Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Things I Do for You

It's hard to write for this blog, mainly because I seem to shut down every time I try to write humorous fiction (the main reason I started this thing in the first place). However, I feel bad when I fail to write something on a weekly basis. Still, it's hard to find time to sit and write something solely for this site, so I found a compromise: I have become a dork. The following is an ad I put up on Mountain View Freecycle for some rebar I no longer need (and, in fact, never needed). As you can plainly see, I am doing double-duty by making it suitable for this blog.

OFFER: Rebar! Rebar! Rebar!

You heard me: REBAR. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Well, heck I need a bunch of rebar.” This is your lucky day. Or night. Or whenever you’re reading this ad.

I am in possession of ten pieces (yes, TEN!) of three-foot-long, metal rebar. You heard me, the THREE-FOOT-LONG kind. It’s not that five-foot-long kind that has been blamed for global warming. It’s not that one-foot-long kind you can only use for illegal plastic surgery (not that I would ever THINK of doing such a thing). This is the good kind. It’s the famous three-foot-long rebar you can use for...


Well, you can use rebar for a lot of things. However, you certainly wouldn’t want to thread it through chicken wire to make a fence for your herb garden. Oh, no. Your wife and contractor will both tell you how dangerous it is, even though you can’t imagine how anyone would fall and hurt themselves on rebar. Then you’d have to yank it up and put in the right kind of posts, which are much more dangerous than simple rebar. And while you’re pounding the new posts into the ground with your wife’s ten-pound dumbbell because you don’t have a sledge hammer and you don’t want to go buy a new tool you’re only going to use once and you whack the heck out of your thumb in front of the infant so you can’t even scream just like that scene in Frank Herbert’s novel “Dune” so you just bounce up and down and squeeze your thumb like it’s going to do any good until you can get a band-aid around it like that ever does anything and....

Anyway, don’t do that.

I have placed the rebar on the driveway of our house in an attractive pattern that will remind you of a wheat sheaf from one of Van Gogh’s paintings if, you know, you were on drugs or something. Feel free to pick them up any time; no need to knock or anything.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Campaign Speech

Tonight, I successfully ran for Director of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the International Game Developer's Association. I won for two reasons: I ran unopposed and I had this cool campaign letter I sent out.

Here is the letter in its entirety.

My name is Matthew Kagle and I want to be your director. I have many qualifications for this job: industry experience in small development houses and large publishers and educational experience teaching game and level design (and English composition, when I’m desperate). I am also an IGDA member in good standing (i.e. paid up) and have been to more Game Developers Conferences than I can remember.

I believe the IGDA has a moral responsibility to represent the game industry to the world. We have done little to disprove the negative myths that surround our art form. The truth is, games are good for people. They make us smarter, they reduce violent tendencies, and arguably have a larger share of the market than any other form of entertainment; whereas we all know books, movies, and music rot your brain.

The new director should not only defend the respectability of our art form, but also strive to make the world a better place. I am committed to improve the world by making it emulate games. Imagine it: no more bending down to pick things up, a health bar conveniently installed on the bridge of your nose, an educational system that teaches you every life skill in one class, and cheat codes that make you immortal or, at least, immune to bullets. I don’t expect all of these changes to happen overnight. It will take years of work, lots of pizza nights at Kapps, and numerous Game Jams and speaker nights to bring my vision to reality.

Meanwhile, let me make you a promise that, as director, I will not use my position for personal gain. Sure, I could use a programmer or two, and I wouldn’t mind it if people bought me lunch, and who could blame me if I accepted a free game here and there? Overall, I intend to keep this institution as the bastion of integrity that it has always been. Or maybe more so. Probably a little less.

In parting, let me just say that I have been a staunch advocate of the game industry my entire career. Not only have I worked in the game industry, but I have taught hundreds of students to love and respect games and to throw sharp things at Jack Thompson whenever they can. If there is a higher commitment to our art form, I don’t know what it is.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Necessary Censorship

This is one of those stories you can never tell anyone. I’ve been dying to tell it, however, so I’m going ahead. I’m bleeping out the offensive (or, at least, disturbing) words, so you don’t have to gross out, but you should still be able to get the idea.

So, this one night, I suddenly feel like I have to BLEEP. It’s pretty bad, but I’m fighting the urge by lying still, drinking water, and concentrating. In fact, the urge to BLEEP is so bad that it wakes me up several times. Then, hours later, I realize I need to BLEEP. I go to the bathroom only to find that it’s not BLEEP but really BLEEP. So I’m BLEEPing and it’s going and going and then the BLEEP hits me. It’s not that bad, but bad enough that I lose the battle and realize I have to BLEEP after all.

And here’s the worst part: I suddenly realize that if I don’t finish BLEEPing before I BLEEP it’s going to BLEEP back at me.

Pretty gross, eh? Whew! I’m glad I finally got to tell someone!