The Backburner (Part 1)

As a creative guy, I’ll let you in on a secret: being creative is both a curse and a blessing. My imagination has helped in a lot of my schoolwork and it’s absolutely essential for my musical aspirations. I’m also never bored unless I’m in a setting where I’m expected to not be creative.

However, when I go too long without putting time into any of my numerous projects I get really frustrated and can be an absolute nightmare to be around. Also, with my unending well of creativity, I tend to continue to see different ways to approach a goal, adding more and more obstacles for me to overcome. One of my biggest enemies is my out of control scope-creep. What I mean is, I’m an amazing, inspired starter who usually adds so much to an idea that I can never finish them.

Over the years many of my friends have poked fun at my projects – especially the fact that I never seem to make any real progress with them. This, coupled with my current time-management woes, had me thinking: I wanted to make a list of all the huge, creative projects (anything I’ve been working on for more than a year) to update everyone on my insanity. I also figured this type of real research into my progress might be a good kick in the pants.

Well, in typical fashion, I thought this would only take me a day or two to compile, but it’s taken over a week so far. So, I’m splitting this blog up into several posts to 1) take the immense pressure I put upon myself as the only person in my blogging community who writes anymore and 2) to actually get this thing published. For each entry I will document how close I think I am to being done, when I began the project, any other dates I’ve picked it up along the way, it’s status, and when I think I’ll finally be done with it (ETA).

Beer Pong Video Game
Progress: 10%
Initial Start: Spring 2004
Second Start: Spring 2006
Status: Intense Hiatus
ETA: 20xx (Mega Man 2 style)

None of my projects have received more jokes than the beer pong video game. When I moved into Sunchase apartment 736 I my senior year of college, my roommates and I took beer pong very seriously: We played 139 straight nights. We kept track of all-time scores on a dry erase board. We even made a commemorative t-shirt on the 100th night. During my super-senior year, my friends and I only got more hardcore into this sport of kings. I started to keep statistics, much like other sports – for example how many air balls, lucky bounces, and blocks a person would get in a game.

When I graduated in December of 2003, I still had six months on my college apartment lease so I had a lot of free time (I barely worked). Armed with this boredom, I started to devise the greatest video game of all time: a simulation of my beer pong experience at JMU (programmed in visual basic)! You could play as any of the characters that had walked through those hallowed doors and, based on their playing statistics that I kept, you would play just like that person. I even thought about implementing a feature that would throw the ball from that person’s specific height. I started to collect some previews of the game on a website, though that fizzled extremely fast.

It was a grand idea, but one that ultimately died at the hands of projectile physics. When I got to the actual programming of the movement of the ball – gravity, parabolas, bouncing off objects – the math overwhelmed me and I retreated to the safe and inviting arms of Brandon Jones.

Since I put down the project in the summer of 2004, the beer pong video game has popped up a few times. In the spring of 2006, I started to log beer pong stats at the Pink Sock (my apartment in Arlington, VA). I even started to create game-design spreadsheets and the flow chart of game logic. But I still haven’t found a good and easy programming language to work in. I’m looking for something that can handle projectile physics without having to rely on my poor math skills, yet also not have a huge learning curve to program in.

I’ve put too much time into this project already and still have too much interest in it to let it die. This thing will be created … eventually. Jokes withstanding!

Watchmen: A Dissection
Progress: 3%
Initial Start: Spring 2004
Second Start: Spring 2006
Status: Uninterrupted Hiatus
ETA: 2012

Created between 1986 and 1987, Watchmen is perhaps the greatest comic ever produced. It definitely is my favorite and I’ve wanted to create a site that would analyze every panel of every page. There are so many allusions, flashbacks, foreshadowing, and clues hidden in each one that I’m still not sure I’ve discovered everything. But, I’d like to give it the ol’ stanus.butt try.

I originally conceived this idea during my “lost semester” at college in the spring of 2004 and started a website that would collect all of the information. I didn’t get very far as some other projects *cou(beer pong game)gh* quickly swept it into the dusty backburner parts of my brain. Still, I’d like to eventually study the whole comic (something like 400 pages). Since Watchmen only comes off the shelf about once every two years, however, I don’t see this happening anytime really soon.

Bond on Bond
Progress: 15%
Initial Start: Winter 2000
Status: Years-Long Hiatus
ETA: 2011 or Never … could go either way

Having seen all James Bond movies at least thrice – with the exception of Casino Royale – and upon completion of reading every Ian Fleming novel it’s safe to say I’m a rabid Bond fan. The obsession has been with me since childhood, so I’ve been meaning to create some sort of Bond database for some time. This idea actually preceeded my Seinfeld, Seinsmelled section and I created a start up site here (warning, it’s godawful). Eventually, I’d like to do something a little more subjective and less fan-fictiony (I still can’t believe I took that route for some areas) – incorporating the books and possibly other media, as well.

Unfortunately, there are already some great Bond sites out there already and my motivation wanes with each passing year. Still, I might need some help in getting through every single feature loaded on to the 2-disc special edition DVD of each movie (and, yes, I plan to get them someday). This might just fit in nicely with those plans. Ah, synergy!

Comments:
  • Brent
    Thursday, September 6th, 2007 at 18:21 | #1

    Stan,

    I for one applaud your ludicrous undertakings. I know you’ve started over from scratch with new hardware on the all-time basketball match-up, but what happened to the web page for it? I want to see stats and updates.

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