Tuesday, February 23, 2010

1,772 miles

Last week, D and I drove down to the San Francisco bay area for the Game Control Summit and to see friends. We saw quite a few people at the GC Summit, but also did our best to squeeze in other visits--which is how we ended up having breakfast, dessert, tea, and dinner, pretty much one right after the other, on Saturday.

We went to opening night of Foothill College's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which is a great show, and made even more hilarious by my fellow Richter Scale David Mister, who plays William Barfée; had lunch with Pauline and Brian, who just got engaged (she ran a birthday/proposal treasure hunt for him, natch); and I got in-person critiques from various "beta readers" on my novel manuscript.

Finally, on our way home, we stopped at Bubbling Well Pet Memorial Park in Napa to scatter Bayla's ashes. That was the reason we drove instead of flying. I'm glad we did it. Bubbling Well is the same place where Amber was laid to rest, and now our girls are together again.


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Monday, February 08, 2010

I am a LOLcat!

Think you can come up with a better caption for this photograph? I dare you!


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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Barry Manilow Called...

...he wants his royalties.


That was The Richter Scales performing at this year's "Crunchies" awards show, in what seems to have become an annual tradition. But as amusing as that song was, I couldn't stop thinking of this one:


And by the way, Barry guest starring on Glee? Could be a train wreck. I am so going to watch anyway. Expect to see an angry blog post if there is a conspicuous absence of Mandy.


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Friday, January 08, 2010

Colonel Tye

Our new kitty has been in the house for less than 12 hours, and he's already a LOLcat (following a few random Twitter comments):

This, my friends, is the power of the Internet.

Thanks to Jeff Phillips of Los Jefes for making the image!


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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

On the 12th Day of Xmas

...i.e., today, we start thinking about taking down all the decorations and putting away our presents.

This holiday season was somewhat bittersweet; we got to spend time with many new and old friends, but we also lost Bayla. We still miss her, and we'll never replace her, but we have started the process of adopting a new cat so Jasper will have a friend to keep him company when DeeAnn and I are out of the house.

2009 was our first full year of living in our new home, and while we've been able to cut back on almost every other expenditure, we've found that we really like to travel. So we'll probably be tweaking our budget to accommodate that in the future.

I'm not as down on 2009 as some people--I didn't have a job to lose, and didn't succumb to any major illnesses (knock on wood) or experience any major personal crises--but I'm still looking forward to 2010. I'm going to keep writing, keep getting better, and with a little bit of luck, start making a real living of it. Here's to a Happy New Year.


(Yeah, I know that video is in Spanish, but it's the most concise black-and-white version of that clip I could find on YouTube. And the dubbing on Zuzu's last line, at 0:54, is hilarious.)


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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

SnoutCast #3: Story Time

Apologies for the audio artifacts this time around. I forgot to unplug my laptop before recording and had to remove the 60-cycle hum (and harmonics) using a software notch filter. Which is ironic, because I warned about this very problem on the Wired How-To Wiki.

[ Download mp3 - 39 MB ]

00:00 - random teaser
01:25 - shout-out to our two confirmed listeners!
02:10 - "Which Game had the most coherent story?"
06:25 - DeeAnn votes for The Goonies Game
12:20 - stories in Snout Games
13:45 - clue difficulty distribution; dromedary vs. camel
21:27 - Curtis actually means Mickey Rooney
22:47 - "Go to Hogwarts" (see what she did there?)
37:46 - in other gaming news...
41:04 - The End

Happy Holidays, y'all!

Music: instrumentals from "Code Monkey," "Skullcrusher Mountain," "Tom Cruise Crazy," and "Chiron Beta Prime" by Jonathan Coulton

CKL DeeAnn Jasper

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Friday, December 04, 2009

Friday Flash Fiction: "On Orbit"

Let's get this out of the way right now:
Read "On Orbit" at 512 Words or Fewer


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

SnoutCast #1: ZombiePortLand

After writing one "GC Musings" blog post in September, it occurred to me that any such discussions should include my lovely wife DeeAnn, who's been an integral part of every Snout Game. She handles the budget, most of the logistics, and many other planning aspects.

As the latest of our various experiments, she has grudgingly agreed to join me in an irregular podcast about games (note lowercase "g"--we will definitely talk about puzzle hunts, but we reserve the right to digress).

Here's the first episode. It's pretty rough, but either we'll get better, or we'll stop:

[ Download mp3 ]

Oh, yeah, it's also 53 freakin' minutes long. Show notes below so you can skip all the boring stuff.

00:50 - We start with the profanity right away.
04:42 - Left 4 Dead 2 (buy from Amazon)
15:35 - Curtis' talk at Ignite Portland 7 (video and slides)
26:39 - Recap of Shinteki Field Trip: Disneyland
50:21 - Happy Thanksgiving! The end.

Music: instrumentals from "Code Monkey," "Baby Got Back," and "Re: Your Brains" by Jonathan Coulton

P.S. If you'd like to join our zombie-killing party sometime, we're sparCKL and SoleChen on Xbox Live.

CKL DeeAnn

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

How to Solve Any Puzzle in Less Than 47 Minutes

For those who couldn't attend, here are not one, but two recordings of the puzzle hunt talk I gave at Ignite Portland 7 on November 19, 2009!

From the live stream, with cutaways to slides:

And a one-shot from stage left:

The talk includes a walk-through of one Clue from the MegaHard Game (2000), and I love that several people in the audience applauded for the "a-ha" moment and the solution at the end. That's what it's all about, folks.

It's difficult to see the complete slides in those videos, so if you want to solve the embedded puzzle, you should look at these still images:

As noted, tweet @teamsnout if you figure it out. First person to post the correct solution wins verifiable, time-stamped bragging rights. :)

Thanks to all the Ignite Portland staff, volunteers, speakers, and attendees for contributing to a great event, and to Jeff Stribling of MegaHard GC for providing a copy of the Clue for me to photograph.


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Thursday, November 05, 2009

The World's Only Reliable Newspaper

No, I'm not talking about The Onion; I'm talking about Weekly World News. The Onion is "America's Finest News Source." WWN is "the World's Only Reliable Newspaper." Get it straight.

Anyway, the good news is, you can now read back issues of WWN's print edition (and several other magazines) on Google Books. The bad news is, the WWN archives only span from January, 1981, to August, 2007. You could go to their web site, but it's just not the same. Call me old-fashioned, but there is a certain charm to the badly Photoshopped black-and-white tabloid layout.


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Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I'm looking forward to Shinteki Field Trip: Disneyland on Saturday, as are 43 other teams. At four people per team, that's 176 total players, which may well be the largest Bay Area(ish) Game ever. Excitement!

However, I do have to wonder what the teams named "Tragic Kingdom" and "The Crappiest Place on Earth" were thinking. It's one thing to be ironic and attend a concert wearing a different band's T-shirt, but to (figuratively) wear a "Your Favorite Band Sucks" shirt seems rather impolitic. Maybe it's just me.


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Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Time Has Come to Celebrate My Birthday

Take it away, Jonathan Coulton:

I'll be having a grand day out in lovely PDX today, but feel free to join the virtual party by leaving a comment here (or on Facebook, or by e-mail, or via passenger pigeon) which answers this question:

But where are the clowns?


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Monday, September 28, 2009

Last Day to Register for the Browncoat Ball

That would be today. The 2009 Browncoat Ball happens this Saturday, October 3rd, at the Governor Hotel in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Register now: $80 for just the Ball, $130 for all day Saturday (includes touring around PDX), $175 for the full weekend (includes Friday game night and Sunday breakfast).

Need more convincing? Check out the promotional comic and some photos from past Browncoat Balls.


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