Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Complete Work of Fiction Not Based on Reality in Any Way Whatsoever

Welcome to Consultant! The exciting text-based interactive adventure where you are a consultant at a large corporation!

You are in YOUR CUBE.

You are basking in the warm glow of the Kick Off Meeting where everyone went around and introduced themselves and their teams. You are pumped and excited and ready for work!

You have 10 turns before your TPS REPORT is due.


You type out an email explaining who you are and what INFORMATION you need to create your TPS REPORT. You hit SEND and the email goes to the BUSINESS CONTACT.

You hear the faint sound of crickets as you wait for a response.

You have 9 turns before your TPS REPORT is due.



The BUSINESS CONTACT is a gruff, busy person. “Why are you here? I don’t have time for you!” snaps the BUSINESS CONTACT. The BUSINESS CONTACT begins a long rant about how this company is going down the toilet, how they keep hiring unnecessary consultants, and how the BUSINESS CONTACT could probably do your job better than you.

You have 8 turns before your TPS REPORT is due.


“I don’t have time to give you INFORMATION!”

You have 7 turns before your TPS REPORT is due.

> Explain your VALUE

You begin to talk about what you bring to the table, your years of knowledge and experience, and how the BUSINESS CONTACT can use you to make the workplace a better place.

The BUSINESS CONTACT cuts you off. “If you want to really help me, you will get me some COFFEE.”

You now have an URGE TO THROTTLE.

You have 6 turns before your TPS REPORT is due.

> Suppress URGE

You take a deep breath and clench your teeth in a forced smile as you imagine horrible things involving grub worms and man-eating Gila monsters happening to the BUSINESS CONTACT.


You have 5 turns before your TPS REPORT is due.


You are in BREAK AREA.

The break area is a nondescript area with COFFEE and DONUTS. There is a SMARMY DEVELOPER here, scribbling notes on a notepad.

You have 4 turns before your TPS REPORT is due.


You offer a hand in friendship to the SMARMY DEVELOPER. The SMARMY DEVELOPER doesn’t take your hand but instead eyes you up and down for a second, barely registering your presence. The SMARMY DEVELOPER begins to scribble on the notepad again.

You have 3 turns before your TPS REPORT is due.

> Explain your VALUE

You begin to talk about what you bring to the table, your years of knowledge and experience, and how the SMARMY DEVELOPER can use you to make the workplace a better place.

The SMARMY DEVELOPER doesn’t even look up from the notepad. “I could do anything you can do, and I could probably do it better. You probably don’t even know JAVA.”

You have 2 turns before your TPS REPORT is due.

> Explain your JAVA KNOWLEDGE

You explain that to make yourself more effective in the workplace, you took it on yourself to learn JAVA. You have even made a JAVA slideshow application for your grandmother so she can look at photos of all her family mixed in with photos of flowers, sunsets, and kittens. After impressing her with your extensive knowledge of JAVA, you are now her favorite grandchild.

The SMARMY DEVELOPER doesn’t even look up from the notepad. “I could do anything you can do, and I could probably do it better. You probably don’t even know C++.”

You have 1 turns before your TPS REPORT is due.


You explain to the SMARMY DEVELOPER how you are new here and someone told you that the SMARMY DEVELOPER was by far the smartest, most insightful, and hardest working person in the organization. You go on to explain that you were told the SMARMY DEVELOPER is the only person in the entire company who could possibly help you in your predicament. The SMARMY DEVELOPER is the hero of the company and everyone knows it.

While you wax poetic about the SMARMY DEVELOPER, the SMARMY DEVELOPER sets down the notepad and nods in agreement with you. The SMARMY DEVELOPER looks pleased. “How may I help you?”

Your TPS REPORT is due!


“Oh, yes. The information for the TPS report. I am very familiar with that. It resides in the most obvious place. Directory M backslash qmv backslash cp001468 backslash Ricky backslash To do 020892 backslash Halloween pictures backslash TPS backslash INFORMATION. Frankly, I am surprised you did not find it on your own; it practically advertises itself.”

You begin to thank the SMARMY DEVELOPER and get interrupted. “You might not have security PERMISSION to access that server, though. You should probably talk to SURLY PROGRAMMER before you try to get the INFORMATION.”

You have 10 turns before anyone realizes your TPS REPORT is overdue.


You grab two coffees, one for yourself and one for the BUSINESS CONTACT.

You have 9 turns before anyone realizes your TPS REPORT is overdue.


On the way to the cube, your SUPERVISOR stops you in the hall.

“Have you delivered the TPS REPORT already?”

You have 8 turns before anyone realizes your TPS REPORT is overdue.

>Sing and dance for SUPERVISOR

In a remarkable feat of dexterity, especially considering you are holding two coffees, you begin to barrage the SUPERVISOR with industry buzzwords. “We’re on track synergizing our processes with a going forward attitude. It is practically money in the bank, holding our client’s hand and ensuring maximum profitability in a downturn market. It is win-win all the way. A-OK. ASAP. BYOB. RSVP.”

Your SUPERVISOR smiles and nods in approval, not realizing that you have avoided answering the question.

“Carry on.”

You have 7 turns before anyone realizes your TPS REPORT is overdue.



The BUSINESS CONTACT snatches the COFFEE from you and makes a joke about always wanting to have an Administrative Assistant. The BUSINESS CONTACT starts to make more jokes about having you wash cars and handle dry cleaning while you are fetching COFFEE.

You now have an URGE TO THROTTLE.

You have 6 turns before anyone realizes your TPS REPORT is overdue.



The smell of stale potato chips permeates the air. The SURLY PROGRAMMER hunches over a keyboard, typing away, only acknowledging your presence with a small grunt.


You have 5 turns before anyone realizes your TPS REPORT is overdue.


You explain how you need INFORMATION for your TPS REPORT and the INFORMATION only resides on a server that you do not have PERMISSION to access.

The SURLY PROGRAMMER sighs heavily and keeps typing. The SURLY PROGRAMMER nods towards a towering stack of FORMS.

“You need to complete all of those FORMS and get APPROVAL from a DIRECTOR. When the FORMS are returned to me, you will get permission in six to eight weeks.”


You have 4 turns before anyone realizes your TPS REPORT is overdue.


You huff and puff and invoke the name of the BUSINESS OWNER and the DIRECTOR as you explain how your assignment is mission critical and if SURLY PROGRAMMER wants to put a SURLY CAREER on the line by stopping you for doing what you do best, then go right ahead. You will make sure everyone in the company knows SURLY PROGRAMMER is fully responsible for everything falling apart. After you are finished there will be a long line of people in SURLY PROGRAMMER CUBE asking for PERMISSION.

The SURLY PROGRAMMER pouts slightly, but with two deft keystrokes gives you PERMISSION.

As a show of gratitude, you promise the SURLY PROGRAMMER a DONUT.


You have 3 turns before anyone realizes your TPS REPORT is overdue.


You are in YOUR CUBE.

Before you is your computer. You click a few keys and realize you have PERMISSION to INFORMATION.

You have 2 turns before anyone realizes your TPS REPORT is overdue.


You mind relaxes in a moment of sweet bliss as you crunch numbers, create graphs, and ensure that all the document formatting is correct. You quickly Save and Print the document.

You have a TPS REPORT.

You have 1 turns before anyone realizes your TPS REPORT is overdue.


You are in MEETING

The BUSINESS OWNERS and EXECUTIVES and SUPERVISORS and STAKEHOLDERS are in the meeting. Your BUSINESS CONTACT is about to present the findings from the TPS REPORT.

“Where is that TPS Report?”


You offer the TPS REPORT to the BUSINESS CONTACT. The BUSINESS CONTACT takes it and makes a joke about how good help is hard to find. Everyone laughs.

You now have an URGE TO THROTTLE.

> Suppress URGE

Congratulations! You have successfully survived 23 turns as a consultant! Your score ranks you as – TEAM LEAD. Try playing again for a higher level!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Statute of Limitations Has Passed

Sometimes there are stories you take to the grave. Sometimes there are stories you wait almost twenty years to tell. That way the parties involved are either dead or retired. I say this because this entry is a big tattle on my high school guidance counselor. Dude, you better be retired, that is all I'm gonna say.

I am not a fan of educational bureaucracy, and mandatory counseling sessions are one of the worst things I have to suffer through. I am one of those people who already knows what he wants and tries to work towards it. In fact, most of my clashes in college happened when I knew what I wanted, and my academic advisers instead encouraged me to goof off and find myself (another blog entry in the making).

However, I was not always this way. The big "moment of not knowing what I was going to do" that happened in my life occurred in my junior/senior year of high school. Choosing a college and a subsequent career was beyond my little pea-pie head. I liked learning, but I only had a vague idea of how to turn the talents I had into a way that could generate lots of money, fame, and power.

After taking the SAT, I started receiving all sorts of college recruitment packages. This was absolutely awesome, until I looked at how much it cost.

I did not have any money when I graduated high school (thank you, Billy Joel for making such awesome music that I spent all my money on you). I wanted to get all sorts of grants and scholarships, but didn't know exactly how to get my hands on all of that filthy lucre.

My only option was to... talk to the counselor.

"I don't know what school I should go to. And I'm broke. I don't know what to do..."

"You have a girlfriend?"


"Well, get a girlfriend. Girlfriends do wonderful things."

"Um... yeah... I was thinking of going to Brown."

"Why Brown?"

"I don't know. I read a book where one of the characters graduated from Brown. It was a good book."

"Two years ago I had a student go to Brown and take the campus tour. He came back to me and you know what he said?"


"Ugliest. Women. Ever."

"Ok. I was also thinking of one of the Ivy League schools. Like Columbia or something in Boston."

"There are a lot of ugly girls in the Northeast, you know that?"

"I didn't."

"Well, there are. Hideous. Ones you tell your buddies 'thank heavens she has a good personality.' What you need to do is focus on one of the state schools. UT. North Texas. A&M. There are some beautiful looking women on those campuses."

"I see."

"So. That's all I've got. Go to a state school. Get yourself a beautiful girlfriend. We good?"

"I guess so."

"We good?"

"We good."

"Ok, then."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Forcing Culture on People Not Quite Ready for It

So this weekend the Mrs. and I started off our opera season tickets with a traditional staging of The Marriage of Figaro.

The Marriage of Figaro is a pretty funny opera about everyone trying to sleep with everyone else, and everyone getting jealous because they secretly suspect everyone is actually sleeping with everyone else.

There is a bunch of nonsense about Prima Nocte, aka the Lord of the Manor getting to sleep with his servant's wives on their wedding night (portrayed in a very unfunny manner in Braveheart as well as in the life of Genghis Kahn). Anyway, this is a very serious and horrible thing that happened throughout Western Civilization, but when Mozart handles it, it proves to be pretty funny.

Plus there is this almost-incest plot point that is very funny when you watch it, but really frightening when you try to describe it to people later on in your blog. So I shall not mention it.

Anyhoo, at our opera there was, I kid you not, a Girl Scout troop going on a field trip to the opera. And during the three intermissions, the Troop leaders had the uncomfortable job of explaining to the young ladies the great culture they just witnessed.

Being the horrible eavesdropper I am, I kept sneaking out to listen to conversations like this.

"Why did his mom want to marry him?"

"Oh, she didn't really want to marry him."


"Weren't the dresses beautiful? And when she sang that song, wasn't her voice pretty?"

"But what about the mom-"

"It was all a big misunderstanding. And that is why some people laughed."

"I don't understa-"

"I think the dresses in the next act will be even prettier. Don't you think?"

"I guess."

Normally, this is where I butt in and set the record straight, but the poor troop leader was having enough problems without me providing an interpretation of the performance that did not focus on costume design.

Ah, Western Civilization, you have presented yet another great challenge to future generations. Thank heavens we weren't watching Lucia di Lammermoor which features people hanging their... ah... reddish-stained bedsheets outside their windows on their wedding nights, proving that the young lady was indeed virginal. I would hate to explain that great cultural milestone to a group of underage girls. ("Wasn't her bloody dress... pretty?")

For more about the rich cultural heritage of Prima Nocte you can read about it here.

Or listen to this:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How Big is Will?

My brother as a baby.

Leper Colony! A fun party game for children!

"Ok, kids. One of you is a leper. Everyone look under your chairs and see if you have the red spots!"

The children all look under their chairs.

"It's me! Me me me me me!"

"Hold still and let me put the leper spots on you. Ok. Now your job is to count to ten. After that, whoever you touch will also become a leper and will get the spots."

"1... 2... 3... 7... 9... 10! TAG!"


"Leprosy isn't fair. Come here and get your spots. Now we have two lepers. Count to ten and we'll see who gets tagged next."

All of the children run around and scream.

And run.

And scream some more.

One after another, the children get tagged and then get their spots. Soon all of the children are covered in spots.

"Ok. Now you are a leper colony. You are shunned by the outside world. But there is hope and redemption in the form of the special holy cupcakes. After you eat these cupcakes, you will be able to take the spots off of you."



What you have just read is an example of the fun and edu-tain-tional game where children learn about the horrors of leprosy, as well as a valuable spiritual lesson in the form of cupcakes.

Leper Colony! is a simple and fun game designed for a large group of children with natural tendencies to run around and scream a lot for no good reason. With Leper Colony! you give them a reason to run around and scream - they have a horrible disease.

All you need to play Leper Colony! is a collection of red dots (which can come from construction paper) and a mild adhesive so you can stick these dots all over the visiting children (crazy glue is not appropriate - glue sticks are borderline acceptable).

The rest is up to you and the power of your imagination. If you want to encourage the children with great stories of leprosy or dramatic, yet clinical descriptions of what the disease is and what it does to people, then by all means do so. The beauty of this game comes from its flexibility.

Have fun!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Another Creative Challenge Lands at My Feet

So my friend Sherri blogged about her recent trip to a church's alternative to Halloween party. A party that featured such exciting, non-ghost-and-goblin-themed games like "Cover the Bleeding Man in a Loincloth with Band-Aids."

I grew up going to events like this, so I feel that I am coming from a safe place when I openly mock them. And, if you read the comments on her blog post, there will be a little note from me which reads, "All I'm sayin' is that there should have been at least one game about leprosy."

Because Sherri is not one who lets a snark go without a reciprocal snark, she responded with a nice little, "if you develop a leprosy game concept that I can actually execute given the restraints of my limited time and budget, I will have it at Colin's birthday party in January. And I'll post pictures."

When people ask me, "Where do you get your ideas?" I should just point them to this blog post. Because now I have an idea that I want to see happen.

Sometime before January I want to develop, Leprosy! A Game for the Whole Family and post it here on the blog. I only hope the job, the holidays, the screenwriting, the book publishing, the schoolwork, and all of the other nonsense doesn't get in my way, because this has to happen. Leper love is upon us now.

And who knows? When all is said and done, this game may involve pasting band aids on a man in a loincloth.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Time for a *hic* celebration!

Today I just passed a major milestone for work, and might have some room to breathe for awhile. There is just so much to celebrate in this world and one of the better ways to celebrate is to drink heavily.

And what a surprise because today I received my quarterly Wine Club shipment from my favorite winery, Humanitas Wines. For those of you who haven't been around me after I have a sip of wine and become a completely insufferable know-it-all, Humanitas Wines is a non-profit winery that donates a portion of each sale to a food bank based on your ZIP code.

So while I'm chugging away this delicious wine, hugging strangers, and telling them how much I love them and how freakin' beautiful they are, a portion of my money goes to a North Texas food bank.

So I feel good.

Anyway, bundled in with today's wine shipment was a nice little note from the Proprietor of Humanitas Wines, Judd Wallenbrock, telling me that he now has a blog. A blog about whatever he wants to talk about, which includes wonderful, wonderful wine.

So here it is:

In case you hate wine and think it is strictly for snooty snoot snoot snobberbums, I will also let you know that I also mail order beer. Beer not available in North Texas. Specifically, Moose Drool.

I drank Moose Drool on a vacation to Portland once and absolutely fell in love with it. Unfortunately, the distributor does not deliver to Texas. So I mail order it from a place called Liquid Solutions. You, too, can order it here.

And, wouldn't you know it, Liquid Solutions also has a blog.

I think this is a wonderful idea - booze and blogs. I now follow both of these blogs.

The only downside is that now I will be tempted to drink and comment.

So if you decide to follow these same blogs and see a comment from me to the effect of, "YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL AND I LOVE YOU!!!! LOOOOOOOVVVVEEEE!!!! Um.... uh... BLLEEEEEAAAARRRGH!" you will know I am in my happy place.