Archive for May, 2009

ARG(hhh!) Again, Naturally

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Here we go again.

Back in November I wrote a post that detailed my small brush with infamy related to DarmaWantsYou.com.  This week saw the stars align for another 15 minutes of fame that felt worthy of revisiting.  The rough timeline:

February 29, 2008
Timely Persuasion is released.  The book includes 2 hidden easter eggs into a mini-ARG.  These go undiscovered for quite some time.

July 30, 2008
Kick-off of the official DharmaWantsYou ARG in between seasons 4 and 5 of Lost.  I accidentally typo the site when trying to visit it and get a page not found, which inspires me to register it myself as a good samaritan.  The intent was always this: “Hey, wrong site.  Here’s the real one, plus a shameless plug on something that might be of mutual interest.” This sets the series of events detailed in this post into motion.

May 1, 2009
Email from GoDaddy reminding me that DarmaWantsYou.com would be expiring in July.  I hadn’t touched the site since linking to my in-game Dharma questionnaire, which no longer existed since ABC took down the site of the original game.  With the content now somewhat pointless I decide I’ll most likely let the registration lapse in July.

May 16, 2009
With some time on my hands for the first time in ages, I check out my website stats and notice that DarmaWantsYou was still getting 30-50 hits per day even without a “real” site to point people back to.    With a little bit of traffic and a couple of months before expiration I thought it made sense to do a minor revision:

  • I changed the sub-header from “Has There Been An Incursion On This Site By The Hostiles?” to “What Lies In The Shadow Of The Statue?”
  • I killed the dead link to my time travel Dharma quiz from the defunct “real” game and replaced it with this:

Although Dharma is no more, there are other Initiatives…

study.LB-DG.com

The link points to the Timely Persuasion easter egg/mini-ARG that’s been up since the book’s launch in February of 2008.  My logic was that if people were looking for an ARG I might as well point them to something similar rather than leaving them with nothing.

Traffic to study.lb-dg.com went through the roof!

Traffic to study.lb-dg.com went through the roof!

May 18, 2009
Unbeknownst to me, a new Lost ARG called “Who Is Simeon Hobbes?” was on the verge of starting.  (Note:  This new ARG has since been revealed to be fan made and not canon.  Still pretty cool though.)  Someone discovers the LBDG study page with the password protected PDF and thinks it’s in-game despite the “I registered this page because of a typo” intro.  It hit Twitter, and things started to skyrocket from there.

So to be clear:

  • I’m not part of an official Lost ARG.
  • I’m not part of this fan-made WISH? ARG; nor did I intentionally try to hijack it.
  • There is a mini-ARG type thing embedded in Timely Persuasion, and the password protected PDF, the questions, and the word “Nelsonification” all tie back into the plot of the book.
  • The book is pretty good if I do say so myself 🙂

Props to user Jesus_Stick at the Lostpedia forums for figuring out the nod to John Titor in the LBDG logo, and to South for catching the Carter USM references in the questionnaire. Nice work!

PS: One last note, in regards to this at the LostARG blog:

PLEASE be especially aware of the lb-dg one, it asks you to send off a questionnaire with money.

The $1 I ask for at the bottom of the PDF isn’t a scam and isn’t intended as a money making scheme.  It’s actually there to discourage people from mailing the questionnaire back to the PO box, as I don’t really have a use for it.  But if someone does happen to send me a buck, they will get something of equal or greater value in return.

First Impressions on Wilco (The Album)

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

The new Wilco record is streaming for free at the band’s official site (www.wilcoworld.net), so I thought I’d blog my early impressions.  To be fair, “first” impressions in the title is a slight exaggeration; this is technically my third listen that I’m writing about.

(And in the interest of full disclosure: I’m notorious for disliking albums when I first hear them before later changing my mind and loving them, so this might be a fun post to revisit down the road.)

Track by track:

“Wilco (the song)”
I actually saw a video clip of them performing this on the Colbert Report a few weeks ago.  Loved it then and love it now.  Tongue in cheek love letter to fans, but a tune that’s cool, clever, and very singable.  Has a Summerteeth vibe to it, which makes it the perfect track to open Wilco (the album).  Plus you gotta love the parenthetical.

“Deeper Down”
One of those majestic numbers that I shrug off initially but know will enter “epic” status once I hear it live.  Judgment reserved, but I suspect I’ll learn to love this song.

“One Wing”
This one I dug right away (“One wing, will never ever fly…”), plus I know it’s gonna rule in concert based on the guitar parts.

“Bull Black Nova”
With a title like that it’s the song that tempts you to cheat and skip ahead to it after reading it on the sleeve (er, Quicktime playlist…).  Experimental, but very Wilco — which is what makes it cool.  Might be a touch too long though.

“You And I”
The rumors of a Wilco/Feist duet proved true, though it’s more Feist on backing vocals than a true collaboration per se.  Initially I was disappointed she wasn’t featured more heavily, but I’m already thinking the cameo was a better idea.  And now I’m curious as to how often their touring schedules will intersect enough for them to do this live.

“You Never Know”
Eh.  Nothing wrong with this song, but it just isn’t doing it for me.  Though I totally would have used the “C’mon kids, you’re acting like children” line in Timely Persuasion when the mom interrupts the cribbage game had it existed at the time.  (At least the slide guitar & piano part during the choruses sort of save it…)

“Country Disappeared”
Before hearing this I wonder if the title was a nod to Wilco’s early A.M. era sound.  Perhaps it’s a double entendre.  Song is okay albeit a little boring, though I do like the Tweedy falsetto bits in a guilty pleasure sort of way.

“Solitaire”
Lyrics that might suddenly strike me as deep one day when I’m not expecting it, but this is probably my least favorite song on the record capping off a disappointingly weak trifecta.

“I’ll Fight”
And we’re back!  My early pick for favorite track.  The repetitive pattern of the first verse hooked me right away, and the passion felt throughout helps carry it through.  This one will go down as a Wilco classic.

“Sonny Feeling”
Another fun one, with a “Hate It Here”/”Late Greats” style of loose vibe.  And you gotta love using the “Sonny” spelling in the title vs. “Sunny.”

“Everlasting Everything”
The final track is where you’re allowed/expected to go out on a different sort of note.  This tune is hard to classify, but I think it delivers the goods while taking the album closer torch from “On and On and On.”

Final verdict:  You can’t go wrong with new Wilco.  That said, I put it somewhere between Sky Blue Sky and A Ghost is Born in the rankings, but reserve the right to change my mind.