Posts from April 2002.

Cuppa Joe

Overheard.

Cop one: Where do you park?
Cop two: Over by Nathan’s Cafe.
Cop one: Nathan’s. They have a good cuppa joe at Nathan’s.

Wow: “cuppa joe.” Later they went and treated some wiseguys to a little chin music.

* * *

Money Money Money

Editor, Seattle Times

The other days I was flipping through my 744 cable stations trying to find some LA Law reruns, when I unfortunately stopped on one of those so-called “music television stations” where they were showing a clip from some “Rapping concert.” In the clip there were three of these so-called “Rapsters” on stage and yelling “Money money money mon-ey! Money money money mon-ey!”

What is this country coming to? It’s bad enough that you can’t walk down the street without those kids with skateboards and the so-called “piercings” asking you for money, but now we have to see it on tv? Maybe these so-called “Rapsters” wouldn’t have to stand in front of all those people asking for money if they got a JOB!

Think about it!

Zechariah Whateley
Golden Years Retirement Community

* * *

Magic Camera

Wanna turn your boring old Nikon into a Magic Camera? Just add water.

* * *

Improprieties

Headline: World Chess Federation Rocked by Allegations of Bishop / Pawn Improprieties

* * *

Overachiever

Last night I went to Greenlake to do a little running. I intended to jog one lap, 2.8 miles.

After the first lap I felt pretty good. So I decided to do a second lap.

After the second lap I still felt pretty good. So I decided to do a third lap.

After the third lap I still felt pretty good. So I decided to do a fourth lap.

After the fourth lap I felt like I had been run over by a Zamboni so I limped home. This morning every muscle I own was aching.

Moral: overacheiving is a sucker’s game.

* * *

The Bad Review Revue

The Bad Review Revue

[The Sweetest Thing] “The dumbest thing this side of a lobotomy.” — Robert Wilonsky, LOS ANGELES NEW TIMES

[The Scorpion King] “As this chaotic barrage of muscle flexing, swordplay, fireballs, crude digital effects and comic-book quips hurls itself off the screen, it’s like having several garbage cans clogged with stale pizza, lukewarm cola, soggy French fries and greasy, ketchup-stained napkins emptied over your head.” — Stephen Holden, NEW YORK TIMES

“You might think that people dumb enough to make a by-the-numbers movie about a murder would at least be smart enough not to call it Murder By Numbers.” — Bruce Newman, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

[Big Trouble] “The kind of production that would have been funnier if the director had released the outtakes theatrically and used the film as a bonus feature on the DVD.” — Ed Johnson-Ott, NUVO NEWSWEEKLY

[Collateral Damage] “This should seal the deal: Arnold is not, nor will he be, back.” — Jeanne Aufmuth, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

* * *

My Mother the Comedian

My mother phones me.

“Matt,” she says, “did you see they’re making a Spider-man movie?”

“Yeah, I think I heard about that,” I reply. Actually, I’ve been following the progress of this movie since, like, 1986.

“Well, when it comes out I want to go see it with you.”

Really? My mother’s more of a “Runaway Bride” kinda gal, not really one to get all jazzed up for a guy who can stick to walls. “You want to see the Spider-man movie?” I ask. “With me?”

“That’s right.”

“Well, I mean that’s fine, great. But why do you want, you know, why?”

“Well, when you were five or six there was this tv show called “The Electric Company.” You used to love this show, except that they would have Spider-man on there sometimes, and he used to terrify you. Every time he came on-screen you would burst into tears and run and hide in your bedroom. So I figured I ought to come along with you to the movie, just in case it gets scary.”

Ha ha, my mother the comedian. She’s apparently unaware that forgetting everything you did before the age of 10 is a natural psychological defense mechanism against crippling humiliation. Why are you reminding me of this stuff, ma? You’re messin’ with evolution here!

* * *

Minigolf

defective yeti is committed to bringing you only the best in online miniture golfing.

* * *

Games: Interactive Fiction

[Games: Interactive Fiction] A while ago I briefly mentioned a neat little game called 9:05, and swore that I would “write more about interactive fiction later this week.” And did I? Did i write more about later that week? No I did not. And while that may make me a filthy stinkin’ liar, I am at least a filthy stinkin’ liar so racked with guilt at this oversight that I’m going to make good on my promise now.

“Interactive Fiction” is the new-fangled term for a genre of games that once lacked a name and was simply described as “like Zork.” “I’m totally addicted to this new game I bought called Planetfall! it’s one of those game, you know, like Zork?” Later this category of time-killers was referred to as “text adventures”: games without graphics, in which everything is described in words and you, as the protagonist, interact with the environment by entering a series of written command.

West of House

You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here.

> open mailbox

Opening the small mailbox reveals a leaflet.

>

Ahhhhhh yes, it’s all coming back to you now, isn’t it? I’m sure many of you, like I, wasted hours and day and weeks back in the 80’s as you sat in front of your computer, subsisting solely on beef jerky and RC Cola, trying to solve each and every puzzle in Enchanter. Well, a few years back someone clued me in to the fact that, while the legendary Infocom is more or less defunct, there is still an active community of Text Adventures out there, walking around with brass lamps and stashing treasures into their trophy cases. Better yet, there’s quite a few folks who continue to write (free!) text adventures — so many that there’s even an annual competition to reward the authors for their efforts.

These games are now called “Interactive Fiction” (IF), because many contemporary offerings break the traditional “solve puzzles, save princess” mold. While the classic puzzle romps are still prominent, many IF authors now use the medium to explore literary and philosophical ground. (Try the groundbreaking Phototopia to a prime example.)

I go on an IF bender about once a year, during which I typically download and play half a dozen games over the course of a month. I’m on one now, which is why I’m writing about it here. If trying out such games interests you, there’s no shortages of resources available to you on the web. Check out Stephen Grande’s Brass Lantern, the Interactive Fiction Archive (along with this nice guide to the archive) and the two largest IF societies, XYZZY and the Society for the Preservation of Adventure Games.

Me, I’ve played maybe 20 modern IF games and enjoyed quite a few. Here are my favorites

  • Anchorhead An astounding game, and the one that got me rehooked. I am an H. P. Lovecraft fan, and this tribute to his literary (and atmospheric) style is my favorite of all the contemporary IF games I’ve played.
  • Spider and Fly Adam Cadre (who also wrote the aforementioned 9:05 and Photopia) is considered one of the masters of modern IF. This is the one I enjoyed the most.
  • Babel Eerie science-fiction game reminiscent of “The Thing”. I hated one of its puzzles but, beyond that, recommend it hightly.
  • Winter Wonderland Cute! Fun!
  • Yes, Another Game With a Dragon! Just finished this one the other night and thought it was great. A nice introductory game for those who have fond memories of Zork

Incidentally, you can play any of the old Infocom games by telenet’ing to eldorado.elsewhere.org. Have fun.

* * *

Easy For You to Say

Some guy at a press conference asked Donald Rumsfeld if the US had goofed by not using ground troops at Tora Bora, thereby allowing bin Laden escape. Rumsfeld replied

My view of the whole thing is that until the lessons learned are known and have been developed — they’re still being worked on — I wouldn’t be able to answer a question like that, and it impresses me that others can from their pinnacles of relatively modest knowledge.

I am so going to use that line the next time my wife asks me if I could clean the litterbox.

* * *