it is pitch dark

I’m wearing this awesome T-shirt today, in honor of the activation of the Large Hadron Collider, which hasn’t destroyed the Earth yet (or ever, you anti-science mouth breathers) but won’t really get a chance to send crowbar stock skyrocketing until October when it actually crashes stuff into other stuff.

If you’re wondering what the LHC will do and why geeks haven’t been as excited about anything since the invention of internet porn, there’s a great article on How Stuff Works about, um, how it works. Recommended.

Did yesterday’s post about RPGs give you such withdrawal you woke up with the shakes in the middle of the night, certain that there was a Grue at the end of your bed? You may want to read Geekdad’s long-overdue review of D&D 4e’s Dungeon Master’s Guide.

Top Shelf, publishers of Super Spy (my favorite graphic novel of 2008), are having a massive sale. Fill your shelves for $3 a book, and march onward to victory, for great justice!

I’m a huge fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, and my love of Zombie stories specifically isn’t exactly a big secret. You can imagine how excited I am to read John Joseph Adams’ anthology The Living Dead , which includes Some Zombie Contingency Plans, made available in its entirety by its author, Kelly Link (author of the magnificent Magic for Beginners.)

This comic is awesome. I am not worthy.

While I was at PAX, I signed an autograph for a girl who was wearing an insanely cool T-shirt. It had a retro raygun on it, shooting out green rings that said “woo woo woo!” over them. I asked her where she got it, and she told me that she’d designed and created it herself. It was, sadly, a one-of-a-kind handpainted sort of thing. Thinking quickly, I said “You must put that online so I can buy it,” using as much of The Force as I could muster. I guess it worked, because now you can buy one for your very own. Mine arrived yesterday, and it looks beautiful. (Link to Retro Raygun T-Shirt at Zazzle.)

This new Genius thing in iTunes, which is sort of like The Filter meets Pandora is intriguing to me. I’ve had it build one playlist, and out of 25 songs, it only picked one that didn’t really belong there. It even picked out a wonderful song (Landlocked Blues, by Bright Eyes) that I didn’t even know I had in my library and hadn’t heard until just now. The buying thing is swell, too, especially since Apple is slowly catching up to Amazon MP3 and realizing that given the choice between fucking goddamn stupid DRM and no fucking goddamn stupid DRM, we’re going to choose no fucking goddamn stupid DRM every time.

Oh, and speaking of fucking goddamn stupid DRM: Spore? Nelson Muntz has something to say to you, bucko.

That’s all for now. I’m going back to future Los Angeles for the rest of the day.

42 thoughts on “it is pitch dark”

  1. Hey Wil,
    You’re a gamer and a zombie fan. You may want to check out a boardgame called Last Night on Earth, by Flying Frog Productions. It’s a boardgame for 2-6 players wherein one or two players play the zombies and everyone else plays the small-town heroes. The game is REALLY fun and recreates those B-movie Zombie flick moments really well.

  2. My boyfriend has a degree in Molecular Biology, and I have been driving him crazy talking about the LHC. And the lawsuits against it? I don’t think these people understand anything about black holes. I read an article with Walter Wagner, one of the plaintiffs, and have been referring to him as the Jack Thompson of physicists.
    The Spore fiasco has really disappointed me. I had really been looking forward to it for a long time, but the DRM/limited installs is not something I am willing to accept. I keep popping over to Amazon to see how many 1 star reviews there are. Over 1900 last time I checked. I really hope this sends a clear message, but I am not confidant that it will.

  3. @ElShoggo I’ll second that. My husband and I bought that game plus the expansion pack and additional soundtrack (We bought it all, yes.) while we were at PAX. Aside from a chapbook from a really cool author, a PinkGodzilla plushie & game, and a truly awesome Ms. Pacman board game that’s all we bought. The game looks hella fun and I really want to pull together some folks to play it. Austinites unite?

  4. Aww man, someone beat me to the link in the second comment. *sigh*
    That comic is awesome, and I suspect holds true for not just Patrick, but the rest of us who were lucky enough to meet you. I definitely appreciated how approachable you were, and am still in awe that you didn’t kill all us geeks what with the broken rib and all.
    Also, that t-shirt is awesome 😀

  5. Thank you, thank you! for the tee shirt links! Especially the timing is awesome with my husband’s birthday coming up.
    Also, I too am delciously intrigued and obssessed with post-apocalyptic and zombie stories, so bonus thank yous! for sharing the Living Dead suggestion.
    As always you rock, and I remain …
    – jaz

  6. “Some Zombie Contingency Plans” is a weird and wonderful story. I’m not sure I like it. That is how I felt the first time I saw Fight Club.

  7. Your comments about gaming over the past couple of days have been great and have induced some nostalgia of my own. I am fortunate enough to have a game crew over most Friday nights, but they are pretty set in their ways, so I don’t get to try out different RPGs that much. You’re dead on about M&M – it looks like it rocks. And the more I read about 4e, the more I’d like to try it out. Pax, Wil!

  8. I’ll just join Patrick in a nice “head asplode” moment.
    Wil Wheaton bought my raygun shirt. Then linked it on the blog. That is beyond awesome. Thanks Wil!
    Cookie McCool – Yeah, I’m sorry about that, I didn’t really realize how high the mark-up was, being as it’s really the first shirt I’ve put up for sale. It really doesn’t seem fair to lower it now and only charge Wil that price, but… I THINK he’ll forgive me, since it was only due to ignorance. Right? Right?

  9. “Some Zombie Contingency Plans” was one of the most bizarre and unable-to-put-down intriguing stories I think I’ve read. (I love stories that I have no idea where they’re going!)

  10. Oh man, an extra high Wils-only price, what a bummer! I figured out what the “problem” is, and now I feel like a jerk for whining about it. Printing on dark shirts is pricier, but the design is not done proper justice on a standard light shirt. I’m sorry for talking!

  11. @aeditor: HA! Thats hilarious. Dont suppose you read the page source that goes with it, did you? I usually dont look for stuff like that, but it was mentioned somewhere. Funny.

  12. Wil, have you read World War Z by Max Brooks? It’s one of the best for-serious zombie stories I’ve ever seen. Take alook, if you get the chance.

  13. That comic was dead on for what I was feeling at SDCC.
    Cept my head did the exploding thing later.
    And based on what I heard at Dragon*Con even extremely beautiful geek icons like Jewel Staite have epic fails when it comes to meeting the people we like.

  14. Check out the Large Hadron Rap:
    As for Amazon MP3, I can’t wait until they bring that to Canada. Music I purchased from the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store has disappeared without warning from my iPhone, so between that and the DRM, I’m in the market for other legal means of buying digital music. Why does it take a whole extra year for Amazon to sort out the licensing in Canada? Grr.

  15. Wil:
    In addition to ‘Last Night on Earth’, you should also check out the zombie survival game, ‘Mall of Horror.’ Played a demo at Gen Con and it is incredibly enjoyable. It is a lot like ‘Survivor’ for the zombie genre, but still good.

  16. There is one amusing fact about all the stories on the LHC and everyone saying, “YAY the world didn’t end”. All they did was turn the thing on, they didn’t actually smash anything or even really power it fully up. Its going to be weeks before they actually start accelerating stuff.
    Not that I agree with any of the luddite mouth breathers. But if they don’t even notice that point then they’re even dumber than they originally seemed to be.
    O great t-shirt by the way!

  17. To blame Apple for not offering DRM-free tracks while hailing Amazon for doing so is unfair.
    Steve Jobs posted an open letter on February 6, 2007 (more than 3 months before Amazon announced its DRM-free store, which it didn’t even roll out until 2008). On May 30, 2007 Apple started selling DRM-free tracks from EMI and called them iTunes Plus. At the time, they cost 30 cents more (due to the record labels refusing to sell DRM-free tracks for the same price to make up for the inevitable “piracy” that would occur). Once Amazon’s store opened up, however, Apple was able to convince the studios to reduce the prices.
    In an attempt to force Apple to agree to a variety of things (variable pricing, hot singles being only available if you purchase the full album, etc.) and to attempt to undermine the iTunes Store’s dominance in digital music sales, the “Big 4″ struck a deal with Amazon to bring DRM-free MP3s to customers. Apple is still a proponent of DRM-free music (and everything else) and is just waiting for the “Big 4″ to realize that they’re only hurting themselves by discouraging choice in a vain attempt to hold on to an outdated business model that can no longer succeed in today’s digital world. Once they change their minds, it will likely be a short period of time before Apple sells all music DRM-free.
    Also, 256kbps AAC files sound a whole lot better than 256kbps MP3 files, but that’s a discussion (argument?) for another time.

  18. Oh, in case it wasn’t clear enough up there (I had a couple of tangents, I think): the studios are responsible for a company bringing DRM-free music to the people. No one else can make it happen.

  19. You beat me too it Winston. Apple would love to have all of their tracks be DRM-Free, but the (major) labels (minus EMI) won’t let them. They are selling DRM-Free tracks on Amazon in order to try to beat down iTunes a little, since they hate that Apple has been so successful. Eventually they will (hopefully) realize they’re only hurting themselves and everything should be available DRM-Free, not just EMI and Indy label music. Until that point though, I only buy iTunes plus tracks from iTunes, and get as much as I can from eMusic or even gasp buying physical CD’s.

  20. These “lemme brain dump and link to everything cool you should know about but don’t” posts cause my Firefox to go into Tab Overload and usually cost me a few bucks. This post cost me $18.95 for the shirt. Damn you, Wheaton.

  21. I’m sorry, but I had to share…
    A friend of mine lent me a copy of Just a Geek a day or two ago, and I have just finished chapter 10 (“You’re gonna be a great writer someday, Gordie”). I had to laugh out loud.
    You related an anecdote about writing a post-apocalyptic zombie story concluding with people seeking safe haven in Alcatraz.
    Two years ago, I ran a post-apocalyptic zombie game for some friends of mine in GURPS (we all love zombies. It’s how I managed to snare them into gaming…). The party had been running a freelance zombie hunting business out of the now-walled city of West Los Angeles (for people who needed escort between cities or other services “beyond the wall”). At some point, they realized they needed to REALLY start organizing and rebuilding, and thus put word out to other surviving city-states to have a state of the union sort of meeting with representatives from other surviving cities. The location for the meeting? Alcatraz, for its easy to defend position (or at least, easy to defend until some power-hungry fiend smuggles zombies onto the island to take out any opposition he might face…)
    It appears that one way or another, all zombie infested roads lead to Alcatraz…

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