Tag Archives: anecdote

Thanks, Ryan

Yesterday, I was heartbroken (as were a hell of a lot of folks) to learn that Ryan Davis, co-founder of Giant Bomb, lover of SUMMER JAMZ and New Balance sneakers, passed away suddenly last week. He was 34 and had gotten married four days prior.

It’s hard to explain what a good, passionate guy Ryan was. I became a huge fan of his largely because of his tireless video project, This Ain’t No Game, where he forced himself to endure every video game-based movie. (If you’ve never watched TANG, now is an excellent time to do so.) His voice and sense of humor pervaded Giant Bomb’s podcast and video work, which became staples of my gaming world over the last five years.

So many people have written about the spot Ryan held in their lives, and it speaks volumes to how beloved he was in a community that largely thrives off snark and bitterness. And while I didn’t know him personally (my only interaction being mumbling something at him at PAX East a few years back about being a big fan), I do have one small fairly dumb story. It’s not dissimilar from my one Steve Jobs anecdote, although it’s not nearly as good.

April 1st is, of course, April Fools Day and/or Internet Asshole Day, full of terrible “pranks” around the internet. (I don’t do April Fools jokes after the prank to end all pranks in 2004.) The gaming community ends up particularly burdened with site owners trying really hard to do something witty and wacky, and it drives most of us up the wall. Including Ryan.

Having just finished Bioshock Infinite, I decided to try my luck at cracking a timely joke, which will (of course) only make sense if you’ve finished Infinite.

It may have been exhaustion from other bad jokes or the fact that Bioshock Infinite jokes hadn’t yet gotten obnoxious (we’d hit that milestone maybe an hour or two later), but it apparently amused Ryan enough to get a retweet out of him. And the subsequent back and forth of further Infinite/April-Fools-Is-Terrible jokes with my compatriot Benjamin Birdie also got retweets from him.

That initial retweet has been stuck at the top of my ThinkUp dashboard since April – something with the recent betas broke the insights from updating, and I’ve been too busy to really sort out fixing it. But perhaps it’s not broken; maybe the accomplishment of making Ryan chuckle on the worst day on the Internet for jokes is an achievement worth holding on to.

Anyway.

Dumb personal Twitter-based anecdotes aside – I’m not sure what the gaming industry will be like without Ryan in it, but I hope he inspires more people in it to be more honest, funny, and actually have a good time. More folks like Ryan, and less Dorito Popes, please.

So, About That “Mugshot”…

No, I Didn't Go To Jail

In mid-February, I changed my profile picture on most social networks to the above photo and casually mentioned there was a story that I might be able to tell in the future. Given that my glasses were off, I was in front of a white wall, and was trying to neither smile nor frown, the response was somewhat predictable: “Did you get arrested?”

No, I did not get arrested. But today’s the day I can tell the story.

Across 2011, I chipped in articles to Gothamist about the New York Red Bulls. I made a trip out to Harrison to cover Media Day before the home opener. I helped write some blurbs for “Last Night’s Action”, the daily sports round-up, in a pinch. Around September I started writing full match reports, starting with the Rafa Marquez drama and ending with getting knocked out of the playoffs.

Writing these was a fantastic mental outlet. It’s no surprise that I love to write and tell stories – I’ve been doing it here since 2000. My love of soccer and my interest in the team turned into a very natural topic to want to write about, and I even got a few pieces of fan mail thanking me for the coverage.

During the off-season, I came to the conclusion that it might be worth stepping up this engagement slightly, and after some discussion with my editor, got the go-ahead to apply for formal press credentials for the 2012 season. The oddly taken picture that had people believing I spent a night in the slammer? Actually just part of my application process for the credentials.

I was notified yesterday that my application was accepted. So my insufferable chatter about soccer will likely only get worse, as I will officially be covering the Red Bulls (and other soccer matters) for Gothamist this season. As my first formal press gig since 2001, I am eagerly looking forward to waving a microphone in the faces of a bunch of players I’ve been following closely for much of the last two years.

This does mean I’m going to be leaving The Viper’s Nest (where I occasionally penned a piece or two) on a free transfer. Heartfelt thanks to Matt, Miguel, Tim, Brian, and the rest of the crew, who not only provide a constant stream of great discussion and passion for the team, but acted as fantastic guides to the long (and rather perplexing) history of this club. I was “chuffed” and “over the moon” to get to join them, and the RBNY world is better with them in it.

So with that story out of the way – keep watching for my coverage over the course of the season. If there’s one thing I’ve learned watching this team, it’s that win or lose, there’s always an interesting story to be told.

My One Good Steve Jobs Anecdote

A few hours ago, [Apple announced that Steve Jobs had passed away](http://www.apple.com/stevejobs/).

While I had the opportunity to see Steve present seven keynotes – two MWNY, five WWDC – the one anecdote I have is about what didn’t happen at one of those keynotes. (It’s admittedly second-hand information and I never personally verified it, but I subscribe to the Tony Wilson/24 Hour Party People notion of choosing between the truth and the legend.)

People who have been reading this blog for ages will remember that in January of 2004, I traveled to Macworld San Francisco to work the Freeverse booth; the main title we were pushing was ToySight, our somewhat-ahead-of-its-time camera controlled minigame collection. It won Best Of Show, and many hours were spent flapping my arms to show the game off to people.

Despite the long-standing belief that Apple has never given a damn about games on the platform, they did – slightly. To that end, there was an Apple Games team, focused on developer relations, and at the time run by Rich Hernandez. (Rich was a great guy, and has since moved on to Microsoft.) Rich really liked ToySight, and wanted to see what he could do to see if it could be included in the keynote that year.

So Rich started trying to get it up the chain, showing it to his bosses, and their bosses, and their bosses still. Everyone loved it. It eventually reached the top tier – being reviewed by Steve for inclusion.

After being shown the game, or at least told about it, Steve’s reaction was apparently one of full interest, on one condition: that Phil Schiller be the one to demo it on stage. Long time Apple fans may recall Phil having to jump off a ledge holding an iBook to demonstrate the build quality, so I suppose this was part of Steve’s general love of making Phil look silly on stage.

Phil, regrettably, refused. The demo slot instead went to Aspyr for a Tony Hawk port. And so we grumbled and silently cursed Phil under our breath for denying us our brief shining moment at the keynote. But I love that thought of Steve: so ready to find ways to rib his team and push them out of their comfort zone.

(Thanks to Bruce Morrison for reminding me of this story.)

In all the rush to label him with titles like “this generation’s Edison”, I think people have missed half of Steve’s worth. He certainly brought innovation after innovation to the marketplace, showed the world that the conventional wisdom for how the tech industry “had” to run was flawed, and rebuilt a company on the verge of bankruptcy into the biggest technology company in the world. But just as importantly, he has served as a hero, a role model, and inspiration to a tremendous portion of the technology sector (myself included). It’s not just the products Apple brought to market under Steve’s leadership that will be felt for generations to come, but the products of the people he inspired.

It goes without saying that I will miss him greatly.

Some other reactions worth reading: [Walt Mossberg](http://allthingsd.com/20111005/the-steve-jobs-i-knew/), [Pat Kiernan](http://www.patspapers.com/blog/item/remembering_steve_jobs_my_first_apple/), [Brian Lam](http://thewirecutter.com/2011/10/steve-jobs-was-always-kind-to-me-or-regrets-of-an-asshole/).

To Hannah and Jason

Thank you all for coming today.

I am not normally the type to give wedding speeches. Despite the nearly fifteen wedding ceremonies I have attended since my own wedding in 2002, I have never once been asked to give a speech about the couple. (To be fair to my friends and family, I have not volunteered to, either.)

Continue reading To Hannah and Jason

The Auditor

Dad

About four years into my web presence, I was putting up pictures of my high school graduation. One of them was of my family gathered around me.

About a week after I put the photo up, I received a joking email from my dad, informing me that I had used his likeness without his permission and that I should remove it immediately. (I’m sure this was one of those life lessons that he always attempts to instill.)

In retaliation, I gave him a witness-protection style blue dot over his head.

In light of Father’s Day, here is a very recent photo of my Dad. I am already looking forward to the cease and desist letter.

Mother’s Day

Mom and I, at Top of The Rock last month.

I have been told on more than one occasion that I am difficult to shop for. What many people may not realize is that I get this trait from my parents.

A conversation with my Mom, loosely transcribed, from a few days ago:

> Mom: So what do you want for your birthday?
> Me: I don’t know. What do you want for Mother’s Day?
> Mom: I don’t want anything, really. Just remember that it’s Mother’s Day.

Continue reading Mother’s Day

Showtime Picks Up AD, Sort Of

[Via Defamer](http://www.defamer.com/hollywood/arrested-development/still-more-on-the-fate-of-arrested-development-bateman-speaks-162346.php) comes a pointer to [this TWoP post](http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.com/index.php?s=eb1b6830bdb101f4f6ed6fb6151a57f0&showtopic=3115654&st=5040&p=4783218&#entry4783218) from Glark, which I will quote liberally:

I was coming out of my gym here in Toronto today and downstairs outside the Whole Foods market there’s a guy with his French pug talking dog talk with someone. Super cute dog so I go in for a little owner-authorized pet.

The owner? One Jason Bateman.

I introduced myself and we get talking about the site and the show.

Here are the things I remember (and he gave full blessing to post the info as he loves the site and you guys but he’s too shy and too cute to post on the boards):

– Mitch loves you guys and it was nice to see people getting the show and enjoying the show especially at times when network directives were “make the show 30% dumber”

– Showtime has picked up the show for 2 years at 12 episodes a year (maybe it was 13) with a third year option

– The ball is in Mitch’s court and Jason said Mitch will be making that decision within the next 24-48 hours though I don’t know if that means we’ll know about it at that time or not

I know we’ve been up and down this cancelation road a number of times over the last two years, and I can only hope that this will give us a frozen banana of closure.

(Ten cents gets you nuts.)

“Like A Gay Porn Site With A Mac Bent”

Oh dear. This one is going to haunt me for years.

Google recently introduced some neat free stats for webmasters, and being the eager webmaster I am, I decided to sign up and enable myself.

What I found is that while many of my top search terms are reasonable (“quicksilver os x”, “play asia”, “ny1”), my #5 Top Search Query and my #1 and #2 Top Search Query Clicks are, in the words of Rob Huebel, “un-savory”. And the problem is, I know why – at least partially.

This one is potentially not safe for work. You’re going to have to click through for the rest of the story.

Continue reading “Like A Gay Porn Site With A Mac Bent”