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Tuesday, June 16, 2021

June 16th is Bloomsday, as chronicled in James Joyce’s “Ulysses”. And if live novel reenactments and fun-runs aren’t your bag, then celebrate Hibernian surrealism by experiencing the book’s 10th chapter, “Wandering Rocks”, in Twitter form:

[Ian] Bogost and [Ian] McCarthy have dubbed their performance “Twittering Rocks,” a play on the chapter’s title that could also mean Twittering is awesome. They have registered 54 of the novel’s key characters as Twitter users, and Bogost built a software program that tweets their first-person utterances at the correct moments in the chapter.

“The result is a complex web of timed interactions between many characters,” he said, “precisely the effect Joyce was aiming for in the novel.”

Ingenious, especially the synchronized timestamping. But more than 50 tweetstreams to track? Seems onerous. Better bet is to just follow @leopoldbloom, and not wade too far out of the protagonist’s stream-of-consciousness.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 06/16/2009 10:41:24 PM
Category: Creative, Internet, Publishing
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Fresh off working on the new videogame adaptation of Ghostbusters, Harold Ramis is up for pixelating another one of his old movies:

“A ‘Stripes‘ first-person shooter could be interesting,” he says.

Ramis no doubt had tongue implanted firmly in cheek with that comment. Still, a “Doom”-meets-slacker-comedy angle would be amusing. Better yet, make it a “Grand Theft Auto” expansion pack — that would blend in the recreational sex better…

And of course, bonus points for taking out Sergeant Hulka in the obstacle course stage.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 06/16/2009 09:40:46 PM
Category: Movies, Videogames
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Your National Hockey League is on a real roll right now: On the heels of a court victory affirming its control over franchise ownership and relocation vis-à-vis the Coyotes and Jim Balsillie, it got confirmation that the just-completed Stanley Cup playoffs this year featured some of the highest television ratings in 36 years.

NBC’s Game 7 broadcast of the Stanley Cup final between the Penguins and the Red Wings on Friday night drew an average of 8 million viewers, the biggest American television audience for any N.H.L. game since the 9.4 million who watched the Game 6 Cup finale between Montreal and Chicago in 1973…

The size of the Pens-Wings audience is even more impressive, Variety reports, because Friday is customarily the lightest viewing night of the week.

And of course, some head-to-head context with the NHL’s sister league:

Sunday night’s ABC broadcast of Game 5 of the N.B.A. finals, in which the Los Angeles Lakers won the title against the Orlando Magic, attracted an average of 14 million viewers. That means the N.H.L. telecast drew an audience 57 percent the size of the N.B.A.’s. Traditionally in the U.S., N.H.L. games draw from 25 percent to 33 percent of the audience that watches N.B.A. games.

Yup, hockey fans can take pride in the idea that their sport is half as popular as pro hoops! But good news on the TV front is rare enough that this counts as a resounding victory. The Friday night result gives a nice boost to the final average viewership of 5.6 million for the five NBC-broadcasted games.

So how can the league and the network sustain this strong showing into next year? Some of the ingredients from this year can’t be pre-determined:

- Detroit in the Finals, which always pulls in eyeballs;
- Star-player power in the form of Sidney Crosby;
- The year-over-year rematch;
- Game 7 suspense;
- An unusually unchallenged programming night, with not only reruns on the other channels but also a night off for the NBA Finals;

But one key decision from Stanley Cup 2009 can be preserved going forward: The series-opening ratings juice that came from playing Games 1 and 2 on back-to-back weekend nights. You can debate how successful that would have been for NBC had it been, say, Columbus versus Florida. But I’m convinced that it’s the right way to kick off the showcase series of the playoffs: No opening-night pomp, followed by a day or two off for casual viewers to promptly forget about the whole thing. Saturday night served as the lead-in for a returning audience on Sunday, and the ratings momentum remained sustained from there, right through to Game 7’s breakthrough. So that two-game opener schedule will remain in place next year (and beyond).

I’d like to think that this Detroit-Pittsburgh showing will defuse the constant fretting over “large market” versus “small market” in championship TV ratings. Neither city can be truly considered “large market”, so you’d think that the raw viewer numbers wouldn’t measure up. Then again, they never do, unless you have the ideal population-intense New York-Los Angeles matchup, so it’s a pointless concern. These two cities are recognized as storied hockey towns, which probably helped sell the series; the challenge is to apply that pitch to non-traditional teams that might reach the Finals next year.

Finally, it’s refreshing to not hear about how hockey in June allegedly doesn’t work for a national audience. Summertime pucks seems to have found fans this time around.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 06/16/2009 11:41:42 AM
Category: Basketball, Hockey, SportsBiz, TV
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