Ok, so I’m a nerd.

If you’ve ever met me, this has probably come up in conversation at least once.  Perhaps it even came up during our initial conversation, though I’m not so socially inept that I typically introduce myself as ‘Nerd Stacey’.
Really.  Still, you might have noticed that I get excited about nitpicky little facts about the migration of humans, the way molecules interact, or certain types of Legos.

One of my nerd-loves in computer games.  You’re either nodding your head or gasping in horror.  Let me explain a bit further: COMPUTER games.  Not video games.  Not stand-up giant machines that used to be in arcades next to the pinball (although I do like pinball…).  Not any crazy-shot ’em up, drive tanks, kill people or cars or zombies craziness.  I have no great wish to kill or even maim real or imaginary things.  I’m talking the old-school solve-puzzles, talk-fairy, get-bowl, adventure games like King’s Quest and Monkey Island and even some later games like Myst. These games apply to the mathematical side of my brain (different number and directional systems to be understood, puzzles to solve) as well as the storytelling side.  And while some of them may be more or less graphically pleasing, they leave enough room for me to imagine solutions and methods and most of all, exploration of some other place.  It’s like having a secret garden without the work of maintaining a garden.

Of course, technology has sped up to a point where these types of games mostly are not on the market anymore.  There’s the Nancy Drew mystery games, which are somewhat similar.  There’s probably movie-related games that I am unaware of that didn’t ever really spark my interest.  There’s Portal, a video game which I only know about because of Mike and is basically a live physics problem (how cool is that?  Nerd).  But really, there’s not much, and quite possibly not a big market for it.

When I was in China, however, with tons of free time on my hands, I discovered AGS.  It’s a website/community/freeware system devoted to the preservation and continuation of adventure games.  I love it.  Every once in awhile I go back there when I have some extra free time to see if there’s anything new.  I also am supposedly working on a game myself, which was supposed to be done for my sisters before I got back from China.  Oops.  But the point is not really about my own lack of motivation.  The point is that somewhere out there in a land far, far away (known as the UK), despite a lack ‘sell-ability’, there are still people hanging on to this imperfect dream that is my-kind-of-game.  For those of you who did not meet it in its nascent splendor, there’s KQ I and II (free!).  Thank you blue cup man and co., wherever you are.

Log Beats Glass.

In a corollary to the ancient and incontestable rules of Rock, Paper, Scissors, this was recently exemplified in a Random Act of Vandalism. My friends Jeanne and Lauren were at the receiving end of the RAOV when their living room window was shattered by a flying log. With this new example, it has been proven once again that glass – even double-paned glass – will not stand against propelled-massive-stick-with-a-pointy-end. Though the propellant (or propeller?) has not yet been found by the police, nor a motive discovered (J&L had recently moved into the area and had not had time to build up the usual pool of enemies/arch-nemeses), no physical harm was caused. Hopefully they’ll get all that glass cleaned up and a new window in short order.

While discussing the matter with my co-worker Corina, I kept repeating the title phrase of this post to refute her comments concerning the smallness of the log, the strength of double-paned glass, and the possible results of the same situation with slightly different circumstances. What if the window had been triple-paned? Log beats glass. What if the log had been less pointy, or less forcefully propelled? Log beats glass. It just gets funnier every time you say it.

After several rounds of discussion, my repetition led me to another question. What other similar principles were actively present in our everyday lives without our notice? Of course, there are the obvious ones like soap beats dirt or overly large coat beats winter. Still, it makes me wonder at those truths that do not impinge on my consciousness, thought they are physically present and consistently true, without shattering consequences. Any ideas?

The Best of April Fools

A head honcho at my current place of employment asked me if I had the ‘bandwidth’ to do some editing for him, to which I verbally replied “Yes”.  Secretly, however, I was thinking ‘I urgently need to write down some stuff about April 1 (today) on my blog’.  So, here it is.

1) Custom Time on Gmail (Thank you, Corina) – While the ability to send mail as if it had been sent hours or even days ago is one I imperatively need to beat my lifetime curse as forgetful Jones, thus far the real world has been unable to provide me with the ability.  todd-j.jpgIn the meantime, I’ll have to make due with the funnies of this page.  Classics such as ‘Gmail utilizes an e-flux capacitor to resolve issues of causality’ and ‘If we were to let you send an email from Gmail before Gmail existed, well, that would be like hanging out with your parents before you were born — crazy talk.’ really make this particular prank a class act.  However, my ultimate favorite is the ‘do from Todd J., Investment Banker, on this page.  With the finger-pointing, I can tell he’s a class act.

1-b) Google books has NEW! Scratch-and Sniff varieties.  Yay!  Oh wait, it’s not real.

2) Wikipedia’s ‘Featured Article‘ (Props to Josue) – While ‘Ima Hogg’ is the true name of a famous Texan lady (only in Texas) she did not, in fact, have sisters named Ura and Hoosa.  She was neither a circus emcee nor an ostrich jockey, and she was brought up to wealth, rather than in government housing.  However, it is most unfortunate that her father, one of Texas’s governors, was nicknamed ‘Big Jim’.

3) Google’s (/Virgin’s) Virgle Pioneer test – while the actual documentation on said exploration was somewhat less than titter-worthy, I completely enjoyed the online test, titled ‘The Adventure of Many Lifetimes’.  Here’s my results: ‘Well, you’re distressingly normal and could conceivably adjust to life as a deep space pioneer, though we recommend instead that you leave the Mars missions to the serious whack jobs who scored over 130 and instead finish year 3 of law school, tuck your toddler into bed, design Web 2.0 applications, run for Congress or do whatever other normal, healthy, middle-of-the-road thing you’re currently doing with your normal, healthy, middle-of-the-road life. ‘ Also notable was the Virgle is real link under the FAQs.

I’m guessing that there are others…please, keep me from boredom!

Game playing at the glacial level.

So I was reading one of the happy blogs I like, shape and color, (definitely check it out if you have not – there’s always fun stuff there) and discovered yet another wonderful little toy – tetris ice cube trays.  Wha?  How cool is that?  Silicon shells make them flexible for popping out even at low temperatures, so there’s less risk of breaking off one of the ‘legs’ of your little game piece.  While I’m not sure how cool these will actually look in your drink, they are fun melting on the table beforehand.  Besides, who wants ice in their drink?  Ice is obviously for playing with.

So, what other gamable ice is there out in the wide world?  Well, there are the obvious shaped varieties that have always been with us – rounded, rectangular, square, or, for the wildly minded, giant punch-ring bundt-cake shapes.  And those are fun.  Kinda.  Or, in a slightly new iteration, these little various shapes add a bit of fun.  But what can you really DO with them?  Not much.  Also in this vein are the newly popular ‘jewel’ ices.  Can we say pretty pretty princess?  But again, these are really only useful in the drink (though maybe sometime soon some clever diva will turn them into ice ring pops).  There is at least one more step up from mundane ice with these frozen shot glasses – useful, quaint, and fun.  They are highly functional, so you can do something with them.  But they aren’t nearly as playful as Tetris – once they’ve served thier one (or two or three or four, gulp) purpose, they can only be left to melt away.  Or maybe placed into another, larger drink.

Enter the king of playing-with-your-ice:  the indomitable LEGO.  True, thus far there are only the two-by-four varieties, but I see a day in the not-so distant future when every lego shape will be available ‘on ice’ and the world will glow with ice-playing.  Leave your chainsaws, picks, and other ice-sculpture materials at home – I gots lego.

Amazing New Features Coming Soon!

In my quest to love Scrabulous till the day it dies, I have been very disturbed of late when using their Facebook app. Those of you who know and love Scrabulous already may be aware of the recent controversy surrounding Hasbro’s suit against the inventors/propagators of the Scrabulous software.

Of late there has been a message on theFacebook app claiming that new features are coming.  Now, it doesn’t say what, and it doesn’t say when, but it surprises me that the two developers would be working like crazy to develop new features for a game they may be forced to shut down permanently in not too long.  I have great fear that the ‘new features’ may end up being the freezing of the site.