pointed out that there was package-mailing kiosk available there, unattended, in the lobby, and if anyone was interested, she would walk them through the process. Like suspicious great apes, none of the patrons budged from their line, save for one woman with a package. And I got in line behind HER.

And for all of the complaints about modern tech, whoever programmed the automated postal center did a bang-up job. The menus were clear, the information they asked for was easily understood, and the buttons on the touch-screen were big enough for hands not used to text messaging. In ten minutes, I was out the door, my parental presents on their way.

Dealing with Post Office is one of the challenges of the holiday season, and full marks to the Post Office for making it less so.

Of course, I got home, and realized that I left the BOOK I brought behind on top of the machine, and had to go back, but that is hardly the Post Office's fault.

More later,

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Coming Storm - Dems

Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander. I'll be honest, I'm going to be voting for one of these guys. But lets take a look at them, and I will try to say things that you haven't heard a kurjillion number of times before.

Clinton: Well, she already knows all the good hiding places in the White House (Kah-dum-Pah!) And she already comes pre-investigated (Bah-dum-Pah!) And how about bringing Bill back - which is scarier, him as a good-will ambassador overseas or having tea with the congressional wives? (Rimshot! Thank you! I'll be here all week!)
OK, seriously, the greatest danger of this more-moderate Dem is that she will leave in place a lot of the power-grabbing debacles that the previous administration have come up with. Slow drawdown on the Iraqi occupations, further erosion of Constitutional Rights, keeping the candy-colored "Terror" button on her desk.
What I am having a problem buying is the sudden concern about "dynasty" government offices. Not only because we just had a third-generation government type in office (and look how well THAT worked out), but that the media is similarly ignoring that one of the "New Hotness" Reps, Mitt (short for Mittens) Romney is the son of Michigan Governor and former GOP candidate George Romney. If we're worrying about Pols in the family business, why has no one brought this up (And for that matter, where was all the concern about G. Romney's religion back in '68, when HE ran for Prez).

Let me explain the appeal about Obama, because it is a uniquely Democrat thing. It is not about youth or race or messages of hope. The big attraction to Obama is: He gave a great speech. No, really, back in 2004, at the Democratic Convention. I can think of no other place where you can suddenly put yourself on the map as a major contender just because of a single speech. Cuomo, Dukakis, Muskie - you really wonder where the Dems come up with candidates like these - it is because they gave a great speech. It's the Democratic party's version of American Idol.
On ethnicity, we have no one to blame for this other than FOX. No, I'm serious. "24" gave us not one but two African-American presidents in a row, reaching out to America and saying "Yeah, anyone can be president, if Jack Baur is hanging around to help". Good going, FOX.

And Edwards. I was a caucus candidate for him last time, and I have been paying attention to what he's been saying, and liking what I've heard. Most likely of the three to disassemble the hulking monster of federal oversight and overreach we've seen. He is very much the populist reformer he projects. But he does come out of the kit labled "Leaders of the New South". Every time a southern democrat succeeds, we talk about the "New South" - Carter's Georgia, Clinton's Arkansas, and had Gore taken office, we would have heard about Tennessee as the "New South". Well, at least it has been more successful than "Liberals from the North-East", which seems to be the other note the party likes to hit (Hey guys, how about "Guys from the West Coast?" What, the time-change too much for you?)

That's about it. Like I say, I'll be voting for one of the guys, since on their worst day they are more thoughtful than, say, Fred Thompson and more charismatic than Ron Paul. But I will point out, in Clinton's case, with the Writer's Strike, Leno and Letterman can run shows from ten years ago and no one will notice the difference (Kah-bash! Thank you! Remember to tip your waitress!)

More later,

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Coming Storm - GOP

Well, I've put this off long enough, but the primaries begin next month (!), and the field will soon be winnowed. And candidates on both sides have seen enough slipping and sliding in polls and counterpolls, so right now I will make this brave prediction:

I's Got No Idea.

But I look at the GOP frontrunners and I do shake my head. The conventional wisdom is that the Republicans are looking forward to tough sledding because of the massive unpopularity of the present administration in regards to practically everything, coupled with a scandal du jour sleezefest that ranges from the merely perverse to the constitutionally illegal. But I don't think this is really the cause for the lack of traction the current field exhibits.

Rather, here's the prob: The GOP field consists of Democrats. Not only that, they are Democrats that we have seen before.

Don't believe me? Here are some brief descriptions of the front runners.

- Tough-talking, scandal-prone, relationship-challenged New Yorker who is unapologetic on support for the war.
- Flip-flopping politician from liberal Massachusetts with questions of religious loyalty and nuanced views of earlier statements.
- Just-folks, weight-challenged, former Governor of Arkansas who radiates common sense but may have errors of judgment from his term in office.

What party am I talking about, here? No wonder most of the rank-and-file is having problems. These are the guys they have been programmed to hate for the past eight years. All they need is a details-oriented, wonky intellectual with a Nobel Prize for saying things they don't want to hear, and they'll have the full set of Democratic bogey-men.

Looking at that, you can see the appeal of gimmicky candidates like Thompson (TV lawyer) or Ron Paul (blimp and a lot of signage). I miss the fact that the media has pretty much written off McCain, who always reminded me of John Glenn in that "real American hero" vibe. Can we run a 1990s version of him?

More later,

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Putting the Band Back Together

Now I just need some lyrics to go with the song titles.

My band is Quimby Pipe Organs and our new album is Adrian Riggs.

  1. Shadows of the Sun
  2. Allied Tooling
  3. The Dharma of Star Wars
  4. Fitzsimmons-Guilbert syndrome
  5. The Whalestoe Letters
  6. Taitao Peninsula
  7. Jim Krebs
  8. Vernon K. Smith
  9. Jamaica walnut
  10. Ediacaran biota
  11. West Australian Football Commission
  12. Araeophalla
  13. Furusato
  14. Karol J. Bobko
  15. Petachiah of Ratisbon

This was autogenerated from random Wikipedia article names. Get your own Wikipedia Album.

© 2007 Barbara Davies Records Limited. Recorded at John Stallo studios. The copyright in this sound recording is owned by Barbara Davies Records Limited, an Elizabeth Of Vermandois company.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Red State Sam

Chehalis and Centralia, the hardest hit of the Washington State locales from the recent flooding, are about an hour south of here. Situated on the broad flood plain of a couple rivers (the swollen Chehalis among others), this stretch of road is treated as little more than a road stop for traffic heading from Portland to Seattle. It is also home to a lot more development over the past decade, which may have made a bad situation worse.

But the area is also the home of Red State Sam, one of the more polite terms I've seen used for a billboard alongside one of the I-5 exits. Red State Sam is a big billboard with outsider art picture of Uncle Sam that looks like he's been cooking up meth, with an offensive, ever changing political scrawl. The screed is usually against democrats, bureaucrats, state government, national government, government in any form, immigrants, the UN, and black helicopters, and is pretty much the best encouragement for people NOT to stop along this stretch of road.

The raison d'etre for this long-standing bit of antic hate speech actually makes sense - I-5 plowed through the original owner's farm, and ever since, he used the location as his personal free speech area, inflicting his views on anyone who passed and pretty much convincing those passing through to just keep on passing through. When the original owner sold the original farm he kept an easement to let him keep the sign, and with his passing, his son has picked up the torch. Red State Sam shows up in the news every so often to show that "free speech is alive" usually quoting his less-offensive captions.

But with all the footage of the flood, I've been thinking about Red State Sam, and most of all his absence from any of the footage that has made the news. He's the closest thing to the scenic highpoint of the region, but I've seen nary a shot from any of the cams, and not a mention on youtube. Is he gone, or does his anti-government hate-fest not play as well as people have mobilized at a personal, corporate, state and now national level to bring relief to the people living there? When you're trying to get people to help, the crazy old uncle shouting about Mexicans and the Masons isn't really an attraction.

Where have you gone, Red State Sam? The nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

More later,

Update: The challenge that Chehalis and Lewis County faces is not one that will ebb away with the next big story to hit the region. I've been keeping track with this link to the local paper, the Chronicle. It has been doing the best job laying out the devastation and response. Go check it out.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

More on the Flood

So, as I mentioned here earlier, we're fine despite the heavy flooding in the region (up on a hill and all that). My office park was flooded out, but that returned to normal quickly. One car left in the parking lot beneath the building over the weekend was flooded (water over the bottom of the door). And walking around the property, there is a lot of new islands and heavy silt clogging up parts of the canal (which means it needs to be dredged, or else we're more likely to see repeats).

Not everyone in the region is so fortunate. Woodinville, just north of where Shelly in Seattle lives, took a hard hit, and people were flooded out of their homes. And I-5 itself is flooded down by Chehalis, about an hour south of us. (You're looking at the bridge OVER I-5 in that shot). I-5 is one of the two major highways into the region (The other being I-90, over the passes, which are sporadic as the winter months set in and closed by avalanches). So there is already a bit of tightness in supplies getting into the region.

And in the midst of this, I started wondering about the levees in Auburn, Kent, and Renton. The Green River was channeled a few decades back, and the surrounding region has been heavily developed since. A little digging came up with this, detailing how King County got a major chunk of restoration work done right before the storm hit. I'm still digging to see what else I can come up with, but so far it seems that the levees down here are holding.

Interestingly enough, the week before the storm, there was this article and others of its stripe about FEMA's expanding the definition of the floodplain along the Green and elsewhere, cast in terms of "Oh, big government, is evil, keeping us from developing our land". Has anyone gone back there recently to see if there is any standing water on those properties now?

More later,

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Big Six

So, the writer's strike.

The studios have moved past stage one - "We refuse to negotiate!" to stage two - "Here's a horrible offer which we're telling you is great!" Next in line should be stage three - the Confusing Offer, one so ornate and baroque that only the corporate lawyers can figure it out. Meanwhile, the buzz in Hollywood is surprisingly not when the various writers will cave and cross the picket lines, but which of the Big Six will break ranks and seek a separate deal.

I mentioned the Big Six last time out, and did a little research on who these guys were and, more importantly, what they owned. They are the big-headed wizards behind a LOT of media product that we consume every day. Is it any wonder that the writers have had to seek out alternative media to get their message out? The bigger question is, with all this concentrated power, why have the major media players been so BAD at getting their message across (perhaps, if I may suggest, it is a really sucky message).

Here are the Bigs:

Image: Walt's Still In Charge
Reality: We own your childhood. Do what we say and no one gets hurt.
Owns: ABC, ABC Family, Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Distribution, Disney Channel, ESPN, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Pixar, Jetix, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax, Dimension Films, Jumbo Pictures, Lifetime (50%), A&E (37.5% - includes A&E. The History Channel, The Biography Channel), Citadel Broadcasting (which owns ABC Radio, but is in turn 57% owned by Disney stockholders), Disney-ABC Domestic Television, Hyperion Publishing, Infoseek,, Jim Henson’s Muppets, Mammoth Records, Hollywood Records, Avalanche Software, Propaganda Games, Fall Line Studios, Junction Point Studios (Hi, Warren!), CrossGen comics, 10 TV Stations (reaching 24% of US households).

Image: The Pros from Atlanta
Reality: Used to control cable news, before the dark time, before the Murdoch.
Owns: HBO, Cinemax, HBO Films, Turner Broadcasting System, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Court TV, TBS Superstation, TNT, TCM, WTBS, CNN, E! (49%), Airport Network, Headline News, Toonami Jetstream, New Line Cinema, New Line Distribution, Warner Bros., Castle Rock Entertainment, The WB (deceased) CW Television Network, (with CBS), Hanna Barbara, Looney Tunes, Kids WB!, Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Fortune, Cooking Light, Sports Illustrated, Eidos, Monolith, AOL, Moviephone, CompuServe, Netscape, MapQuest Atlanta Records, Rhino Records, (but oddly enough, NOT Time Warner Book Group, which was purchased by Hachette Livre, the largest book company in France), DC Comics, Time Warner Cable, Adelphia (13 million subscribers to its cable systems), the Atlanta Braves.

Image: Scrappy in-your-face success story
Reality: Catering to your baser instincts for two decades now.
Owns: 20th Century Fox, 20th Century Fox Television, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Regency Television (50%), Fox Broadcasting, MySpace Records, MyNetworkTV, ITV (British, 17.5%), Fox Business Network, Fox Classics, Fox Sports Net, Fox News Channel, FX Networks, National Geographic Channel (67%), MySpace, Photobucket,, HarperCollins (30+ Book imprints), The Sun, The Times, News of the World, New York Post, The Weekly Standard, Wall Street Journal, TV Guide (running THAT one into the ground), Buncha Australian Newspapers, Colorado Rockies (15%), 35 TV Stations (reaching 50% of US households).

Image: Not nearly as important as you'd think.
Reality: Yeah, just as important as you'd think.
Owns: MTV, VH1,CMT, Comedy Central, BET, Spike, Paramount, Dreamworks, Spelling Television, Go Fish Pictures, Republic Pictures, MTV Films, Nickelodeon, Nick at Night, Neopets, Harmonix, GameTrailers, TVLand, Blockbuster video. But get ready for the shell game – majority Viacom ownership belongs to an unknown firm called National Amusements, which also owns CBS (including CW (with Time/Warner),) 28 television stations, CBS Records, CBS Radio, Showtime, Simon & Schuster) and Midway Games. National Amusements is totally owned by Sumner Redstone and his daughter.

Image: Technologists - we bring good things to life.
Reality: Just like Dr. Frankenstein did.
Owns: NBC, 10 TV Stations, Universal Studios, NBC Sports, A&E (with Disney, others), Bravo, CNBC (With Dow Jones), MSNBC (with Microsoft), Sci Fi Channel, Sundance (minority), USA Network, Telemundo, TiVo (minority), qubo, ION Media Network, Universal theme parks.

Image: Nothing to see here. Just doin' our jobs.
Reality: Sony. That sounds like an American name, right?
Owns: Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Screen Gems, Destination Films, Triumph Films, Sony Pictures Television, Mandalay Entertainment (partial), MGM, United Artists, Samuel Goldwyn Company, Orion Pictures, MGM Television, Columbia Records, Epic Records, Sony Computer Entertainment (PlayStation), Sony Online Entertainment (Everquest), Semiconductors, Half of Japan.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that GE and Sony would break ranks first, if only because they have major investments in other areas, so any subsidiary sitting idle would represent a loss of overall profitability. Then again, maybe Rupert Murdoch may REALLY Be missing new episodes of "The Family Guy".

More later,

Monday, December 03, 2007


I have a rain gauge, the present of my folks, which I keep mounted on the back porch, and the first of every month, I empty it.

And this morning, two days after emptying it, I had to empty it again. We have received 5 inches of rain in the last 48 hours here on Grubb Street.


But we are up on a hill, so that's not too bad. And we are away from the edges of the hill, which is even better (yes, those two factors were a consideration when we bought this place). But where I WORK is in a valley.

I may have mentioned this before, but my place of business is located in a very lush office park, where the buildings are up on concrete pylons and overlook the nearby slough. I have called it "The Ewok Village", and it is my choice for location for my evil mad scientist lair, because NO ONE thinks about this place. but it IS right next to a series of canals and wetlands which is where all the rain for the past two days is draining.

But despite this, I headed for work this morning without thinking about the results of all the rain. I wasn't even off the hill before my cell rang and I got word from a co-worker that the office had been closed because of rising water. The office park management gave the order (with our group, as long as the servers were above water, we'd show up), and the management had already closed one of the two entrances to the park.

So it is a work-at-home day, with email connections and a mental note to get the VPN hooked up for this machine. And yeah, I should have remembered that just because I am up on a hill, doesn't mean everyone else is as well.

More later,

Saturday, December 01, 2007


It is snowing heavily on Grubb Street today:


So the Lovely Bride and I are making bread.

Gods, we are so domestic.

More later,