Monthly Archives: November 2006

Nintendo Wii purchase

If you’ve talked to me recently about video games or read “my post about trying for a Wii pre-order”:http://www.manton.org/2006/10/wii_preorders.html, you know I have become obsessed with getting a Nintendo Wii at launch. The “high scores that the new Zelda was receiving”:www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/wii/legendofzeldatwilightprincess last week pretty much sealed the deal for me: I had to have one.

Thursday and Friday if I was out doing errands and passed a store I would inquire about their launch plans. It wasn’t looking good, with mixed messages from employees about how many units they would be receiving. Saturday afternoon I stopped by Wal-mart at around 2pm and already there were 22 people in line for the midnight launch of only 29 systems for that store. They urged me to stay, but I couldn’t. I had a whole day planned already, and it didn’t include video games.

Saturday evening I made a list of a half dozen possible stores and called each one. It was clear right away that if I wanted a Wii on the launch weekend, there was only one choice.

Wii line at Target   Wii sunrise   Wii ticket

I arrived at Target at about 9:30pm Saturday evening with a chair, blanket, Nintendo DS, and book. They would open ten and a half hours later at 8am the next day, but tickets would be passed at around 7am. Early line campers who had arrived at 3pm in the afternoon had a sign-in list to ensure there was no confusion. I was number 33 out of 60 confirmed Wii systems. By midnight, all the consoles were accounted for, and everyone who arrived afterwards was turned away.

I had a great time talking with other line waiters. It was an interesting mix of people, from John next to me who worked at Apple here in Austin, to a set of young gamers who pulled up with a truck and unloaded two couches, a rug, and a coffee table.

Around 4 in the morning I realized how unprepared I was. It was in the 40s that night and my blanket was completely insufficient. If I ever do something crazy like this again, I’m packing several blankets, a sleeping bag, and pillows. By 6am I considered the few hours of uncomfortable sleep I got a success and took a jog around the parking lot to get my blood flowing and stop from shivering.

The sun rose and tickets were passed out. The excitement of the night before was back as a Target manager confirmed that they would indeed have a full 60 copies of Zelda, and almost as many for other games. Not everyone is going to get a Wii the first week, but from where I’m standing Nintendo has done a great job of shipping out as many systems as possible and making sure the games and controllers are there to go along with it.

I’ll post again next week about my impressions on Wii Sports and Zelda, but so far I am not disappointed. I make no apologies for being a Nintendo fan, but the Wii is neither over-hyped nor a gimmick, and I think the system will live up to its original codename.

Happy Thanksgiving!

NaNoWriMo 2006 attempt

Last year I participated in NaNoWriMo and successfully “completed a 50,000 word novel”:http://www.manton.org/2005/12/50136_words.html in one month. It was a great experience, but when someone conducted an informal survey on 43things of who would be doing it again this year, I answered that it was just something I wanted to do once in my life, like running a marathon, and I wouldn’t be doing it again.

And yet, before November rolled around again, the idea for a novel started growing in my mind. I had pretty much decided to go for it again. On the 1st of the month I wrote the opening and started organizing notes for the characters and plot.

But that same night I was sketching with friends at a coffee shop instead of writing. “Paul Adam”:http://www.untameduniverse.net/ and I talked about 24-Hour Comic Day, NaNoWriMo, and side projects. That conversation made me realize that I have a bunch of stuff I want to work on right now, and writing a novel which I have no immediate plan to publish just can’t fit into my schedule right now. NaNoWriMo is an all-consuming thing — you have to drop everything to finish it.

The story and characters I came up with have some potential, though. Instead of cramming it into a month, I may work on it a bit over the next year or two.

The 50-state strategy

I started writing this post yesterday afternoon. Worried that I would jinx a victory, I wrote two versions: one for a narrow loss and one for what really happened.

Two years ago, after Kerry lost, “I wrote”:http://www.manton.org/2004/11/after_almost_winning.html: “We almost won, and all the hard work of the last 18 months will pay off big in two short years.”

Well, it’s two years later, and we did it. DNC chairman Howard Dean’s “50-state strategy”:http://democrats.org/a/party/a_50_state_strategy/ worked. The media will tell you that the election was just about Iraq and Bush, but it goes deeper than that — voters are sick of Republican corruption, tired of half-hearted attempts at health care, and longing for a real vision for public education. You can see the patterns by looking at the progressive wins in state races and on local propositions too.

There are “20 posts in the politics category”:http://www.manton.org/category/politics.html of my blog, and they include some of my favorites from the last 4 years. It’s nice to be on the winning side again after too long. The next part of the job is for Democrats to show everyone in America that real progress can be made in Washington. Deliver. Then keep organizing and make it all happen again in 2008.

Midterm elections matter

I voted today. Here’s the scene for my precinct today. Not too crowded, but a steady flow of people.

Voting

Yesterday Traci and I called voters as part of “MoveOn.org’s Call for Change”:http://www.moveon.org/. I’m always nervous about calling complete strangers. I did this for the first time for Howard Dean’s campaign and it’s easy to get disillusioned with answering machines and hang-ups. But almost everyone we talked to was planning to vote today, and I think there’s definitely a sense that this election matters. Sometimes a simple reminder is the difference between voting or skipping it, so if you only reach a handful of people it can make the difference in a close race if thousands of other people are doing the same.

I’ll be up late tonight watching the returns. Polls close early in some places and may get crowded, so don’t wait any longer if you haven’t voted yet. For location info call 1-866-MY-VOTE-1.

Hair High at Alamo

Plympton sketch Bill Plympton was in town tonight for the Texas premiere of Hair High at Alamo Drafthouse downtown. I’ve been lucky enough to see each of his films in the theater, and this is definitely his best yet. It has actually been finished for a while. I posted about it back in 2002 when he started production. Before the showing I asked him about making an appearance at STAPLE! this coming March but it doesn’t look like his schedule will allow it. He’s one of about 4 animators I hoped to approach about showing their films at STAPLE!, in addition to some great local talent we’ll have speaking and showing their work.