Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Two Inches

Still the top stars.
When I was young, my family got Dynamite Magazine.  Dynamite was full of all the posters, fold outs, and tween pandering you'd expect from a kids magazine.  Nowadays teens have their internet, they can Tweet and Tumbl all they want, but nothing compares to the joy you got from seeing Shields and Yarnell on the cover.

Dynamite Magazine also had puzzles and toys to punch out and a page or two with drawing lessons.  Now, my artistic skills are weak, but they would have been stronger if I hadn't given up practicing when I was a kid.

Me, trying to draw my own hand.
I just never saw my work as good as my peers'.  For example, when asked to draw a picture of a monster, my classmates drew weird creatures with bone-shaped heads and extra legs.  I drew something I saw on Johnny Quest.

Remarkably, this looks an awful lot like my ex wife.
Shortly after I abandoned art, I saw a drawing page in Dynamite.  It described a world where the air was only two inches off the ground and instructed the reader to draw what the aliens on that world might look like.

I scoffed.  What would the aliens look like?  They'd look like any aliens who didn't need to breathe.   Or maybe wendigo-like monsters who could withstand the cold of being without an atmosphere.  Or very small creatures who lived within the atmosphere.

I enjoyed thinking about what I'd draw, but never had the confidence to draw it.  Every few years, I'd think back on that drawing task. This week, I tried to do it.

A large furry creature that has a trunk to get the air.
Tiny, bug-like creatures who live within the atmosphere.
I kind of like what I did.  Makes me think I should go back to an assignment I wish I'd done differently in grad school.

What do you think; should I make a catalog of cybernetic body enhancements?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Winchester Mystery Rumor

The Winchester Mystery House is the spookiest old mansion in the country. 

If you're not familiar with the Winchester Mystery House, it has a spooky history.  It's a 161-room mansion built by Sarah Winchester, who inherited much of the Winchester Repeating Arms fortune.  She was a strong believer in spiritualism and was convinced by a medium that the ghosts of everyonekilled by Winchester rifles were out to get her.

The medium, who was married to a contractor, convinced Mrs. Winchester that the only way to evade their revenge was to build a house and keep adding on to it, and so she built like mad.  She didn't care what the house looked like and had her team of contractors build stairways that went nowhere, rooms without floors, windows blocked by other walls, and doors that opened up to open air. So she continued to build rooms on to the house until the day she died. 

Her story is a warning to people to not trust psychics.  It's a reminder that hucksters will take advantage of the credulous.  It's a sad tale about the treatment of the mentally ill.

It's also complete bullshit.

I recently went on the Winchester Mystery House tour and they took us to something called The Seance Room.  It was a room with secret doors she used to sneak away from pursuing ghosts.  While our guide showed us how she could sneak out through a hidden window, I asked how we knew the story about the medium was true.  Was there any documentation?

How do you know she was crazy? Count the coat hooks!
No, seriously, that's their evidence.
"It's not written anywhere," he said.  "It's a rumor."

I was floored.  The great, compelling story I'd been fascinated by, with all its curses and ghosts, was a fable created by newspapermen to generate sales.

The truth is, she just liked making rooms.
Yeah, but fun.
At first, she had an architect, but he quit after working with her on just one room (probably because she insisted on adding another candle to a chandelier so it had 13 candles, her favorite number).  After he left, she became her own architect, sketching what she wanted on a piece of paper and handing it to the workers.

The workers, meanwhile, were paid and treated very well.  She even installed extravagances (such as indoor plumbing, heating, and toilets) to make their lives easier.

In the end, it seems she used her wealth not in a terrified quest to avoid evil but in the eccentric fulfillment of what gave her joy.  She built for fun.

From the looks of it, she had more fun than anyone else.

Friday, February 3, 2017

My Addiction and Recovery

Leader: Who's next?

[I step onto the stage.]

Leader: And what's your name?

Me: Hi everybody.  My name is Matthew, and I'm an addict.

Leader: Really?  Well, now, what are-

Me: What are they?  I just got over a coke addiction.  Really a My Coke Rewards addiction.  I desperately saved rewards points hoping to get the big prizes.

Only it was a scam.  I'd save up almost enough, only to find they'd made them cost more.  I'd beg friends and family members for their codes.  I'd dig them out of the trash.  Sometimes I went so far as actually drinking Coke!

[The audience gasps in horror.]

Well, I finally kicked the habit.  Or, really, they cancelled my account because I hadn't logged in often enough.
I just threw all of these away.  It hurt.
Leader: How awful! Well, if that's all-

This circle should be all blue.
Me: I'm still addicted to arguing with strangers on Facebook.  It usually ends when someone insults me.  Then I respond with:
Insulting a stranger through the safety of the internet is the lowest form of cowardice.  I'm not sure if you got this way because of the sexual abuse you suffered at the hands of your parents or the men who pay you for sex, but it reflects badly on your character.  Whatever the cause, you are no longer worth my time.
Audience: That's hysterical, and I bet it shuts them up, too!

Me: I'm addicted to not finishing my novel.

Leader: That's not an addiction.

Me: Well, I've been working on my current novel for a couple of decades.  I keep rewriting it because it's awful.

My last novel
Leader: Well, maybe you should try working on it right now.

Me: If you think so.

[I leave the kindergarten auditorium.]

Leader: Okay, back to the school talent show.  Next up Mitzi and Craig singing I'm a Little Teapot!  Give them a big hand...

Thursday, January 26, 2017

GDC Gift Poll 2017

Every year since 1997, I've gone to the Game Developer's Conference.  I hang out with game people, have game conversations, and go to game talks.  I also get the spokes-models to take ridiculous pictures with me.  Mostly I collect all the weird, random things the companies are giving away.

Two years ago, I decided I'd start giving things away, too.

I stocked up on tiny stuffed animals and handed a few out.  Then a few more.  I gave away almost a hundred, having to make several runs to the local party store to get enough.

The next year, I went with PlaDoh.  At first, I thought it would be a huge flop.  It wasn't.  Let me tell you, there's nothing like handing someone you respect a jar of PlaDoh and having her face light up.  Again, I had to run to the store to buy more.

This year, I'd like to give away something again.  I'd like your help choosing.  Here's what I've got so far:

Silly Putty
This was the runner-up from last year.  I never got into it as a kid and had to look up what it did, exactly. Seems it bounces, oozes, and cracks.  It also picks up newsprint, but who has a newspaper anymore?

Party Poppers
Advantage: Big enough to put my name and number on them.
Disadvantage: Sounds like the beginning of a mass shooting.

Stuffed Dinosaurs or PlaDoh
Because I'm not all that original.

Spirit Levels
Not much fun, but I am going to a video game conference.  When I meet people, I could say "Hey, you met me!  That's an achievement.  Here, gained a level."

Ha.  Ha.  Ha.

Or just suggest something.  I'm game.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Inauguration 2017

When I was in sixth grade, I noticed some kids were part of a secret conspiracy.  During reading groups, they'd sneak away and return an hour later without any explanation.  I made a list of what they might be doing:

  • Cow tipping
  • Tractor pull
  • Sowing corn

You know, the usual stuff kids do when they live in East Central Illinois.  I read the list over and scratched out "Cow tipping."  There weren't any cows nearby.

After a while, I realized they had treasure when they came back.  They had hard candy.  I scratched out my previous list and wrote a new one:

  • Pick-pocketing
  • Beating up kids for their lunch money
  • Reading to the blind elderly in nursing homes.

You know, the usual stuff kids do in East Central Illinois.

It occurred to me that I could just ask where they were going.  However, I sported a terrible haircut and coke-bottle glasses, and as I was into computers, science fiction, and Dungeons and Dragons. Asking was likely to get me beaten up during recess.  Kids like me weren't allowed to talk to kids like them.

You know them: the ones who were praised for picking on kids like you.  The bullies.

One day the teacher mentioned a special reading group, and it all clicked into place.  These kids who picked on me, ridiculed me, hit me were all smarter than I was.  They went off to do advanced reading while the rest of us toiled away in our ignorance.

I decided to get into that class.  Once, my teacher noticed I'd skipped ahead in the math book and done some beginning algebra exercises (variables, easy for anyone who'd programmed), and she'd put me in the advanced math group.  I'd try that again.

But nothing seemed to work.  Not reading out loud.  Not correcting other kids when they mispronounced a word.  Not reading extra books.  I got nothing out of it (although I did get approved for additional bullying at recess).

Finally, I approached my teacher.  "I think I should be in the special reading group."

She picked her words carefully.  "I don't think you qualify."

I didn't give up.  There was free candy at stake.  Free candy your parents couldn't stop you from eating.

I fell back on the last refuge of the overly-pampered: I nagged.  I wheedled.  I begged.

Eventually, my teacher agreed to let me try out.  I was taken to the band room and given an article to read aloud.  It was about wooly mammoths and, as a lover of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, I plowed through it.  They asked me a few questions about the material, which I answered easily.

"That was thirteenth reading level," they said.

I smiled, proud of myself.

"You don't need to be in this class."

The smile fell.  They noticed my disappointment.

"Why do you want to be in a remedial reading course?"

These kids weren't sneaking out for advanced reading.  They were sneaking out for regressed reading.  The unfairness overwhelmed me.  They were worse at something than me, but were rewarded for it.

And the world clicked into place.  We reward those who are below average.  It rankles to this day.  Actually, it rankles more this day in particular.

Why?  Because we just made Donald Trump president.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Lily's Litter Litany: An Appraisal of Toilet Technologies

Lily is a white, ragdoll cat living in Northern California.  One of her owners calls her "Princess Lilykins," which causes her other owner to run into the bathroom and make noises like he's coughing up a hairball.  Lily's hobbies include sticking her wet nose in people's exposed skin and eating revolting things off the floor.

Hello cats of every breed!  I'm Lily!

It's time again for my annual review of the current toilet choices available to today's feline.  Let's get started, shall we?  First up is...

The Floor

Nothing beats the floor.  It's smooth, accessible, and annoys the fuck out of your owner when you go there.

Now, sometimes my owners try to make the floor inaccessible by taping aluminum foil down to make it feel wrong or stacking boxes along the walls so there isn't enough room.  If this happens, you may have to resort to...

Laundry Baskets

If I have to pee, I love the convenience of a laundry basket.  These are always lying invitingly around by the washer.  

I've used three varieties:
  • The Low Basket
    Old reliable.  Easy to get over the sides.  Plenty of white space to make into yellow space.
  • The Medium Basket
    I'd just gotten into a routine of taking a leak in the low basket, when they were replaced with these medium baskets.  Much higher sides.  Much narrower bottom.  It was quite a challenge to go in
  • The High Basket
    As you can see, this is the basket with the highest sides and the smallest space at the bottom.  I'm still trying to take a leak in it.  I'll let you know when I manage.  Really, my owner will let you know (there'll be a lot of shouting).

Let's go to the worst-case scenario: the floor is inaccessible and there's isn't any laundry being done?  You might have to actually use the litterbox.  Horrible, I know!  Even though my owner scoops it several times a day and dumps out the whole thing every week, I'd go just about anywhere else (and I have)!

Still, sometimes you have to do the disgusting.

Some other things I've had to use include...

Storage Box

Sometimes, after you've shat on the floor a million times, your owners try something new.  A different litter.  "De-stressing" hormone sprays.  Screaming really loud in your face.  One time, my owners bought the largest storage box they could find and filled it with litter.

I used it twice.

Then my owners got really desperate.  They bought...

The Automatic Litter Box

These are a great malfunction-prone, expensive alternative to the boring one made of plastic that works for every other cat in the known universe.

I like it.  It's fun to watch.  When you're done watching it go around and around, you can poop on the floor.


And again.

And again.

Thanks for reading!  See you next week, if my owner hasn't followed through on his threat on what he'd do if I pooped on the floor again!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Blogger's Block

There four major problems with being a blogger:

  • Nobody reads blogs anymore
  • Nobody reads blogs anymore
  • Nobody reads blogs anymore
  • "Blog" is a pretty awful word

In an attempt to track the first three problems, I looked into my search terms.  If you haven't paid attention to my  previous  search  terms  posts, then you're not my mother, and why are you reading my blog?

Seems Google, in their continuing struggle to protect me from easy material for my blog, stopped collecting the words people used to find my blog.  All I was left with a list of my most popular posts this week:
Wait, what?
Yeah, one of my most popular posts was from nearly five years ago.  If you're one of all both my readers, you know that, a few years back, I got desperate and started naming posts to grab attention. I never expected it would work.  

It certainly wouldn't have worked for five years.

No way.

Something must have happened recently to cause people to search for her.

I looked at my stats for my entire blogging "career."
Aaaand shit.

Number one has pictures of video game characters having sex.

Number two is a post claiming I have naked pictures of someone I don't have.

Number six is a post claiming I have naked pictures of someone I don't have.

Number seven is a post claiming I have...

Well, you get the idea.

Next week I'm posting naked photos of Alessandro Ambrosio.  I totally have nudes of her.

Thanks for summing this whole blog, Alessandro.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Tombstone My Wife Predicts

On the positive side, I don't have to drive for a while.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Dungeons and Dragons and the Election, Part 2

Johnny's Half Shell restaurant back room.

Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders sit down at a table, stained with human blood.  Sanders sits at the head of the table and lays out his campaign material.  He looks around.

Sanders: Where's Don?

Clinton: Burning in Hell?

Stein: "Let's change Dungeon Masters!" we said.  "Let the dice decide!" we said.

Sanders: Come on.  He won the roll fair and square.

Clinton: No, I won fair and square.  I got more points.  He just got three natural twenties.

Stein: We should make sure he didn't use loaded dice.

Sanders: Rules are rules.  He's DM now.

Clinton: If he shows up.

Sanders: Well, I'll just continue with the campaign until he does.  So, we were at the battlements of Alcarno...

Everyone looks at Gary Johnson.

Johnson: I know where Alcarno is.

Sanders: Good.  So, if you'll all get out your character sheets...

Johnson: What's a character sheet?

Donald Trump enters with an entourage of four identical, rich, white men.  He walks over to where Sanders is sitting.  Sanders, after a moment, stands and steps away from his campaign.  Trump sits.

Trump: So, I'm DM now.  This is going to be the best game.  Let's get started.

Sanders: Let me just explain what I've been doing.

Trump: I'm a smart guy.  I don't need to hear it.

Trump's phone beeps.

Trump:  'Scuze me a second.  (Types)  Fuck, you Saturday Night Live.

Sanders: It's just that I wrote up this table here, see?  You roll a D8 to decide what magical plane is intersecting the city at--

Entrourage: (sweeps dice on the floor) Dice are stupid.

Trump's phone beeps.

Trump: (typing) Fuck you, China.

Stein: How do I know if I've hit anything?  I've got an 18 dex, but if I'm not-

Entourage: (ripping up the character sheets) No sheets.  No stats.  No values.

Clinton: That's Trump's campaign in a nutshell.

Trump's phone beeps.

Trump: (typing) Fuck you Vanity Fair.

Sanders: Okay.  Uh.  Okay.  We were standing over here, on this corner of the-

Entourage: (crumpling up map) No maps.  No more planning.

Clinton: Also Trump's campaign in a nutshell.

Trump's phone beeps.

Trump: (typing) Fuck you, Bill Clinton.

Clinton: Can we just move on with the campaign?

Entourage: (throwing out the rest of the gaming materials) Dungeons and Dragons is the work of 

Trump: I guess we're done here.

Trump and his entourage leave.  Sanders, Stein, Johnson, and Clinton look at each other.

Clinton: Well, we can try again in four years.

Johnson: What happens in four years? 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My Letters to the Electoral College

I've recently started work on sending letters to members of the Electoral College to beg them to vote against Donald Trump.  It's a long shot (like "snowball's chance in Hell"), but I feel pretty guilty about not participating much in the campaign, so I have to do something.

I was following the information at directelection.org, but the sample letters were a little...  Impersonal.  I started writing my own.  Over time, however, they got a little extreme. Here's the first few I wrote.

Dear Elector.

I realize you must be getting a lot of these letters, lately.  I'd like to add my voice to those asking you to not vote for Donald Trump.

Until recently, I just assumed electors were invented to keep the needs of cities from overwhelming those of rural areas.  I just assumed your job was to rubber stamp your state's majority.

However, I'm now accepting that there was wisdom in the Founding Fathers' desire to give some choice to our representatives.  You are a check and balance on the electorate itself.
To paraphrase Shakespeare: you have hands, organs, senses, dimensions, affections, and passions.  You are not just a stamp, you're a person with judgment.

Please use it now.

Dear Elector:

There are three million people out there whose votes were nullified by the Electoral College.  While I bow to the wisdom of the Founding Fathers to create the College in the first place, it seems criminal to effectively say to those voters "Yeah, you might as well have stayed home."
Is it the will of the people to ignore the will of the people?

Please vote your conscience.

Dear Elector,

Our president-elect has made it to his position through lies and misdirection.
Fake news stories gave people false information.  Donald Trump lied more than any politician has in the modern era (see Politifact, if you don't believe me).

However, none of that is what troubles me.  What troubles me is that Russia manipulated this election to get a president they wanted.  They manipulated the election to reduce America's standing in the world.  They manipulated this election to break us.

And they're going to win, unless you act.

Dear Elector!

I don't know much about your state.
Do you have many poor?  They're going to do worse under a President Trump.
Do you have small businesses?  More of them are going to close under a President Trump.
Do you have an LGBTQ community?  They're going to be oppressed under a President Trump.
Do you have an environment?  It's going to be destroyed under President Trump.
Are you part of America?  It'll collapse under a President Trump.

Please stop him!

Dear Elector...

Didn't get tickets to Hamilton?  Of course not.  Nobody did.

But you can still be a Hamiltonian Elector!  Isn't that nearly as cool?  You can even dress up as Hamilton and play the soundtrack while you cast your vote against Donald Trump!

Think about it!

[Dear Elector]

Donald Trump is going to be president.


Yeah, I'm going back to the premade letters.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Jaws vs. Trump

Back in October, Mike Huckabee went on Megyn Kelly's insisted Donald Trump was like Quint, a character from the movie Jaws.
Huckabee: He’s vulgar, he’s salty, he might even get drunk ... But he’s the guy who’s gonna save your butt and save your family. And so, when he kills the shark, you’re happy about it.  
Kelly: I hate to be the one to tell you this.  Captain Quint got eaten by the shark.  
Huckabee: Look, any analogy can fall apart.
Actually, the analogy doesn't fall apart at all.  Let us compare the two.

We first meet Quint when he scratches his fingernails across the chalkboard to get people's attention.
And he drew a picture to help them understand.
We first met Donald Trump when he came down an escalator and told us we were going to be killed and raped by Mexicans.

"And some, I assume, eat people."
When everyone realizes they need help, he smashes the radio so they can't call for help.

Destroying your own equipment is the sign of a seasoned fisherman.
Trump, also has problems with calls.

Quint ignores his colleagues and pushes his boat beyond what is safe, destroying it in the process.


Well, we'll see what he does with the nation.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Netflix Is the Best Medicine

No post last week because I was ill (surprisingly not from the Thanksgiving meal).  In my present, weakened state, I have little energy for working, cleaning, bathing, or...  Well, anything other than lying in bed and watching Netflix.

I just watched the first two seasons of The Flash.  My recommendation: stick to season 1 and skip through any scene with Iris.

Anyway, I felt bad leaving you humorically-challenged* for another week, so here's my quick contribution to the quality of your life.

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages (I mean that) I give you a screen capture from my computer.  I call it "When Netflix Goes Bad."

Jaws: Just when you thought it was safe to watch a kids movie.
* Humorically-challenged is a registered trademark of ICanFunE Corporation.  Infringement of said trademark can result of a fine of no less than 1800 deutschmarks or having to listen to all of Iris's moving, emotional statements from The Flash, season 2.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Funniest Thing This Week

It's been a weird week, and I've been having trouble finding something funny.

I was going to post this:
Not really silly, but certainly a joke.
Then I thought I might talk about this quote about the electoral college I heard on the radio the day of the election:
Gore's popular vote margin came from earning 1.3 million more votes than Bush in California. Should Californians have been able to "overrule" the rest of country and install their overwhelming favorite in the presidency?
I'd been pro-electoral college until I heard it.  I've moved from state to state throughout my life, and its power has diminished each time.

(Here's a handy chart if you want to know how powerful your vote is.)

But everyone has been talking about the electoral college.  Then, while looking through YouTube to find something to amuse me, in the Politics Channel and saw this.

That's an 11-month old baby stuck in there among all the political commentators and reporters.  So, ladies and gentlemen, here is the funniest thing you'll see this week.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The One Thing That Matters

She was predicted to win in almost every single scientific poll.
Polls don't matter.

She was endorsed by dozens of newspapers, hundreds of celebrities, and even conservative groups that never endorsed a democrat before.
Endorsements don't matter.

She beat him in every debate.
Debates don't matter.

The democrats outspent the republicans.
Money doesn't matter.

He was opposed by nearly every important figure in his own party.
Alliances don't matter.

The Republican National Convention was a horrible mess of fear-mongering and C-list celebrities. The Democratic National Convention was polished and inspiring.
Conventions don't matter.

She spent her life in public service while he spent his making shady deals and breaking promises.
Experience doesn't matter.

He's suggested he'll disband NATO, cooperate with Putin, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and violate environmental agreements.  His economic plan has been excoriated as disastrous to the economy.
Policy doesn't matter.

He bragged about assaulting women.
Sexism doesn't matter.

He threatened and denigrated minorities.
Racism doesn't matter.

He is egotistical, narcissistic, and vicious.
Character doesn't matter.

He wants to jail his political opponent and suggested she should be killed.
The law doesn't matter.

He praised foreign espionage against his own country's citizens.
Security doesn't matter.

His followers have been emboldened to attack religious and ethnic minorities.
Community doesn't matter.

Black lives don't matter.  Brown lives don't matter.  Transgender lives don't matter.  Gay lives don't matter.  Women's lives don't matter.  Muslim lives don't matter.  Children's lives don't matter.
Nothing matters.

Except one thing.
You matter.

What you do for the next four years matters.

You're going to watch this country fall like burning leaves around you.  Your communities will rip themselves apart in hatred.  You'll see children attacked, friends threatened, and strangers assaulted, murdered, expelled.  You're going to see species go extinct, the air fill with coal dust, wildlife refuges closed down.  You're going to see the economy, America's standing in the world, and years of progress collapse.

You're going to watch smug bigotry in full bloom.

You're going to consider running away to another country, but you're going to stay.

And you're going to fight it.

For the next four years you're going to fight harder than ever.  You won't just "stand with them" in spirit.  You won't just post your defiance on social media.  You won't just wait for the next vote.
You're going to do something.  You have to.

You have to stand between the vicious and the defenseless.  You have to run for office.  You have to campaign.  You have to spend.  You have to speak out.

Now get started.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Halloween Honor System

We've all come across those houses on Halloween night where the owners are too lame to answer the door.  They put out a box of candy with a sign that orders you to only take one, sometimes with the threat that they'll be watching you.

Of course, nobody stops at one.  In my misspent youth, I stayed out all night, waking elderly neighbors and disgruntled losers in my unending search for candy.  Once I came across such unguarded trove, I took the whole thing.

Ah, to be young and a jackass again.  Well, I'm only halfway gone.

Anyway, when I got old, I realized I didn't want to stay up all night to answer the door anymore.  I put candy out in a plastic cauldron with a note to share and be kind.  Some punk not only took all the candy, but stole the cauldron as well.

This year, I was more careful.  I put the remaining candy in a cardboard box.

The seeds are left behind from the three pumpkins devastated by rampaging squirrels

Then I attached a most terrifying note.
Can't believe I mis-wrote the K in thanks.
 It said:
 Please Take One
Okay, you won't, but at least try.  Candy is awesome, but it's only a couple of bucks at the store.  When you grow up, you'll see how meaningless it is.  That's when you'll understand your own mortality.
This year, the note was successful.  The box wasn't stolen.  Some of the candy was even left behind (along with the tears of several children's broken souls).

Score one for the disgruntled losers!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

[Put Funny Title Here]

As always, I'm busy this time of year.  I've got Halloween on my doorstep, Thanksgiving around the corner, and Christmas sneaking up behind me with a stiletto.

So, instead of my usual, insightful but hysterical posts, I'm going to drop a bunch of pictures from my phone and tell you why I thought they were funny enough to capture for posterity.

First of all, the two best packaged condiment of all time:
They make a lot of sauces in dynamite containers.  Wonder what kind of packaging they have for their explosives.

I noticed this sign in a Subway bathroom.  It's one of those signs that comforts patrons who are worried about the cleanliness of their food.
Notice the location.

Guys, it's a Subway. You can get cleaner food if you eat off the ground.

If you look closer at the sign...
See the bumpy things?
It's in braille.  So, imagine how the blind locate this sign.  They go into the bathroom.  Reach above the paper towel dispenser, and then feel around the grimy wall until they find the sign.  Even then, your hands are probably cleaner than Subway food.

Saw this at Ikea:
Made me want to buy a bunch of cheap clocks.

 I found this in the basement of a retirement home.  Why was I in the basement of a retirement home?  Funny you should ask.  Funny, funny, funny.
And we've reached peak old person.
I'd make a joke about how the elderly still use payphones and telephone books, but look at how many books there are.  There's a dozen, perfectly arranged.  Nobody's touched them.

Takeaway: Even the elderly don't use phone books anymore.

Seen on a sidewalk in my neighborhood.
You could, you know, talk to the guy.
I wonder if it worked.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The World's Most Pathetic Arcade Machine

If you've ever gone to an amusement park or an arcade or almost anywhere kids hang out, you've seen arcade merchandizers.

The most basic kind is the "claw machine" that became famous in Toy Story.
Makes more sense than Calvinism.
The basic idea behind merchandizers: you pay money for a chance to win a prize.  They're designed to make you think it's a test of skill, but they're built with a secret counter; you automatically fail four out of five times.

They're usually stocked with fabulous prizes so awesome you think it's worth trying to win a first generation Nintendo DS in front of your date and, while you're losing all the money you saved to take her out to dinner, she realizes she shouldn't have let her mother set her up on a blind date and ditches you while you're still trying to win, leaving you alone with your shattered dreams of a game console.

Or so someone told me.  The point is: don't use them.

On Wednesday, my kids were home from school for teacher rip-off in-service day.  They had too much energy (six hours in front of a TV with a Costco-sized bag of candy and a two-liter of Red Bull will do that).  So, I decided to take them to Sky High Sports, a giant, trampoline death trap billed as a combination amusement park/fitness studio.

There, between the "Foam in Your Eye" diving pit and the "Leg Breaker" bouncing room was this merchandizer.

"Wow!  I loved Flappy Bird!" -Nobody

Basic idea: you navigate the bird between a series of pipes.  If you can make it through to pipe twenty, you get one of four fabulous prizes.  What prizes?
"Gronk!" means "Han totally shot first."
That's right, they were giving away a figure from Disney Infinity 3.  If you're not familiar with Disney Infinity, I'm not surprised.  It was one of those games you had to buy the toys to play.  The only problem was: nobody wanted them.  They discontinued the game.

The merchandizer also had...
I find your clearance-rate prizes disturbing.
Darth Vader.  Have you noticed the little red sticker in the upper right, yet?  Those are Target price tags.  Someone went to the clearance racks and picked these up for half price.
War Machine and Han!
They also have Han Solo and War Machine.  If you don't know who War Machine is: he's the best friend of Iron Man.  If you don't know who Iron Man is, he's the best friend of Spider Man.  If you don't know who Spider...  Never mind.  You know who Spider Man is.  Everyone knows that.

But notice, it's not a War Machine Disney Infinity Toy.  It's a War Machine Hot Wheels.

Who would want a toy car based off a character who doesn't need a car (because he can fly)?
Nobody.  Nobody wants a War Machine Hot Wheels.  That's why it's in the most pathetic merchandizer in the world.

 I can't imagine anyone who would be desperate enough to put money into it, even if he was sitting around waiting for his kids to finish jumping around so he could go home.

Nope.  Can't imagine.