I really don’t mean to be a Mulholland Books fanboy, I swear, but they just keep announcing such cool stuff that I can’t help myself. Their newest announcement ties in two of my favorite things: videogames and crime fiction. It turns out they’re going to release a tie-in volume of short stories involving characters from LA Noire, Rockstar Games’ upcoming game about a 1940s police detective.
I’ve already pre-ordered the game, after hearing only a handful of details. For example, it stars Aaron Staton from Mad Men, and is reported to have some of the most detailed facial animations in any game to date. It also has a fascinatingly complex interrogation gameplay system that immediately piqued my interest. I may very well end up reviewing it on GamerSushi, the gaming website run by some of my friends.
However, this announcement regarding a short story collection has cemented my firm belief that Rockstar knows their stuff. Writing is one of the areas where videogames still feel a bit anemic, but the calibre of talent assembled to write stories in the LA Noire universe makes me hope that the game will also have a robust and well-developed story.
Right off the bat, they’ve got my attention with Duane Swierczynski, who recently became my new favorite author after I read and reviewed his upcoming book, Fun and Games. However, I’m blown away to see such luminaries as Joyce Carol Oates, Joe Lansdale, Lawrence Block, and Andrew Vachss included as well. Mulholland will be releasing each story online over the next few weeks, and I look forward to reading and discussing them. I only wish all media tie-ins would bring this much quality to the table.
There are a number of cool “mix tape” creator websites out there now. The notable few I’ve run across are muxtape.com, mixwit.com, and imeem.com. They’ve all got their own individual strengths… Muxtape works with iPhones, for example, but it seems like iMeem has the best selection, and Mixwit has the most customizable look and feel.
In any case, I’ve thrown together a playlist. The Jim O’Rourke and Pernice Brothers songs were the main inspiration for this mix – I built the rest around that general sound and lyrical tone. Enjoy!
EDIT: A downside of iMeem, apparently, is that some of the songs are shortened to 30 seconds when the playlist is embedded. If you click on the “standalone player” option, or go directly to the page on iMeem… you get the full version. How on earth does that make any sense? Suddenly less impressed with this toy.
As you may have noticed, in the last week or so my blog has come back from near rigor-mortis to being chock full of super-short posts. To put it simply, I’ve been inspired by some web 2.0 goodness, and it feels great!
It all started when I signed up for a Twitter account. I discovered pretty quickly that the 140-character limit encourages regular off-the-cuff updates, much like a Facebook status feed, but with way more flexibility. I started posting cool links and random thoughts and it actually felt like updating a website regularly could be fun again.
It still didn’t quite feel like I was updating my blog, though – Twitter lived only in the sidebar of this site when I first started using it. After chatting with a few folks about really enjoying Twitter, Mark recommended that I check out Tumblr.
The interesting thing about Tumblr is that its seems more like a blogging mindset than anything tied down to a specific service or tool. I’ve never used the actual site itself, but I’ve taken what I perceive to be the Tumblring principles to heart.
Basically the impression I get is that a Tumblr blog, much like a Twitter, is all about short updates, but in a more multi-media fashion. Instead of status updates, you post that cool picture, video, song, quote, link, etc., that you stumbled across, mostly in the name of sharing, and generally with little or no commentary. The basic principle is the same, though – breaking free of the constraints of essay-style blog posts and just putting your thoughts and interests right out there.
I also came across a post where the author explained how he had configured del.icio.us to regularly update his site with daily digest posts full of his newest bookmarks. I’ve used del.icio.us intermittently for a few years now, but I’ve been thinking lately that I really need a good way of storing all the cool links and articles I get sent during the workday.
My problem with del.icio.us has always been that I tend to bookmark articles as “toread” and never come back to them. So far I’ve found that adding the links to my blog as a digest post helps me remember to watch the videos I save for later and read the ten-page articles I barely have time to skim at work.
Overall I’m pretty happy with my blog “makeover”, although I may continue tinkering. For anyone interested, here are the WordPress plugins and scripts I used to revamp my site:
QuickPost for the Tumblr-style posts, just because it automates a lot of the post creation and automatically sticks your entry into the appropriate category.
Postalicious for the del.icio.us digest posts. Highly customizable, and much better than the built-in options on del.icio.us (which I couldn’t get to work).