Friday, May 20, 2005

Gearing up!

Tom's happier today. Despite the challenges we've been facing, his plans have been coming along well, and quite a few of his friends have come oboard with them. We are now able to move much better too. We've learned quite a few interesting things from our friends lately.

That's not the only recent 'happy' either


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Fresh releases?

Spring is everywhere.

Flowers are blooming, birds sing from every tree and that means itsss.. trailer time!

The big movies & book releases are gearing up for their summer sales. Electronic games are preparing for E3 coverage, and the net is full of downloadable tidbits.

So far the best trailer I've seen is actually for Harry Potter 4: Goblet of Fire. It begins with a overview of how much the main characters have grown, throws in some exciting bits & plot exposition, and ends with the best new quote I've heard in awhile :
"Dark and difficult times lie ahead, Harry. Soon we must all face a choice between what is right and what is easy."
That resonated deeply with us. That's the same thing I have said to so many people, including myself. I'm seriously starting to cut people out of my life who are consistently choosing what is easy over what is right. Pretty much sums up my view on current events too. I'm expecting trouble in our land from nature, at least, and perhaps other sources (and hoping I'm wrong, in case you are wondering.) This prescient line seems to be taken from a speech of Dumbledore's. Smart fella. Good warning. & full kudos to the trailer makers for challenging people to actually think for a change, as well as offering what promises to be a thumpingly good adventure film.

So...That trailer has done its job! We are definitely looking forward to Goblet now! That is so much more than we can say about most we've seen lately. Most of them have failed to turn me off of projects we were interested in, but I had real doubts about whether they advanced 'the cause' much.

What surprised me about this personal opinion, is that this includes so many big name titles we've been watching... like the newest Zelda, Hitchiker's Guide, Star Wars teasers/previews, Madagascar's teasers, and even Myst V's latest trailer. Felt better about that last when I found Cyan hadn't made it. People have laughingly compared the latest Myst advert to old Ultima art, Beyond Atlantis, & even old Sierra games. Sadly, I know just what they mean. Myst games are known for being cutting edge, intelligent & beautiful. Myst V is likely to be all of that and more. There have been some tantalizing clues about the newest story. Cyan's screenshots, especially, have whet our appetite...but that trailer looks like leftovers.

Is it just me or have trailer makers generally gotten into a rut? Action, mystery, sci-fi, whatever.... seems like every trailer I see reminds me of dozens of others. Star Wars, at least, has the distinction of having its own look to all the game teasers/movie trailers/etc...which just seems to mean, lately, that they have their very own, specialized...hole in the mud.

I'm not trying to be evil. I perfectly comprehend that it is hard to convey much in 30 secs or even 1:30 min. How many ways can people look excited, sad, happy etc about events of which we know nothing? How many ways can you show a lightsaber battle (especially when any fighting conventions are respected)? How many ways can you blow things up?

& As a form of marketing, originality doesn't always matter. To some extent, people like familiarity because they have some idea what to expect with it. Some of these trailers are actually playing on this in their new products (ie: if you liked Spiderman, you'll like this!)

Nothing advertising is likely to come up with, or fails to come up with, will prevent people from buying the newest installment of a favorite series. And then, if the newest effort is good enough, (at least good enough for horseshoes) it will keep selling as long as distribution is kept up. Thats what the big companies bank on (too heavily, imho)

So its nice when you see someone do better than that. This is for all those who did.


sometimes the whole corporate thing feels like...

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Beloved of Birds

Tom's surgery is tentatively scheduled for the end of the month. Should know soon if that's firm (dates on things keep changing with these guys.) Its hard to be encouraged about yet another round of surgery but I remind myself (& others) that the last ones didn't actually fail. Tom had complications from the other repairs because of the stricturing area they didnt know about before. So now they know all about that too & it can be treated. Despite appearances, we ARE making progress and he IS getting better. The whole business has been very wearing however.

Seems like the birds are determined to make us feel better about things. Blue Jays and Cardinals are staying in the yard, and the remaining crows (there's been another avian flu epidemic) and a big blue crane are regular visitors again.

The crane seems to have heard about previous events. We saw him hanging in closer and closer ditches and finally he simply moved back onto the 'moats' that line our driveway. He introduced himself by walking over to my mom, fussing, and waving a wing at her. At first he moved fairly quickly whenever we were leaving in the car, now he barely bothers to get out of the way. That'll work fine, as long as no emergencies come up or someone forgets to look for him while leaving in a hurry. hehe I gotta remember to take my camara with me more often so I can get a good picture of him (or her).

Kids and I went to the park one glorious afternoon this week and fed the ducks, geese, and swans. Beaverdam Park has completely recovered from hurricane Isabel now. It is as beautiful as ever. The flock there is much nicer than before. They asked nicely instead of trying to mug us. Oh those swans were lovely too. I loved how they bowed to us when we were out of corn. We bowed back a bit, and they bowed again. We all felt very Japanese. :-)

Mom & I regaled Rebecca & William with the same stories of how birds wanted to feed them as babies, and how they tried to feed me when I was an infant. William attracted larger flocks with his preemie baby lamb cries, but Becka always had her admirers too when she was very little. Mom says they were giving me worms as late as 8-10 months. She took me to a garden and every time she looked around I had worms to wave at her. She finally realized I was the recipient of a robin's loving care. She *thinks* she kept me from fully enjoying my presents. lol

Then there were the crows who thanked us for leaving food on cold days by 'tapdancing.' That's what it looked like anyway. Then they would laugh back at our laughter. The local crows have always been good neighbors. They let us know when they see someone in the woods near us & even have a special call if that person is armed. (actually sounds like "gun! gun!")

I've gotten along especially well with hawks at times. Known several that would come down and comment on life (not that I really understood all that much.) I still remember the bald eagle at the Washington Zoo fussed very much when I had to leave with my group (which resulted in my being teased about it for months! That was okay, however, because the monkeys had got the best of the rowdier boys before we ever left. All I had to do was tease them back. ^_^ ) The male bald eagle male at the living museum doesnt respond to us as much, but the female is reasonably friendly when she has the time. Their owls are nice.

Owls like me but they like my Mom & Rebecca even better. A great horned owl lighted on our clothesline a few times to talk things over with her (and Tom and whoever else was around.)

Mr Hitchcock would not have had much inspiration from the birds around here.

Monday, May 02, 2005


Tom came back in a grim state of mind. Seems the big teaching hospital trip is back on the menu. Should have more details Wednesday. Hope they still have that place for relatives to stay for free nearby. That was a big help last time he had surgery there.

The folks at Mom's church very much like Rebecca's fractal tribute to John Paul II. Something may yet come of it. It's be nice if it made it into one of the collections for him. Father Lee was quite enthusiastic about the image. Mom presented my Jabez blog too. I hope that also blesses someone up the line. God must have some reason for what he's doing with us these days.

We took the trash off while we getting a few things done around town. Once again finding myself shaking my head at what I saw there. The sheer wastefulness of some folks is hard for me to understand. I'd swear that yuppy took pride in throwing away decent-looking furniture, scooters etc. Hasnt she ever heard of donating? How about reduce, re-use, recycle? Sometimes I actually come out and gently suggest something of the sort but somehow this didnt seem like the day.

Lately a blue heron has taken to living around our driveway. He fussed as per tradition at first, but now barely bothers to move when my car comes down. I'd swear he nodded his head towards us as we went by today. Made us feel a little better. Got a fresh stack of books to read too, thanks to the sale at the library. The local county library isnt much, despite its size & snazzy look. Generally speaking, we have more & better resources than they do, but William needed to see how one worked. He managed that part very well, happily. Then we enjoyed checking out a few more magazines. All in all, it was a good trip.

Changes, I can feel changes on the lightly chilled spring breeze.