Monday, November 30, 2009

Comedy Dates

couple of new ones for december hanging out in that thar calendar widget on the right.
Clickety clickety for info.
Depending on your persuasion, we've got me emceeing an improv show @ Ginger's next week, or a suburb gig in S Barrington the following week, or the politically bent Accountants of Homeland Security on the 21st.

I will probably tell the same jokes at all of them, barring any fancy new life experiences that may happen.
Improv set will be more loose because they reward longer walks.

Either way, I'll be outspoken against slavery in all three shows. And it's not just a bit - I'm really against slavery.
Letting you know I walk the walk.

JB - Taking Tough Stands Since Late 2009

Another Thanksgiving bites the dust

Good times. Quick hits:
I spent some time with kids this weekend. Some of the most fun you can give a kid is lifting him up over your head and throwing them around a bit. Even if they're crying and screaming, "put me down!", they're still storing up the memories for later fond remembrance.
And if they're not and I'm traumatizing them, well, maybe next time you'll keep your stupid germs to yourself.

I also like scaring them when they're real little. It's the only time you can really get them to love being scared. Or hate it. Hey, I'm not a doctor and they should stop being such crybabies.

Did I mention the kids got me sick? They did.

Other fun stuff:
Been playing Race For The Galaxy non-stop with my wife. It took her a long time to get it but I think she beat my ass the last two times we played it.
A seriously hideous learning curve, everything is self-contained on the cards in its own icon-based language. It's elegant once you "get" it, but until then reading cards is like attempting to read a native american map. (You can't do it because you can't speak Spanish! Also, they mapped over time AND space so they tell stories. Also they were not into three dimensions.)

I picked it up very quickly because in essence I was learning a new "set" in Magic The Gathering. A new set of mechanics, some card interactions, and a board of on average 10 cards and I'm ready to go.
Also, seriously: Abandoned Alien Colony is a card, as is Pirate World.
My wife, that's who.

But she got it. I'm happy she stuck with it, because GOOD sci-fi based board games are rare or very expensive (Space Hulk, I'm looking at you)

Now how do I teach another 15 people to play it?!
I know: water boarding.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tales of a poorly cooked turkey.

"Honey, which side is breast-up?"

That was the first question of many dumb, dumb turkey questions asked today.
We'd brined the turkey overnight, and rinsed it off in the morning. We'd read at least a dozen different ways of cooking a brined turkey - breast side up, no breast side down, no turn it every 15 minutes for the first hour for even browning, no baste it with butter an hour in, no slit the skin and slide two sticks of butter under the skin, no cook it at 500 degrees for a half hour and then drop the temperature down, no you have to grill it or it's a fraud.

This is the problem with the internet: So many voices, not enough experts. And certainly no way to tell if someone IS an expert. (It's easy to tell when they're not - their names will phonetically spell curse words or indicate sexual prowess)

We settled on a happy medium: cook it for an hour breast down, baste with butter. Cook another hour then flip to breast up for the last hour.

The weirdest part about our turkey: no neck! Didn't see neck one! So that step was wrong on all of the instruction sheets. They all said:
Step (1) - remove giblets and neck
But we only found giblets.
3.5 hours later, though, I found the neck shoved in the turkey's ass.

That's also when I handed the bird over to the father-in-law to carve. (years of experience beats youthful enthusiasm in MY book)
Here's what makes me feel better about the realization we had then:
It took him about ten minutes and a bone-saw to figure out the turkey was breast down.
We cooked the whole damn thing backwards.
Brining, thank goodness, allows for a ton of mistakes. The turkey was delicious (and moist!) and the dinner was great.

Happy T day all; hope it turned out as good for you guys.
(side note: I have a glass splinter in my foot and a bruise the size of a baseball under my right armpit. These are the injuries my cat gave me playing with him. Jailhouse cats make SHIVS of GLASS)

Monday, November 23, 2009

The internet isn't private

This shouldn't be a new revelation to anyone, but the internet's a public place.
You post something online, and it's probably stored in a database somewhere.
I went searching for some of my old stuff for this post, and found some.
Old writings. I was disgusted with myself and abandoned the post entirely.

The fear of something being out there forever makes it harder to be honest.
OK maybe you can be honest in an Aes Sedai sort of way, but I'd rather not drive off the internet bridge with a campaign staffer in my car.
Metaphorically speaking.

But I've got to get past .7 postings a week.
This means I have to start posting pictures of kitties.

This is Lady Catterly and Vlad. They're at that window because some birds have a nest in our neighbor's vent. They stare out that window, and Lady occasionally becomes overcome with desire and starts chirping softly.

I too would prefer stories of plane crashes.

The fact of the matter is I've been spending all my free time writing jokes or playing Torchlight. Joke-writing's not adventurous.
Nor is explaining how great/bad/mediocre I did at an open mic.

You know what is adventurous? Some brotha-truckin' TORCHLIGHT PORN!
MooseSquirrel, my alchemist in Torchlight!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

.7 posts per week

That's my current benchmark according to the Google Reader. Pretty bad.
Since rule #1 about blogging is not apologizing for not writing, let's just say I'm unhappy with myself right now.

It's a horrible statistic. I think my life is better lived without hard numbers and data.
Data I'd rather not see:
floss/brush ratio
caloric intake due to liquids (soda, beer)
Workouts per week
Non-work-related websites visited at work per day (Answer: ZERO. I program holistically; all websites are work related)
Daily depreciation of my car
Pounds of undigested meat in my colon

Ignorance is blissful indeed.
Palin/Beck 2012!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Games games games

Dragon Age: Origins.
Tales of Monkey Island 4.
Team Fortress 2

These are currently my favorite things.
Three of those were released in the last couple of weeks. Here's my nutshell review:

Torchlight: Wizard needs food, badly! Steampunk diablo-clone. Fun. Hardcore (one life, no saves!) is opt-in with no need to unlock it. I forgot how much hardcore mode makes me adverse to the game, but if it exists I'm compelled to play it.
One life.
I spent a couple hours last night leveling up an alchemist and then sloppily killing myself on the last mage of a group. He was looking promising, there were only 2 or three mobs left, and I decided to play one-handed.

The funniest thing about hardcore is it puts the cost of gaming in stark relief. Gaming ultimately gets you little but RSI; I may be awesome at TF:2 (I'm not) but it means nothing.
Torchlight shows that immediately: I spent 3 hours that was immediately wasted by a few moments of inattentiveness.

Dragon Age: Origins at least has a large unfolding plot, so I can rationalize it as reading a new-fangled book-type thing.

Secrets of Monkey Island is the same, even more so. In Dragon Age, cowering from responsibility in my origin story got my cousin killed. My flub had consequences.
Monkey Island - no such plot interaction. You figure out the puzzles and enjoy the story and humor, but unless it throws us a curve-ball in act 5 I'm guessing Guybrush gets the girl, cures the pox, and LeChuck becomes evil again somehow.
I'd expect no less than the continuity of a Simpson's episode.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

frightening tales of woe

I have too many things in my systray.

I have elected to Unhide them for the time being; both Steam and Impulse (gaming services) are easier to launch from this area than launchy. That statement is technically untrue; Launchy is faster but the next command will require a mouse-click. (find game I want to play, click on it to launch)

Rambling. I don't know what possessed me to click on Glenn Beck's book on Amazon before 7 AM today; morbid curiousity compelled me to seek out the 5 star reviews and yell at the computer screen for a while.
There were some well reasoned 1 and 2 star reviews which I sought as a palate cleanser after the 4 line, 5 star "PEOPLE who want HEALTH CARE are LEACHES" Hemingway-esque masterpiece of a review.

The comments beneath each 1 star review are priceless. An army of idiots trying to prove they can argue with idiots.
MusicLover appears in a few of the low rated threads. Music Lover is the Randall Flagg of the Beck review; s/he appears in multiple forms and posts the same thing:
Hey, did you even read the book? Hmmmm? I thought not!
Here's her in another form, Uriah Heep:
sorry, sir, seems youve missed the concept here -- that is, to review products ... objectively ... that youve actually read. maybe you got lost on your way to

In almost every one-star review there's someone crying that they didn't read the book.
My all time favorite is in the best one-star review for the book. Five paragraphs of deconstructing Beck's arguments in the book, and the second review comment:
Ah. So you didn't actually read the book.

What a surprise - yet another dishonest review. Are all Beck's detractors so intellectually dishonest?

"Straw man idiot," indeed.
I love it.
Allowing comments on heavily trafficked web pages is beautiful; it gives us a window on the soul of humanity. It's an ugly window: