Follow awfulagent on Twitter

About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Going, going gone...

Once upon a time Newsday was a great newspaper, the NY Times in tabloid garb for people on Long Island, and for several years with aspirations of becoming a 4th paper in New York.

Well, not any more. Roiled by a scandal over inflated circulation and dragged down by one staff cut after another after another, the paper's become a shell of its former self, a newspaper without any news. And now another 120 people are disappearing, including 25 more editorial staff.

I used to buy this paper every day. When I started JABberwocky in 1994 I switched to reading at the library to save a few bucks, but if I had to buy it on any given day, no problem. Now, it's not worth the fifty cents. Never.

Sadly, this is a situation that's coming up more and more, as newspapers confront plummeting print ad revenue and the ability of the web to provide information. One reason I can afford not to buy Newsday is that I can use the Daily Comics widget on my Mac Dashboard to get my comics, and that's about 25% of the newspaper reading time I don't need the newspaper for.

But should reading the funnies ever be 25% of my newspaper time? I am a confirmed newspaper addict, and I don't want to buy a newspaper. I don't imagine the solutions to the industry's problems are easy ones, but if the best they can come up with is to stop giving even their most addicted customers a reason to use each day...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Have you played Atari today

I'm not, I don't think, one of those addictive personalities, but if there's one thing that's always been able to put me away for hours it's Super Breakout.

So tonight I went to the groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of the Museum of the Moving Image, terribly underdressed in my work-at-home clothes surrounded by politicos in suits, and kind of wondering why I bothered.  But after the ceremony, roaming the gallery and new since the last time I'd been on the 3rd floor (because when you're a member, and you go all the time, you never actually go; I go to see a movie, see it, leave) was an old arcade Super Breakout, and there I was, young again, boppin' away on my 2600.

I wasn't very happy at first.  The high score was 180, and I wasn't coming close.  The bonus came at 400.  But of course, an addiction is an addiction is an addiction, and I kept hitting for a new game, and slowly but surely the Super Breakout skills started to come back.  I finally got the high score, and decided to walk away.  But then I got around ten steps and turned back, because I hadn't gotten my 400 for the bonus game...  After I got myself a 500 and had proven I could still bring my game to the Super Breakout paddle, I finally tore myself away.  I'm still a little surprised I didn't keep hitting that new game button until every politico had left, and they had to drag my away.

This is why I like it that I have one of those 2000-era Atari in-a-controller emulators.  And this is why I never actually turn it on.  Because once I start in on that Super Breakout, I ain't stopping. This is also why it's not always a good idea for me to have Entenmann's holiday pop-ems, M&Ms or Doritos hanging around in large quantities.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Debut

We should test this, yes?