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Ptolemy’s Gate

Every once in a while, something you intend to do gets away from you.  Back in 2006, I picked up and read The Amulet of Samarkand and I really enjoyed it.  Like a grim and gritty version of other books about magic with a kid for a main character, it just felt more… real… than things like the Harry Potter books.  Later that year I did read the second book in the series, The Golem’s Eye, and I enjoyed it as well.  I even picked up the third book, but somehow, for some reason, I never got around to reading it.

Well, I finally did.  Ptolemy’s Gate is the final third of the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud.  In this tale we find ourselves back with Nathaniel, a few years older and stronger, but perhaps not wiser.  He’s kept poor Bartimaeus enslaved and trapped on Earth so that his essence has become quite weak.  Meanwhile, Kitty has gone into hiding and taken up learning magic because she desperately wants to talk to Bartimaeus and the only way she can think to do so is to learn to summon him herself.  War rages in the Americas and the commoners of England are beginning to get out of control.  The magicians are losing their grip…

And I won’t go any further, because it would spoil everything.  This book makes for a perfect end to the trilogy, wrapping everything up quite satisfactorily… for me as the reader, some of the characters don’t make out so well in the end.  The three books together make up 1500 pages of excellent storytelling.  I look forward to new works from Mr. Stroud in the future.

The Dark Knight

13 out of 13 nots
for being everything I wanted and more

When Chris Nolan relaunched Batman with Batman Begins, I immediately knew that the right team had been put in place.  While that film has some issues, the overall impact of it was fantastic.  With Nolan behind the camera and Christian Bale in front of it, they were creating something truly magic.

On the strength of that film I was excited when I heard about The Dark Knight.  Well, until they announced that Heath Ledger was going to be the Joker.  While I liked Ledger well enough, I hadn’t seen him do anything previously that lead me to believe that he could pull off the Joker.  This worry was allayed when early word started to leak out about his performance.  Then he died.

Having seen the film now, one element of the true tragedy of his death is that there will be many people who write off praise for his performance as sympathy for his having passed on.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  All of my early fears were put to rest and now I honestly feel that no one was more meant for this role than Heath, and now I am worried about what they will do with the franchise going forward.  Heath has left some enormously large shoes to fill in regards to this role.

Outside of Heath’s performance, every other actor also pulls off some fantastic work here.  I found every character to be fully believable in the world that Nolan has crafted.  And the story is no weak link either.  I literally spent a full third of the movie with my hand to my mouth in a futile attempt to prevent my breath from being taken away.  The most important aspect that this film holds is that it is not “Batman Begins 2”.  You do not need to have seen the first to understand the second.  Rather than being a sequel, The Dark Knight stands as a whole and complete story set within the same world as Batman Begins.

After leaving the theater and walking out to car, I said to the group I was with, “If there had previously existed only nine kinds of awesome in the world, this movie would be the tenth.”  Two days later, I still feel that and I am certain I will feel that way for some time to come.

If you have not already, see this film.

Evolution versus Revolution

The first thing to note when talking about Evolution versus Revolution in games is passion.  If a player is passionate about the game he plays, he will strive to make everything about a new game sound as if it is only “more of the same” with some Evolution thrown in.  If a player is passionate about the forthcoming game, he will strive to make everything sound as if it is all Revolution over the old games and that nothing is “more of the same”.

I’ve read a number of posts claiming that Public Quests in the upcoming Warhammer game are a Revolution.  But it all depends on how you look at it.  On one hand, I can see the Revolution aspect because it is encouraging random social behavior in a PvE environment, which most games actually tend to discourage through spawn locking and quests being individualized.  (Its good to note here that while in World of Warcraft, only the quest holder gains the rewards of a quest completed, from the beginning, City of Heroes has always rewarded group members for assisting in completing another person’s quest by giving them a chunk of exp as well as many times giving them badges and/or enhancement rewards.)  But, on the other hand, the Public Quest system, to me, looks like someone took Alterac Valley from World of Warcraft’s Battlegrounds, made one side entirely NPCs and tweaked the mini-quests in the zone.  In fact, WoW could easily implement Public Quests that way, by taking Battleground style content and making in PvE, assigning rewards based on participation, similar to what they do now in their PvP versions.  Whether you see the item as Evolution or Revolution, in my opinion, seems to be dependent entirely on how hard you are chomping and the bit to play Warhammer.

And Warhammer isn’t alone here.  World of Warcraft wasn’t Revolutionary either, except in its broader market appeal, which could be considered just an Evolution of the trend seen in games that came prior: UO, EQ, etc.  But plenty of people do consider WoW to be Revolutionary, either for that reason or because it was finally a fantasy MMO “done right” or some other basis.

The real question, rather than if something is Evoltionary or Revolutionary, is “Is it fun?”  Looking at Public Quests, it addresses the one thing I have found a problem with in games since EverQuest: encourages people to be social.  WoW has its raids, but outside that, you and four friends can do pretty much everything in the game.  In fact, you can play the entire game from level 1 to level 70 without ever talking to or grouping with another person.  In my experience, WoW is the most “silent” game I have ever played.  People don’t talk, people don’t do pick up groups… most of the social activity is based in and around guild raids and battlegrounds, both of which in many cases are a minority of the players yelling at the majority of the players to do things.  So, I probably will pick up Warhammer, but I’m not expecting it to be some huge revolution in gaming… just an evolution backwards toward players actually playing with each other more.


In 1998 I was playing Team Fortress with people I’d known and a larger group that had grown from my earliest days “online” dialing in to BBSs. At the time, I was hanging out in IRC chat on the GamesNet servers, mostly in the Disciples of Syrinx room. I had moved back home with my parents at the end of the previous year after successfully (in my mind) living “on my own” for a few years so that I could focus on school, doubling up my classes, and finish my four year degree in six years (maybe I hadn’t been so successful on my own). I spent my free time, and since I wasn’t working there was quite a bit of it, playing games and reading the .plan files of developers. Mostly it was the id software crew, but there were others. Blogging wasn’t so popular back then, but people did have websites, and game developers, especially in the first person shooter arena, kept up with .plan files. With college nearing its end and loving computer games, I had this idea that I would get into the gaming industry. Months later and many unreturned phone calls and rejection letters, I would set aside that dream, but at that moment, I decided to start maintaining my own .plan.

I did it in IRC at first, so the only people who could read it were people who knew to look and only when I was online with my mIRC client. Soon enough I moved it to Geocities. June 17th, 1998 marked my first post on the internet, and because I’m a pack rat and paranoid about computer crashes, I always kept spare copies of everything, so if you want, you can dig through the archives here and actually read everything from the beginning. After Geocities, I moved to my own domain, loadfix.com. If you try to go there now, it redirects to a .de domain that gives back a 403 Forbidden error. A year later I would move on to squadleader.com with dreams of eventually running an online magazine for first person shooters. I never did, and now that domain is a squatter’s hope for cash (a crap website placeholder of links doing nothing but praying someone wants to buy it). I would have kept squadleader but for one, I wasn’t playing shooters anymore after EverQuest took over my life, and the other reason is it turned out I didn’t own it. Sure, I registered it, paid for it, but my hosting company put everything in their name, so when I tried to switch providers, they kept the name. Thus begins the probablynot.com era.

To be perfectly honest, when I put my first ever posting on the internet, I never thought I’d still be doing it ten years later. In fact it didn’t even cross my mind to consider it. In one respect, its like keeping a diary, and now and then I’ll go back and root around through the old posts and laugh at myself, or shake my head, smile, or nod knowingly. However, unlike a diary, its out there for other people to read. There are times I’ve considered going back and deleting some of the old posts. When I migrated from Coranto to WordPress, I had the perfect opportunity to just lose all the old content, or pick and choose what to put back in, but I ended up importing all of it. Good or bad, I wrote it, its me, or at least was me at the time, and as I’ve written before, if you are happy with who you are, you can’t really regret your past because your past has made you who you are.

However, ultimately, my decision to import all the old posts came down to one thing, that I’ve been doing this, emptying my brain onto the Internet since 1998, for me. When people comment, or send emails, about what I’ve put out there, it feels good, but I’ve never done it for that. I always just wanted to put my thoughts down on “paper” but I didn’t want to hide it under my mattress or in a closet or behind other books on the book shelves where no one would ever see it, because maybe, just maybe, my words might affect someone else, or someone’s reading of my words might affect me. Do I sound emo? I think I sound emo…

Anyway… ten years… some times it just kind of blows my mind a little… well… here’s to the next ten years.

Stuff White People Like

This is a pretty funny site.  And being that I am, in fact, a white person, I decided to go on a journey of self discovery and find out exactly how “white” I am by comparing to their list from 1 to 90 (the latest at the time of writing).

  1. Coffee – No, I hate coffee in pretty much all its forms.
  2. Religions their parents don’t belong to – I suppose this could be correct since I don’t ascribe to any religion currently and my parents did, even if they hadn’t gone to church in nearly twenty years.
  3. Film Festivals – Okay, I do like film festivals, but I think its important to note that I hate most independent films.
  4. Assists – Not much of a sports guy, so I have no opinion on assists.
  5. Farmer’s Markets – Nope.  Not a big Farmer’s Market guy.
  6. Organic Food – Nah… processed food is A-okay with me.
  7. Diversity – Ehh… not so much.
  8. Barack Obama – While I would choose Mr. Obama over Mrs. Clinton if those were my choices, I’m currently supporting McCain for President, so, this one doesn’t apply to me.
  9. Making you feel bad about not going outside – I’m a computer geek… outside? Why?
  10. Wes Anderson Movies – I have watched, and not really enjoyed, most of his films.  I don’t really get it.
  11. Asian Girls – Not entirely my cup of tea… wait, does saying “not my cup of tea” make me “white”?
  12. Non-Profit Organizations – Not I.
  13. Tea – Shit.  Although, I really only drink tea at Chinese restaurants, which I go to maybe once a year, and sometimes at family dinners, because my parents are from the South and Sweet Iced Tea is required at the table.
  14. Having Black Friends – I currently have no black friends, only a couple black friends of friends, this isn’t because I avoid black people, but instead because my life just doesn’t happen to have any black people in it, and I don’t feel any need to seek out black people specifically so I can befriend them.
  15. Yoga – No.
  16. Gifted Children – If I ever decide to have children, I’ll be happy if my kid only eats the FDA daily recommended amounts of paste.
  17. Hating their Parents – I can’t really say I ever hated my parents.  I mean, I did move out of the house at 18, but that was more because I wanted to have more sex than I was able to sneak past them, not because of any dislike of them.
  18. Awareness – Largely, I am aware of only that I could be doing more, none of which involves making other people aware.
  19. Traveling – I apparently missed my requisite trip to Europe. 🙁
  20. Being an expert on YOUR culture – While I will admit to trying (in vain) to learn Spanish and Japanese, I really haven’t spent much time worrying about learning other people’s cultures.
  21. Writers Workshops – Okay, fine, yes, I have gone to a Writer’s Workshop, but in my defense (I hope) it was only 2 days and at Dragon*Con.  No, I guess that really didn’t help.
  22. Having Two Last Names – I am not particularly fond of people who do this.
  23. Microbreweries – Not so big on the beers, I like liquor.
  24. Wine – People, white people, keep insisting I try wines.  Haven’t liked one yet.
  25. David Sedaris – Who?
  26. Manhattan (now Brooklyn too!) – I have so little interest in New York that I almost didn’t write this sentence.
  27. Marathons – “Do you run?” “Only when chased.”  And that pretty much sums up my interest in marathons.
  28. Not having a TV – Not only do I have a TV, I have 4, and 1 is actually a PC with 6 tuners so I can record everything and watch it later.
  29. 80s Night – This is really unfair, because being born in ’74, the 80’s are a huge part of my development as a human being.  So, I guess they get me on this one.
  30. Wrigley Field – If I was in Chicago, and I got tickets, I’d go, but more because about the only way I can stand watching baseball is at the field with a couple of beers and a footlong hotdog.
  31. Snowboarding – Have I ever mentioned how much I am not a fan of cold?
  32. Vegan/Vegetarianism – I am a card carrying member of PETA… People for the Eating of Tasty Animals.
  33. Marijuana – The only time I ever got high was during the 8th grade when my parents let my older brother and I go to see David Bowie on his Glass Spider tour.  Shortly after the concert began a haze rose from the crowd, the air was filled with the smell of a wet down jacket and I got a headache.
  34. Architecture – Got me on another one, I do like architecture, however there isn’t any particular style or era that I like, I just don’t like when strip malls are built looking like bland boxes.  I would prefer they all put at least a little effort into it.
  35. The Daily Show/Colbert Report – I have been told I would love these shows if I watched them, but as of yet I haven’t bothered watching.
  36. Breakfast Places – Breakfast is my least favorite meal of the day, largely because every breakfast place known to man seems to insist that eggs are required and I hate eggs.  Then they go and make me order a side of bacon, a side of ham, a side of sausages, a side of toast, a side of hashbrowns… it seems my penalty for disliking eggs is that my breakfast is going to cost $47.83.
  37. Renovations – *sigh* I am renovating a house, but only because I bought a foreclosure and the previous owner took everything not nailed down (and some things that were, if you’ve ever seen the Richard Pryor movie Moving you know what I mean), and they had horrible taste (every room in the house is a shade of brown).
  38. Arrested Development – Still have not seen it, but I’ll be sure to add it to my Netflix queue.
  39. Netflix – Fuck.  Although, allow me to reiterate how much I dislike most independent films… and foreign films.
  40. Apple Products – I’m just going to say that I simply do not have enough time or diskspace to explain to the lengths that I loathe Apple Products.
  41. Indie Music – I like music, pretty much any kind except hardcore gangsta rap (all the bitches and hoes and drugs and guns and that stuff, just does not strike a chord with me), so I suppose I like indie music, but I don’t believe it is to the degree intended here.
  42. Sushi – Hate.
  43. Plays – I like the idea of plays, its the execution of most of them that I dislike.
  44. Public Radio – Talk radio, I am certain, is one of the signs of the Apocalypse.
  45. Asian Fusion Food – No.
  46. The Sunday New York Times – I don’t read any newspapers anymore.
  47. Arts Degrees – Bachelor’s in Computer Science.
  48. Whole Foods and Grocery Co-ops – I do shop at one of those membership store, but its a warehouse style shop and I go there because it allows me to buy the crap I eat in bulk and save money.  Why pay $9 at the regular store for a small box of Stoffer’s French Bread Pizzas when I can go to BJ’s and get the giant box with four times the pizzas for $12?
  49. Vintage – Not really.
  50. Irony – I do, indeed, love me some irony, but not really in the fashion they describe it here.
  51. Living by the Water – Guilty.  I do want to live on a beach.
  52. Sarah Silverman – She’s funny sometimes.  And sometimes not.
  53. Dogs – Much better than cats.
  54. Kitchen Gadgets – I buy the gadgets not for me but for my wife.
  55. Apologies – I apologize alot, but then, I am a chronic procrastinator, so I often have things to apologize for.
  56. Lawyers – I respect the need for there to be people who spend the time to understand the nuances of law, but most lawyers are scum.
  57. Juno – I loved this movie.
  58. Japan – I do want to go to Japan someday, but I really hate anime.
  59. Natural Medicine – While I’m all for exploring natural solutions for things, I fully believe in the pharmaceutical industry’s ability to cure diseases.
  60. Toyota Prius – I do want a hybrid, but less for the environmental impact than for the savings in gas.
  61. Bicycles – I do like bicycles, although I have not owned one since mine was stolen almost 15 years ago.  If I ever bought another one, I could not see myself spending more than $200 on one, so no specialty bikes for me.
  62. Knowing What’s Best for Poor People – I care, somewhat, about poor people, but I care more about not becoming a poor person.
  63. Expensive Sandwiches – Wheat bread, meat slices, mustard, maybe occasionally throw in some lettuce or a tomato, or some pickles.  What I make at home often is so much better than what a restaurant will make.
  64. Recycling – I do recycle, but I also work on reducing the amount of garbage I produce as well.
  65. Co-Ed Sports – Again, computer geek… outside?
  66. Divorce – Divorce sucks.
  67. Standing Still at Concerts – I am confused by this one, do people who are not “white” go to concerts and ballroom dance?  I don’t stand “still” at concerts, I do move around to the music and what not, but it never occurred to me to break out the foxtrot or boxstep.
  68. Michel Gondry – He does some interesting stuff, but I wouldn’t exactly say that I love him.
  69. Mos Def – I do like Mos Def.
  70. Difficult Breakups – I don’t believe I’ve had a difficult break up yet.  Relationships just sort of end, and that’s it.
  71. Being the only white person around – Can’t say as I have ever sought this situation out.
  72. Study Abroad – Might have been nice.
  73. Gentrification – I suppose it is a thing that I like, because I would rather see inner city areas looking good than to see them looking like crap.
  74. Oscar Parties – I have gone to Oscar parties, but thus far, much like our State of the Union parties, they are more about hanging out and drinking than the program on the TV.
  75. Threatening to Move to Canada – Hell no.  Did I mention that I don’t like cold? or hockey? or French?
  76. Bottles of Water – I don’t buy bottles of water unless I have to, but I do buy bottle of orange juice which I keep and reuse as water bottles.
  77. Musical Comedy – Yeah, I admit, I do find it entertaining.
  78. Multilingual Children – I want to be multilingual myself, and looking to the future, being multilingual is probably going to be advantageous.
  79. Modern Furniture – No.
  80. The Idea of Soccer – Not much into any sports.  Computer geek.
  81. Graduate School – I wouldn’t mind going back to school and studying stuff, but I really don’t have an interest in grad school.
  82. Hating Corporations – I don’t hate all corporations, however I do dislike the disassociation of responsibility of people who work for them, the “I just do my job, and I had no part in the overall heartless money grubbing of this company” defense.  There is much more to it than that, but not for here, not now.
  83. Bad Memories of High School – I don’t really have bad memories, or good memories.  High school was neither the best nor worst years of my life.
  84. T-Shirts – While I do like T-Shirts with cool stuff on them, and I do wear T-Shirts whenever I can get away with it, but it doesn’t really go beyond that.
  85. The Wire – I do want to see it… Netflix.
  86. Shorts – Did I mention how much I hate the cold?
  87. Outdoor Performance Clothes – I do not believe I own any Outdoor Performance Clothes.
  88. Having Gay Friends – Much like the black friends up at number 14, its not something I seek out, if it happens, then it happens.
  89. St. Patrick’s Day – Yeah, well, I do like this particular holiday.
  90. Dinner Parties – I’ve had people over for dinner, but not by choice.  My wife is “whiter” than I am apparently.

So, that’s it.  Assuming this website is discussing a particular variant of “white”, largely registered Democrats and yuppies, it appears that I am not very “white” after all.  Well, now I’ve got to go figure out how to waste the rest of my day.



Last week, I finally decided to call in service on my refrigerator. The panel with the water and ice dispenser in it has been loose for a while. So I went looking for the receipt and the service numbers which resulted in my sifting through the piles of papers and junk that has collected in my filing cabinet since we bought the house. After dealing with the fridge (which turned out to be that the panel was never installed properly, not that it was broken), I decided to clean up my files.

Dealing with old papers has always been a thing for me. I’m a pack rat by nature, and I keep everything. Not that I keep it organized so that it is useful or anything, I just keep it all. Since I have had my mail stolen a time or two, and I know there are people out there who go through the trash looking for items to perpetrate fraud with, I wanted to make sure I disposed of everything properly.

This isn’t the first time I’ve done this. About 8 months ago, I did a semi-cleaning of sorts and I threw out some stuff, but not a lot, so I just tore everything up into small pieces by hand. But for this new overhaul, I knew I’d have more to throw out, so I borrowed an electric paper shredder from my father. 🙂 Man, is that thing fun to use. You just drop paper in the slot and it powers up and shreds. It even has a nifty warning label on it specifically telling you not to put your tie in it, just in case you were tempted to try it.

Even I was unaware of just how much crap I had accumulated. Back in 1992 I got my first job doing night stock work at the local Kroger, and after a few paychecks I went and opened a bank account. I actually had in my filing cabinets, 16 years worth of bank statements and canceled checks. Well, almost. The canceled checks stopped back in 2000 and I went to eStatements in 2006. I also had every credit card statement from 1993 to 2006, and some even to 2008. I had warranty cards for items I haven’t owned in more than a decade.

Overall, if makes me proud of myself to know that most of that can’t happen again. I’ve gone to electronic everything as much as possible, and most companies offer to keep PDF versions of your statements and check images and whatnot for up to seven years if you turn off your paper mailings. So I get to keep the same records I had, only now I’ve got them all on a hard drive instead of in a filing cabinet. However, as proud as I am of that, I also now have more than three full thirty gallon Hefty trash bags of shredded documents. I checked, and my local recycle place won’t take shredded paper for recycling, only unshredded. Seems silly to me, but I guess they must have a reason.

Oh well, at least its just a one time thing, dumping this much paper into the regular garbage instead of the recycle bins.

Fool Moon

Sometimes it must seem like I am a slow reader, and I am, but not as slow as it must appear if you keep an eye on my Currently Reading section. I read with purpose and with imagination. My mind paints full color images as I read, every detail being filled in from the prose, and my imagination filling in everything the author leaves out. I see books more than read them. I live and breathe them. And I also don’t get as much time as I’d like to enjoy them. A couple hours a week at best.

And the better the book, the slower I read. I envy Jim Butcher because Harry Dresden is the kind of character I’d love to dream up, and his world is a place my imagination loves to run free in. And here I am only in the second book of the series. I finally turned the last page of Fool Moon and extricated myself from Harry’s dangerous mystical Chicago, and all I’ve got to say is: Damn.

Seriously, its a good book. This time around Harry runs smack into a problem with werewolves, a few different kinds of them, and he’s in over his head from the beginning. Heart pounding and tense, I hated having to put this book down, craved it when I was away, and reveled in it when I could.

I can’t wait to dive in to the next book… I just have to buy it first.

Urban Dead – Revisited

Nearly three months ago, I mentioned a game by the name of Urban Dead. At the time, I checked it out, messed around one day and then dismissed it. I just wasn’t interested in a web based text adventure.

Things change.

I have been checking out all sorts of games since my recent abandonment of all my usual MMO haunts. With City of Heroes/Villains and World of Warcraft canceled and Lord of the Rings Online only holding on by the skin of its founder price, I really wanted something low impact that I could just play at now and then without investing any time (since any time I invest will be in beta tests or my 360). I stumbled back on Urban Dead and decided to give it a go, this time from both sides of the fence.

Everything in the game is controlled through Action Points, which you earn at the rate of 1 per half hour and you max out at 50. As a survivor, walking from one block to the next costs 1 point, and so does just about everything else. Searching, attacking, talking, entering buildings, etc. As one of the undead, walking takes 2 points per block, at least until you get enough experience points to buy the Lurching Gait skill that allows you to move as fast as the living. The limit of points you get per day means you have to keep track of where you are and how long it will take you to get back to safety. The living don’t want to get caught outside, the dead don’t want to wind up standing alone near lots of people. Really, this is where the strategy of the game comes in.

While the game does contain “levels” and skills that you purchase with your experience points, there isn’t, at least for me, a huge rush to max out and get to the top because this game has no “end game”, its just about survival.

I’m really enjoying the game far more than I thought I originally would, and its totally worth the cost… free. If you decide to check it out, I’m Jhaer on the living side and Reahj on the dead side.

2007: Aftermath

As with every year, I really enjoyed Dragon*Con. I actually says a lot about the con when my biggest complaint is that I can’t see everything I want to see because there is so much I want to see.

The new Apocalypse Rising track was very interesting, although, at times I did feel a number of their panels were repetative, but that is the nature of the beast when talking about a topic that is very focused but encompasses so much. However, it was the first time around in the new format, so I’ll cut them some slack and see how they grow for next year.

The Game Programming (with a heavy MMO bent) spinoff of the EFF track was another favorite. The only downside there is that people seemed to want to talk about WoW too much, even when the moderators and panelists tried to veer off to another subject the attendees would drag it back to WoW. I guess that is proof that WoW really is the 800 lbs. gorilla in the market. I think this track can only get better.

In both cases, I’ve finally found tracks that have inspired me to get involved. I’ll be keeping an eye on both and seeing where I can lend a hand.

Other than a few panels here and there, or a couple trips to the short films room, the bulk of my time was spent in the above two panels. I never made it down to the Writer’s Track, which is where I normally spend most of my con time.

With panels and programming out of the way, let’s talk hotels… The Marriott is still under construction, however from seeing the parts that have been completed I have high hopes for the future of the space for Dragon*Con. Seriously folks, you really need to stop defaulting to the Hyatt bar and lobby. I know it has traditionally been the place to be, but even before the renovation the three levels of the lobby area of the Marriott were better. Lots of space for costumers to show their stuff, and even places where distance watchers can view the chaos without getting involved. The only drawback to the Marriott previously was the cruddy location of their only bar, but this year with the opening of Pulse on the atrium level, the Marriott is turning into the new place to be. Next year when they have the other 70,000 square feet of ballrooms and whatnot open, there should simply be no reason to remain in the cramped Hyatt lobby except to get a quiet drink at the little out of the way bar.

The Hilton also blossomed well this year. The halls of rooms for panels (used for gaming last year, which this year moved to the new business center of the Marriott) were fantastic, even if a little small for some of the panels they put in them (*cough*Zombie Squad*cough*). The exhibitor halls were nice, but I do have a small complaint about the dealers’ room… entering into the center of the hall and having to make several circular trips through to see everything was just odd and annoying. Some of this may end up back in the Marriott next year, but the Hilton Halls shouldn’t be left unused…

One thing I’ve always hated about Dragon*Con and still hate is the use of the itty bitty teeny tiny Learning Center in the Hyatt for the Film track. Every single set of short films ends up with a line and they have to turn people away, every one. They need a bigger room, perhaps the Marriott will have something they can use, or maybe if one of those Hilton Ballrooms winds up empty they can utilize one of them. The Learning Center is nice though, for smaller screenings, perhaps for invite only or contest won passes to exclusive screenings of new movies. That would be sweet. Or hey… you know about that Writer’s Workshop they do every year? Maybe they might consider a Film Maker’s Workshop…

The only other real complaint I can come up with about Dragon*Con in general is the lack of signs. Because of the construction in the Marriott, the traditional method of going out the back was blocked off. Thankfully, rather than forcing people to walk around the outside of the building, they opened up four staircases for use. The intent was obviously that two would be for going up and two for going down. They did place a Marriott employee there most of the day telling people how to use the stairs to get to the Hilton, but, across the street inside the Hilton is a Kinko’s, and for probably $20 or less (definitely less than the cost of manning the post all day) they could have printed up 8 very nice signs (4 staircases, 2 ends of each staircase) indicating the direction of travel, UP or DOWN. 90% of the traffic issues would have been solved right there. Other signs around would have been nice, maybe even ones indicating where photos should be taken instead of just a few signs stating when and where they could NOT be taken. They did have some signs around for things, but most of those signs where floor level signs… meaning that you can’t really read them until you are practically on top of them. Head height should be a minimum for signs, six feet, seven would be better.

So, with that I bid adieu to another year at Dragon*Con. 359 days until the next one…

2007: Day 4

Nothing much ever happens on day 4 of Dragon*Con. Everything is shutting down, people are checking out, it is both hectic and lazy at the same time. I had planned to go to a few of the programming track round ups because I’d like to give my opinion on what they did right and what they did wrong, but of course they pretty much all do those at the same time, so I picked the Apocalypse Rising track to visit… and then never made it there.

I did make another pass through the exhibitor’s hall to view the stuff and make sure I didn’t miss anything I wanted to see. I didn’t really.

Tomorrow, when I’m feeling more energetic, I’ll write an Aftermath post about the con and some views on a few things I intentionally skipped or glossed over.