GDC 2006 Confirmed

I’ve just completed making arrangements to attend the Game Developer’s Conference 2006. This is not an inexpensive trip by any means… between the conference itself, airfare, and hotel fees, I am already looking at well over $3000. That said, the potential opportunities and contacts I can make while there are invaluable, so I don’t feel bad about, just… drained, financially speaking.

For those who might want to know:
I fly into San Jose on Friday, March 17th a little after 5pm. I’ll be staying at the San Jose Doubletree from then until Monday, March 27th, when I fly back east. I’ll be busy with tutorials and the conference from 10am to 6pm Monday through Friday, but my time before and after is free, and I’d love to see people.

I’m both excited and nervous as hell about this. And most things, lately.

Fortuna Est

I’m down in Rhode Island again, as I am most weekends of late… while we were getting some lunch up on Thayer St, I noticed that the Avon was playing Mirrormask tonight at midnight. We managed to inform a fair number of Erica’s friends, and we all hauled ourselves up to see it.

SO worth it. The entire audience (I’d say at least half RISD students) was enraptured by the film, which was a delight in every respect. If you can manage to catch a release of this in the theater, I HIGHLY recommend you do so (it has had a scattered and small release, so it can be a challenge to find).

Anyway, I’ll try and write more about the movie once it’s not nearly 3 AM. Just wanted to… well, gloat, really. I’m so happy I managed to actually catch this in the theaters, and will definitely be picking it up on DVD when I can.

Taking a Break from Schoolwork

I’ve been working on my preface and introduction for my final product. There is still quite a bit I’d like to do on it, but I promised my advisor I would have them ready by this weekend, so I suspect I’ll simply have to make more revisions later and plow through to finish it for now.

But first, some other news. I’m currently house sitting for my parents while they’re in Hawaii, which has proven to be a nice time for meditation, just myself and Freya. That said, I have made it out about a few times, notably to the new chinese restaurant in town, which has taken over the former Panda House location. The food is pretty decent in a similar style to Panda, and the service is acceptable though still working out the kinks of their first week (they aren’t even done hiring and training yet, which is why they haven’t formally promoted the place in the paper or anything). It’s several levels better than the other chinese in the area, at the very least, so I’m pretty satisfied, and suspect my parents will be as well when they get back from Hawaii.

A few weeks ago, my iPod was stolen out my car (no, it wasn’t immediately visible, I was parked in my parking spot in Montpelier at the time, and yes, I am going to be filing a claim). While it’s unfortunate (and moreso because they stole the car charger too, which was lent to me by my friend Dano), this has meant that I’ve begun looking at the new iPods… they’ve come a long LONG way since my first generation 5GB iPod. I’m currently eyeing the 60GB Video iPod as a (more securely handled) replacement. Now, in the process of this, I’ve also begun keeping closer tabs on the Mac rumors and heard the rumors of new Intel based laptops being announced at MacWorld San Francisco 2006. They were right.

This is damn near everything I’m looking for in a laptop. Needless to say, I’ve ordered one, literally within minutes of the Steve Jobs keynote finishing, and expect to receive it sometime in February when they ship. This is a hasty decision, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad one, nor poorly thought out. With that laptop, I will be able to effectively sell off THREE computers, which should nearly cover the new purchase. (The three are my 800MHz 15″ G4 Titanium Powerbook with 1gb of ram and a fresh screen, hinge, and hard drive; my Windows desktop, a Pentium 4 2.2GHz Vaio with 1gb of ram, 120gb drive, DVD RW and additional CD-ROM, Audigy 2 soundcard, and an ATI Radeon X300 [I think, need to double check]; and my nearly brand new 12″ G4 Aluminum Powerbook with 1.25GB of RAM — essentially the most recent version of the laptop prior to the Mac Book Pro — which I bought in May.) Please, if any of these interest you, make me an offer (pass the word to friends, too, please). I’m really excited about this new laptop, and have been impressed with how much of an impact it’s made on even dedicated Windows users.

Honestly, it’s the first computer to give me serious technolust since the G5 originally came out (2.5 years ago). That and the Nintendo Revolution are really the only techno-goodies that I’m actively excited about right now. While I’ll likely still pick up the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3, that is more because gaming is my interest, not because I’m overly impressed by what they have to offer. (And even then, I’m waiting for “killer apps” out of each… for the 360, those would be Mistwalker’s Lost Odyssey, and Bungie’s Halo 3… I’ve yet to see a “must have” game for the Playstation 3 for me, though Metal Gear Solid fans certainly have something to be excited about.)

Anyway, back to schoolwork.

W.H. Auden’s Rules for Critics

1. Introduce me to authors or works of which I was hitherto unaware.
2. Convince me that I have undervalued an author or work because I had not read them carefully enough.
3. Show me relations between works of different ages and cultures which I could never have seen for myself because I do not know enough and never shall.
4. Give a “reading” of a work which increases my understanding of it.
5. Throw light upon the process of artistic “Making.”
6. Throw light upon the relation of art to life, to science, economics, ethics, religion, etc.

I originally read this in an introduction to A.D. Coleman’s Critical Focus, written by noted Magnum photographer, Bill Jay. There are a few reasons I’m posting this, not the least of which being to make it easier to search for when I’m talking about the state of criticism with people. Which is ultimately the other big reason I’m posting it: the state of criticism needs to be addressed.

I’m not sure I really want to get into all the issues right now, as it’s a substantial topic, and I have lot to say about it once I’m a bit more together. The short of it is this: recently, several new media (in particular, I’m speaking of webcomics and gaming) have been publically criticized for their lack of “journalistic rigor” and poor overall quality. While I feel some of that criticism has been crude and exaggerated, I do agree with the general sentiment that most writing in these fields has been sub-par at best, filled with buzzwords, fan bias, and self-important egoism. That said, I honestly believe that the biggest problem is that most people (both viewers and authors) don’t understand the purpose of critique. As I see it, the most effective method to improve the situation is to teach people what it is they are supposed to be doing when writing a critical review of title. W.H. Auden’s succinct rules for critics (more of guidelines, really) does an excellent job (in my opinion) of illuminating the critic’s role.