Monthly Archives: July 2011

In 140 characters – Why I “Like” Google+

Which side are you on?So in recent days Google has released Google+… and the people have rejoiced. Or at least the people who don’t like Facebook (anymore) have rejoiced. Okay, fine… so it’s mostly geeks rejoicing. Why? Well… you see there is this small problem with social networking sites. They (usually) start off great, then slowly… or in the case of Myspace, quickly, become online gaming venues. And not even good ones. But with the emergence of Myspace and Facebook, a whole new world opened up. Networking on the internet wasn’t limited to e-mail, forums, and instant messaging. Blogs had already evolved beyond LiveJournal into something actually worth looking at… and for some people, the internet had become a viable place to live their lives… or second ones anyway.

So yay for the internet! Or something. But then games evolved… and expanded, or rather shrunk, and on came Zynga. Those of you who don’t know who/what Zynga is, congratulations… it’s possible that you’ve never played Farmville (or Cafe World… or Mafia Wars… or FrontierVille… or… you get the picture). Gaming on social networking sites overwhelmed those of use who legitimately wanted to use them for… well, networking. Keeping in contact with old/lost friends. Finding new friends. Looking for new music… (more on that later). But it wasn’t all bad. Twitter came onto the scene with a bang. Status updates for your life, not just on Facebook? I honestly don’t know anyone who doesn’t at least look at twitter, let alone have an account there (other than possibly my grandmother… but hey, she doesn’t count, right?). And then there’s Tumblr, a little notebook on the internet. I know people that use Tumblr almost like a blog. While I can’t bring myself to use it that way, it is useful for information dumping and randomness. Like a sketchpad for my brain.

Now don’t get me wrong, of course there are “other” social networking sites that still stay true to the original idea. But honestly… they are boring. Ah ha! The Catch-22. Boring… is boredom why the games have infiltrated the other social networking sites? Possibly. But boredom can be circumvented by other means. Better interface, more interesting design. More customization. The possibilities are endless, really, before you sell your soul to Zynga. One would argue music on your profiles, or even just music in general. Ah, but Myspace covered that, remember? And it’s nice… except when I find an old friend… go to their page, and suddenly get blasted by the latest and… worst Top 40 pop hit. Because I want to hear your music? I don’t assume people want to hear mine (though that doesn’t stop me from playing it at potentially deafening volumes… but that’s not my problem… I contain that to my physical world… not the internet). And one might argue that the introduction of music on Myspace was the advent of gaming there… more interactive-ness!

But a thought does occur to me. Isn’t the gaming on these site’s helping the point of them? Connecting with new people… blah blah blah. Yes and no. While I have met new people via Castle Age or FarmVille (yes, I have played the games… a gamer, what do you expect… plus how could I legitimize bashing them if I don’t try them first?), it still hinders the entire “social networking” idea. When I sign onto Facebook my status feed is littered with FrontierVille and Cafe World updates. “But you can ban them” you say? Yes… I know. If I block the game entirely, or the person. But what if I actually play the game, too? Just because I enjoy the game once in a while doesn’t mean I want it to be all I see in my status updates. Is there a way around this? Yes – the obvious one is keep social networking and gaming separate. But for convenience sake let’s take a different approach. Say I have two status feeds on Facebook. How hard would that be? One for game updates, one for legitimate ones. Or even customizable feeds! Oh wait… this sounds familiar…

Enter Google+!Aaron Wood's Google+ Progaganda Poster

With the introduction of Google+, we can do exactly what I just stated. Games haven’t infiltrated the beloved motherland yet, but who knows… they might. But Google is already prepared for that. By allowing me to split up my “Streams” by my “Circles,” I can control what I see when I peruse Google+. “But what if the same people in your ‘Family Circle’ play FarmVille” you ask? Well… if all that person posts is FarmVille updates… I’ll take them out of the Family Circle. And if it becomes that big of a problem… I will just remove anyone that plays games. “Ah ha!” You might think… “I have you there.” Why don’t I just remove them on Facebook as well? Well… because everyone plays the games on Facebook. I think I have one Facebook friend that doesn’t… and he’s about one more FarmVille update away from deleting his Facebook account anyway. So why bother at this point? Well… because the options are there. The glory of the internet (unless big media gets it’s way…) is that it’s free, it’s open, and the options are limitless. So try everything. Scorn nothing (till after you try it…). And pick the option that’s best for you.

Quick edit: A friend just linked me to this youtube video… which I think sums a lot of this up very, very well. What is Google+?

A note from the author: I’m not arguing that everyone should be on Google+. I’m not advertising for Google+. I’m simply stating my opinion that where Facebook and Myspace have failed (utterly) Google seems to be getting a pretty good start. And if you want to try it out and don’t have an invite… let me know. Also, yes… I know this was longer than 140 characters… 😛


A short…

So back a couple years ago I wrote a few flash fiction pieces centering around a specific character. I dug those back up and decided to post them after some editing. Here is the first I felt was polished enough to present… enjoy.

“Mother fucker do you want to die?”
I glance up at the man, my fingers wrapping around the grip of the Sig P220 .45 inside my jacket. “Excuse me?”
“Are you deaf too? I said get the fuck out of the car and give me the keys and your wallet.”
“Ah yes… that.” I turn the car off and open the door, palming the keys as I do so. “Not a very good car though, stalls if you accelerate too quickly, and the…”
“Shut the fuck up and give me the keys bitch.”
“I left them in the ignition for you.”
He laughs, a deep, booming laugh and pushes me backwards, pulling the door the rest of the way open and getting into the car. “Your wallet too.”
Yeah sure, it’s in my jacket…” I reach into my jacket, wrapping my fingers around the grip of my gun again.
“What the fuck, the keys aren’t in the…”
Before he finishes speaking I punch him in the throat with my keys sticking out from between my fingers. As he starts to choke, I pull my gun out and tap it against the side of his head. “You picked the wrong person to attempt Grand Theft Auto upon, my good sir.”
“Freeze! Put the gun down!”
“Oh… hello officer.”
“I said put the gun down!”
“Of course.” I say and set the gun down on the ground.
“Step away from the car.”
“If you would let me explain officer, this man was trying to steal my car, I was simply defending myself.”
“Shut up and put your hands behind your head.”
“I am only explaining officer, if you would look at my license and registration, you’ll see that this car belongs to me and the gentleman sitting inside was trying to rob me. Also, he needs an ambulance…”
“Holy shit, he’s bleeding everywhere.” As the officer looks into the car, I slide the icepick out from my pant leg and stab him in the knee. As he topples and begins to scream I stab him in the throat and stand up.
“Tisk tisk, you should have let me explain.” I wipe the icepick off on his uniform and toss it in my car. The would-be car jacker has already bled to death in my front seat, so I open the door and pull him out. “And your luck ran out a while ago.”
As I start to drive away I remember the remote sitting in the passenger seat. “Oh yes…” I flip the switch on it as I turn the corner, and smile as I hear the explosion. “Ah, too bad they wont know that the bodies were desecrated before the explosion…”

So there you go. It’s a bit disturbing, I know… but if you don’t already know that I’m a bit disturbed, then you probably should be at this site ;-).

~Ian


Lazarus Update – Casting

So casting for our film is done! Not that… probably any of them will find there way here but I’d like to thank everyone who auditioned anyway. So without further ado, I present the cast of Lazarus.

Store Employee – Lawton Hughes
Strange Man – Dean Cromer
“Andy” – John A. Jones Jr.
“Tommy”  – Logan French
“Paul” – Daniel Sample
Leah – Crista Joy
Amy – Elizabeth Schofield
Scientist Corpse – Ian E. Muller
Mad Scientist’s Wife “Cate” – Kat Markwalder
Mad Scientist – Ron Waid
To everyone else who auditioned thank you and we will either use you as a zombie or crew.
And that’s it! With all the parts cast, and most of our locations finalized, all we need to do is put the final touches on the script and get the rest of our funding in order. Remember, if you’d like to help us out, please back the Kickstarter project we have going.
And last but not least, please remember that if you are interested in helping out on the crew or production of the film, just drop me a line and let me know in what way you wish to help. Thanks!
~Ian

Philosophical Musings from College

In college I wrote a paper on body modification, specifically the philosophical and spiritual reasons and history of it. It came out very well (and I got an A on it) and I decided to share here for you. I uploaded the paper as a pdf to my site, so I will link there for you all.

Aberro Specus – Writings“Philosophy and Spirituality in Body Modification”

I am also including an interview that I did with Shannon Larratt, formerly of BMEzine and now at Zentastic, in preparation for this paper.

Continue reading


So you want to make a movie…

Some friends and I are finally getting underway with our movie – Lazarus. We were actually supposed to start filming back in February, but money problems, schedules… and having most of our equipment stolen set that back. Finally we’re about to get underway again, with casting in a week (July 17th), and it’s pretty damn exciting. Lazarus is a short horror film featuring, you guessed it, zombies. We’ve gone through a few changes with the overall plot, but now we’ve finally got something solid we can back, and between the three of us we’re psyched. So what is Lazarus you might ask? Here’s our “official” synopsis.

A group of gaming geeks go out to a cabin in the woods to play their horror campaign in a more fitting setting, only to discover something far more real, but just as horrible, waiting for them.

But of course the plot is a bit more intricate than that. Basically, there are a group of gamers playing their horror D&D (or Call of Cthulhu – we’re not sure what game yet) at their local game store, when the clerk tells them about a cabin they can rent for a better setting for their game. Taking him up on the offer, they head out to the woods, only to be attacked. The rest of the film takes place primarily in said cabin. Of course that doesn’t sound all that interesting in and of itself, but there are twists, trust me. I just don’t want to give them away yet :D.

So why should you care? Well, if you’re reading this, you probably know me… and should care based solely on that fact ;-). But in all seriousness, it should be fun. We’re using all local talent, and locations in Delaware. We’re using as small of a budget as possible, although yes, we are still trying to raise money (more on that later). More or less, it’s going to be ridiculous fun, and hopefully a foot in the door of the film industry for everyone involved (not just the three of us who created the project).

So you want more information? Certainly. I hope you do, it means I’ve peaked your interest! The “official” page of the movie is currently it’s facebook page, which you can view here – Lazarus – Facebook. We also have a twitter account you can follow – LazarusFilm. You can also e-mail us with any question at LazarusFilm2011@gmail.com

So you want to support us? Awesome! We need all the help we can get, trust me… haha. If you’d like to spread the word about Lazarus either share this post, or the facebook page with your friends. If you’d like to back us, check out our Kickstarter page. Kickstarter is a project site where anyone can go on and pledge money to help out a project. The site is great because we offer rewards for different investment amounts, AND if we don’t raise enough pledges to meet our goal in the allotted time? We don’t get any money, and you don’t get charged. It’s an all-or-nothing system. So if you’re interested, go check that out, you can donate as little as a dollar.

Well, that’s all the information I have to share for now. Once we’ve gotten our cast together, and more underway I’ll have more to post, but for now check out the links, and enjoy.

~Ian