Archive for the ‘MicheleHale’ Category

Game Review: Jam City Rollergirls

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Jam City Roller Girls gets a BusyGamer Rating of 4/5

I canít remember the last time I was so excited for a game to come out. I had heard for a while that a roller derby video game was in the works, but hadnít heard much more than just recently when I found out that Jam City Rollergirls was actually going to be released on January 24th. Naturally, I hijacked my dadís Wii and downloaded it. (Side note: Dear Wii, please make it easier to buy points Ė it took me twenty minutes to enter my damn credit card information so I could get the measly 1000 points to download this game. Love, Me.)

Overall, I enjoyed the game. It was easy to play and only requires the regular control and nun chuck tether. (Another side note: stick to the inside of the track and youíll get lead jammer status almost every time, itís also the best place to pass your opponents and youíll rack up tons of points.) I didnít do much to change my character, though you do get options in the locker room to do so. As you progress through the game and finish your bouts, you earn money that you can spend on extras to really trick your character out. There are plenty of options to let you be the rollergirl you always wanted to be.

One part where I was very disappointed was that there werenít very many teams to choose from. WFTDA (Womenís Flat Track Derby Association) has more than a hundred leagues, but only five were represented. I can understand that there are constraints in development to where it would be quite difficult to include all of the leagues. But no Rose City? No Angel City? Really? I chose to play as Gotham because letís face it, those girls are badass. But, to their credit, Frozen Codebase did quite well with the teams that it did choose to include. Best example? The Texecutionersí Derringer. Iíve seen her play in real life on many occasion and sheís one of the best blockers Iíve ever seen on the flat track. This is also quite true in the game. She is tough to get by on the track.

Plenty of options to deck out your derby girl!

The game itself is almost as entertaining as the sport. Each team has its own track with a little bit of local flavor. Some tracks have ramps and little areas to skate over to gain speed boosts and it makes the game a little more interesting. I didnít like that the skaters could throw stuff and there are no referees to cry foul. You do go through a period with two-minute jams and you do pick up points as if you would in a real game. A big however, though, once a lead jammer is declared, that person stays lead jammerÖI hated that.

I think Jam City is a good place to start for a roller derby video game. I would like to see something that is more like an actual bout. I want to see the skaters get down and beat the crap out of each other like they do at real bouts. I want to see a skater get ejected from a game and throw that single fingered derby salute. Jam City was worth the money, but donít run out and get a Wii just to play it.

See more about Jam City Rollergirls at

Author - Michele Hale

Michele is an indie author and publisher from Austin, Texas. She loves roller derby, tattoos and science fiction. She is the founder of Cowgirlie Publishing and is currently working on a three-book sci-fi series due out in 2011.


To Friend or Not to Friend

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The dilemmas of social media

Social networking has become very popular in the last few years. It seems that everyone and their grandmother has a Facebook or Twitter account. Hell, some people still use MySpace. This increasing popularity raises many questions of etiquette regarding when and what to share and who to friend or follow. So, where do you draw the line? My first instinct is to advise use of common sense, but I donít believe that the answer is that simple. It really does depend on the individual, but there are many considerations to be made before you post something.

Did you know that businesses are now taking to the web, especially social media sites, to stake out potential employees? Next time youíre punching up your resume, think about punching up your Facebook page and maybe dropping those pictures from that pub crawl you did last month. Sure, some employers are going to think that youíre fun and colorful; however, this is not likely.

Itís not just those seeking new employment that need to take this into consideration; these social media sites actually give an employer the right to check up on your personal life. Iíve worked in large offices for many years and there are plenty of things about my personal life that I did not wish to share with anyone in my workplace. So, is this invasion of privacy? Though some may disagree, I say absolutely not. If you put something on the web, unless you turn your privacy settings up to the max, youíre putting your information out there for anybody see. Should they do it? Once again, you may disagree, but I say it depends on the situation. Many people post their work information on their profiles and some employeesí deeds may be bad for business. Can you fire someone for something they posted online? Yes, and itís perfectly legal.

This brings to mind another question. Do you friend your co-workers or even your boss? This is where it gets hinky. Security settings will allow for an innocuous friendship, so you can avoid the awkward decision of whether or not to accept your bossí friend request. Accept it, but lock them out of what youíre actually posting. Or, you can choose to leave work at work and keep your social networking fun to between you and your buddies. If you do choose to friend your boss and/or co-workers, take caution. They might not care that you were dancing on the bar or doing body shots off of a stripper; but, when youíre playing hookie, you might want to stick to that story you used when you called in sick that morning. Donít mention how you went to the zoo, or whatever it is you do when you play hookie.

Then, of course, thereís whether or not you should recommend that your friends like your business. Maybe this is a personal endeavor or itís your day job. Discretion is key here. Personally, all of my friends are subject to these suggestions. Most of the people on my friends list understand who I am and what I do, so they either like it or ignore it. If you have a small business or youíre promoting your band, cast a wide net. If you donít want to impose, donít impose. But, think about this, why are these people on your friends list? Who are they to you and how do you know them? You donít have to suggest it to all of our friends, think of those who your suggestion may benefit most and start there.

It all comes down to discretion. Why are you on Facebook and/or Twitter? Social media is imperative in todayís tech-dependent society. What better way to get the word out? Social media today is the equivalent of standing on top of a soap box in a town square eighty years ago. Some people are going to stop and listen while others continue on their way. This is your voice with a much bigger amplifier.

Author - Michele Hale

Michele is an indie author and publisher from Austin, Texas. She loves roller derby, tattoos and science fiction. She is the founder of Cowgirlie Publishing and is currently working on a three-book sci-fi series due out in 2011.


Eureka! An interview with Paula Yoo

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Paula Yoo - Writer/Co-Producer of SyFy's Eureka

Paula Yoo has one of the coolest jobs on the planet Ė sheís a writer and co-producer for the SyFy Channelís hit show, Eureka. The show is currently in the offseason, but will return for an Xmas episode in December and Season 4.5 next year. Paula has also written for NBCís West Wing and Foxís Tru Calling (yes, she wrote for the Dushku).

BG: How did you get the Eureka gig?
PY: My agents and manager set up meetings for me with various TV network executives and showrunners for potential jobs. This is a very common practice in the industry. So they arranged for some meetings with the Eureka folks, and that’s how I got the job! I feel very lucky to be on such a wonderful show – I love the characters and the sci-fi elements. I also think our actors and production crew are amazing. I am grateful to work with such talented writers – I learn a lot from their veteran writing experience, too.

BG: How do you decide who writes what and does everybody make a contribution to each episode?
PY: Every show works differently. In general, writers sit in a writers’ room and pitch ideas and discuss character arcs for the series. Eventually, writers are assigned certain episodes to write. In the end, it’s a total 100 percent team effort and everyone contributes to the entire process of putting an episode on the air. It’s a really fun job!

BG: How many episodes of Tru Calling did you write? Were you disappointed (like the rest of us) that it ended so abruptly?
PY: I was lucky enough to co-write one episode with Stephanie Williams and Scott Shepherd. (“The Getaway” Story by Scott Shepherd and Teleplay by Stephanie Williams & Paula Yoo). And yes, I was very bummed the show ended because I thought it introduced a lot of really cool areas of mythology to explore near the end of the first season and the start of the second season. Still, it was a fun show to write for – as a Buffy fan, who knew I’d be writing for the awesome Eliza Dushku?

BG: As a sci-fi writer, when is it okay to fudge on the science part?
PY: Whenever I write anything involving science, I try to be as accurate as possible. Ultimately, the story is the most important focus. If I do take any liberties with the science, I try to make sure that the general laws of science still apply. The actual liberties are poetic and fictional licenses where I can make up something. And when I do make up something, I try to keep it within a rational realm where it’s conceivable that this type of technology could possibly happen in the future. I’m always amazed at what our real-life scientists are capable of right now – the advances they’re making in science and technology seem like science fiction but these advances actually exist! It’s an exciting time for science and technology!

BG: Do you have a preferred gaming console? What games are your favorites?
PY: I’m not officially a gamer. I’m usually too busy writing. I know I’m about to date myself, but when the first Tomb Raider and original Metal Gear Solid came out on Playstation 1, I was BLOWN AWAY. I had no idea video games could have such intricate and exciting movie plots. I would play Tomb Raider and MGS for HOURS. Now those games seem so basic compared to the incredible advances they’ve made in gaming since then! But I still love those classic games. I also really loved Tao Feng, this cool fighting game by the guys who did Mortal Kombat. I tend to like fighting games or puzzle/journey games like Zelda and Tomb Raider. I like Halo but it makes me too dizzy so I can’t play it. We have a Wii, Playstation 2, XBox, GameCube, and I am addicted to Solitaire and Tetris on my iPhone.

BG: One last question, Star Trek or Star WarsÖor BSG?
PY: Star Trek. I love Star Wars and of course I love BSG. But always, hands down, Star Trek. I love them ALL – original Star Trek and Next Gen AND DS9 AND Voyager AND Enterprise.

Outside of Eureka, Paula is also an author. Her debut novel, Good Enough, isnít sci-fi, but it is hilarious and inspiring. She also shreds on the violin and has taught her cat, Oreo (who has more followers than I do), how to tweet. Check out Paula online at or follow her on Twitter at, where she sometimes tweets about hijinks from the writersí room at Eureka.

Author - Michele Hale

Michele is an indie author and publisher from Austin, Texas. She loves roller derby, tattoos and science fiction. She is the founder of Cowgirlie Publishing and is currently working on a three-book sci-fi series due out in 2011.