Monday, February 28, 2011

GDC 2011 Report - Day 1

I'm at the Game Developer's Conference (GDC) this week. I'm not going to have much of a chance to post my usual, side-splitting essays about the metaphysics of morals or how limericks are really a ploy by the Communists to take away our collective bargaining rights. Instead, I will be posting about the conference itself.


 
I've been coming to this conference for... Um... Well, I'm honestly not all that sure. More than a decade. Maybe fifteen years? In that time I have only missed one conference (2006) due to a bad case of not wanting to spend the hundreds and hundreds of dollars it costs. In short, I know this conference inside and out and I know the interesting parts to report on.

 
You know, me. I mean, you don't want to hear about game innovations. You want to hear about how I had to stand in line for fifteen minutes to get a badge. (And then they pronounced my name wrong!)

 
Today, I want to talk about how my role as a game educator impacted my experience at the conference. In other words, what happens if you, a teacher, get spotted. Getting spotted by a student outside of class is one of the most difficult things for a teacher to endure. Thoughts run across your head like maddened warthogs:

 
  • Who the heck is this student?
  • Did he hate my class?
  • Did he recognize me, or can I sneak away?
  • Who the freaking heck is this guy?

 
Yeah, sure, sometimes the meetings are great. My father once ran into a student who happily told him how his class had changed his life. I don't get that. I just get the awkward meetings. I walk out of Best Buy and a student says hi. I smile and nod, knowing I had just failed him and worrying he was going to shoot me. You see, inside a classroom, I'm in charge. Students live or die on my word. I am a god. Outside a classroom, I'm just a weasely guy you had to listen drone on for a few weeks and then got a bad grade from. It's disconcerting.

 
Anyway, I was just spotted ten minutes ago. I went to ask where to recycle the giant mass of free advertising they hand you at GDC ("Do you want lots of money? Then spend lots of money on our product. Please!"). I went to a group of four volunteers manning a desk and asked where to... Um... Stick it.

 
After a moment, one of the guys said "Hey, I took your class!" I didn't remember him, but pretended I did. He told me how he was now a successful game designer. He mentioned he was in class with another student that I did remember (and failed). I nodded and smiled. I couldn't remember him and his career was going ever so much better than mine. I had to go to the bathroom and wipe myself down with moistened towelettes; it was just that unnerving.

 
In closing, a short suggestion to all past and future students: If you see your professor, don't make direct eye contact. I'm really scared of you.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I Still Hate Mail Merge

Over the past couple of weeks, I've received a flurry of email from recruiters. Normally, I'd take this as a compliment. However, a few things cause these emails to annoy me:

1. I can't take a real job for a couple of years (see my previous posts about being a parent).
2. The GDC is coming up fast, so I figure companies are just trying to recruit beforehand and save themselves the attendance fees.
3. They're all randomly generated and ask me to forward the jobs on to my friends.

I've posted this kind of letter before, but I felt it was time for a new one and have sent this around today.
Dear $RECRUITER_I_DONT_KNOW,


Thanks for sending me the offer of $JOB. I'm sure it took you hours of searching on $WEB_SERVICE to find me. I am not currently looking for a $JOB job, but would be happy to talk to you if I had.


I do have many friends in the $INDUSTRY industry, however, I have a long-standing policy against sending on bulk email offers to friends. You know how it goes; you send on an offer for herbal $ENHANCEMENT_DRUG or a chain letter and people start blocking your emails.


Good luck on your search!
$CLOSING

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Vacation report

You may have noticed that I haven't posted for a few days. I've been on vacation and had many and wondrous experiences that I'm not going to tell you about. I don't know about you, but I only like to hear about vacations that go badly. I'll listen for hours as people tell me how they had dysentery but no luggage as they trudged through a Tibetan sandstorm trying to figure out why the airline didn't take them to Hawaii like their tickets said. If someone tries to tell me about a vacation where they relaxed, had wonderful food, and expanded their spiritual horizons... Well, I'll either try to strangle them or fall asleep (Yes, Jessica, this is why I didn't read your blog about Japan yet.).

Since I don't want to alienate all both of my readers, the following is an account of all the bad things that happened on my vacation, magnified a thousand times. If it helps, read this out loud in a stereotypical New York Jewish mother voice.

Saturday
I was deathly ill and congested. As the plane descended, my ears couldn't equalize the pressure and I had sharp pains in my head for about an hour. Ow. It turns out that, when my wife told me she had packed pants for me, I had been dreaming. I still blame her. We went to my nephew-in-law's wedding in south west snomamawamadingdong. Or something like that. Our GPS died on us on the way there, probably choking on the name of the town. When we came across a wedding, we were so fed up from driving around lost, we went in without making sure it was the right one.

Sunday
In spite of being in the Pacific Northwest, you have to drive several hours to get to the snow. While the drive would be a gating factor for most people, everybody else decided to go sledding on the same day and the same place as us. Every fifteen minutes or so, we'd pass a sign that flashed "SERIOUSLY, NO PARKING. TURN BACK, JERK." We went anyway, circled the parking lot like a school of sharks (Do sharks school? Maybe we circled like a truant of sharks.) before finding spaces. Kids on sleds are like drunks in cars, crashing into each other at high speed before rolling out of their vehicles and laughing while spitting blood and teeth. I bruised my hip right where I keep my wallet, making paying for things even more painful than usual. Oh, that reminds me, on the way home I bought some pants. Ow.

Monday
Another long drive, this time to the Great Wolf Lodge in Big Lump or Creepy Hill or Giant Barrow Washington. I'm not sure; my GPS failed me again. The GWL is where they put all the rejected animals from the Disney Safari Cruise. They have this game where you wave toy wands at the animals and they light up or cough oil at you. It's supposed to be fun for kids, but adults have to listen to them running through the hallways all night looking for the magic chipmunk who will give them the lost amulet of Wopnoo. The line to check in was too long, so we went into the other area of the lodge: the indoor water park. I scraped my knee in the kiddie pool. Ow.

Tuesday
More finger-prune making in the water. More waving over-priced plastic wands at creepy statues of wolves. My younger son got my cold just as I was getting over it. We drove back to my brother's house slowly, playing Sesame Street songs the whole way, hoping he'd fall asleep. He did not. It snowed. Why did we drive to go sledding?

Wednesday
My parents arrived. I bought an XBOX Kinect and watched the kids (five boys for those of you keeping track at home) jump around the room, pretending to be contestants in a reality show. If they ever make a show called Real Juveniles of the North West, I blame myself (and Microsoft, because everybody blames Microsoft). We also saw Boeing's Museum of Flight and saw such marvels as the Concorde encased in so much protective plastic, you can't fit in the aisle and the collection of stewardess uniforms.

Thursday
We flew back. On the way there, Alaska Airlines failed to tell us when they changed our gate, making us nearly miss the flight. This time, we got to the right gate and were having lunch, when the airline announced they were boarding and were going to shut the doors in five minutes, so hurry the hell up already! We decided to hold off going to the toilet to get on the plane. Ow. Then we sat for an hour doing nothing before the plane took off. They claimed a United 777 airplane was blocking them, but I happen to know a United 777 pilot and it wasn't him, so I suspect foul play. On the bus ride back to the parking lot, some guy swore at my three year old for not covering his mouth when he coughed ("cut that s- out."). I threatened to cut his tongue out if he bad mouthed my kids again (although I did it about three hours after we got home).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

DBIM: Crank Yankers

Oh, yes.  I even notice the little ones.

Severity: 1
Genre: Television
Date: 2002
Description: In the title sequence, a bird sitting on a power line is electrified and explodes.
Mitigating Factors: None.
Aggravating Factors: None.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Proud Father (Number 3)

As I have said in two previous posts, there comes a time when you see a child following your footsteps and exceeding your own abilities and you just have to yell "That's my boy!" (or girl or whatever). I had another instance this morning.

Like my son I have always hated being deceived. I'd spend hours trying to figure out magician's tricks (I'm on to you, Blackstone) and trying to prove to my parents they were the tooth fairy.

It seems my son has taken it one step further. My wife found this note under his pillow this morning.




Der
Dear, momy
I'm Bordfo
mony can
I Have som.
Sothing
else




That's my boy!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tiger Mom vs Cthulhu Mom

If you haven't heard about Amy Chua's book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, then you haven't been on the internet. If you haven't been on the internet, then someone must have printed this blog out and handed it to you and I'm much more popular in third world countries than I thought.
If you happen to live in Zaire, here's a quick summary:

Ms. Chua raised her children with a very strict set of rules. They weren't allowed television, sleepovers, or playdates with friends. They had to get straight As and be the top of almost every class. If they disobeyed, she sold their toys, berated them, and told them she'd throw them out of the house.

Her book is controversial, mainly because most people thought she was unnecessarily coddling her children. Sure, Tiger Mom is a great strategy for grinding your children into the dust, but if you truly want to make your children succeed, if you really care about their future, you should try to be more like Cthulhu.

If you haven't heard of Cthulhu, then you haven't been on the internet. If you haven't... Hm, I'm getting a feeling of deja vu. Lemmie cut to the chase. Here's a picture of Cthulhu.



Imagine that's your mom.

Cthulhu is all about results. Cthulhu wouldn't fool around with his (her? its?) children's discipline. Cthulhu would make the little monsters succeed or kill them in the process.

Here's some examples of a Cthulhu Mom's rules:

• No rest breaks. Cthulhu sleeps in R'yleh for a vigintillion years; the kids can too. However, when that's over, they have to stay awake for the rest of eternity (unless someone hits them in the head with a steamship).

• No friends. Cthulhu's only friends are his worshippers that he gets TO EAT. Your kids can only make friends if they eat them.

• No music. Who cares if they can play the piano or violin? Cthulhu doesn't play an instrument (although I believe he does a mean "Lady of Spain" on the accordian).

• No school. Like music, school is a waste of time. What isn't a waste of time?

• Taking over the world. Children must spend all day, every day, corrupting the souls of innocents, killing those who oppose them, and practicing the black arts to bring the world under their sway.

I laugh at you, Amy Chua. Sure, your kids are child prodigies who perform violin at Carnegie Hall, but my kids are going to eat the world.

Beat that.

Monday, February 14, 2011

If I Could Draw: Tron-Zork

When Tron: Legacy came out, there were tons of billboard ads for the movie.  The ones that caught my eye were on the bus stops around San Francisco.  To make better use of the narrow space, they wrote the name of the movie vertically.  The only problem was that they also used a funky font and, sideways, the letters looked like completely different letters.

While everyone else saw Tron, I saw:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Common Parlance: Scott Bernard

I already did this one once, but I've changed the format of the Common Parlance entries, and thought it bore repeating.
When I was a teenager, cartoons were terrible. With the exception of the Transformers and about a third of GI Joe, there was very little available for an impressionable adolescent to latch on to and form harmful opinions on. That's where Japanese cartoons (or anime if you're snooty, or Japanamation if you're an idiot) came in. Japanese culture is very different than American culture, mainly because it's much cooler. In Japan, everybody carries around giant swords to behead each other with. In Japan, you can't die until you've written a poem celebrating your own death. In Japan, adults watch cartoons.

Back when I was a kid, anime had just started to filter into American culture. There wasn't much of it yet, but it was starting to make an impact. The vanguard of Japanimation was Robotech. Robotech was a set of three unrelated cartoons that were bought by Harmony Gold, an American company, redubbed (painfully), and presented as a single, seamless show. It was freaking awesome.

From the very beginning of the first show, where aliens come to Earth and proceed to rain death and destruction down upon the planet, I was hooked. There were things you could see in a Japanese cartoon that you would never see on an American cartoon: people dying, complicated sexual relationships, self-sacrifice, story arcs that continued from episode to episode, tentacle porn...

(Well, okay, they didn't have that last one, but it should have.)

In the third part of the saga, aliens have taken over the Earth and Scott Bernard, a lone soldier, crash lands back on the planet to help liberate it. Military technology is hard to come by and for many episodes, our hero and his friends have to fight off the enemy with motorcycles that transform into battle armor; they're painfully outmatched by the giant crab robots they fight.

Scott eventually discovers a giant robot/jet fighter machine called an Alpha Veritech. In a tense scene, two giant alien battle machines are bearing down on his team as they rush to ready the Veritech. Finally, Scott Bernard and the Veritech blast out of their hiding place. He presses a button, and panels open up all over the ship. A hundred rockets shoot forth and blow the two alien machines to hell. Afterwards, sitting on the floor and watching the credits roll, a thought slowly crossed my mind:

"So, what is he going to shoot with now?"

I mean, they've been scrounging for weapons and equipment for a dozen episodes, they're outmatched, they've only begun to make a dent in the enemy, and Scott Bernard decides to fire everything on the frigging ship?

From that day forth, whenever I saw someone use an overwhelming, self-destructive response to a tiny threat, I called it a Scott Bernard. You should, too.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

DBIM: Chicken Run

Some will take issue with my mention of this movie, since it's a pretty pro-bird film.  However, you never see a cat or dog movie where a cat or dog dies, do you?

Movie Name: Chicken Run
Severity: 1
Genre: Film
Date: 2000
Description: One of the chickens (Edwina) is singled out for not having produced enough eggs and is taken to the chopping block. The death is dramatic, but not gory.
Mitigating Factors: This is a very pro-bird movie. Killing chickens for food and keeping them in captivity is shown to be horrific.  The birds eventually escape their captivity in the end and live happily away from humans.  As I said, I hesitate to put it on the list.
Aggravating Factors: None.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

If I Could Draw: New Monsters

The reason I don't have real new year's resolutions, is because I have daily ones.  Every day, I try to push myself to improve my creative skills.  I'm supposed to:
  • Read - You can't write well if you don't read.
  • Write - Zelazny told me to write for 15 minutes every day, or I'll never write again.
  • Draw - Because every game designer should respect artists.
  • Code - Because every game designer should fear programmers.
  • Play - See "Read."
Since I'm trying to rewrite my novel, I need quicker blog entries.  So, I'm going to post some of my art endeavors from time to time.

Here's my latest watercolor.  It's my attempt to make up new monsters.

Jokes Only a Three Year Old Would Get

Here's a joke from my three year old.  It seems he's following in his older brother's footsteps.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: Because he had to poop on the road and the cars drove over it and went "PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP" and their wheels fell off!

Monday, February 7, 2011

What to Get Your Man for Valentine's Day

Ladies (and some men), you remember your last disappointing Valentine's Day present, don't you? You were sitting by a warm, crackling fire, snuggling with your hubby when he handed you a small, wrapped present. Flush with anticipation, you tore the box open, only to find a present that reduced your relationship to a cheap sexual joke. While you spent hours finding something for your man that exemplified your commitment, he bought you edible undies or a naughty keychain or something else that was similarly vile.

Days later, you noticed his gift in the trash and you got this nagging feeling in the back of your mind. Did he really think this was a good Valentine's Day present? And, if so, what did he think of YOUR present? Ladies (and some men), let me be honest with you: he hated it. He hated it a lot. The problem is there are fundamental differences in the way you and your man think. There isn't much you can do to understand him better, in spite of what Oprah might say, but you can learn to get him better gifts.

I've listed a bunch of Valentine's Day gift ideas below. They're in order of expense/difficulty but also in order of how much he'll love them/you. So, try to go for the ones at the top and, if you fail at that, work your way down.

Gift Idea One - Greatest Valentine's Gift Ever
The one thing a man wants, more than anything in the world, is a harem. Yeah, I know, he tells you he only wants you and you alone, and he makes a big show of being freaked out when watching Big Love, but that's what he wants, deep down. That's what all men want, deep down. Now, I don't expect either of my readers to get their men harems, they're expensive to buy and maintain, but keep it in mind for later. It will certainly make you "Number One" in your man's book (or whatever they call the "Primary Concubine").

Gift Idea Two - Show Him You're a Keeper
If you can't pull off a harem, there's a much less expensive and easier route: the threesome. You must have to have a hot single friend who tells you how hot you look after a few drinks. Or maybe you know someone who has had a bad breakup and needs something to rub in her ex's face. Sure, it'll be awkward the next time you three meet, but it's worth it to show your man that your friends are his friends.

Gift Idea Three - Do It for Him
If you don't have the money for a harem or the deepness of commitment for a threesome, there's always That Thing. You know what I mean. He's asked for it but you won't do it. You've made it clear that it's That Thing You Won't Do In the Bedroom and he needs to get over it. He's been sensitive and backed off after proposing it (ten or twenty times), but he still thinks about it. Don't believe me? Walk over to him and offer to do That Thing right now. Go on. Wait, he took you up on it? He's getting out that leather riding crop? Oops! Too late to back out now. Happy Valentine's Day!

Gift Idea Four - Romantic Instead of Kinky
Not into the Harem? Afraid of the Threesome? Read to the last sentence of That Thing and chickened out? Really looking for something nonsexual to give for Valentine's Day? Okay, let me think. Erm. Nope, I got nothing. Just go ahead and get whatever you were going to get him anyway. Sure, he's not going to really like it; he's going to just unwrap your present, smile unconvincingly, and daydream about what I listed above. But look on the bright side, he's not going to get you what YOU really wanted either. Why reward him for getting you THAT?
Hope this helps! Have a great Valentine's Day.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tiger Kids

When I was at school one day (I'm not exactly sure when, but I was going to Oakland School, so it must have been between Kindergarten and 2nd grade) and sitting on a piece of playground equipment shaped like a big shoe, I noticed some big kids talking below me. They probably weren't all that big, but from my perspective, they seemed like adults.

"You know, Bengal tigers are really sweet," one said.

"Yeah, I read that," the other said.

"Once, I was at a zoo and I tripped. My hand went out INTO the Bengal Tiger's cage. I thought, 'oh no!' but all it did was give me a little lick."

I thought about that fact for years, mulling it over in my head. How strange that a tiger would do that. How odd that you could just trip and stick your hand inside.

It's only now, decades later, that I realize those kids were trying to get me killed. Sometimes, I still wonder: were they saying that to everyone or were they specifically targeting me?

Friday, February 4, 2011

DBIM: Charmed (Episode 68)

The Dead Birds in Movies list is one of my personal demons.  It's a list of all of the times I've watched or read about a bird getting killed in a movie, television show, or book.  I used to be a bird owner, and it upsets me that almost any time you see a bird in a move, it has been put in just to get killed.  Nobody believed me, so I just started writing a list.  The list is pretty huge at this point.

Episode Name: Charmed Again
Severity: 1
Genre: Television
Date: 2001
Description: One of the main character's boyfriends is possessed by a demon without her knowledge. When he walks into her apartment, her pet bird freaks out. He looks at the bird and it vanishes in a puff of flame.
Mitigating Factors: None
Aggravating Factors: After killing the bird and "eating" it, he jokes that he doesn't need to have lunch because he "already ate."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Conversation with a Boss Monster

So, I'm working on this game -- and when I say "working on" I mean: sitting back and watching while my programmers and artists do the heavy lifting -- when my programmer (Hi Paul!) comes up with this new idea for in-game artificial intelligence. (By the way, don't talk about "getting your hands dirty in AI work" with biologists, for them AI means "Artificial Insemination").

Anyway, my programmer wanted the game to secretly turn the computer's microphone and listen to what noises the player made or the things the player said. By eavesdropping on the player, we could have the monsters and enemies react more realistically. After a few months of work, he sent me a preliminary build of the game and I tried it out.

For a while, I played the game and nothing interesting seemed to happen. Okay, a few of the little monsters seemed to jump and run away when I coughed, but nothing else seemed to happen. Then I hit the "boss monster." If you're not into games, a boss monster is a giant, difficult enemy, usually placed at the end of an area. This boss was enormous. It was a giant, reptilian beast with three eyes, teeth bigger than its head, and enormous muscled arms that could reach halfway across the screen. I tried to kill it a few times, but I kept dying. I got frustrated, went away, came back, died, and left and came back and died a few more times before shouting into the microphone in rage.

The monster stopped and blinked at me.

"Hi," I said, stopping in front of it.

"Hi," it said back in a strange, guttural voice.

"Why are you doing this?" I said.

It blinked. Somewhere inside my computer, an AI algorithm clicked away, trying to figure out what to do.

"I serve the Ur Lord of Krelth," it said, reciting from the story I wrote in the design doc. "We will crush the Elf Queens of the Nether Valley and destroy the world."

"Yeah," I said. "But why?"

It blinked again and I sensed the whirring of the AI.

"The Ur Lords will reward me with land and jewels and-"

"Won't you die when the world blows up?"

It scratched its chin with one unsettlingly long fingernail.

"Seems you have a problem," I told it. "You must have noticed that I keep coming back every time you kill me."

It nodded, it's eyes gleaming red with annoyance.

"You're obviously pretty good, but I'll eventually win and kill you."

It snarled. I sensed it was the wrong thing to say.

"Or you could keep killing me until I give up," I said hastily. "Which means I'll just turn off the computer, and you die, or cease to exist, or whatever and, even if I don't, the world will blow up and you'll die. See, either way, you lose."

"So, what do I do?"

"Desert your post. Go find a forest somewhere. Eat stray hikers. Find a girlfriend-"

"Boyfriend."

"Sorry, boyfriend. Have lots of kids. Join the PTA and complain about lack of school funding. Meanwhile, I'll go kill the Ur Lords and stop them from blowing up the world. What do you say?"

Without a word, it turned and walked off the screen. A week later, Paul called me all freaked out. It seems we had a server crash and the game was damaged; the "bog monster" had been deleted from the game.

I don't know about you, but I'm not going to hike in any forests for a while.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Years Resolutions

I almost failed to get all of my New Years Resolutions from last year. However, I just managed to write a list of resolutions for 2011, so I pulled it off.
This year I resolve to:
  • Lose weight. I'm not going to lose so much weight as to actually be satisfied and happy with my body. No, I'm going to lose a few pounds and then spend the rest of the year feeling fat and unaccomplished (but not so depressed as to make me decide to go on a diet.)
  • Complete a project. I'm not going to complete the projects that I really need to complete or the ones that are the most important. I'm going to complete the little, easy ones that I don't really care about.
  • Travel the world. Not the whole world, mind you. Just the part from my house to work and back again.
  • Conserve fuel. The fuel I want to conserve is in a red, plastic container in my shed. I used to use it to fill up the lawn mower, but if I just sit on the couch, I'll never use it up.
Yeah, I feel pretty good about those. I was going to add "write a new years resolution list," but that sounds like pushing myself too hard.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Matthew vs. the Trenta

When I heard about Starbuck's new enormous sized drink, my reaction was probably the same as yours:

It is ON Starbucks!

"But it's ten more ounces!" the critics whine. "It's the size of two Grandes!"

"HA!" I thought. "I laugh at your pitiful attempts to dissuade me from drowning my nerve cells in pure caffeine. I am more man than you."

OR WAS I? How could I know until I tried it? So, I went to my local Starbucks to order one.

"I understand you have a new gigantic drink size," I said.

"Yes, the Trenta," the man/barista (manrista? bariman?) told me. "But it's not out until tomorrow, February first."

"Curse you!" I screamed to the skies, and ordered my usual (tall, white chocolate mocha).

However, I was determined to be the first blogger to cover this new phenomenon, so, I came back first thing in the morning. Well, I was going to go first thing, but then I had to take my kids to school. And the car had to go into the shop. And I needed a new suit for the two weddings I'm going to this year (stupid moths eating my stupid suits). And I had to pick the car up again. And of course, to stop in to see my kids and take them to the bathroom.

But NOW I'm HERE.

"I understand you have a new, giant sized coffee!" I said to Dave, my favorite coffee guy (guyrista? baruy?).

"Yes," he said, holding up a giant, see-through cup large enough to suffocate an elephant. "But it's only for iced drinks. It's for the deep south where people drink giant iced teas. You can't be a serious southerner if you don't have a giant iced tea."

My world spun confusingly. I didn't drink iced coffee.

"See, the problem is I don't actually like coffee," I explained. "I like coffee ice cream-"

"I LOVE coffee ice cream," Dave agreed.

"Yeah, so I get a white chocolate mocha because that's pretty much just hot, coffee ice cream."

Dave thought about it and came up with a drink for me: iced coffee with vanilla shots, and 2% milk. They couldn't put whipped cream on it because they didn't have a top that went with it. There was some consternation in the making since nobody at the store had been trained to make a Trenta drink, so they just guessed how many shots I needed.

Here's my other barista dude (durista? barude?) handing me my Trenta. It was the second he had ever made.  Dave is in the background.

This is a pretty big drink. (Surprisingly, it wasn't all that expensive. It was only $3.35 with tax.) I decided to take it out to the station and take a picture of it with a train to give you an idea of just how big the Trenta is.

Thomas says: "Bust my buffers! That's one disturbingly large coffee."

Anyway, I was planning on writing about my experiences trying to down the coffee. There were going to be progressive shots of the drink getting smaller. I was going to write about how my nervous system was shredding me and take blurry pictures of the cup since my hands were shaking. Maybe I'd make it look like I was hallucinating. Eventually, I was either going to throw up (a la Super Size Me) or have a picture of me pouring it into the toilet. However, about two paragraphs into writing this piece, about the time I wrote "CURSE YOU," my drink looked like this.

I guess it wasn't all that big a drink to begin with. Still, I feel like drinking it has made me more of a man. More of a man than you, anyway.

 OR CAN YOU HANDLE THE TRENTA?!