Not long ago, I wrote a seemingly simple story that forever changed the amount of adventure I’ve been exposed to ever since.
For years leading up to that moment, my wife pleaded with me to take her and our kids to Disneyland. Although I went there as an eight year old boy with my family, I remember enjoying nearby Huntington Beach better than I did the actual park. So I told myself in the ensuing decades that Disney was a tourist trap and the great outdoors were the place for me.
Turns out, both man-made and natural wonders are for me. I probably wouldn’t have learned that truth, however, if it weren’t for my wife’s sage approach in tricking me to give The Happiest Place on Earth a fair shake. “Blake,” she said. “You could write about your experience—review it, report on how much you hate or love it.”
For one reason or another—both personally and professionally—these companies can do almost no wrong in my eyes:
Dell. I built my first computer as a freshman in high school. Overclocked it, modified it, loved it. Later on, I built several more for family members. And then made-to-order Dell took over the world by the late ’90s. I enthusiastically appreciated their customization, affordability, and no-nonsense style. A decade later, Dell officials hired me as a contract writer for three consecutive years. That engagement largely paid for the downpayment on my first and only house. Although they’ve changed significantly since the ’90s and I now compute on a Macintosh, I still admire them. Continue reading…
Ten years ago, Disney released a Pixar film that had a profound impact on the course of my professional life.
At the time I was a full-time video game critic for several online magazines. I had a knack for raking mediocre games and news over the coals. I gained a reputation for publishing smart but scathing copy. Back then, I felt it was my job, if not duty, to critique everything I touched as if the orbit of the Earth depended on it. Continue reading…
Pixar’s Wall-E and Stanly Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey share a lot in common. Both are set in space, feature little dialog, have robots taking over the world, are immensely artistic, won’t keep a 2 and ½ year-old engaged despite their G rating, and offer a handful of sophisticated moments in filmmaking. But both are really monotonous — an analogy proving that Wall-E is easily Pixar’s worst film to date, for both adults and children alike.
Though I widely disagree with DeadBolt’s Top 10 picks (Beowulf? You cannot be serious), the movie portal makes a strong case for most of their selections, with Pixar rightfully sweeping the top five slots. As for me, Ratatouille is easily the greatest computer animated film ever made, and one of the best feature films of all time — animated or otherwise.