Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

To all of you who take time out of your day to come and read about my silly corner of the world, I wish you the happiest of holidays and the merriest of Christmases. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for spending the past year with me and look forward to entertaining you next year. Yes, I'm going to actually try and entertain you.

May your holiday be a safe and happy one.

-Brandon (SuburbanJoe)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Couch Surfing

 Posted from the Wii's brand new Internet Channel. Huzzah!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Microphone Check

I apologize for my absence. I'm working on our annual end of the year DVD to send to all of the relatives and editing it's been a bit of a bitch. I get a little anal about these things so it's important I get things right, lest I'm up all night worrying over whether or not I've picked the right title or the right transition or what have you. As it is, I'm concerned the audio levels aren't correct as Premiere Elements doesn't have a way of picking all of the audio in the project and equalizing it out. At least version 2.0 doesn't. The little it I watched on Sunday morning, after burning a rough cut caused my laptops speakers to explode at one point, so I'm thinking some reworking will be in order.

In other news, rather than continuing to brave the barren wasteland of Christmas shopping traffic in search of additional Transformers, I took my business online and scored a Classics Deluxe Grimlock and Mirage from Apparently in the rush to shop at all the cool online places like Amazon and Toys R Us online, folks have completely forgotten all about good old KB Toys. Not me though, and because of this, I have reaped the rewards. The completest in me is clamoring to pick up the Classics Deluxe version of Bumblebee and Astrotrain as well, but the rest of me knows how unbelievably lame both of those Transformers are and is repeatedly giving said completest wedgies until it shuts the hell up.

This is what I spent part of my day looking at today. As my company is a small one, it relies on employees to wear multiple hats. Today I wore the "voice talent for a marketing flash demo" hat. Yes, that's right, your humble host here has made his first tentative steps into the high flying world of Hollywood voice over work. Soon the world will know me by name, well, by voice anyways, and all of America will be in the thrall of the man who voiced random post closing dude in our company's flash overview thingy.

As I'm not one for the flash and pretentiousness of a limousine, I opted to drive myself and my costar to the studio where all of the magic happens. It's a pretty damn big place and they do all sorts of audio, video, post production, effects work and other A/V wizardry. Being that I'm a creative type, I can't be bogged down with all of that Poindexter mumbo jumbo. I just show up and shine.

And shine I did. When we arrived at the studio, I was dismayed to see that they had neither the Peruvian spring water I requested, nor the green almond M&M's, nor Kristen Bell's home phone number. In the future, I'll have my agent speak to these people ahead of time to ensure that my demands are met as I can't be bothered with worrying that I'll have neither adequate beverages nor snacks. Doing voice work is extremely difficult work, and if I have to be concerned where my water came from, well the performance just won't be genuine.

I managed to say my lines without completely screwing them up, and while I won't be winning any awards for my work, I think I did OK. I could tell that there's a pretty big difference between reading a line with the proper inflection to get a point across, which is what I did, and actually acting using only your voice, which is what people who do this for a living do. I mean, sure, I got across the feelings of loss and loneliness that comes with not having an integrated document management solution and the eventual triumph and exultation that comes with obtaining such a system, but really, anyone could have done that. I was hoping to provide a layered performance of vulnerability touched with strength and a hint of whimsy but that's kind of hard to convey in two lines. Lines about software no less.

One thing I learned is that if someone asks you to say a line with an emphasis on a certain word in the line, it is then impossible for you to not emphasize the same word in subsequent readings, even when asked to no longer emphasize the word. In my case, the last few words were something like "we even lost points at funding." Here's how it went down.

Me: ...we even lost points at funding.
Marketing guy: Ok, that's great, but let's put an emphasis on the word "lost".
Me: Ok...we even lost points at funding.
Marketing guy: Good, good, try it again.
Me: ...we even lost points at funding.
Marketing guy: Umm, let's go back to before. Don't emphasize "lost" any more.
Me: ...we even lost points at funding.
Marketing guy: Great, but let's not emphasize "lost".
Me: ...we even LOST points at funding.
Marketing guy: Again, let's not emphasize "lost" any more.
Marketing guy: Alright, cut!

Try it yourself at home. It's impossible. I managed to nail the second line in 3 takes, so I felt pretty good about myself, despite me committing the recording faux pas of having my phone ring twice, during the recording session. Some people don't take the hint of being sent right to voice mail. Amateurs.

I don't expect to ever have to do anything like this again, but I would in a second as it was a ton of fun and certainly a nice change from the monotony of software testing. I've always admired people who do voice over work, as in games anyway, the difference between good voice work and shitty voice work makes a tremendous difference in the game playing experience. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to be act with nothing but a script and a microphone while someone gives you directions like "your character is feeling ennui with a bit of prideful lust." Those people probably take years of specialized deemphasizing training. Years.

Friday, December 08, 2006


I'm not quite sure how the Autobots escaped from the certain peril of just a few days ago, but this is the site that greeted me upon returning to work this morning. Obviously I can't condone the execution style retribution killing of one's enemies, especially in the workplace, so after relieving Optimus of his armaments, I sat everyone down and we had a long chat. We talked about how we don't shoot our friends and that we should all use our words to work out our differences. Luckily Starscream's spark is indestructible so it only took a little flanagaling to get him back up and operational. Folks didn't seem especially open to my talks to end the hostilities so I forced them to all transform into their vehicle modes to at least reduce the number of guns. Granted, Megatron is one big gun, but without anything to wield him, he's pretty harmless. To be safe, I pointed him at the corner.

Kids these days. I swear.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Oh Noes!!!

Well, as you can see Optimus and Megatron have joined our little family and already tensions are on the rise. I'm not sure how Megatron got the jump on Optimus and Hot Rod, but hoo-boy, those two sure are in a pickle. Unlike in the cartoons, the figures don't seem to be able to change size at will, so Starscream can't wield Megatron's "vehicle" form. Nevertheless, he still manages to help out in his own way. I don't know how Optimus and Hot Rod will get themselves out of this one. Stay tuned!

Megatron has, by far, the coolest alternate form. The trigger doesn't have quite enough space for repeated pullings, so you better make that first shot count. Linda said that it's because these are made for children, which is just a ridiculous notion. I mean, since when does Timmy, the local 8 year old have the money for something like 18 Optimus Prime variants at 50 bucks a pop? Plus, it's not like Timmy can drive himself to Botcon. In robot form, Megatron isn't as imposing, what with the wings and everything, but he's a lot more poseable than the version I had as a kid, so I'm OK with it. Optimus is the badass we all know and love, and his truck form is solid. As an extra bonus, his hands fold out, rather than having to be added post transformation. I always thought that was odd as a kid. I mean, how can someone without hands have the dexterity to install their own hands? It boggles the mind. Like Megatron, Optimus is a lot more poseable than the one I had as a kid, so this makes up for the lack of a trailer. As they should be, both leaders are bigger than their subordinates.

I saw that in addition to the Classics figures I already have, there's a Classics Grimlock out there. Oh yes, he shall be mine. Him and Mirage, and then I'm done with the Classics line. Well, until they come out with more of them, that is. I'm still on the lookout for Wing Saber, yet at the same time, I'm not sure he'd fit in. I mean that quite literally. He's fucking huge. This also marks the end of my repeated ramblings on the subject, for now anyways. Oh sure, I'll still post pictures about their robotic shenanigans, but I'll try and keep the blatherings to a minimum.

In other news, I'm still playing Zelda and am still loving it. I just recently figured out a way to attack as a wolf and not look like an epileptic husky. And it only took me 11 hours of playing to do so! I'm not entirely convinced that Midna is on the up and up, but at this point, I'm held hostage to her twilightian mechanizations. I'll be sure to keep you informed of any treachery.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Oh, It Is So On

As you can see from the above picture, Hot Rod, wait, I'm sorry, Rodimus, has joined the party. I'm not sure what the point of renaming him is as these are supposed to be "classic" Transformers, and if that's the case, he's Hot Rod. Maybe he could be Rodimus Prime, but seeing how Optimus Prime is also around in this toy line, that would make for some very embarassing social situations. Optimus would be all like "we should go here and do this" and everyone would be following him and no one would be following Rodimus and eventually Rodimus would get all sullen and huffy and Optimus would have to put him in charge of something meaningless like getting take-out just to get him so shut up.

Yes I'm aware that there was an Energon Transformer named Rodimus-just-Rodimus, however he transformed into a big rig cab and this Rodimus transforms into a race car, hence me calling him Hot Rod.

But I digress. I'm sure him and Starscream are having some very interesting conversations what with one being a coward and the other being a brash, headstrong warrior. They're also mortal enemies, which probably helps to spice things up. I see the conversation going like this:

Starscream: So tell me, what was it like to be responsible for the death of your beloved leader?
Hot Rod: No worse than being disintegrated at your own coronation. How'd you manage to put all that together anyways? I thought Skywarp was the brains of the operation.
Starscream: That was a production run issue! My intelligence rating is higher!
Hot Rod: I'm sorry I can't hear you over all of the retreating.

Ha! Good stuff. I saw that the classic Optimus Prime and Megatron are on sale this week, so I'm tempted to purchase them as well but then the infighting is only going to get worse. I've been lambasted by my coworkers for not having Optimus around, but all the ones I've seen so far are like 50 bucksHa! Good stuff. I've seen classics Optimus and Megatron on sale and are 9 feet tall. the mix. I have issues with the scale of the various Transformers as it is without bringing a XXL Optimus Prime intoI'm ok with Megatron now being a raygun instead of a Walther P-38 handgun as despite my continued bias against children of any size and/or shape, I certainly don't want some kid being shot by a cop for assault with a deadly Decepticon. Megatron would complicate matters too, as he's the only one I'd want to keep around in "vehicle" form, due to it looking so badass, and such a good compliment to my Nerf weaponry. If they could somehow make a Megatron that was also a working Nerf pistol, well, I'd probably pass out from joy.

Finally, no that is not real coffee my daughter is drinking in today's earlier post. She does perfectly well not sleeping on her own without the benefit of stimulants, than you very much. When we went out to eat yesterday, they were out of kids' cups, so we got the kids water in coffee cups. The resulting photographical shenanigans were just too much to resist. Please don't call child services on us.

Naps? Who has time for naps?

Seriously, I don't have time for this nap bullshit. I have time for coffee and that's about it. I have some new words to learn, I'm trying to figure out what things are colored red and at some point today, I need to fill my pants. Maybe you have time for naps, but where I come from, it's either win or go home. I hate to drink and run, but these shapes aren't going to sort themselves.

Friday, December 01, 2006