The Final Adventure

It hasn’t quite sunk in yet, that Adventurers Club has finally closed. I’m sitting here right now, capturing the video from my DV camera from many nights of adventure, listening to the familiar sounds of the Radio Broadcast, and the Balderdash Cup. Remembering at every line just how amazing the current cast was. There wasn’t a one amongst them I didn’t enjoy watching and find hilarious. Natasha and I actually spent the day Sunday quoting lines back and forth as they giggled forth.
The last day of the Adventurers Club was really an amazing experience. Fans camped the club starting at 8AM that morning. Natasha and I got there at 5PM and were 195 or so in line. Just close enough to get us inside, thank goodness. Many, many people didn’t make it in the doors.

From 20080927AdventurersClub

While we were waiting, some of the servers and cast showed up and looked absolutely floored by the number of people in line. They took pictures, they chatted, and they pumped up the crowd. This was going to be, as Hathaway would put it, “AWESOME!” I really wanted to ask one of them what it felt like to be the cast of Star Trek.

From 20080927AdventurersClub
From 20080927AdventurersClub

Before the official opening, the characters came out, and we got he huge surprise that Sutter Bestwick, one of the adventurers who hadn’t been at the club in a while in the flesh, had actually showed up for the final show. It was awesome that the characters came out to get us all ready for a final Kungaloosh!

From 20080927AdventurersClub

I admit it, I welled up a bit during the first new member induction. Natasha and I were standing there on the center balcony, wrapped up in the rally as Pamelia and Fletcher led us through the handshake and creed, and I just had a moment, where I felt it all rushing up. It wasn’t sadness or depression, it really was this welling up of all the happy moments, this tidal wave of visions of how many times I’d been through the induction, or been in the Radio Show, or gotten to be a part of the show.

From 20080927AdventurersClub

A friend of mine and I have often discussed the idea of books or movies that we like being places we like to be. Those are the books that you go back to, you read over and over again, and you love getting lost and surrounded by the emotional and artistic landscape. That was the Adventurers Club for me — a place I loved to be. Natasha and I would fall into bed after a good night there, pass out, wake up the next morning creatively energized, having spent a night full of phantasmagoric dreams and visions. I remember how many nights I dreamed about giant mansions full of secret passages, and being on safari in strange places full of magic. How can you not love a place that gives you visions?

If it all sounds a little strange, just chalk it up to being a relatively safe form of absinthe.

From 20080927AdventurersClub

That night we went to the Balderdash Cup, which proved what a weird, experimental theatrical experience the club was. The show pits Otis T. Wren, Hathaway Browne, and visiting Junior Adventurer Emil Bleehal against each other in a battle of adventurous tales. The story structure is meant to lead the audience down the garden path of voting for Emil, the innocent and underdog, and not to vote for Otis, who was cheating to win. But this night, methinks there was some Internet collusion going on because Otis (played by an actor who is a fan favorite for his amazing ability to chew the scenery in an amazingly funny way) got a standing ovation and won the cup!

From 20080927AdventurersClub

This is not supposed to happen, right? Wrong! That was the whole point of the club. You never knew what was going to happen. The audience was involved in almost everything, and that means you never know what’s going to happen because the script is advisory. It’s the critical path through the story, but that’s not what we’re there for anyway. We’re there for the twists and turns. We’re there for the adventure of not knowing what’s going to happen next.

From 20080927AdventurersClub

I voted for Emil, I admit it. Not very creative, but Emil performed the entire show in an amazing, amazing duet with Emil Sr., his dad, who was portrayed by one of the actors who opened the club 19 years ago. Both of them are amazingly funny people. But the real trick is, Emil Jr. has this way of digging straight to the emotional core of a scene. Otis runs out with the cup, hooting and hollering, and the crowd sits there in smug satisfaction, and Emil looks at the crowd and says something like, “How could you? I wanted to win it for my pappy!” And I think just a few of those smug people had a big moment of regret, thinking, “I was just fooling around. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone,” as they squirm in their seats.

From 20080927AdventurersClub

And he took it to the Hoopla, too. I thought I had it all under control, and he sang this beautiful Jonathan Coulton song, When You Go

Only a moment ago we had nothing but time
Everything lasted forever and you were all mine
Only a dream I know
Thinking you’d never go
Tearing off pieces of myself
Just for the time it buys me

Fold my heart up small
Or break it into pieces
Find somewhere and keep it there
Take it when you go

And he sings it to the Adventurers Club. To the place. To the place I want to be. To the place, which as he said, was the bookshelves and the masks and the walls. But unsaid was the true thing that it was also the people, the actors, the audience, the crew, the bartenders, the Imagineers that built the place and decorated it, and the writers and directors who imbued it with characters and show. And I loved it.

From 20080926AdventurersClub

Kungaloosh Forever!

More On The New Hitchhiker’s Book

Some interesting notes on the new Hitchhiker’s book from The Guardian.

  • It’s being published by Penguin, not Hyperion as I reported earlier. (I thought the NPR thing mentioned Hyperion.)
  • It’s sanctioned by Adams’ wife.
  • It’s plotted as a way of bringing Douglas Adams’ work to the next generation of readers.

Um…on that last point, wouldn’t it make more sense to allow Douglas Adams’ work to bring new readers to Douglas Adams’ work?

Still seems greedy to me. And artistically void, since Adams’ books are so unique that even the people involved in this new book admit no one can write like him. And really, they weren’t about plot or character, they were about style. (I remember once having an argument with my cousin about who was a better writer — Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett. I still hold that Pratchett is the better writer, because his books actually follow narrative structure, and have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and a theme, and all that general mishmash of novel stuff. And, oh yes, Pratchett generally tends to finish books, which is why he has turned out so many more than Adams. Errr, well, that and he is still alive and all….)

WoW Insider Gets the Scoop on the Blizzard Authenticator

WoW Insider has a good article that may go some way to allaying any fears about the security of the Blizzard Authenticator. This device basically allows two-factor authentication for your World of Warcraft account.

For those who don’t know, two-factor authentication means you have to provide two items to prove who you are to, for instance, the Internet site you are trying to log in to. In the case of an authenticator like this one, you provide both your password, chosen by you, and the random code provided by the authenticator, to log in. Since each code generated by the authenticator is unique each time it it used, someone who wanted to sneak into your account would have to actually have the authenticator in their possession AND know your password.

Authenticators like this are a really good idea, when used properly by the companies that implement them. I hope to see a lot more banks and credit card companies offering this kind of authentication in the future.

I know people who have had their accounts hacked, so I think getting one of these is really a great idea.

Why Are They Jumping Up And Down On Douglas Adams’ Grave?

Eoin Colfer, who wrote the popular childrens book series Artemis Fowl has been tapped to write a sequel to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Now, I like Mr. Colfer okay. I understand his reasoning for not turning down the offer out of hand. And I hope he does a decent job. I read the first Artemis Fowl book, and thought it was okay, but it didn’t make me really want to read another one. I’m probably not his audience anyway.

But I’m really pissed at the greedy book publishers over at Hyperion (a book company owned by Disney, the company I work for) Penguin, who just won’t let that series sit. It’s over. No one else can write it. For goodness sake, do something original, and don’t sully up the brand trying to continue to make money on it.

Reading: Star Wars – The Clone Wars Novelization

I have a confession to make. I didn’t rush out to the theater to see Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I hear you gasp. I hear you ask what has happened to my fandom. And no, I will not turn in my Jedi Knights membership card. Mind tricks are far too useful.

The characters are horrendously ugly to me. I always hated Thunderbirds. Just not my form of geekdom. Nothing against puppets. I love everything the Henson company has ever done. But the whole action/adventure marionette thing doesn’t work for me.

I’ll see it when it the TV show hits.

In the meantime, despite the fact that I have sworn off most Star Wars novels, I decided to pick up the novelization so I could get an idea of what the series was like. Add the fact that it’s written by Karen Traviss, and it didn’t seem so bad. She’s a great writer. I especially enjoyed her Republic Commando books. Her New Jedi Order (NJO) books are involving, but none of the NJO books really fit in my fan canon of Star Wars, so I can’t really bother to read them anymore.

The Clone Wars is really a pretty good story. It’s somewhere halfway between a kids book and an adult book. We get to listen to Anakin’s inner struggles about the war. We get to see a lot of the story from Clone Trooper Captain Rex’s perspective. We even get a little bit of insight into Assaj Ventris, while leaving some mystery. Bake that all in the cauldron of non-stop Star Wars action, and you get a great tasting Star Wars cookie.

I did find the character of Ahsoka, Anakin’s padawan, kind of annoying at first. She’s the whiny little kid who wants to play with the big kids. She’s the gateway character, who gives Anakin someone to talk to. She also provides Anakin a way to grow a bit. And I did grow to like her a bit by the end of the novel. But I still kind of feel like she’s way out of place in the story. I wanted to hear about Anakin and Obi-Wan’s adventures together. I didn’t so much want them always separated and meeting up at the end.

From what I hear, there’s a characterization of a Hutt character as Truman Capote in the movie that’s kind of annoying. Thankfully, you don’t get voice-acting in the book. And I think the characters are drawn a little more shallowly in the TV series. It’s a testament to Traviss as a writer that she can elevate a kid’s cartoon to something that feels like an adult story. I really did enjoy the book, and my suspicion is, I won’t like the toon as much. But maybe it will take some of the edge off the toon to have read the book first.

If you’re a fan of Karen Traviss’ Star Wars work, I recommend this one. If you haven’t read any Traviss, definitely do. If you’re a fan of Mandalorians, Clone Troopers, or Storm Troopers, you’ll really like her books. She gives them a depth and a military real-ness that gets you involved in their stories. And if you haven’t played Republic Commando, I highly recommend it. One of the most fun Star Wars games, ever.