Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Universal, Hasbro team for films

Looks like my former employers are getting desperate for ideas...

NEW YORK -- Universal Pictures and Hasbro announced Wednesday a six-year strategic partnership to produce at least four feature films based on some of Hasbro's best-known game and toy brands, including Monopoly, Candy Land, Clue, Ouija, Battleship, Magic, the Gathering and Stretch Armstrong.

But, then again:

"In a world of ups and downs...
Where power and money are more important than honor...
One man...
Will claw his way the top, knowing that, at any second...
He can lose it all...
With a toss of the dice.

From the director of Platoon and Natural Born Killers.
Universal Studios presents...

Oliver Stone's
Chutes and Ladders."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Taking To Snow Like A Fish To Waterskiing

This past weekend I went cross-country skiing with my Japanese tutor Yuka and her friend John, a man who likes to ice climb and do other sports that show he really isn't concerned about staying in one piece. Yuka invited me along because John has a habit of skiing too fast for her and she wanted someone to talk to. I assumed this meant she thought I'd be slow.

She was right.

We went to a place called The Summit at Snoqualmie in the Cascade Mountains just east of Seattle.

Before I go on, can I just say how great it is having mountains within an hour of my place? Mountains with snow, no less! It's almost too much for my Florida brain to comprehend. ("What's with all of these piles of crunchy sand? Hold on, that's not sand... it's water. But like no water I've ever seen! It's all cold and... non-liquidy. I'm so confused! Somebody find me a coconut.")

As you may have guessed, I've never cross-country skied before. Or skied at all for that matter. Actually, I did snowboard once, way back in 1995. (In Australia. In July.) And I really enjoyed it. It just felt more natural me. Snowboarding is very similar to surfing, a sport which I'd spent most of my life in Florida pretending to do.


It's easy to look cool when you're not moving.

But skiing is the opposite of natural. And I took to it with all the grace and style of a greased-up newborn giraffe trying to sprint across a frozen lake. Blindfolded.

I was awful. My arms flailed, my knees bent in all sorts of unhealthy directions, I kept falling on my face. It was so embarrassing but, eventually, I got the skies on.

We stuck to a lower trail thinking that perhaps, sooner or later, I'd get the hang of it and we could move on to bigger and better trails.

Yeah, didn't happen.

I knew I was doing poorly when I realized that even tiny, polite Yuka had left me behind. Course, I wasn't much in the conversation department seeing as I had to focus all of my mental energy on my feet and on not dying.

John, was surprisingly willing to hang back and encourage me. But perhaps he was just enjoying the show. Eventually I told him he could catch up with Yuka. This gave me a chance to wallow in my own pity without an audience.

As I struggled to keep moving forward without destroying my knees or tumbling off of a cliff, a guy who was around my age glided by me, ever-so-gracefully.

"Wow... he's good," I thought. "He's probably been doing it for a while."

I tried to impersonate the bobbing/weaving motion that propelled him along and promptly fell on my ass.

A little while later, a guy in his... oh, I don't know... late-90s passed me.

"What the...??," I thought, "How is that man standing, much less skiing?? OK, yeah... he's definitely been doing it for a while."

As I fought with the embarrassment of being lapped by a near-centenarian, two 6-year-old girls zoomed by me. As they passed, I think one was calculating long-division without a calculator and the other was both chewing gum and patting her stomach.

"...," I thought.

Thinking my self-esteem could sink no lower, I was passed by - I kid you not - a special-ed class.

"Oh come on!"

Determined not to look stupid, I picked up the pace and tried to get into a rhythm. And promptly fell on my ass. One of the students who passed as I fell shouted back to me, "You can do it!" before going back to eating a crayon.

I suppose cross-country skiing is fun once you get used to it. Especially when you don't have to concentrate on your feet or falling to your death.

One thing's for sure, the view's a whole lot better.

Other people's view:
My view:



Note the slight difference.

Despite the problems, I had a great time and I made it back in one piece. Sadly, my sunglasses did not. In 13 years, I've gone through 3 pairs of Arnette Catfish sunglasses. I bought my first pair the first time I went snowboarding. (In 1995. In Australia. In July.) They lasted several month before I somehow managed to run over them with my bike. (Still trying to figure that one out.) The second pair was lost in the confusion of my first day of training at the Hard Rock Cafe back in my bartending days.

At least this pair was destroyed while I was doing something that sounds cool.

Even if I didn't look it.

Rest in pieces.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Say, What's A "Blog"?

Computer Matt
[This post is mostly for my parents and any other family members over the age of 40.]

Hi guys! As you can see, I've started a blog!

So just what is a "blog", you ask?

Well, a blog is a webpage that appears in reverse chronological order. It can be all text, pictures, video or any combination of the three.  In this particular case, all of the text, pictures and videos I post will be about ME!  Not only does this seriously stoke my ego but it also means that there's a very good possibility that I may never have to write another email again!  Bonus!

So, just think of this here webpage as a running "web log" of what's going on in my life.

And, if you put "web" and "log" together, you get "weblog".

And if you drop the "we", you have "blog"! Neat, huh??

("Weblog" was shortened to "blog" because bloggers are inherently lazy. Also, because "webl" and "eblo" just didn't roll off of the tongue.)

Heck, why even YOU could start a blog! (Although, I wouldn't recommend it just yet. I don't need the competition.)

Now, I'm still trying to figure out what this blog will be about (UPDATE: I decided.), but I realize how important it is for me to start blogging.  Why so important, you ask?

First of all, since I am writing a book about my time in Japan, I need to generate what Social Media Experts, as well as a majority of bees, call "buzz".

Also, it was either spend all day setting up my blog or working on my book.

Guess which won?

About The Author


As a result of his nearly 4 years of working at Universal Studios in Japan, Matt Herold is now the world's longest-running Japanese-speaking Doc Brown.

This is quite an achievement considering that, when he was cast in 2002, he neither looked like Christopher Lloyd nor spoke any Japanese whatsoever.

Other roles he played while in Japan included Jurassic Park's Alan Grant (despite his not looking like Sam Neill), Santa Claus (despite his being tall, skinny and entirely unable to properly grow facial hair) and a cowboy ghost (despite his having never been dead. Or a cowboy).




Aside from appearing in Japanese newspapers, magazines and tour books, Matt has also appeared on Japanese TV shows like Matthew Minami's Best Hit TV and Morning Asahi.

This was quite a step up from his work before Japan when his two most notable achievements were being cut out of Oliver Stone's "Any Given Sunday" and appearing in a commercial testifying the greatness of a country music magazine he'd neither read nor had any interest in doing so.

He speaks Japanese well enough to fool people into thinking he's fluent, particularly if the topics are food, robots and time travel.

He is currently writing a book about his time in Japan and spends his little remaining free time teaching kids about science:



Everybody finds his job as a Mad Scientist quite fitting (except for his high school chemistry teacher).

Matt has a sandwich named after him at a deli in Kobe.


He once used the internet to teach himself stickshift so he could drive a DeLorean for his show.

Matt has a Mass Communications degree from the University of South Florida which he really should be doing more with.

He doesn't tan well.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Under Construction

Oh, hello! I didn't see you there. I was busy straightening up my blog.

It still needs some work and I'm not sure if I dig the color scheme but it's coming along. Cool title bar though, huh? Yeah, I did that. (Only took me, like, 14 hours.)

Anyway, sorry I haven't been able to post anything substantial lately. I've just been so caught up with working on my blog (picking out templates, editing HTML, taking pictures of my coffee) that I'm not actually, you know... blogging.

But don't worry, it shouldn't be much longer. In fact, here's a taste of just some of the stuff you'll be seeing on this site in the near future:
  1. a little bit about me.
  2. a little bit about the book I'm writing.
  3. two words: cross-country skiing (actually, "3 words, 2 of which are hyphenated"... but that just doesn't have the same impact).
  4. further use of the list function.
Just gets your mouth watering, huh?

So, thanks for your patience! Keep checking back in. (And hey, if you hit refresh often enough, you might be able to watch in real time as my blog changes incrementally and I miss out on fresh air and a social life. Like a little movie!)

Thursday, February 21, 2008