Saturday, April 11, 2009

Are Twitter's days numbered?

I'm sick of hearing about Twitter.

Everyone and their dog seems to be using Twitter these days and I can't, for the life of me, figure out why. Why in God's name would anyone want to keep up with the most mundane details of anyone's life? I'd argue there is no one interesting enough to deserve an audience that cares about short updates such as "I just got out of bed -- great day ahead" or "I'm waiting in line to buy tickets to go see St. Louis vs. Pittsburgh at the new Busch Stadium."

Furthermore, I can't see myself going around sending out "tweets" to people. Is there anything more effeminate than that? Plus, an avid fan of Twitter is Arkansas State Rep. Robbie Wills. That petulant, glad-handing, hatchet-faced little bastard wormed his way into the position of the Arkansas Speaker of the House and uses Twitter to send in such fantastic updates such as when he's taking his kids to ball games and that kind of rot.

If Wills is in support of something, the chances are good I'm going to hate it. That's certainly true with that latest in obnoxious fads, Twitter.

Ah, but I believe in jumping on trends and making some cash on my own. I plan on developing a system that's even more sissified and obnoxious than Twitter -- I'll call it Pretty Pink Pony and people will just love the hell out of it.

How will Pretty Pink Pony be even more obnoxious and sissified than Twitter? For one thing, Twitter users send "tweets" all over the damned place, whereas Pretty Pink Pony members will send "neighs."

While a lot of those neighs will be the familiar, short messages full of nothing that you Twitter fans love so much, Pretty Pink Pony will have an additional feature -- video neighs.

Yes, through Pretty Pink Pony, you will be able to send a short, video message that's absolutely worthless rather than just relying on text (reading is so 2008, after all).

Think of it. Let's say you were one of my fans (I'll still have think of what fans are called -- maybe I'll just call them fans and then can sign up to play in my stable or something) and you logged onto Pretty Pink Pony to see what I was up to. You might see a short video of me shaving, eating a sandwich, dropping my daughter off to school or maybe even something more exciting (like me talking on the phone at work while sending a neigh of me talking on the phone at work -- bonus!)

Yes, I'll take that self-worship that drives Twitter to a whole new level with Pretty Pink Pony. You may hate the idea now, but you'll love it soon enough. When all your friends start calling you a Luddite because you're not on PPP, you'll cave in and go for it.

And, yes, I'm aware that "PPP" is the common acronym for PayPerPost -- I might as well piss them off, too, while I'm out stomping on toes.

So, look for me to inflict Pretty Pink Pony on an unsuspecting world soon. You'll love it, dammit.

Friday, April 10, 2009

My little brother hates the ice cream man

How do you know when spring has arrived and warmer, less gloomy days are ahead?

Just watch for the happy-go-lucky ice cream man! Yes, when you see him driving down the road and blaring that "happy" music, you know warm weather is here to stay awhile.

Ah, the jolly ice cream man! He brings delight to both easily excitable children and adults alike, doesn't he? Everyone just loves the ice cream man.

Well, everyone loves him except for my little brother. My brother loathes the ice cream man, in fact, and would love to ban the alleged menace from his neighborhood.

Why does my brother hate the ice cream man so much? Because he has a full-time job and a toddler, that's why. That means my brother is often tired, but can only get a nap when he's at home when he gets my nephew to consent to a nap.

So, the nephew is snoozing, my brother is taking a refreshing nap and what happens? The ice cream man will often show up, park right in front of my brother's driveway and simply shatter those relaxing naps. That's happened to my brother more than a few times, seemingly, as I've heard my brother describe the ice cream man with language that would make a sailor blush.

According to my brother, the ice cream man parks in front of his driveway because of those "blankety, blank, blank kids next door" who flock to the ice cream man and buy his "blankety, blank, blank, blanking blank overpriced, frozen blankety blank garbage."

Screaming kids, that oppressively loud ice cream truck music and the general commotion that surrounds the ice cream man drives my brother up the wall. That proves one thing -- my brother is even grumpier than I am. I've got some catching up to do.

It's going to be a long summer for my brother, I'm afraid. I wish him well.

In the meantime, my daughter was singing a song about the ice cream man the other day and I actually found a version of it on YouTube. If I were you, I'd go ahead and watch it -- it's only about 30 seconds long and you'll laugh so hard you'll break all your furniture. Enjoy:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My daughter is wacky for cows

Everyone participating in the weekly Wordless Wednesday fun should consider getting involved with Tell Me Thursday, too.

Why? Well, the point of Tell Me Thursday is to get people to explain their Wordless Wednesday submissions. So, I'm going to explain my most recent submission right now.

That cute little girl in the photo is none other than my eight-year-old daughter, Brenda SueCarol. Since she was tall enough to peer out of the car window from her child's seat she's been fascinated by cows.

And I mean a screaming-laughing-pointing fascination with cows. A "look, look, look, Daddy -- COWS!" kind of obsession. Here in Arkansas, you pass a lot of fields full of cows when you're out driving. Brenda, since she was old enough to look through her window from her child's seat, has loved pointing out cows as we've driven by them.

Last month, then, my wife took her to see some real, live cows. My wife works with a woman who owns some pasture land and the cows that go with it. She was kind enough to host Brenda's cow-watching expedition.

The enthusiasm evident in the photo makes it clear that Brenda enjoyed her visit.

Make mine StarMaster

I was over at Blogging Ideas the other day and (as the name of the site implies) I picked up an idea for a post that wasn't as terrible as mine typically are.

The particular idea over there that I figured I'd steal is this -- write about your favorite video game. Being a child of the 1970s and 1980s, it only makes sense to pick one of those games I played constantly on my old Atari 2600 -- StarMaster by Activision.

Yes, I've played a lot of video games in my life and still have a slew of functioning systems around here -- my old Atari 2600, an Atari 7800, a Nintendo Entertainment System, a Super Nintendo Entertainment System, a couple of Sega Genesis systems (one has the Sega CD attachment), a Playstation 1, a Sega Dreamcast, a Nintendo Game Cube, a Nintendo 64, a Nintedo Wii, an Atari Lynx, a Sega Game Gear and my trusty old Nintendo Gameboy SP.

I used to have a Colecovision until it blew up on me a few years ago (a popping sound followed by a bunch of smoke is a bad sign, seemingly). Damn.

Anyway, none of those newer systems have provided the hours of mindless fun that the Atari 2600 did. And StarMaster was one of those games that I played over and over again. Why? While it is laughably crude by today's standards, it was a bit more complex than other Atari games at the time.

The game is based on Atari's Star Raiders, a game that made a huge splash in the 8-bit computer world. Oddly, Atari's version of Star Raiders for the 2600 was clunky, flickered and required a strange keyboard controller that, used in conjunction with the Atari joystick, helped players navigate through the game.

Activision -- as it often did -- took one of Atari's concepts and improved on it. Rather than a cumbersome keypad to keep up with, the StarMaster player simply toggled the "Color/B&W" switch on the 2600 to switch between a map screen (for navigating) and a cockpit view (for blasting aliens, dodging asteroids and docking with supply-replenishing bases).

The goal in StarMaster is to locate groups of alien ships on the map screen, warp over to them and blast them to bits from the cockpit view (it was a crudely rendered, three-dimensional environment). The aliens, meanwhile, are out to destroy bases by surrounding them and do their best to destroy the only ship defending those basis (that would be the one piloted by you, you lucky soul).

Ah, but one shot from an alien won't destroy your ship as you've got shields. Once those shields are down, however, it's time to warp to a base and have it fixed because an unshielded ship will certainly explode when it's hit by a shot from a dastardly alien. In addition to the shields, other essential components to your ship can take damage -- the laser cannons, radar and view screen can all get knocked out during battles.

Also, you've got to keep up with your energy level in StarMaster as it depletes quickly, particularly when you fire your cannons or take hits from aliens and asteroids. Yes, it seems the aliens can fly around all day without expending any energy, but you're not that lucky. Docking with a base will replenish that energy level, in addition to repairing any damage to the ship.

See? It was complex for a game back then and I spent hours absorbed in it. That game was firmly in the genre of those made popular by science fiction movies like Star Wars in which an outnumbered good guy flies around the galaxy blasting baddies. Being a Star Wars nut (I saw it in the theater at least seven times), how could I resist?

StarMaster is one of those games I'll play for years. If you want to read a bit more about it, head on over to this review I wrote years ago.

And whenever you want to read reviews of classic or modern video games, you'd be a fool not to visit The Video Game Critic where you'll find bite-sized reviews from a guy who knows his stuff. You can't beat that with a stick. Oh, and if you want to pick up some brand new Atari games (yes, there are programmers out there still writing for the entire line of Atari video game consoles), head right on over to the Atari Age Store (and, yes, I do own a few of the titles listed there and, no, this is not a paid post).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday -- Brenda and the cow

To see more Wordless Wednesday submissions, click right here.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Music Monday -- Mucky Pup!

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.