Posts from August 2002.

Jell-o Brand Pudding Pops Googlefucker

Oh hey: talking about pastimes I created and the mellifluous word “fucker” reminded me that I invented the most addictive Internet game of all time, although, for some unfathomable reason, it has failed to catch on as of yet. Remember Googlewhacking, where you would try and find two words which, when entered into Google, would result in only a single hit? Yeah, well my soon-to-be-insanely-popular meme is exactly like that, except totally different. Now the goal is to find a Googlefucker: a two word phrase in the form “_______ fucker” which, when entered into Google (enclosed in quotation marks), results in only one hit. Like, you know, “sofa fucker” or “toothpaste fucker”.

Try it. This is gonna be the Next Big Internet Craze, and you’ll wanna get in on the ground floor. Not only is it a great way to waste time, but you’ll also have a blast trying to explain to your wife why, when she typed ma into Google, Internet Explorer helpfully suggested “mango fucker” as a completion.

fucker”     
Update: Great news! Someone at the Jell-O company saw this entry and forwarded it on to his bosses. Well, they agree that Googlefucking is poised to become the Hugest Internet Fad Of Forever, and have agreed to sponser me! I can’t tell you how much they’re paying, but let’s just say it’s well over $50. So the site I’m working on, Googlefucker.com, will be hosted on their servers, and promoted on the Jell-O Brand Pudding Pops boxes and everything. The only catch is that now, if you find a Googlefucker and are bragging about it on your blog or to your friends, you can’t just call it a “Googlefucker” anymore, you hafta say “Hey Carl, did you know that the phrase “Unix Fucker” is a Jell-O Brand Pudding Pops Googlefucker?” So be sure to do that, okay?
Update: Someone at Jell-O looked up “fucker” in the dictionary and found out that’s it’s quote-unquote “vulgar”. So the deal’s off.
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Trust No One

Did you know that the X-files had a spin-off series? Did you know it was called “The Lone Gunmen” and focused on three conspiracy theorists? Did you know that the show premiered on March 4th, 2001? And did you know that the first episode was about bad guys crashing a plane into the World Trade Center?

I didn’t, until kayjay pointed it out.

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Should I Get a “Puddle of Mudd” Tattoo Online Quiz

Thinking of getting a “Puddle of Mudd” tattoo? Who isn’t?! But having a band’s logo permanently inscribed upon the back of your neck is not a decision to rush into. That’s why defective yeti is pleased as pecans to offer the Should I Get A Puddle Of Mudd Tattoo Online Quiz!

  • Question 1: Will people think I look cool with a Puddle of Mudd tattoo tomorrow?
  • Question 2: Will people think I look cool with a Puddle of Mudd tattoo in 2037, when I’m a 64-year old man bearing the name of a band that’s been defunct for over three decades?

Scoring Give yourself 0 points for each ‘yes,’ 1 point for each ‘no’.

Answer: If your total score exceeds 0, then a Puddle of Mudd tattoo is not for you. Otherwise: go for it, dude! Yeah!

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Dumbass, M.D.

This is my favorite puzzle.

You have Some Terminal Condition, which necessitates taking two pills a day: one Pill A and one Pill B. If you neglect to take either pill, you die; if you take more than one A or more than one B, you die. If you don’t take them at exactly the same time, you die.

This morning you are going through you usual routine. You pick up your bottle of A Pills and gently tap one into your palm. Then you pick up your bottle of B Pills and tap it, but two pills accidentally fall into your hand. You now hold three pills (one A and two Bs), you don’t know which are which, and they are completely indistinguishable from each other. The A Pills are the same color as the B Pills, they are the same shape, same size — they are identical in every respect. Man, your doctor is a dumbass. But he’s a rich dumbass, because he’s charging you $10,000,000 a pill! So you dare not throw any away.

Thus, the puzzle: what can you do to ensure that you take only one A Pill and only one B Pill today, without wasting any pills (either today or in the future)?

No answer will be provided here, because this puzzle is so neat that I want you to actually think it over and figure it out. It took me a few days of off and on thought but I eventually got it.

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End-Users License Agreement For defective yeti

PLEASE READ THIS END-USERS LICENSE AGREEMENT (“LICENSE”) CAREFULLY BEFORE PRESSING THE “AGREE” BUTTON OR READING DEFECTIVE YETI.


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Brevity is the Soul of Wit

My favorite part of The Onion has always been the “News In Brief” section (as evidenced by my attempts at emulation). Now they have a NiB Archive. Oh, oh dear.

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Games: Corporation

A few years ago I invented a card game called Corporation, the rules of which I posted to my little-read website Acesup.com. As far as I knew no one ever saw it, much less played it. But last night, while egosurfing on Google, I discovered a French translation of the rules, accompanied by a five-star review and a PDF file featuring a specialized deck for the game. Great leapin’ cats!

Now that I realize that I have created the Greatest Game Since Mousetrap, I feel obligated to share it with you, the defective yeti Reading Public. However this game does not come free; oh no. If you actually play Corporation, you must write me afterwards with comments and suggestions on the play of the game. You will alos want to write me because, after playing Corporation with your buddies, I may be the only friend you have left.

Corporation

Players: 4 – 10

Equipment: One or more decks of standard playing cards; a pencil and paper; poker chips or play money to keep score.

Preparation: Give each player a set of n cards, consecutively ranked from Ace up, where n = number of players. If you are playing with seven player, for example, give each player seven cards ranked A-7; if you are playing with four people, give each player A-4. A set need not be of all the same suit.

Premise: It takes money to make money. Each player will be putting up capital in anticipation of Profits. If you want the Big Bucks, though, you will have to form a Corporation with other players. A Corporation will net you Corporate Rewards if everyone cooperates — but if any members defect (or if an outsider tries to horn in on the action) it’s back to the drawing board.

Play: On the first round, each person places a card from his hand face down on the table. When all cards have been played they are all flipped face up.

Anyone who played an unmatched card (i.e. no one else played a card of the same denomination) takes his card back into his hand and immediately scores Profits: a number of points equal to the value of the card (Aces = 1). All the players who played matching cards form a Corporation. They do not score any points, and leave their matching cards face up in front of them to indicate who belongs to which Corporations.; Multiple Corporations may be formed in the same round.

Future rounds are played exactly the same, with one additional twist. If all the members of a Corporation (and only the members of the Corporation) play the same card, they all receive Corporate Rewards: a number of points equal to the value of the card played times the number of members in the Corporation. If, however, (a) any member of a Corporation plays a card different from the other members, or (b) any person not in the Corporation plays the same card as the members, then no Corporate Rewards are given. Either way, the rest of the round is carried out as usual: those who played singletons get Profits and everyone who played matching cards form (new) Corporations. Players who were previously in Corporations should take their old cards back into their hands.

Winning:

Record points with a pencil and paper, or give players chips / play money as they earn Profits and Corporate Rewards. If, at the end of a round, one or more players have at least the target score, the person with the most points wins. Points / money, by the way, is open knowledge.

Because the Corporate Rewards can skyrocket with greater number of players, a good target score for a game is 2n2, where n=number of players. In other words:

# of players Target Score (2n2)
4 32
5 50
6 72
7 98
8 128
9 162
10 200

Example

Round: A plays 3, B plays 10, C plays 3, D plays 10, E plays 3.
Result: B and D form Corporation 10 and leave their 10 cards face up to show this.

Round: A=7, B=5, C=7, D=7, E=7
Result: B, having played an unmatched card, gets 5 points. A, C, E do not get Corporate Rewards because D played the same card as them. A, C, E take their 3 cards back into their hands, B and D take back their 10 cards. A, C, D and E now form the new Corporation 7 and leave their 7 cards face up to indicate this.

Round: A=5, B=10, C=5, D=5, E=5
Result: B, having again played an unmatched card, gets 10 points. A, B, D, E get Corporate Rewards: 20 points a piece ([value of played card] x [number of people in the Corporation] = 5 x 4 = 20). A,B,D,E Take their 7 cards back into their hand and form a new Corporation by leaving their 5 cards face up.

Table Talk: Table talk (and lying, and betrayal) is encouraged.  The one rule governing negotiations:  all statements to other players must be “open”: conducted so that all the other players can hear them. That means no whispering or going into another room. But if someone missed something because they weren’t paying attention or were involved in another conversation, you are under no obligation to repeat anything.

Tips and Notes: Team up with a few other greedy players to form Corporations and reap the big bucks, but if someone is pulling ahead don’t hesitate to defect. Smaller Corporations are generally better than big ones: a Corporation with a lot of members pays off better, but (a) you’ll be a target for other players, (b) it’s hard to get a lot of people to cooperate, and (c) if everyone reaps the same Corporate Rewards then no one really pulls ahead. Also, pay attention to what cards the members of a Corporation have in front of them, and bear in mind that they will be unable to play these cards on the next round. Conversely, form Corporations with low cards so you can use your high cards for Corporate Rewards.

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Push It Real Good!

It was, like, Super 80′s Dance Party USA! at my gym today. The sound system was set to volume 8, and we were treated to George Michael, Scritti Politi, New Order, Mr. Mister, The Boomtown Rats — The Boomtown Rats, fer crissakes! It was the friggin’ “20 Minute Workout” in there. Certainly a welcome break from the usual fare of Pink and Nelly, but I felt kinda naked without my legwarmers.

Nothing leads to cognitive dissonance like hauling ass on a treadmill while Frankie says “Relax”.

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I, Fucker

An email I wrote to The Brunching Shuttlecocks has been printed, forever ensuring that the Google search “Matthew Baldwin Fucker” will not come up empty.

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Books: Reinventing the Wheel and Supercade

In the last week I have read two Coffee Table books, each by a collector, each about the history of an interactive device. The first was Reinventing the Wheel, a book I picked up after Jason Kottke declared it “highly recommended“. But while I don’t doubt that Kottke actually enjoyed the book, my guess is that most people purchasing Reinventing will not read it themselves, but instead give it as a gift or throw it onto an endtable to impress houseguests.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I, personally, only read half of it before my interest petered out. Reinventing The Wheel is a compendium of photos and descriptions of “Wheel Charts” — those cardboard calculation tools used to determine what color goes best with your bedspread, what stars you should see in your nighttime sky, and which ingredients you’ll require to whip up some Devilled Crab. The book opens with an fascinating introduction covering the invention and evolution of these wheels (called “volvelles” in earlier times). It’s an excellent essay, one that whet my appetite for the 93 pages of plates to follow.

But after looking at only a dozen of the plates — each showing a photograph of a specific wheel and offering a complete description of its creation and function — I felt like a guy at a party, cornered by someone going on and on about their hobby. (If you’ve ever had the misfortune of hearing me get going on the Evils Of The State Lottery or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you are painfully aware of the feeling I am trying to describe.) The Wheel Charts are ingenious and involved, but, taken as a whole, it was a bit like reading every bus schedule at the station. Eventually I put this Coffee Table book on my coffee table, and later thumbed through it a few more times while waiting for various levels of my video game to load.

I felt no such apathy towards Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age. This was a book I simply couldn’t put down (except when I had to, because the sheer weight of it was making my arms tired). Unlike Reinventing, the introduction here was a bit extraneous. Author Van Burnham traces the genesis of the video game to the creation of the atomic bomb, which is as intriguing as it is arbitrary — you get the feeling that she could have just as easily tied the origin of the video game to the transistor, the television, or the invention of fire. But the plates in this book — wow! Nearly very major arcade game from the years 1971 – 1984 is shown, each accompanied by a description of game play, mention of the game’s evolutionary ancestors and descendants, and an account of how it fared on the market. Although the focus is on upright “cabinet” games, Supercade also reviews the major home systems of the era: Atari, IntelliVision, ColecoVision and so forth.

It took me a few hours and a couple of beers, but I read every damned page in Supercade — this despite the fact that I was already intimately familiar with nearly every game depicted, having played them all as a kid (and then watched them all played on Starcade). Some of the Supercade reviews on Amazon.com claim that the text in this book is all cribbed from other sources, but it was new to me and I wolfed it down.

So, what am I saying, here? That I recommend Supercade and give a thumbs down to Reinventing the Wheel. No. Technically, Reinventing is the better of the two — the writing is more polished, the lay-out is superior (Supercade, like the games it covers, is terribly busy, almost on par with Wired magazine), and if you were to throw both onto your Coffee Table, more people would probably pick it up for a skim. But Supercade pushed all my buttons, and Reinventing left me cold. But it’s worth noting that in neither case did I read the book the way it was intended to be read. Books like this are designed to be leafed through by guests to your homes as they wait on a couch or sit on the john. They are also designed, from a marketing stand-point, as “gift books” — you don’t have a present for Kevin’s birthday, you run to Barnes and Noble, you think “Kevin likes Playstation, so I’ll get him this book on video games” and you purchase it, despite the fact that you’ve not read it yourself nor heard it endorsed. Frankly, as “gift books” you probably can’t go wrong with either of these. (If the Birthday Boy is, in fact, a boy, and in his 30′s, Supercade is almost a sure thing. It’s also an expensive thing, at $50 to Reinventing‘s $25.) It just a matter of asking yourself which the the recipient be more likely to have: a paper cut or Nintendo thumb. Choose your book accordingly.

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