Posted tagged ‘games’

Tending the cobwebs

February 5, 2014

Wow. This place. I had almost forgotten it existed. I mean, I knew it was here, silently mocking me with goals I had set for myself and deliberately avoided for various reasons that only make sense to another lazy person. But yeah, this place…

Originally, I started this blog as a way to exercise my fat, lazy grey matter in an effort to motivate myself enough to write something serious. Now don’t get your feathers all in a soggy bunch, bloggers. What many of you do in your personal spaces far exceeds anything I could pump out if I had a team of non-lazy assistants constantly nagging me to get my fingers in gear and type something. You’re informed, you’re witty and you make me laugh and think.

When I say I wanted to motivate myself to write something serious, I meant any one of the numerous writing projects I start and then hide in a pile of old clothes that don’t fit me and hope that something seeps onto the pages I’ve abandoned from the wardrobe items I’ve abandoned. You know, misery loving company and all. Enter NaNoWriMo last year.

For those who aren’t aware, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, where you sign up and have the entire month of November to procrastinate writing an entire book. Fifty thousand words is the goal, and for those who write every day, it’s an easily achievable goal. For me, it was a lesson in how motivated I can get in the first and last week of the contest. But the end result was the same as everyone else who “won” last year: I put at least 50k words down on digital paper, skating in on the deadline with about 4 hours to spare.

The experience taught me many things, not the least of which is I write better when I’ve got white noise pumped into my brain pan, and that I really can write effectively when I just sit down and do it. Interestingly enough, The Lazy just reminded me that I then spent the following two months “editing” my unfinished book. Editing in this case means pouring over the first few pages a dozen times, changing character names and correcting grammatical errors I happened to spot. It was a way to not complete the project in its entirety. I’m nothing if not lazily predictable.

After several weeks of goading by friends, Achebeyo and one of my writing buddies, I got back to it like a child to volunteer-housework. I knew that my characters were sitting in their places, rolling their eyes every time I sat down and started “editing” again. I also knew it wouldn’t be long before the entire thread of where I wanted to take my story would fray and snap and I’d be left with angry characters doing nothing but ranting about how bad everything in their lives sucked. You know, a reflection of my own fears and frustrations.

A few weeks ago, the house was empty, except for me and Princess Pukatronic (the cat). When I went upstairs to immerse myself in distractions, nothing worked. I tried logging into online games I love to play, but the idea of lighting some digital representation of a douchebag in his parents’ basement up with electricity from the fingertips of my favorite game-toon just wasn’t holding water like it usually does. The unfinished story was glaring at me with undisguised contempt. I caved to its baleful attentions.

In two days, and roughly 6-8 hours of solid writing, I did what all of my inner voices said I couldn’t do: I finished the story. Granted, there are elements that need to be revisited, and things that need to be shored up or shaved down, but I think the basic first draft has a good handle on what I want to do, not only with this book, but (gasp) future books. I know, I may want to see a doctor and find out what happened.

Right now, the project is in the capable hands of one of my mentors for proofreading and notes. She’s admitted that she’s taking it slowly, so I’m not certain when I’ll get it back. For the moment, I’m keeping myself occupied by imagining all the book signings I’ll be forced to endure, and what I’ll say to people who actually think my story resonates with them. I’m pretty sure it’ll go something like this:

Them: You know, this book really changed my life. I now know what I need to do with myself.

Me: When you figure that out, can you come back and tell me so I have an idea for what I need to do??

Thanks to anyone who stuck around to see if I’d ever toss letters into this space again. I honestly appreciate it…even if I don’t show up enough to remind you.

Various and sundry

August 30, 2013

I had an idea for a post called “Ghostbursting”, but it later turned out to be just a bullet item on a Friday stream-of-consciousness post. The basic gist of it is twofold:

1) are there no ghosts from any time earlier than one hundred years ago because people just got lazier and lazier and couldn’t see the point in wasting a perfectly good afterlife drifting around waiting for their 15 seconds of ethereal fame?

2) this thing known as “Electronic Voice Phenomenon” (EVP), makes me want to slap people in the soul for not seeing the obvious. If you’re watching a show that was recorded and shown later, why does it take an additional, post-production-edited recording of the recorded show to hear something that can only be heard after it has been recorded? Logic fail, ghost hunting shows.

————-

We were supposed to go to that third world country, Detroit, this weekend for a comedy tour. I was going to write a post detailing, if you know me personally, how to lay claim to any of my stuff after I fall prey to one of the highest crime rates in the country. I don’t want all of my fun stuff, like remote control bugs, Sleestak mask and rubber dragon wings, to collect more dust than they have to. I want them to have loving homes. Turns out, however, that a series of life’s how about we make a different choice moments for both myself and Achebeyo has given us pause. When your cat horks up everything she ate in the last 24 hours three days in a row, and your car explodes (even if it wasn’t a movie-grade explosion), it’s time to listen to that voice saying, I may want to keep this bad streak closer to home. We’ll brave the turbulent carpet of our own property this weekend and see what happens.

————

Modern telephony. We’re all aware of the technology. Unless you’ve been examining your agrarian skill sets for the last decade or two in preparation for one of the popular apocalypse ideas these days (zombies, aliens or zombie aliens), you are probably aware that it doesn’t require a megaphone attachment to get microphones on modern phones to pick up sound. So please tell me why 90% of the people in this country feel the need to town crier their phone conversations to the world at large. HEAR YE HEAR YE! I’M BRINGING DINNER HOME AFTER PICKING THE KIDS UP FROM SCHOOL!

Okay, we get it, you’re important enough to have one of them there fancy cell-u-lar telephones that are so difficult to come by these days. You want everyone to know that Billy-Joe-Jim-Bob can warsh his own laundry and live with his new baby-momma if’n he cain’t keep his junk all locked up…and stuff. Just don’t be surprised when the Secret Society of People Who Still Know How to be Polite give you those looks or frown at your general existence.

————

Many of my real life friends who read this have mentioned that they absolutely cannot relate to my video game reviews. In their honor, a few paragraphs.

I was recently handed leadership of an in-game guild, a loose association of like minded people who want to band together electronically to inadvertently keep birth rates down while conquering their respective digital realms. This guild was a popular, active and well-known guild, and I was a neophyte in it’s ranks. At some point, the game developers made some drastic changes to help bandage the hemorrhaging outflow of paying customers and revoked the guild’s original name in the process. In a frantic dash to ditch the guild while pillaging its resources, the leadership apparently made an over-the-shoulder fleeing shot to bestow the guildmaster title, and I stumbled into the path of said shot.

Being the kind of gamer that I am, I immediately began a recruiting frenzy that only a three-toed sloth could truly relate to. Most of the previously active members were no longer playing, but their numbers still counted towards in-game benefits. This was my chance to step up, take charge and show the kind of digital fortitude it takes to build the leading guild on the server. Rather than hassle with all of that, I recruited a recruiter. Within a matter of days, we tripled our active player base, and gave them the ability to recruit as well. Now we’re a happily growing tribe of miscreants bent on helping each other waste as much time as possible being utterly unproductive in real life. At least I require them to  be polite to each other and represent us to the rest of the server in a dignified manner befitting faceless Internet entities with a conscience.

———–

Italy! Europe’s thigh-high stripper boot! We’ll see you soon. I know you’ll give me stuff to write about and take pictures of so that the people reading this have something substantial to look forward to. Our whirlwind tour will take us first to Rome, then Venice, then Florence then back to Rome. While I personally would like to stay clear of the unwashed masses at your most popular tourist traps, Achebeyo has insisted we rub sweaty arm meat with other travelers and see your top sights. I’ll be happy to try real pizza for the first time, and to eat other real Italian food that isn’t mass produced, frozen then cooked and served by angst ridden teens. Regardless, I’ll be the bald polite guy hoping he doesn’t do anything to get him accidentally thrown in jail. Purposely thrown in jail…that’s another story.

———–

As a Friday parting thought, which theme park ride would you hate to be stuck on while they fix it and why?

Me? I’d hate to be stuck on “It’s a small world” at Spendneyland, because all that singing from robotic children seems like something straight out of a Wes Craven nightmare. I’d almost rather be trapped in Chuck E. Cheese on a summer Saturday. At least there would be games.

On Broadway (at the beach)

August 22, 2013

This past weekend, Achebeyo and I decided to buy into the inherently flawed, corporate-sponsored the more you spend, the more you…spend mentality with a national hotel chain. You know, one of those situations where you only need to spend another $450 dollars to get $25 worth of savings later kind of deals. Still, we needed something to break our recurring weekend code:

10 goto computer

20 goto couch

30 goto bed

40 goto 10

A short ride in the Ren-mobile, and we were at one of our favorite “local” distractions: Broadway at the Beach, where fun and frivolity can be had for just a few paychecks, and foot blisters are free…because there’s plenty of walking to do. It’s essentially a combination of a weekend carnival that got permission to hang out longer, and an outdoor shopping mall. There are various attractions around a manufactured lake, connected by various shops and restaurants who are all vying for your frivolous shopping dollars. Luckily for us, we were only there for the karaoke…and hot sauce…and 1500 thread-count sheets…and candy. But nothing else.

We got into our hotel room later in the evening than our usual dinner time. Thankfully, we had arranged to fill the boiling bile in our bellies (alliteration is frequently fairly fun) with over-processed junk food on the drive down, so we weren’t any more hungry than any other time we’ve gone 2+ hours without cramming carbs in our face-holes. We did, however, find that because of Achebeyo’s membership in this hotel’s Spend-a-rama plan, we had been upgraded to a room with a jetted hot tub. Off to the store I went to acquire the necessary items to create an unholy mess for the cleaning crew.

Since I never know how much bubble bath to put in those things (especially when you’re not really supposed to put any bubbling solutions through a jetted tub’s system without a structured plan to spend the hours following your bath wasting more water purging your mistake from the entire contraption), I of course added what turned out to be a sitcom-esque epic amount. Picture a bubble mountain where one entire side of the room used to be. I guess I really need to trust measurement instructions for stuff like that.

We managed to clear that mess up by draining the tub and giving it 8-10 hours for the foam to subside. We got up early the next morning to run on the hotel’s treadmills and act like none of the rest of the previous night’s chaos had happened. Turns out the running, as well as a 2-hr follow-up walk around the previously mentioned carnimall, gave us the kind of energy boost that meant we’d need to take a nap for a few hours to ensure we’d be up for the real reason we were there:  an evening of karaoke.

We dragged our carcasses out of bed from our life-giving nap and prepared for the evening ahead. For me, that meant putting on slacks and a classy two-shirt combination, one that makes me look like a mafia bowler. Add shoes and I was ready to roll out. For Achebeyo, it’s a bit more involved. There’s a convoluted process that no straight male will ever understand where most women get ready, and I’ve found it helps to have extensive distractions to while away the vast time between when I’m ready and when she’s ready.

After construction was complete on Going-Out Achebeyo, we walked back to the human fly-paper that is Broadway at the Beach and picked a nice sushi restaurant to have dinner. The food was great, the service was fast, and we never felt like the waitresses were timing their visits to deliberately interrupt us every 2-3 sentences of our conversation to see if everything’s okay. If I’m not looking around like I want someone’s head on a platter, I’m usually good. And this place was aware of the subtle difference between helpful wait staff and I’m filing a restraining order against my waitress (COUGHtakenotewaitressesCOUGH).

We had, unfortunately, timed our dinner to coincide with a 2-hour wait before karaoke would begin at another destination in the same complex. Being that we had some time, we decided to work on our evening blisters, and walked around the 3-4 block area of attractions again. We window shopped, we gawked at interesting tourists and we even took time to cater to a few of the billions of carp in “Lake Broadway”. You think I’m kidding when I say “billions”, but I’m not. Go see for yourself. I was too afflicted with The Lazy to take any pictures. After playing some air hockey and a 2-player shooting video game, we finally settled in outside our destination and waited for the clock to tick down to go time. We had less time to wait than we originally thought.

Turns out that start times for events in pubs down there are pretty fluid. If they SAY they’ll start at 9:30, they really MEAN they’ll start when customers begin shelling out cash and plastic. Luckily for us, I was antsy and peeked inside an hour before their stated start time and we dashed in to get good seats before too many more people piled in.

This place wasn’t just a bar, wasn’t just a dark room with an old flatscreen television and sticky floors. This place had a STAGE, with professional lighting, smoke machines built into the floor and monitors at various locations and elevations so you could wander a bit while singing and still see the lyrics you might otherwise have to fudge. They were serious. We were simultaneously impressed and intimidated. We were used to the barely-lit rooms with booze-sodden spectators cheering what was probably just buzzing and thumping in their ears by the time we sang. This place would actually feature the singers.

Achebeyo and I powered through our initial fear and filled out song slips. Our choices would turn out to be quite popular and make each of us a celebrity du hour. Achebeyo went first and chose Rumor Has It by Adele. She KILLED it. Men around the establishment were head-bobbingly enthralled, and the women were cheering her on and singing with her. She finished to a standing ovation.

Since I put a nickname on my slip, and was subsequently reprimanded over the PA system, I had to resubmit my selection of Stray Cat Strut. when I finally got my turn, I had fun with it and didn’t do terribly badly.

Achebeyo would follow up her 1st hit single with the Divinyls I Touch Myself. She made sure to disclaimer it at the beginning to discourage pervs, but she ventured on stage to collective repeated shouts of GO ACHEBEYO! Her real name isn’t as cumbersome to chant as her blogdentity here, so it sounded way better than it just did in your head. Again, she KILLED it. A second standing ovation and lots of happy congratulations on her way back to our table made her night.

My second selection was Faith by George Michael. According to Achebeyo, the crowd went wild. Apparently, that song is something of an anthem. Not only was most of the bar singing along with me, people actually got up to dance on the floor in front of the stage. It’s a fun, upbeat song that most people know and I had a lot of fun with it. As we left the bar following that song, we were both stopped by various people asking if we would be singing again. It was a night of fun, frivolity AND boosted egos. Score!

The rest of the weekend would pale in comparison, but our brief bout of beer-goggle-celebrity gave me loads of bragging rights at work on Monday, as well as something to write about besides not being able to come up with anything to write about. I guess the cure for casual writer’s block is doing something on your weekend besides vegging out in front of electronics and hoping something fun will spontaneously burst out of your noggin. I’ll test the opposing side of that theory this weekend.

Beach-sauce redux

August 15, 2013

After spending a few days back at work and realizing that I’d rather be at the beach watching my language, instead of cursing at my phone, monitor, keyboard and career choices, I decided to head back to the beach house my dad had rented and spend some more time plaguing my family with bad puns, methane emissions and a new game.

In the past, my choices for family games has met with…we’ll politely call it “vociferous disdain”. If I like a game, they hate it, especially if I brought it and the rules require more thought than holding numbered cards of varying colors and matching them in one of two ways. The one that comes to mind most readily, as that is the one they immediately ask me NOT to bring when we plan these things, is Drakon, which bears a strong resemblance to the algorithmic visual programming language which I’m sure it was at least partially based on.

This is an admittedly complicated game where you not only have game pieces that represent your fantasy adventurer self, but also “cards” that you draw that are also map pieces with different rules for how to play/move across them. Oh, and there’s also Drakon, the dragon who is guarding this ever-shifting maze-map and will gank all of your coins if she lands on the same tile as you. Since that is engineered by the other players, it WILL happen. I can understand my family’s hesitance in playing this game, especially when I frequently have to consult the rules as each of us ponders what card/map piece will simultaneously help themselves and screw the other players. I keep telling them if we play it more often, it will be easier to play. Their answers, when not mocking my looks and intelligence, are crossed-arm, stony stares that seem to indicate they wish Drakon would maul me and my stupid game.

This time, in addition to hauling Drakon along for the humor factor (watching their faces light up at the mention of games, then fall again as I drag Drakon out of the bag is a game all in itself), I brought a new game called Cards Against Humanity.

If you want a quick peek at what the game is like, click the link and prepare to laugh until you feel like you’ve performed a 90-minute ab workout. The basic gist is that there are two kinds of cards, black cards that contain questions or fill-in-the-blank statements, and white “answer” cards. One person each round is the judge and picks a black card at random to read. Everyone else picks from their continuously replenished 10 answer cards to present what they think the funniest answer will be. The judge reads them all and picks his or her favorite….if they can get through the reading without falling off their chair or crying from laughing.

I’m sure there’s some Apples to Apples-esque scoring mechanism, but we were having so much fun playing the game that we didn’t bother to keep score. We learned a lot that evening, not the least of which is one horrible way to lose your virginity: tickling Sean Hannity even after he tells you to stop. The one that turned my dad into an adult fetus is too obscure out of context to share here. Plus, I really want you to play this game for yourself and report back one ridiculous thing you learned from it. You’ll thank me…if you aren’t rolling your eyes and shouting at your monitor that, “I already HAVE that game, MORON!” Still, your obnoxious condescension aside, I’d like to hear what you learned from this insanely hilarious game. Oh, and don’t purchase it if you’re strictly religious, or have a stick up your bum the size of a redwood. It’s not for you, trust me. They don’t call it the party game for horrible people for nothing.

Other than that, the rest of my time upon returning to the beach house was spent either eating, drinking, being pummeled by mother ocean or any combination of the three. It was a much needed break from The Work. And I think my nieces escaped without too much corruption from Uncle Ren.

Thanks for another great summer of fun memories, dad. Next year, we’re having a Drakon-a-thon until we all know how to play without consulting the rule-novel. Either that, or I unveil my Epic Pouting. It’s your choice.

Mr. Freakin’ Hot Sauce

August 5, 2013

***I’d apologize for not having any pictures of the following tale, but it was more fun living life than filming it.***

At least once every year, my dad launches onto the Internet in search of the perfect beach house for a week of family fun, frivolity and food. I’m not sure what his process is, but we’re frequently found pulling up to residences that seem surprised to see us there expecting a place to stay. And by frequently, I mean this time.

After a week of stress and frustration at work, Achebeyo and I were looking forward to a little down time at the beach. You know, someplace we could have drinks mixed for us and food pumped into our system while we curse the days away. Enter The Nieces.

My two nieces, 3yrs and 8mos respectively, are adorable. And I’m not a fan of kids. Let me be clear: since I’m a big kid myself, I’m not interested in adding to Achebeyo’s growing frustration with raising one whining, crying mess. Thankfully, neither is she. However, I can’t help but be smitten with my two nieces, and not simply because we have people in common. There is one thing, though, that makes it tough for me to be around them: Mr. Hotsauce.

Let me give you a sample conversation and see if you can figure it out.

The Mr. Hotsaucing television won’t Mr. Hotsaucing turn on. And with those Mr. Hotsauce neighbors stomping all around, I’m about to lose my Mr. Hotsauce mind!

Get it? Yeah, it would probably be easier to list the words you can say around my nieces than the ones strictly covered by the Mr. Hotsauce rule. I found myself inventing all new uses for hotsauce this past weekend that would likely make real hot sauce blush.

That mother hotsaucing wave slammed me into the sand and nearly tore my hotsauce off. And now I’ve got sand so far up my hotsauce that I’ll need a hotsaucetal exam to get it all out.

Ah language, the thin red line between corrupting your young relatives and going insane. I survived with my hotsauce intact, though.

While I kid about having to watch my language around my nieces, it was still fun spending time with them both. We played in the sand and water, we watched movies and played with building blocks. We even flew my high-performance parafoil kite. Many activities designed to keep Mr. Hotsauce far from our minds. Plus, there are far more subtle ways to create mischief for my brother through my nieces.

Say ‘Daddy is a Mr. Hotsauce-Head’.

DADDY IS A MR. HOTSAUCE-HEAD!

Atta girl.

Snafu

July 22, 2013

*** My name is Brett.  One of Kevin’s high school friends.  He asked me to be a “guest writer” on this blog.***

*** First of all, I am not a writer.  Just because I struggle with writing I am not a struggling writer.  Secondly, through all of Kevin’s other posts, you are most likely familiar with his past work.  I would like to lay claim to some of his success as a comedy genius, but please don’t blame me. When approached by Kevin to write a story, recalling a memory of our oh-so-mature childhood days (because let’s face it, when boys are fourteen, fifteen, or forty they are cool know-it-alls) a few stories came to mind, but honestly, since I have not partaken of each blog post, I decided it behooving to stray from the stories of lizard lassos, snake whips, and pond drains for fear of boring readers with repetition, redundancy, or superfluousness.***

Being a middle school teacher, and parent, I feel I understand adolescence, primarily that of the twelve to fourteen year-old.  I have been instructing seventh and eighth grade students for somewhere around fifteen of my twenty-three years in education, the last six of which have been in Multimedia, a class which, in our district, focuses primarily on movie production (speaking of movies… although I have stayed in the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida, I have yet to visit any mansion with said moniker resembling the likes of Versailles (other than Versailles)…and have been advised not to).  Now, having taught middle schoolers for so long, having two (currently) middle school daughters, and having been a middle schooler myself, I believe that upon finishing the application process and being hired, any and all middle-school teachers should be granted a knighthood, sainthood, riding hood, or any kind of hood available to those courageous (gullible) enough to voluntarily enter the position.  This philosophy is based mostly on the fact that I was a middle schooler myself and that my position as teacher now is not one of nobility, but one of karma (Karma= God’s “I told ya so.”)

As a middle-schooler, (and by the way, I am tired of my word processor’s red line indication that the word schooler is not in the dictionary.  It is.  If it isn’t a word, it should be.  Schooler: 1. an adjective describing a specific age of child, 2. a synonym for teacher) I was not as popular as I had hoped to be, but luckily, I was in middle school so I didn’t care. I entered seventh grade in Rapid City, SD, son of an Air Force Captain and entered the second half of eighth grade in Riverside, CA, son of an Air Force Major.  All of the moving, as any military brat can attest, leads to the development, honing, and perfection of certain adolescent survival skills; skills that most children do not learn until adulthood.  Among these skills are “if you don’t want people around you, don’t shower after gym class,” and “if you want people around you, be humorous.”  I learned to master both by the time ninth grade was over, and then spent the rest of my life trying unsuccessfully to practice more of the latter than the former.  This, combined with the fact that I had only been in California for five months, resulted in a lack of friends by the end of the school year.

The summer between eighth and ninth grade was boring, even for a newbie Californian.  That being said, and tying this together (finally) with the topic of middle-schoolers, adolescents are very easily influenced, as exampled by my trip to Universal Studios at the age of 13…I now am a walking filmography resource.  Generally speaking, adolescents do not have direction in the world yet, they don’t have a complete set of social graces, and they are gangly and clumsy; all the ingredients for what we call “goofy.”  This, not surprisingly, is the state in which Kevin and I began high school.

I met Kevin in 9th grade I believe, and our shared affinity of all things goofy, silly, stupid, ignorant, dumb, and dangerous was the magnet that brought our friendship together; well, that and English class.  Mrs. Polite (Saint Polite), our English teacher, “put up” with our shenanigans for an entire year, or possibly two.   How she ended each year with a full head of hair I’ll never know.

Riverside, California seemed to have a pool in every other back yard.  My next door neighbor had one, one of my friends down the street had one, and Kevin’s grandparents had one in their yard as well.

There was one particular night over the summer where Kevin invited me to spend the night at his grandparents’ house.  Not to belittle our friendship, but the selling point for me was the pool.  Even though I was not a good swimmer (to this day I pinch my nose when jumping in), I loved being in the water.  I accepted his invitation, even though I had never been to his grandparents’ house; nor had I ever met them.

As it turned out, Kevin’s grandparents had to go out for the evening.  I’m not sure I told my parents that they would not be present during our “sleepover.”  They might not have let me go had they known that we had access to a pool with no adult supervision.  Even so, it wasn’t the pool that would be the cause of fun for Kevin and I that night.  Instead, it was the food and the videogames.

We went to Kevin’s grandparents’ house, and immediately got into the pool.  (I believe it was after dinner-time as I don’t remember eating a meal there).  While swimming we played the usual games (all with snorkeling masks on) like Marco Polo, and one of our favorites, Spiderman; a game in which you can observe each other underwater clinging to the side of the pool as Spiderman would to the side of a building, then watch each other launch from one side of the pool, glide through the water, then land on the other side of the pool, clinging to that “building.”  Over the next year or two we would play this game again many times, especially at Club Mud, Palm Springs.

After swimming to the point of raisin toes, we decided to treat ourselves to a well-deserved snack.  I distinctly remember Kevin opening and closing the kitchen cabinets and the fridge and freezer pulling out items to include in our teenage smorgasbord.   Included in these were the staple of ice-cream (I want to say it was chocolate of some sort with marshmallow), chocolate covered cookies, whipped cream, cherries, assorted chips or crackers, maybe some licorice, and so on.  We piled all of our food onto large bowls filled with mountains of ice-cream and headed to the TV room.

Apparently, Kevin’s grandparents had everything that a growing teenage boy could dream of as there was a video game system hooked up to the television in the sun room.  I believe it was an Atari.  After a while of playing Space Invaders and PacMan and eating ice-cream and cookies to the point of misery, Kevin had a new game that he wanted me to play called SNAFU.    I had not heard of this term before and had certainly not heard of any such video game.   Time, being the greatest teacher of all, taught me what the acronym SNAFU means, and to this day I still don’t understand what it had to do with the actual video game that we played, which, if memory serves, was a basic “snake” game wherein the objective is to trap the opponents snake within the trails of the tails; very Tron-esque, light bike game.

The conversation was simple and went as follows:

Kevin said, “I have a new game that you need to play.  It’s kinda cool.”

“Sure. What is it?” I asked.

“SNAFU.”

“Gesundheit.”

Now, it may not sound like much now, nor may it even make you smile or smirk, but back then, at the age of 13, on the tallest sugar-high ever imagined by two water-exhausted, pruny, goofy ninth graders, “Gesundheit” was the funniest comment in the history of comments that anyone could have made at that particular moment.  We must have laughed for over an hour.  It was the worst (best) case of the giggles that anyone has ever witnessed.  As a matter of fact, if Guinness was there, it would not have been recorded as the longest, funniest case of the giggles because the record keeper would have lost track of time due to his own excessive giggling.

When we were finally capable of collecting ourselves, we had tears of laughter streaming down our faces and the worst stomach aches any teenage boy could ever deserve.  So, we ate more ice-cream.  Honestly, other than playing that video game, I don’t remember anything else that happened after that.

It was one of the greatest times of my goofy childhood that I’ll never forget.

Thank you Kevin.

Brain bursts

July 15, 2013

Lately I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a novel, but with the same enthusiasm as my 3 year old niece being told it’s nap time. I love the idea of writing something more involved and comprehensive, but then The Lazy starts broadcasting everything else I could be doing, and how difficult all of the research would be, and my resolve crumbles like cheap drywall to the wrecking ball of  my easily distracted attention. Plus, there’s screaming and crying for no apparent reason. I don’t simply have issues, I have whole subscriptions.

Several key ideas about how my brain works have presented themselves in various, and ridiculous, ways lately, and I’m struggling to determine if I’m amused or irritated with what I’ve found. Here’s a partial list of thoughts I snagged on their ninja stealth-rampage through my brain-box:

1 – If lightning strikes this house while I’m peeing, will it travel up the contact my fluids are making with the toilet water and fry my nethers?

2 – I wonder if my cat thinks I’m an idiot for trying to speak her language… mrrrrow.

3 – Do you think Darth Vader ever used The Force to choke himself? For practice? Or, you know, David Carradine style naughtiness?

4 – If the news media are owned by big corporations, and big corporations have a financial stake in what news makes it to the public, isn’t it safe to assume they care more about sensationalism, hype and money than true journalism?

5 – I want to crop dust the ISS. Farts probably  permeate an area faster in zero gravity, and I won’t be able to sleep until I know for sure.

Those are only a few of the random bits of flotsam bumping around in my personal mental pond. I’m not entirely sure how much background noise they would provide if I tried to make myself write an entire novel, but my guess is “some”.

Recently at work, I vehemently denied it when a co-worker said I was OCD…then I proceeded to move everything he touched on my desk back into geometrically pleasing parallels with the edges of my desk. Touché, douché. The funny thing is, I’m not that way with everything around me all of the time. Just my desk at work. And sometimes other people’s desks. And any table I’m sitting at in a restaurant. And my kitchen counters/table at home. And magazine tables in businesses I visit. I need help.

I’m itching to travel again. We usually take at least one trip to a familiar location for a 3-4 day weekend, but our schedules have been a bit chaotic lately, so that’s been a factor, along with my 20% pay cut from furloughs. I had been looking forward to one of Achebeyo’s teaching gigs that would take her back to my home town so I could tag along and hang out with friends while she slogged it out in the educational trenches, but it was canceled, leaving me a lazy, pouting mess. We’ve got plans to go to Europe’s thigh-high boot later this year, and then, if I’m really lucky, Boracay for some of the best SCUBA diving of my life…I hope. As long as I don’t piss Achebeyo off between now and then, it should become a part of my traveling history.

Until my life gets more interesting and blog-worthy, I’m going to hook the video game IV back up and swing a digital laser sword at digital “bad” guys for social validation and geek prestige. Try to restrain your rampant jealousy.


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