Saturday, May 29, 2010

Conquering The Stage, The Screen & The Magazine Singles Section

Things are really coming together right now. It's an exciting time in my life, and I'm happy to share it will my faithful readers.

Calling all the sexy, tiny pink ladies out there!

Firstly, I appeared in this week's Time Out New York Singles Issue, which is exciting. In fact, right now, I'm gonna go ahead and just say that after this blog post, this site will probably become exclusively a dating/sex blog, where I'll talk about the hundreds of women I've slept with (with the utmost discretion, of course - changing names, using euphemisms like 'then I refreshed her page and updated her facebook status to: "satisfied".' and of course, taking questions and giving advice to all my readers. In other words, I'll be the next Arthur Kade.

Ted Danson totally peed in here!

Second, yesterday I got to be a photo double on the second season finale for Bored To Death, the HBO show I should probably check out at some point. Not only did I get to spend 6 hours hanging out with (awesome lookalikes) Zach Galifianakis, Jason Schwartzman and Ted Danson, but I also got to behind the wheel of a vintage Mercedes Benz and drive around the streets of Long Island City, doing crazy entry-level stuntman orders from the director like: "Drive as close past the camera as possible...but safely!" It was a total trip, to forgive the pun. At the end of the shoot I saw the real Galifinakis, Schwartzman and Dansen, and I snapped a photo of them, and was quickly told by the Schwartzman double that that was a bad move, and stuff like that was generally frowned upon. Whoopsie!


Ok, addendum to my earlier statement: my blog going forward won't just be a totally awesome sex blog - it will also be about my journey to become not only the photo double of a character I'm unaware of on a show I've never seen, but also my meteoric rise to photo-doubling fame, pho-dubbin' (as we say in the biz) the likes of many, many other famous short, bald olive-skinned actors: from that Indian guy from Office Space, to...uh, let me get back to you later on that. In other words, yes,I will be even more like Arthur Kade.

Ah, the smell of COMEDY GOLD...

Finally, I had an awesome Phooka show this past week. We all decided to play dress up, and with nice suits, dresses, and fake mustaches in tow, we delivered both a hilarious and a fashion-conscious performance. One final addition to my blog - I'm gonna start discussing my style going forward as well. I think I have a certain knowledge, a certain je ne sais quoi for combining good looks and hilarious comedic behavior, that I'd love to pass on to my readers. So going forward I'm going to add a "Shafeek Style" section to my blog where, on top of dating/sex discussions, and the latest on my 'journey', I'll also grace you all with tips on how to be a little more like me. It's a lot like my old friend, I think you've heard of him: Arthur Kade.


Well, that was a fun bit, right? If you nothing about that guy, please do spend on time on his blog, it's kind of amazing how he really does everything I said above without a hint of irony.

In all seriousness though - I am super grateful for all the exciting opportunities I've had over the past few months. If I have anyone to thank, I think it's this wonderful city, that I will never leave, and will never stop praising. While the aforementioned events obviously could have possibly take place elsewhere, I think the sheer variety of things I've been able to do while living here is uniquely and decidedly thanks to New York. So thanks a bunch, ya big galoot!

-Matt

Currently Playing: Sadly little these days! But I did beat Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, and that inspired me to give Twilight Princess yet another go. Third times the charm people! And as soon as I get some writing done, I'm going to reward myself with one of the following games: Blur, Alan Wake, or Super Mario Galaxy 2. Which one would you vote for, hmm??

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Lost Series Finale - Sideways Payoff

(Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS below, if you haven't seen the Lost Series Finale)

Lost is over. After six crazy years of crashes, hatches, polar bears, death, and yes, a whole lotta love, the story has finally come to an end. Watching it with some friends last night, the finale drew some very mixed reactions - if I had to describe the feeling in the room once the credits rolled, it was "meh." My initial reaction was along those same lines, though I couldn't quite put my finger on why at first. The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced it was actually a solid episode that handily concluded two separate storylines - the ending of the main island, where the characters all landed some 3 1/2 years ago (if my island chronology serves me right) and some stayed, while others escaped, and the alternative timeline, which was revealed to be a sort of purgatory every single person who was on the island went once they died, to all come together one last time, before moving on. So wasn't I standing up and cheering with tears in my eyes?

While the end of the show was emotionally satisfying (it was great to see all the characters - no matter when they died - all meet on 'the other side', and remember their past lives together one last time), there was definitely a void that I felt when the show ended.  Upon giving it some thought, I think the conclusion I came to is that I have to come to terms with my own expectations about the show, and the fact that even though I, as an audience member, may have spent many hours debating the purpose of the numbers, the nature of electromagnetism on the island, the Dharma Initiaive, the rules of time travel, and what the heck the deal was with Walt, the writers of the show only put as much into answering these lingering questions as they felt was required by the story, and were more than happy to leave a lot of show's mysteries up in the air.

Lost is the story of the survivors of a plane crash on a mysterious island. Now, if you had never heard of the show, and I had described that to you without the word 'mysterious', you'd probably say "oh, so it's like what, Survivor? Castaway? Gilligan's Island?" A lot of what initially separated Lost from other stories like it was the fact that some crazy stuff was going on while these people debated who was going to be the leader and how the heck to get off the island. And I think that a lot of people, myself included, dismissed what was going on with the people because we sort of knew/were used to that story already. People were going to fight, they were going to fall in love. Some were going to die, others were going to survive. Rah bah bah. But the mysteries surrounding the island - the SMOKE MONSTER, the HATCH, the NUMBERS, the OTHERS - these elements were fresh and new, and were obviously a very big draw. So we latched onto them, and even though week after week the show it made it very clear it was giving more screen time to Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Juliet's 'love quadrangle' than it was to things like the future timeline outrigger chase, guess which topic I brought up more often?

So inevitably many of the conversations had about Lost over the past 6 years were variations of "so what do you think THIS THING is about?" and led to countless debates about THIS THING, only to have the answer about THIS THING by the show either left unanswered or answered in an incomplete or unsatisfying (based on what we were able to come up with!) way. That's at the heart of the lingering frustration I feel right now. My imagination went wild, and ultimately I was expecting (there's that word again) all sorts of payoff from the show to tie up all those debates I had with a nice little bow.

But here's the cool thing about that, that I can choose to do right now, and any and all of you who feel the same way can do as well - those conversations can continue. Anything not explicitly explained by the creators is ostensibly up for debate. Would it have been nice if they answered every single question over the course of this episode/season/series? Most certainly. In fact, I imagine right now Kate and Sawyer are having a pow-wow in that plane ride home, about all the crazy things that happened to them that they never got to take a moment to really think about and discuss during all that time (also, I'm sure they were debating just how long before they leave Claire alone with Aaron, one of many spinoff shows the series could potentially spawn).

Looking back, objectively they did answer a ton of questions in a satisfactory way, and at a certain point there is no need to continue questioning. "Every question will only lead to more questions" as they said in a very meta, not-at-all-subtle wink to the audience a few weeks back (or, as my friend Ro pointed out to me earlier, inevitably at some point the answer to everything becomes "because it's a fantasy world").


One thing that cannot be argued is that the show kept me glued to my seat for 6 years, with over 100 hours of fantastic storytelling (each season with a different format, and an interesting twist on their formula), themes, and a compelling cast of characters. The story of those characters most certainly came full circle, and while every single detail and plot point wasn't entirely perfect (and hey, sometimes it just comes down to straight up douchery), a finale that tried to tie up some 20-odd character storylines, along with the story of a thousand year old conflict between two brothers, themes of fate versus destiny, science versus faith, and a message of hope and love was a bold move that unquestionably deserves a tip of my hat.

My two cents.

-Matt

Update: Great related quote from the A/V Club guys's review, who I've been enjoying and following for some time:

"Of course not everything has been explained. Some plotholes loom fairly large, like the whole business with the Jacob’s cabin and the rings of ash. And some are just mildly annoying, like the question of why The Others grabbed who they grabbed when 815 went down. I wrote about this last week, so I won’t reiterate it in full, but a lot of the questions Lost has raised over the years loom large in our minds only because the Lost team was so good at using them as the source of teases and cliffhangers. Divorced from their original context, they’re really not that big a deal. The problem with seeing Lost strictly as a puzzle is that unambiguous solutions diminish replay value. But if you look at the mysteries merely as plot-drivers and mood-setters, the show is easier to enjoy. When all is said and done, Lost is a show that looks fantastic, features performances that are often very strong, and builds and releases tension well. Just as a weekly adventure show—not as an epic story—Lost works fine."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Embracing Order And Control, For A Change

Worst Game of Chess EVER!

I choose my projects very carefully, because once I commit myself to something, I'm usually pretty good about sticking to it. Problem is I'm only good when I spell out exactly what needs to be done, like in a step by step to-do list. It's amazing how powerful writing down something on a simple piece of paper (or a gmail tasks list, as I usually do it these days) is to me, and how incredibly satisfying it is to cross each item off, and seeing a list of completed tasks.

To delve even deeper, the specificity I use plays a large role as well. "Find a new job" is mentally harder for me to start doing than "apply to 5 jobs every day", which makes obvious sense, but I know if I never added the specific rule to apply to 5 jobs a day I would have probably applied to many fewer positions. Similarly, "write more" was a goal I had in mind for a while, but it didn't start happening until I made it a point to publicly and specifically state I would be doubling up on blog entries for the year (so far so good on that promise, though I think I missed one last week).

I waver between fully embracing this weird OCD-like behavior, and wanting to force myself to eliminate to-do lists entirely from my life and seeing if I suddenly can't get out of bed, and have to relearn how to accomplish anything without so much as a mental checklist. Embracing chaos and the unknown has never been my strong suit, which makes my improv career that much more incredible.
My idea for an episode: Jeff makes a to-do list, and the others help him complete it! After that, an orgy.

Having said all of this, I'm gonna play to my strengths at the moment and list a few goals right here. About a month ago I mentioned wanting to write some fiction, which I'm still trying to get started doing. The idea was to possibly enter in the National Novel Writing Month, which would actually work out real well with my experience with time-based personal challenges if I do indeed fully commit to doing it (still deciding, but leaning towards a 'yes'). But perhaps before that I'd like to try my hand at writing a spec script for a TV show, which could be equally daunting but also just as exciting to do. The current front runner for a show I'd love to write for is Community, my new favorite comedy (which by the way, you really need to check out if you haven't yet. The first season just finished up and it was a blast throughout).

With the television season over (and some old friends saying goodbye forever!), and no major games I'm dying to play on the horizon, this could be a great opportunity to use my free time to push myself like I never have before. It can seem like a daunting task, setting big goals that in and of themselves are potentially part of a bigger picture, but I'm a big proponent of baby steps, and with this slight self-nudging, this baby writer is getting those baby legs warmed up.

-Matt

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Blog As An Extension Of My Facebook Updates

My first hard-hitting* piece of games journalism has hit the blog-o-sphere, and I wanted to share it here. I covered a game called Kung-Fu Live that's coming out for the PS3 at the end of the year. Pretty cool concept actually - the PlayStation Eye Camera scans you onto the screen, and from there you're literally punching and kicking the air around you beat up bad guys on screen. Seems like it could be a fun party game. Here's my full preview:

http://www.gamingbits.com/content/view/7867/1/


After covering the game I wandered around Chelsea Market for a while and noticed an exhibit being held there on Magnificent Specimens, aka men with crazy facial hair. One portrait was an empty frame with a mustache hanging from some string that was too tempting to pass up, so I took this photo, which might be one of my favorites of all time:


Follow that up with another performance in a fantastic show (Pope!), great weather, amazing food (I had one of the best burgers of my life at 5 Napkin Burger, AND I recently got a blender and have since become a smoothie fiend) and a board game night with friends to top it all off made for quite the memorable weekend.

Next week I'll be appearing in Time Out New York's Singles Issue (!), which could potentially be awesome, or really really depressing, depending on how things go. And the Lost finale airs in 6 days, which I suppose falls into the same category of potentials.

But as of right now, I'm happy to report: Life Is Good.

-Matt

*And by 'hard-hitting' I meant I punched and kicked stuff.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Heroes , Idols & Role Models (Part Three)

Last week I talked about some of my video game heroes, and the week before I discussed a writer, and improviser, and a musician I really admired. Today I'm going to close out my series on Heroes, Idols & Role Models with three people who have affected my life in dramatically different ways over the years.

MY HEROES, IDOLS AND ROLE MODELS (PART THREE)

MATTHEW STILLMAN
Nothing can stop the power of two Matts

I met Matt Stillman during the formation of one of my first improv groups, Pax Romana, a name suggested by Mr. Stillman himself. 'Pax Romana' was a period of peace experienced by Roman Empire for 207 years, from 27 BC to 180 AD (that is a piece of information that I only know because I was on a team named after it). It's apropos that he came up with the idea for this name since, along with his surname, Matt is one of, if not the most calm, patient zen-like person I've ever met. One of the only notes he ever got in his scenework by our coach was to "get emotional!" and seeing him struggle to flip out on stage remains one of my favorite and most distinct memories of him.

Now, I have a lot of friends I could list here who I love, adore and respect, and I could make a list of here of people in my social circle I've learned lessons from over the years. But what separates Stillman from the pack is that I've watched (and read, on his blog) him in awe countless times as people came to him for advice from everything ranging from careers to relationships to simply calming down. He runs a booth in Union Square here in New York that offers "Creative Approaches To What You Have Been Thinking About." People sit down, they talk to him about whatever is on his mind, and he listens. And listens. And responds. And then listens some more.

Stillman has a combination of ridiculous world knowledge (there doesn't seem to be a single topic he doesn't know a thing about) and pure, unadulterated empathy for whoever is talking to him that truly blows my mind. I personally struggle to get through a conversation without segueing into my own personal life, whether it's something I'm proud of or something that's bugging me at the moment. But Stillman will not do that, even when prodded - he doesn't complain, he doesn't brag. He just supports, like a true friend should.

I've sought advice from him myself on a number of occasions, and probably the only thing I've offered him in return is a few laughs and some new experiences with video games, which by now I'm sure he's read up about in more detail than I have. I'm incredibly proud to call him my friend.

The lessons I've learned from Mr. Stillman?

STAY CALM, LISTEN CLOSELY & SEEK OUT YOUR OWN CREATIVE APPROACHES

DAMON LINDELOF AND CARLTON CUSE

Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are the executive producers, writers and co-creators of Lost, one of my favorite television series of all time. I'm going to do my best here to not sound like a gushing fanboy, though on some level that will be impossible since that's kind of what I am.

Without getting too in-depth, Lost is a show that started off with a plane crash on a mysterious island, and to go into the plot at large would be to list a lot of details about flashbacks, crazy past character connections, time travel, smoke monsters and other elements that combine to sound like a sci-fi geeks' wet dream. But truth be told, I would be willing to bet most hardcore sci-fi geeks have probably given up on the show by now, because those details are not really what the show is about. The show is heavily, HEAVILY guided by themes of fate vs. destiny, science vs. faith, family/daddy issues, and of course, love. And I don't know whether its been a combination of being hit over the head by this stuff, the number of websites and podcasts I've listened that have mentioned them, or just me finally coming around to it after all these years, but it's been one of the first times in my life that I've started to pick up on these concepts, and really appreciate a story for more than it's characters and plot points.

What's also really interesting to me is what Lindelof, Cuse, and the other writers (and I should state here that while I'm calling out the two main producers of the show, the entire cast and crew gets my utmost respect and adoration) apparently did when they first started creating the show was they improvised a lot of it up front, without necessarily having all the details fully ironed out. A lot of the mysteries were simply the brainchild of "Wouldn't it be cool if..." rather than worrying about everything necessarily fitting in with what had been established. Which, let's be clear - was an effort that did not go flawlessly. In it's first few seasons the show, without having a definitive end date, was starting to feel like an improv show that had gone on without a blackout call for way too long. Once they got word that the show would be ending after six seasons (as they had wanted), they finally found themselves able to keep the creative engine running while at the same time knowing at what point they'd have to start wrapping things up.

Now looking back at the show, knowing that so much of it was born out of the desire to tell a kick-ass story that contained all the aforementioned themes, with characters the audience would come to care about, with all the crazy island mysteries more as a backdrop than a primary motivator to watch the show. They took some huge risks and have had to deal with an incredible amount of backlash from their devoted fans who want to be constantly reassured that "making it up as we go along" didn't lead to "uh, we don't know how to pay this all off and end this, sorry." The reality is writing a televised drama is inherently risky, and unlike say, a Tolkien novel, during the season you need a story a week out the door and you need to keep the audience hooked the entire time, especially with a sprawling epic like this. And it's safe to say they'd be harder on themselves than any fan would be if they ended their story in a subpar fashion.

The ending to their wonderful series is just under two weeks away, and whether or not they totally stick the landing (which I'm fairly confident they will) won't take away from how amazing the ride has been. Thanks for 6 years of great, inspirational storytelling guys. And to everyone who gave up on the show (or has never watched - which really, whatever you've got going on right now, it's less cool, trust me), you're really missing out.


Lessons learned from Lindeloff and Cuse?

TAKE RISKS & IGNORE THE HATE

BATMAN

Yes, my final entry is about a fictional character. No, I'm not 9 years old anymore. Just hear me out.

In many ways Batman is the ultimate role model. He's overcome great adversity (his parent's death as a child), he's figured out a way to fight crime not with natural super powers but by using the resources available to him (wealth, technology, and the convenient cave situated below his mansion), and while he doesn't operate within the traditional confines of the law, he has a strict moral code that has never led him astray.

I think a lot about the superheroes I idolized and romanticized growing up, and I think many of them, especially Batman, A) made me think the world was a much cooler place than I could ever imagine and B) kept me from ever even thinking about committing a crime, even something as small as stealing a light-refracting top from a 'Science-Is-Fun!'-themed toy store (I did this by accidentally putting in my pocket to ask my parents to purchase it for me and then forgetting about it when I was 10, and I immediately cried in the car ride home when I discovered it). My moral compass was set at an early stage, and I've rarely wavered since then.

Of course, you could say there are downsides to living a lot of your life wanting to be a non-existent superhero/millionaire playboy - things like homework, chores, and later in life, jobs and bills seem so unimportant compared to that of the Dark Knight. But that's what I have all those other guys I mentioned for, right? If Bruce Wayne had only showed me a thing or too about picking up women and making tough career choices, then really my life would be perfect right now.

Things I learned from Batman?

MAKE ADVERSITY AN OPPORTUNITY TO ACHIEVE & NEVER USE GUNS OR LETHAL FORCE WHEN DEALING WITH THE CRIMINAL ELEMENT.

That about wraps it up. Lots of lessons learned, lots of inspiration gained, along with a large amount of personal entertainment, naturally. You noticed that one pretty persistent theme in all of this - right? Entertain me first, get my full attention, and then I'm like putty in your hands for whatever message or character traits you have. That's a pro-tip for any of you looking to make it on a theoretical part four of this way down the line.

-Matt

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Pimp Post

I don't normally do plug posts, but there's no reason not to promote other things I'm working on here every once in a while, right?


I recently starting writing for a new gaming news site, called Gaming Bits. I'm super excited to be working for them, and hopefully I'll be continuing to podcast with them as well. I just finished my first post, and you can read it here if you feel so inclined.


This is more specific to anyone living in the New York area - but I'm also currently in a really awesome production called Pope! The Musical, an original production put up by a close friend of mine. It's about a pious Pope (a fictional pious Pope) undergoing a crisis and greatest largest test of fate. I played a number of roles including the lackey cardinal to the main villain, the Archbishop, the chief of the Daily Exposition, the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan and many more! It's a super fun show we're running every Saturday night at 7:00(except Memorial Day weekend) throughout May. AND we just found out we're going to be in the Fringe Festival in August! Super exciting!

For tickets (which are only $10!), location, reservations, etc., make your way over here.


Finally, my improv team Phooka is up every Wednesday night. And while it's easy to slack off and not promote this show/team all the time because of our indefinite run, I'm definitely doing our shows a disservice, because lately we've been knocking them out of the park. Come on out and see us sometime if you haven't yet, because we will make you laugh.

We're up every Wednesday night at the Magnet theater, including tonight at 10:00pm. Check the Magnet Theater's website for other showtimes, reservation, directions and info.

And that my friends, is my Pimp Post.

-Matt

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Heroes , Idols & Role Models (Part Two)

Right about the time I beat the first Legend of Zelda my mind was pretty much all but made up as to what I wanted to do with my life, career-wise. And it was to play video games forever and ever. Now, as a grown man I'm slowly starting to realize that I may have to make a few adjustments to my plan. But maybe not! As the two heroes I talk about today are basically living out my dream, with a few minor tweaks. And I'll be damned if I don't admire the HECK out of them:

MY HEROES, IDOLS AND ROLE MODELS (PART TWO)

The Penny Arcade Duo

Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik - or 'Gabe and Tycho' as they're known via their online personas - are living a bit of a dream life right now. For nearly twelve years they've been publishing a webcomic (Penny Arcade) based on their love of video games, and since they got started, they've gone on to become their own industry - not only did they eventually become one of the few webcomic sites in existence to become self-sustaining, but they also are responsible for starting the largest public gaming convention on the planet (PAX, which I've gushed about a number of times here) as well as a video game donation-themed children's charity that has generated over a million dollars in donations each of the past two years.

If that wasn't enough, they were also just recently voted into the Time Top 100, so clearly I'm not the only one whose life has been affected by them. But enough about how awesome their lives are - what is it I specifically dig so much about these guys? Well, for starters, they succesfully made a living doing something they love, by turning their passion into a career, which is always admirable. And at the time (and even to this day) it wasn't something anyone even thought you could turn into an actual career. Though they attribute most of their financial success to their business manager Robert Khoo, who stepped in a few years after they got started and really took the reigns and helped them grow in ways they never imagined (side note, for any budding 'Robert Khoos' out there, you know how to reach me) even before he stepped in they were already making a living with the comic, mostly based on donations, which is a testament to how much their fans loved them. To this day, they are constantly acknowledging that they owe their fans for all their success.

They've also done a tremendous amount of goodwill for an industry that is still seen by many as either a child's indulgence, or a serial-killer-in-the-making's proving grounds. They've spoken up against critics like Jack Thompson, Roger Ebert, and many others who feel the game industry is dangerous or unworthy. And between all of this - the podcasts, the conventions, the games, the merchandise, the accolades, the charity, the documentary currently being filmed about them, and of course, their wives and children - they are still churning out a product that is consistently smart, funny and enjoyable three times a week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. And I don't see them stopping anytime soon (unlike some people we know).

What have I learned from the Penny Arcade Duo? 
STAY DEDICATED TO YOUR WORK & TRUE TO YOUR FANS.


Justin McElroy

Games journalism is a bit of a sticky wicket, to borrow an expression I really ought to use more. In a field where a lot of the "journalism" comes down to a lot of regurgitated press releases and fanboy flame wars, it's undoubtedly hard to really feel like you've got a unique voice. Nearly everyone involved in writing about video games has pursued it out of their pure love for the industry, and yet once you strip away all the window dressing so many gaming blog and news sites ostensibly have a lot of the same content. There are of course, exceptions to this that stand out, and if there weren't, this would make for a really strange transition.

There are a handful of really great video game journalists out there who time and time again not only show their love and knowledge of all things video game related, but also give some personal insight into what makes this industry special, and quite frankly worthy of reading about other than press releases and fanboy ravings. A short but by no means exhaustive list of people in the industry I've come to know by name and follow regularly: Steven Totilo, (who I've met before and is super nice) Leigh Alexander, (who I once asked out for a drink and never heard from again - though this was pre-cooties shot, to be fair), Robert Ashley (who interviewed me for A Life Well Wasted last year), Yahtzee from Zero Punctuation, and the crew over at Giant Bomb and Cheap Ass Gamer are all really talented people who all have a unique voice. But my personal favorite video game journo? You guessed it: Mr. Justin McElroy.

My admiration for Justin McElroy can almost entirely be summed up by this video he just posted earlier today, going ballistic in a review/shaming of a really really bad game (cut to 4:40 if you're short on time for his final word). I don't even really know if there's a way I can totally capture it in writing, either. Like everyone else I mentioned before, McElroy is a passionate gamer, a great writer, and a total professional. He's also really fucking funny. I guess ultimately what separates him from everyone else is just a matter of personal taste. There's a certain level of light-hearted giddiness that goes into his work that's a constant reminder of him saying: "hey, guess what people? We're talking about video games here, so let's all just calm down and get back to having fun."

The funny thing is during my very first encounter with him via the Joystiq podcast, I HATED him. I don't know if at the time I wasn't in the mood for his bits and I just wanted straight news in my podcast, or if he's calmed down a little since then - but man alive, the first time I heard his voice I wanted to reach through my headphones and strangle him! But lo and behold, some 3 years later I'm sitting here talking about him like a schoolyard crush. But you know how it goes - the well known pattern of complete and utter contempt to blog-boner idolization has been well established by now.

In a way McElroy and the Penny Arcade Duo are polar opposites: Mike and Jerry write their silly little multimillion dollar comic strips but keep a straight face when it comes to speaking about and defending the industry. And Justin is covering dry, serious (relatively speaking) news and writing reviews, but he's doing it with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. So I guess what I'm saying is he is the Peter Pan of the video game journalism industry. And Wendy and the other children are us, his readers. And Captain Hook is...bad video game design. I think I've lost control of this metaphor.

In summary, I think it's safe to say the things I've learned from Mr. Justin McElroy are:
STAY CLASSY, BUT  NEVER STOP HAVING FUN.

One more entry in this series to come. Who will I be showering with praise next time? Stay tuned!

-Matt

PS: Whoa! I totally didn't mean to do this, but I just realized I wrote the Penny Arcade section almost like a Wikipedia article and Justin's section like an episode of the Colbert Report. I'm tempted to change it right now as it seems inherently flawed, but I'm going to leave it here untouched as a display of my blatant, unsubtle subconscious.


Currently Playing: Finally got around to playing The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, which is a lot of fun (who'd of thought trains would actually be a good idea?) and am now patiently trying to get in more than a game or two of the Halo Reach Beta without getting dropped due to server overload. Come on Bungie! You had to see this coming!