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.