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Archive for September, 2007

Neat thing I found.

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

One of the neat things about working in my particular industry is that I am surrounded by talented, doctor creative people. Just about everyone has some sort of side project going on, therapy most of them are pretty good.

One of my coworkers, arthritis Dave Rodriguez, has started a web comic called Shadowgirls.

It’s pretty darned good. It’s kinda like Gilmore Girls took place in an HP Lovecraft setting.

Not that I have any idea what Gilmore girls is like.

But if you like Buffy TVS, C’thulu references, and things like that, and if you are reading this then there is an excellent chance that you do, then this is worth checking out.

Edit: For some reason this post seems to be attracting spam-bots so I am closing the comments.

Baaaah humbug.

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

So I promised that I would write about something funny this weekend. I really tried to, unfortunately I also got sick this weekend. This means that between the general “can’t think ’cause my head is stuffed up” and the effects of “non-drowsy” cold medication my writing quickly became the wrong kind of funny. Instead of funny “ha ha” we got funny “stoned guy with access to a blog”.

So here’s the story I promised.

One day, shortly after I returned to the states from Bosnia, my unit got a brand new barracks. This was a big deal because our previous barracks could be politely described as “a cesspool”. Soldiers had doors that couldn’t be shut or locked. Rooms had exposed wiring. One room had a hole into the next room. Some of the common areas had missing windows.

So we get these shiny new barracks. My Battalion moves in and lives happily ever after, right?

Of course not.

In the Army, much like in the regular world, if you get something new, people you work with will stop by to look at it. In the regular world this is called “looking at the new stuff”. In the Army this is called “inspection”.

Anyone who has been in the military is familiar with this particular unpleasantness. For everyone else, imagine this:

After a long week at work, your boss announces that Friday will be a half day. Everybody starts to cheer. Then your boss announces that to go along with this half day, he and his friends are going to come to your house. Then they are going to check to see how clean and organized it is. Your shoes need to be lined up under your bed, and places like the top of your refrigerator and curtains need to be dusted. If you fail to keep any portion of your living space less than perfectly clean and tidy, instead of a half day off you get to work unpaid overtime.

So naturally enough, inspection is not a popular event with people that live in the barracks.

Well, because we had new barracks, pretty much every step in our chain of command felt the need to have their own inspection, starting with our 1st Sergeant and going all the way up to Group Commander. For nearly two months, we had weekly inspections.

As I have stated before, this was shortly after returning from Bosnia. Coming home from a deployment is an interesting time for a young soldier, economically speaking. Due to your location, and the various restrictions placed on your behavior, you typically have much more limited access to money spending opportunities than normal. Even if you were able to go out on the town, things were dirt cheap, this being Eastern Europe.

Long story short, when young, single soldiers come home from a deployment, they frequently have a large reserve of unspent cash.

This means that you soon have a bunch of young men, with more money than common sense, released into the local economy.

Which just naturally enough leads to my roommate and me, standing in a novelty shop, discovering that there is such a thing as an Inflatable Sheep.

And we thought about the upcoming inspection.

And we looked at the display of inflatable sheep.

So of course we purchased a small pile of these.

That Friday we had another inspection. Our Sgt Major entered the room, looked at our new flock, muttered a quiet “Oh hell no” did an about face, and walked out. Inspection over.

We pulled this routine over several inspections, eventually adding costume pieces to several. I had a Catholic Priest sheep, and my roommate was on his way to getting a full set of Village People Sheep. We’d arrange them differently for each inspection.

The strange thing was that for most of this time our chain of command refused to acknowledge that they were there. They’d spend the entire inspection trying to ignore them and keep a straight face, give us whatever comments our room needed, and then leave.

It turns out that in military circles, having a room full of inflatable sheep is practically a superpower.

Eventually one officer broke down halfway through the inspection and asked, “Why do you have so many inflatable sheep in your room?”. I love this question because it implies that the strange part is the amount of rubber sheep.

My roommate, at the position of attention, and with a perfectly straight face, responded, “Sir, it is my understanding that you are no longer allowed to ask me questions of this nature”.

The officer considered this for a second, said, “Right”, walked out, and started laughing as soon as he hit the hallway. Inspection passed.

And before anyone mentions it, yes I know that my roommate quoted from that “SGT BILKO” movie. It was still funny.

Hypocritic Oath

Friday, September 21st, 2007

My Sister-in-law has been diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension.

According to her neurologist she needs a shunt put into her skull. If she doesn’t get this operation she will go blind. Not as in “Someday you will lose some vision”, but more like “Sometime next month you will permanently lose all use of your eyes”. Eventually, without the proper treatment she could eventually die.

Fortunately she is in better shape than a lot of people who have serious medical problems. She has a supporting family, she and her husband have well paying jobs, and most importantly she has good health insurance.

Unfortunately what she does not have is a neurosurgeon. Every single time she finds one she is immediately informed they “don’t deal with pseudotumor patients”.

She literally can’t get a doctor to save her life.

No one will go into details, but we’re pretty sure that the qualified surgeons are skittish because any brain operation is risky. And Americans have become a very litigious people. Medical lawsuits have gotten to be so bad that in my state there are no more practicing neurosurgeons. All of my friends with kids have problems getting pediatricians, because people really get lawsuit crazy when their kids are involved.

So anyhow according to Google ads, lots and lots of people read my blog. Do any of you happen to be neurosurgeons? Do any of you know one that isn’t a giant pansy?
Heck I’d be willing to settle for incriminating photographs at this point.

There isn’t a punch line today. This is an inherently unfunny situation, and I could really use some help locating some medical help for this.

Later this weekend I’ll make up for this by writing about inflatable sheep or something.

Update:  We found a doctor.  Thanks for all of the leads.

Bad job/good boss

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

Most people have had to work at a lousy job at some point in their life. But even the worst job can be made tolerable by good coworkers, sickness especially a decent boss.

Take for instance, McDonalds, where I worked over the summer between high school and college. There are not many jobs worse than working fast food. The pay is lousy. People treat you like a retarded leper. And you leave work every day smelling like you had been molested by a french fry. But the worst part was Happy Meal toys.

Did you know that there are people that obsessively collect each and every Happy Meal toy that comes out? And did you know that many of these people will become raving sociopaths upon the news that the new toy has sold out?

“Hey! You didn’t give my son the new plastic dinosaur! Go get us one!”
“I’m sorry sir, we’ve sold out”
“How can you be sold out?! I hate you! You’ve ruined my son’s day! I hope you get cancer! Give me the plastic dinosaur or I will leap through this drive through window and Mcbeat you to Mcdeath with my collectable summer blockbuster cup! This is the worst thing to happen to any person ever!”
“Worse than ethnic cleansing?”
“Shut up you retarded leper!”

Well at one point they were giving the customers a choice between a matchbox car or a miniature Barbie doll. This was a promotion they run nearly every summer, and they usually have a whole series of different cars and dolls. Every time they do this they always have one minority doll.

One afternoon while I was on break, this woman came running into the restaurant. She had on skimpy daisy dukes with a confederate flag on the butt, and a NASCAR tank top. She was big enough that there was enough bare skin for three normal naked people.
The lady had clearly crawled forth from a very prestigious trailer park, and she was ticked off.

She stormed up to Keisha, the only black person working on the counter at the time.

“You bastards gave my baby girl a no good, god danged ninja Barbie doll! I need a new one!”

Except that she of course, she didn’t say ninja. She said the special n-word that I am not allowed to use.

And I’ll say it again, because I can’t stress this enough: she walked up to the only black person at the front of the store to say it. The entire restaurant goes completely silent. And everyone just kind of stared at her in disbelief.

Somewhere in the back a little girl said, “Mommy what’s a ninja?”.

It was like a starter pistol. Keisha dropped the burger she was carrying, and started to go over the counter at the trailer lady. The trailer lady stated screaming about how McDonalds needs to not have *those* kind of Barbie dolls. All manner of customers start yelling at the trailer lady. And the manager leaps out from the back and grabs Keisha, preventing her from jumping over the counter.

Ignoring the chaos erupting around her, this woman starts to demand that the manager, who is visibly restraining a very ticked off cashier, give her another Barbie.

“Ma’am get out. You’re not welcome here any more.”
“You gave me a ninja doll! What are you gonna do about it?”
“If you are not gone in five seconds I am going to let Keisha go. GET OUT!”

And the woman left. Keisha got put on break, and wasn’t punished for flipping out, and the manager actually apologized to her for having had to listen to the racist nutjob. Furthermore we were told if the woman ever came back to call the police and report her as trespassing.

I have always thought that more fast food managers should threaten rude customers with a beating.

Dare to keep kids off fanfic

Friday, September 7th, 2007

To start off here are some facts about me.
As I have stated before, pills I make video games for a living. I design board games for fun. I read comic books. I have memorized most of the works of Monty Python. I have a few dozen characters on Warcraft. I regularly watch repeats of shows and movies that contain the word “Star”. I listen to Jonathan Coulton, cheap order the Aquabats, medical and Nerf Herder.

There is more.

I play a game, called “Warhammer” which essentially consists of adults playing with plastic army men. I have worked in technical theater. I wear glasses. I have worked at an Anime convention. I once guilt tripped a stripper into dancing to the “Underdog” theme. I worked in PSYOP. I own a copy of the Star Wars Christmas special. I have gone to Ren Faires, and even engaged in mock medieval warfare using foam rubber weapons.

In short, the cool ship set sail without me a long time ago. (And if you mentally added the words “In A Galaxy Far Far Away” you’re stranded right here on the dock with me.)

I am not saying these things to impress you. I’m pretty sure my fan base is at least 50% nerd, and I’m sure many of them could out-dork me with their eyes closed and one hand tied to a limited edition Optimus Prime which is still in the box.

I said these things to establish that I am speaking from a position of authority when I say:

These people make me look cooler than the Fonz, at the South Pole.

Not really sure what to say beyond that. I’m torn between being flattered and creeped out. On the one hand, I like the thought that they enjoy my writing that much.

But on the other hand, being used as the basis for fan fiction? That’s nerdy even for me.

In case there are any people reading this who do not know what fan fiction is, it is basically where an amateur author takes an existing set of material, usually a cartoon or science fiction product, and then writes about it in such a way as to destroy anything good about the original material.

I will further illustrate this with a badly conceived analogy to drug use.

Watching Star Wars is like getting drunk. Normal enough behavior provided that you don’t overdo it. Playing Dungeons and Dragons is like experimenting with pot in college. Less people have tried it, but still enough that you could be considered a normal human being.

Well following this analogy, writing fanfic is the equivalent of trading oral sex for crack, in a mens’s room. In a furry costume. I will now leave you with that mental picture, as I go and try to scrub it out of my brain.

On Shelves Now

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

Please note: If you are not a big gaming nerd, ampoule then this post may not mean a whole hell of a lot to you.

The other night I was picking up some stuff at Best Buy, viagra when I saw one of the coolest things ever.


I saw this game, sitting on the shelf. I’m a not huge military game fanboy, it’s not getting stellar reviews, and I don’t even own a PSP. So why am I so excited about this game?

I helped make it.

For the past year I’ve been going in to work every morning helping to build a small Central American country so that Captain Scott Mitchell can run amok shooting guerrillas.

Since I got out of the service I have bounced across the country a few times, gone to three different colleges, and basically busted my butt to get to this point. Now, I have a video game out.

I had previously done some low level scutt work on Brothers in Arms. Thanks to me, when someone in France plays it, the French translation has a correct lip sync. Bah, if the French wanted to play WWII video games, they should have fought in it.

Well this time I helped a bit on the initial design and did a lot of the level design and construction. By the end I was responsible for about a third of the levels.

So I’m pretty psyched. It’s kind of like how I felt when I graduated from Airborne school, except a hell of a lot less tired.