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Wednesday, 24 August 2005
The Classics!
Topic: Nostalgia
I love old video games. Yeah, many of them sucked, but the great ones were classics, and, heck, I admit it, I loved seeing what engineers could do with hardware so severely limited (by modern standards).

This weekend the annual Classic Game Expo is being held in the area, and, for once, this time I made it to it! Ah, a museum full of 8-bit and 32K RAM antiques and abandoned "next big things". A hall full of vendors selling yesterday's glories and duds and...lo and behold, rows of arcade machines where no quarters are required! Tempest, Black Widow, Warlords...we hardly knew ye!

In addition to the games, I picked up some PAC-MAN merchandise for Kenji's PAC-MAN museum at work, and got a Sean Kelly multicart for my Vectrex (with all the games for that system on it), but couldn't find Sean Kelly, who I was told was at the show. Too bad. I used to chat with him online years ago. I did get to see some familiar faces from the Old BAVE (Bay Area Videogame Enthusiasts) group, including some of the guys who wrote games my brother and I used to play on his Atari VCS.

One thing I wanted to buy, but was denied, was a five foot tall recreation of a PAC-MAN screen made entirely of Lego!


Posted by molyneaux at 11:14 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:23 PM PDT
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Tuesday, 28 June 2005
One Orbit around the job
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Work Stuff
Well, today is my one year anniversary at Namco.

Enviable things about my job:
  • Getting paid to play and analyze games like PAC-MAN, Pole Position II, Galaga...amongst others
  • Getting to track down and meet people whose games I played back in the day. The creator of PAC-MAN and the creator of Miner 2049er, for instance.
  • Having a half dozen arcade machines right there
  • An office with a door I can slam
  • Working with super-cool people like Amy Steele ("Ya-hoo!")
  • Getting to travel to places like Comic-Con, E3, and the Tokyo Game Show
  • Did I mention getting paid to play games?
  • A boss who appreciates tequila
  • The money!

Posted by molyneaux at 10:04 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:24 PM PDT
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Friday, 17 June 2005
Bats and the Cabaret, old Chum
Topic: Cinema
This is the second week I've joined an outing (so to speak) of the East Bay Movie Bears group. This week it was at that jewel of the Lake Merritt area, the Grand Lake Theater, the fabulous 1920s theater which not only sports a top line Dolby Digital sound system in the main auditorium, but which precedes weekend evening perfomances with live organ music instead of commericals or inane slideshows. It's organ music, trailers, and then on with the show! The only downside is the seats, which my behind swears on a stack of bibles are the original 1920's vintage. Oy, my tuckus!

I'd guess 20-25 guys showed up. Some really nice ones. Looking forward to making friends with a few.

The evenement de cinema du jour was the new film Batman Begins.

$poiler$ ahead...don't read if you want to be surprised. As superhero movies go, it was -- pardon the pun -- superior. Realistic isn't a word that accomodates a story wherein a man dresses like a bat to fight crime, but unlike the stylized and/or cartoonish interpretations of previous films, this one treated the subject matter with just the right level of seriousness and resisted the temptation to teeter into nudge nudge wink winking at the audience.

Numerous small flaws, but not nits worth picking. Only big thumbs downs for me were the choppy fight scenes (too many fast cuts) and the over-the top car chase that had the ugly new BatmoHumvee driving on and leaping across rooftops. Hello, anyone think a tenement roof could support the weight of a tank?! Papa Wayne spank!

Afterwards the group wandered a half block up Grand Avenue to a The Alley Club, a neighborhood piano bar who decor is titular. The booths are separated by what appear to be wooden fences, and the bar is under its own shingled roof. It's littered and peppered with busines cards stapled to every conceivable and inconceivable surface. Look close...some of those cards are from at least the 60s if not earlier. Goofy!

We arrive too late for dinner, but that doesn't deter many. The majority stay, have a few drinks, and quite a few sing along badly with the songs played by Ron Dibble at the piano...your's truly included. Most songs are half remembered and many of those there can only remember the choruses. Oddly, a high percentage know all the words to "Cabaret". How stereotypical of us, and me!

Oops, I think I just outed myself again... but then, life is a Cararet, old chum. And I love a Cabaret!

Posted by molyneaux at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:25 PM PDT
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Thursday, 16 June 2005
The Press Release says it all
Mood:  energetic
Topic: Work Stuff
June 16, 2005 08:00 AM US Eastern Timezone

Mobile Division Recognized for Recent Growth and Success; Namco America Announces Promotion of Three Key Executives in Mobile Division

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 16, 2005--Namco America Inc., a leading publisher of wireless games and content, today announced the advancement of three top-level executives in its wireless division. The promotions, which are effective immediately, will better position the mobile division to achieve its goals and reflect its recent success as a leader in the industry.

As Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Scott Rubin is responsible for the overall business and marketing direction of the wireless division, as well as maintaining relationships with strategic partners, including wireless carriers. Maurice Molyneaux, Director of Product Development, will establish the strategic product roadmap and quality of new titles. Umesh Ghodke will develop strategic technology plans as well as websites, portals, and IT infrastructure as the Director of Information Technology.

"The mobile games industry is thriving, and our quality titles, strong partnerships and revenue growth reflect our dedication and excellence in this industry," said Kenji Hisatsune, Executive Vice President and COO of Namco America. "With Scott, Maurice and Umesh, we have the best leadership in place to continue increasing our market share."

Namco America's mobile division just released a new title, PAC-MANIA (a 3D twist on the classic arcade game PAC-MAN), with plans for additional titles and partnerships to be announced soon. Building on its strong standing in the industry, the mobile division currently offers its games through most carriers in North America. Additionally, Namco America is a leading provider of games for the Palm OS and Windows Mobile platforms worldwide.

About Namco America

Namco America Inc. is the U.S. subsidiary of Namco Limited, a Tokyo-based world leader in the high-tech entertainment industry. Committed to providing the ultimate interactive entertainment experience, Namco uses cutting-edge technology and advanced electronics to take their wireless, coin-op, and home video games far beyond traditional entertainment. For more information about Namco mobile games, please visit:

PAC-MAN(R) (C)1980 2004 Namco Ltd., PAC-MANIA(TM) (C)1980, 1987, 2005 Namco Ltd., All Rights Reserved.

Posted by molyneaux at 11:14 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:25 PM PDT
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Wednesday, 18 May 2005
What we'll do for a sheckle
Topic: Work Stuff
What'll we do to sell PAC-MAN?

As the early 1920's baking soda ad goes (and, no, it's not an actual Chinese proverb) One Picture is Worth Ten Thousand Words:

Are we proud? Heck, no!

Posted by molyneaux at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:26 PM PDT
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Tuesday, 17 May 2005
Lord I was born a Trav'lin Man
Topic: Work Stuff
Today is the day I head for L.A. for the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3. This is the big video game industry trade show where vritually everyone previews their new wares and tries to show that theirs is bigger than everyone else's.

The show actually start tomorrow (Wednesday), so today is just about getting to L.A. and getting ready. I met Scott Rubin at LAX and we caught a cab to our hotel: the Omni. All was fairly uneventful until after lunch, when we tried to get a cab to the Convention Center, but found ourselves in a real-life comedy routine with three cab driver, the first of whom would not take us because we were carrying fast food to our co-workers Amy and Katherine. So, we tried the second cab, and he said we had to take the first cab, but the first cab refused...anyway, after several back and forths the THIRD cab finally took us. Such a hassle for 12 blocks!

Today is setup day for the show, so it's like backstage before the curtain. Everything's half assembled and half whacked, but it's fun seeing what's coming. The Namco booth is big, but our mobile division is around the side, like an afterthought. But actually, this separation is good because it puts us right on a major aisle instead of lost in the clutter. Our area's a little shallower than I expect, but I'm confident it'll look good when it's "live" tomorrow.

Scott and I return to the hotel and join two of the guys from Namco's wireless group in Europe. This is my first opportunity to meet them. Nice guys. Amy and Katherine join us after they're done setting up the booth, and the group of us have a very nice dinner.

Posted by molyneaux at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:26 PM PDT
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Monday, 16 May 2005
The Boss Man Cometh
Topic: Work Stuff
Today we're busily trying to get ready for the big E3 trade show in LA, but we all have to drop what we're doing for a very important visitor: the Chairman of Namco Limited is coming to the office.

As a sign of respect we all came to the lobby and greeted him. An office was set up just for him for this visit. Later, we were all asked to come down and be photographed with him.

Left to right:

Scott Rubin, General Manager of Sales and Marketing
David Rhea, Lead Tester
Kory O'Daniels (with cap), Lead Tester
Rie Hisao (in front of Kory), Engineer
Me, General Manager of Product Development
Kaciho san
Rob Schoeppe, QA Manager
Bryan Chang, Producer
Jeff Buccellato, Producer
Umesh Ghodke, General Manager of Technology

Posted by molyneaux at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:27 PM PDT
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Wednesday, 6 April 2005
REM isn't a band
Topic: Day to Day
Dad, who was extremely hard of hearing, never admitted to it. Mom, on the other hand, wore her age like a badge and used it as an excuse for everything. There's a line somwehere between blindly refusing to accept the consequences of growing older, and surrendering to it. I'm determined to find that line. As part of this, I've been trying -- despite working too many hours -- to get out and actually get exercise. Of late I've mostly only managed it on weekend hikes with my friend Skip. But the rainy weather of the past month or so has put the kibosh on that, alas!

Being over 40 now I'm trying to take better care of myself in general. As such, I've been trying to take preventative action on anything health-wise that seems off. I recently had dermatological surgery to get rid of some things on my scalp (the medical name of which is a mile long and I can't recall offhand), which were benign but of which I thought better safe than sorry. I've also noticed that I've been feeling increasingly run down, and even after a solid night's sleep, I often feel like I haven't slept. Boyfriends past have told me that I sometimes stop breathing for a minute or so at a time while sleeping, which I seem to recall my father doing. I mentioned all this to my doctor this week and he said it sounds like I have a classic case of sleep apnea, so he sent me to a sleep clinic.

There's not much to say about the clinic, other than to say they put a zillion sensors on me and put me to bed, and recorded a thousand pages of data from EEGs and blood oxygen levels to breath analysis and even if I had leg twitches while sleeping.

I am Locutus of Borg... or it's 7 a.m. at the sleep clinic

The official results go to my doctor on Monday, so I'll have to do a follow-up with him. But the technician at the clinic said that I did exhibit apnea in the second half of the night (the constricted breathing), so we'll see what the recommendation on a next step is. The funny thing was that since she not only recorded this data but watched me via camera all night, she was able to tell me in which sleeping positions the apnea occured, and in which positions I snored or didn't snore. Right side good, left side bad!

Apnea is a problem for a couple of reasons. One, it's now believed to be a serious contributor to heart failure. Second, it distrupts the normal sleep cycle. The way it was described to me is as follows. You go into REM sleep and your voluntary muscle control switches off. When this happens an apnea sufferer may end up where some point in the airway actually closes, so even though the lungs are trying to draw a breath, no air comes in. So, after a minute or so the brain goes "hey!" and kicks you out of REM sleep so the voluntary muscles turn back on and you can move or swallow or do whatever it is that clears the airway. Trouble is, this can happen over and over in the night, repeatly kicking you out of REM sleep. So even though you're sleeping, you're not deep you sleep but yet you don't. This airway constriction also can cause the lungs to work hard to draw a breath and make your heart rate go up, so you actually can wake up exhausted because those organs have been getting more of a workout while you're asleep than when you're awake, which is why the medical community suspects a correlation between apnea and the high instance of heart attacks that happen at 4-5 in the morning during sleep.

That went on longer than I meant it to. Anyway. let's see what the doc says and what I need to do to fix it.

Guess I'll try to sleep on my right side tonight and see if I feel more rested. How to keep myself from rolling over...hmmm...

Posted by molyneaux at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:28 PM PDT
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Sunday, 27 March 2005
Home Improvement
Topic: Day to Day
Since I moved into this house [on Ivy Drive] I've been taking my time trying to design spaces that I actually want to live in, rather than just buying pieces and see how they fit together.

One of the odder spaces in the house is the kitchen, which isn't very big, and is made even smaller by a whole wall of cabinets at one end. That end of the room just feels too "woody" and boxed in.

So, I got the idea to put some kinds on insets into the the doors to break up the solid wall of wood.

CLICK HERE to see my concepts

I like the mirror concept a lot, but the weight of all that glass and all the holes I'd have to drill to support them makes me hesitant to go that route. I'm going to look into lighter metal or mylar materials that would be mirror-like. So decisions made...but I'm thinking.


Posted by molyneaux at 12:22 PM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:29 PM PDT
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Thursday, 17 March 2005
Tonal and Complete Chaos
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: Live on Stage
What with Christopher Gray having moving away, the SNAFU improv group long since dissolved, and my job in Sna Jose keeping me away from S.F. on weeknights, I've sort of fallen out of the improv arts scene. Tonight was my first stab of 2005 to get back into going to these things. I had thought I wasn't going to be able to go, as I was originally scheduled to be coming back from the CTIA trade show in New Orleans today, but as I cancelled that trip to work in the office, I was around. And, to ensure I got to the show, I made sure I schedules a meeting with developer Ben Lee this afternoon, as that would put me in S.F. near the venue in question.

Bryan Chang, one of my Producers at Namco, joined me for the show, which was held in a theater space called "The Luggage Store", which is above a storefront on a part of Market street just in the transitional zone from tourist trap to transient town.

The main reason I was there was to see/hear a performance of the a capella improv singing group Tonal Chaos, of which above-mentioned Christopher was once a member. They were good as always, making up all kinds of music and tonalities based on suggestions fro the audience. At one point they launched into song by imitating the beep Bryan's cell phone made as he shut the ringer off. They climaxed with a nonsense-word operatic piece.

The were followed by a group called the Board on Inquiry, which consisted of one fellow using mixing board to do odd things with sounds coming from a laptop computer, a toman who sang and made vocal tonalities, and a man who made sounds with everything from a bow on a pipe to a vibrator in a towel pulsing on a drum. It was interesting, but somewhat distracting. i had to close my eyes and let the sound just wash over me. Still, in the end it seemed like Ligeti meets the electronic score for Forbidden Planet, and sounded like the soundtrack to some weird artsy short subject film.

Posted by molyneaux at 12:01 AM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:30 PM PDT
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