Really old journals

My college classmate Alex Epstein tipped me off that someone has been posting Samuel Pepys’ diary, 343 years later to the day. So my old journals aren’t so old.

Posted on Nov 7, 2008 in Blog | 0 comments

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Little Big Planet

is beyond amazing. It warps my mind to even begin to imagine some of the things people are going to do with this.

I did spend a good hour last night playing a strange new form of Tetris. It’s even more fun with two players.

Posted on Nov 6, 2008 in Blog, Games | 2 comments

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An Albanian motorway

This tunnel is part of a highway being built through a mountainous region of northern Albania, connecting the Adriatic port of Durres to southern Kosovo.

I showed my sketch to a Turkish engineer who’d been watching me draw. He studied it briefly, then shook his head and handed it back to me with one comment: “You drew that pipe crooked, but in reality, it is straight.”

I couldn’t help thinking it would have been a great setting for an episode of Ops.

Posted on Nov 6, 2008 in Blog, Sketchbook | 2 comments

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Old journals, continued

Just posted a new batch of old journal entries, bringing us up to September 1986.

Many thanks to all the readers who have written in to comment on the old journals. The October 1985 animation reference video seems to be especially popular.

So OK, the die is cast… I’ll continue this “blog from the past” so you can follow the development of Apple II POP (and related matters) in all its gory details. True diehards can subscribe to the old-journals RSS feed here. And yes, there will be more videos to come!

Posted on Oct 29, 2008 in Blog, Old School | 5 comments

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Prince of Persia and Persia

Reader Masoud Shoushtarian asks about the Prince of Persia movie:

1. do know about persian culture and persian civilization?

2. why do you make this movie without iranian actor or actress?

3. why don’t you make this movie in iran?

The story and screenplay for Prince of Persia were inspired by many sources, especially the tales of the 1001 Nights and Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh (Book of Kings). In doing the research I read pretty widely, including the lives and writings of Omar Khayyam, Rumi, and Ibn Battuta, and modern histories such as Frye’s The Golden Age of Persia, but my goal was to create an entertaining fantasy in the spirit of the 1001 Nights.

In my afterword for the Prince of Persia graphic novel (which was written by an Iranian author, A.B. Sina) I talk a bit more about the origins of Prince of Persia and its connection to Iranian history and legend. The graphic novel site also has an interview with A.B. offering some of his thoughts on the subject.

The movie casting and location decisions weren’t mine to make, but the choice to shoot in Morocco and the UK was certainly based on practical considerations including availability of locations and production facilities. For similar reasons, Kingdom of Heaven, Black Hawk Down, and Asterix and Obelix Meet Cleopatra were also shot in Morocco, although those stories take place in Jerusalem, Somalia and Egypt respectively.

Posted on Oct 27, 2008 in Blog, Comics, Film, Games, Prince of Persia | 3 comments

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Sketchbooks

As a kid I was pretty good at drawing… until I got my first Apple II computer. After that, I did the occasional scribble-sketch, but my level of skill basically remained frozen for the next 30 years. When you stop drawing, you get rusty very fast.

Over three decades of writing, programming, and other left-brain activities, I pretty much forgot that I’d ever known how to draw.

Until ten months ago. It was in Paris, a city where unexpected things often happen to me. The first day after flying in from California is always a bit surreal anyway; you force yourself to stay up and walk around in the bright daylight, even though your body wants to be asleep and dreaming. On that day, to stay awake I went to the Jewish Museum in the Marais. They had an exhibit called “From Superman to The Rabbi’s Cat” about the history of comics.

As I prowled the museum, it gradually became intolerable to me that I had gotten to a point in my life where I could no longer express myself through drawing. I don’t know if it was the comics or the Holocaust memorabilia that tore it, but the next morning I bought a sketchbook and a pen and started drawing people in the street, in cafés, at train stations. That was last December. I’ve gone through three notebooks since then.

Now, I’m addicted. These days, when I’m in an airport and my flight is delayed, I hardly mind, because it’s a chance to draw. I love drawing even when the drawings don’t come out right. It’s a trance state, like playing music or skiing: Even when it’s bad, it’s good.

Posted on Oct 22, 2008 in Blog, Sketchbook | 3 comments

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