15 October 2008

Another Rom revival bites the dust

I sat on this news so long, it's a relief to finally be able to tell it, although the result is sad. Back in February, Bing McCoy sent me a note saying:
Negotiations with Hasbro completed. Platinum comics is going to re-release ROM.
Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to tell anyone! Now I'm a very patient person, although some might merely call it procrastination. Anyway, I set up a ChangeDetection alert on Platinum Comics news page and waited. And waited and waited and waited. Not a word. Figuring I'd long since passed the point where inquiring would make me a pest, in September I asked McCoy about the status of the "re-release." He responded:
Hasbro backed out just before signing the contract - and thus ended a long business association with them. Cannot do business with people who do not honor their word.
So it would seem that McCoy is done trying to revive Rom, which is a shame because he seemed to be the one who's come closest to doing so since the Marvel series ended. (And upon asking, he said yes, I can talk about it now.) Of course, whether Platinum's series would have resembled the original, Marvel series in any way is a whole other topic and I won't go into that right now.

Still, other questions remain. How far did Platinum get in defining the series? Did they have creators lined up for it and, if so, who? Assuming Platinum wasn't going to answer questions from a no one like me, I e-mailed the only person I could think of who might be able to get answers: Rich Johnston. Unfortunately, he tells me he doesn't have any contacts at Platinum. But he might publish something about it in his column and see what comes up. I guess there's nothing to do but wait and see.

13 October 2008

Children all dressed up

By popular demand, here are photos of Hannah. First, on the left, we have her in a lovely dress picked up at a recent kids' consignment sale. (Click the photos for bigger views.) Totally impractical, as she'll be lucky to wear it more than twice, but too cute and too cheap -- especially considering it still had the tags on it -- for her mother to pass up!

Next, on the right, we have her only slightly more casual and with ballet slippers on. Dorothy recently took her out wearing this outfit and never once got the "boy or girl" question. (Just the "how old is she" question.) This finally proved to me that those bows are completely silly after all.

Finally, we have a milestone for Walter. He is now old enough to serve as an acolyte at church. This primarily consists of lighting the candles before service and putting them out afterwards. Here he is doing the former for the very first time.

08 October 2008

Purpose of the blog

I don't know that I have any real readers yet, but as I'm jut starting out I thought I'd go over the purpose of this blog. This is all as I see it right now and naturally I reserve the right to change my mind as the blog evolves.

First, you're unlikely to see much in the way of politics and religion. Or rather, you're unlikely to see much proselytizing on either subject. I hate conflict, so I tend to keep my opinions to myself. This probably forever dooms me with the label "boring," but I've (mostly) come to accept that.

You're also unlikely to hear much about sex, drugs, and rock & roll. Sex is private, I don't do drugs -- let me reiterate for any current or future employers doing Google searches on my name that I DON'T DO DRUGS -- and, okay, maybe I have experimented with rock & roll. Yeah, I take it back; you'll probably hear me talk about music. (For example, did you know Weird Al just released a new single?)

You're also unlikely to see many four letter words here because that's simply not how I usually express myself. Does this mean the blog will be kid-safe? Mostly, but I make no guarantees. I do find much naughty humor funny and I might find something too irresistible not to share.

So what will you find here? Mostly tidbits from my life. I'm hoping for more humorous photos like the one I started with. Unfortunately, those sometimes take time to produce, which is the one thing I don't seem to have a lot of right now.

Speaking of which, I make no promises for anything resembling a normal schedule of posting. I'll simply grab time where I can, so I encourage you to use the RSS feeds or to visit often. I'm hoping this will work out as a better way to keep my kids' grandparents, aunts, and uncles appraised of their activities, as I've proven hopeless at keeping their web pages up to date.

Another thing you'll find are updates on my interests, often related to web pages I "maintain." For example, I'm hoping the next post will be about the recent failure to return Rom, Spaceknight to comic books. If you've come here from one of these pages and aren't interested in, for example, how my kids are doing, note the labels at the bottom of each post. You might want to bookmark a single label rather than the whole blog.

Lastly, I've actually been doing something resembling blogging since before the WWW took off. (Remember, "blog" is short for "web log.") So over time, I plan to find old e-mails and Usenet posts that I think are worthy and post them with the original dates. Whenever I do this, I'll try to also post a new entry referring to the old one(s) so you don't miss anything. In fact, I've gone ahead and posted one from 1996.

Whew, and here I thought this would be a short little post. Sorry it seems to have turned into a manifesto.

01 October 2008

Hannah update: 2 weeks

Hannah is two weeks (and a bit) old now. At birth she weighed 7 lbs., 3 ozs. If she'd been born in a hospital, that number probably would have been higher because they would have weighed her right away. At the midwife's she was an hour or two old when they did it, so she'd pooped away several ounces.

The midwife checked her the other day and she's up to 8-1/2 lbs. Not bad for two weeks. Because of her gestational diabetes, Dorothy had been concerned those first few days that her milk wasn't coming in fast enough. Whether it came in quickly or not, this is confirmation that Hannah's getting plenty now.

Hallmark missed the point

How did this happen? I caught a post on Usenet a couple months ago saying there would a Pac-Man coin-op ornament released in October, so I set a reminder in my PDA. (That's what they're for, right?) It goes off today, so I go looking at the Hallmark web site to see if I can find the date. What I find is an ornament page with the photo you see to the right.

That's not the coin-op I remember and loved. Yes, it's yellow. Yes, the shape's right. Yes, it has the lovely, red-knobbed joystick. But the marquee and side art, two of the most important distinguishing characteristics of an arcade cabinet, are all wrong. What I remember is the classic Midway cabinets, like the one to the left (photo stolen from the KLOV).

What, I wondered, had gone wrong? Could it be that somehow, after Midway's Pac-Man contract expired and Namco got the rights back in the States that they could no longer use the art from Midway's cabinets? Is this, perhaps, what the cabinets looked like in Japan, except for having "Pac-Man" where it was "Puc-Man"?

Unfortunately, my Google fu failed me and I could not find a photo of the Japanese coin-op. But I did come across what you see to the right at the Brookstone web site: a 25th anniversary coin-op for home use. Look, right there on the side! That's the Midway artwork! (Yes, with a 25th anniversary Pac-Man logo over the top of it, but that's irrelevant.) Obviously, Namco can still use the artwork.

So now I'm just baffled. Hallmark has made an Pac-Man coin-op ornament, advertised under "Nostalgia & Fun," but made something that doesn't actually look like what Generation X will remember. Nostalgia is a very tricky thing. No, an item need not look exactly like the original to invoke it, but it needs to be close. Hallmark's ornament falls short of that. I don't care if it does make the original arcade sounds -- which is cool, I admit -- I'm not nearly as interested as I was and probably won't bother to buy it now.

Am I being to picky? Has my years of dedication to the classic video games as a hobby clouded my judgment? Will others not remember the Pac-Man cabinet as well as I? I may have to poll my friends. Maybe that's also a good excuse to let them know about my new blog!