Blog Games

CWJ 8/30-2015 – 9/5/2015

A hole in the wall with treasure inside.


My Dad has owned a flower store for the previous twenty 5 years. When he first opened, there wasn’t a lot else within the neighborhood. A greasy spoon breakfast cafe, a dry cleaner, and a dingy Chinese language restaurant. That was about it. However through the years, 38th and Grand in South Minneapolis has actually grow to be a cool little intersection. That greasy spoon turned an excellent little Cuban restaurant (featured on “Triple D”), and there’s now an artwork gallery, a chocolate store, and one among my favourite eating places on the town. And some months again, a document store opened up behind one of many buildings, occupying a small retailer area. As a result of the proprietor retains odd hours, I wasn’t capable of get there till as we speak. And man…what a spot!

A hole in the wall with treasure inside.

A gap within the wall with treasure inside.

Merely referred to as The Report Spot, this retailer is smaller than my front room. However I knew the second I walked in that it might be my new favourite report retailer. The vibe of this place is incredible. A tiny room lined with document bins and adorned with cool report covers pinned to the wall, The Document Spot has a variety higher than shops ten occasions its measurement. Each bin had dozens of data that I would like in my assortment, and it was robust for me to stroll out with out dropping a whole lot of dollars. In the long run, I picked up two data by The Sound (for which I had been looking for years), some Haitian dance music (picked out by Ethan), Prince’s Batdance 12″, and a few random 45rpm that Zach present in a field on the ground.

I’m passionate about this retailer.

The proprietor, a skinny man with a shock of white hair, killer sun shades, and a niche between his entrance tooth, is definitely the good man I’ve met in years. As I drooled over his assortment, he chatted up my youngsters and advised me how a lot he likes my Dad as a result of he gave him a free Christmas tree final yr. Then, when I discovered these data by The Sound, he turned tremendous pleasant, giving me some historical past on the band and telling me how he got here to seek out these data. This can be a man after my very own coronary heart. I shall be again. Quickly.


9/three/2015-Household Time

I simply completed watching the Impractical Jokers stay 100th episode particular, the place they every needed to try and stroll a tightrope 5 tales excessive. It was ridiculous, it was foolish, and it was every thing I really like about that present.

Have you ever seen it?

If not, right here’s the essential premise: 4 guys, who’ve been buddies since they have been youngsters, arrange hidden cameras and attempt to get one another to do ridiculous, embarrassing stuff. Typically it’s so simple as “go up to this person and say this”. Nevertheless it’s usually a bit extra elaborate. In every episode, they’ve a sure variety of challenges, and whomever loses probably the most challenges has to carry out a punishment on the finish of the present.

It sounds prefer it must be terrible, proper? Like a good much less humorous and extra obnoxious model of Jackass. However the fact is that it’s the funniest present on tv, week after week. It has rather a lot to do with the truth that the blokes are type of dopey, awkward, and utterly self-depricating. They’re under no circumstances the standard frat-boy or meathead varieties you’d usually think about on a present like this. And whereas it’s humorous watching them utterly humiliate themselves, the actual reward comes once they simply permit themselves to go for it. That’s often when one of the best moments happen.

My favourite of the bunch is Q. And I admit that that is in all probability as a result of he’s a member of the Inform ‘Em Steve Dave podcast, which is actually my favourite factor in all types of media. For me, a brand new episode of TESD is virtually a spiritual expertise. However that’s a subject for an additional weblog entry.

I’m very acutely aware of the truth that I’m present inside what might be a really slender window of time when my youngsters love hanging out with me and assume I’m a reasonably cool man. My household proper now could be very shut and we spend loads of time collectively, enjoying video games, watching TV, doing tasks, and going locations collectively. I do know that in a pair years, they’re in all probability going to assume I’m a complete douche and can fairly lock themselves of their bedrooms and take heed to no matter type of emo-rebellious shit-rock is in style than spend a second with Christine and me. However I’m having fun with this time whereas I can.

The one factor we love doing collectively, in all probability greater than anything, is watching Impractical Jokers. There are nights once we’ll simply sit down and do a marathon of the present, laughing for hours. Impractical Jokers is a reasonably protected present for teenagers. Just a few occasions have we needed to gloss over a joke or clarify what a sure phrase means. The remainder of the time, the youngsters snort till they will barely breathe. And ever because the forged of the present began happening tour, our youngsters have been continuously asking if we will go see them stay. And although they’ve been by way of city a pair occasions, the timing was by no means proper.

After which we noticed this. The Impractical Jokers Cruise.

Truthfully, the very concept of a cruise doesn’t attraction to me. To be caught on a ship with a number of thousand strangers, ordering over-priced drinks and watching Branson-style exhibits? The entire thing simply sounds cheesy. Retaining in thoughts that I’ve by no means been on a cruise earlier than, so I actually haven’t any body of reference to legitimize being so judgmental. It’s simply the vibe I get.

Hesitance apart, the second I heard Q point out this cruise on an episode of Inform ‘Em Steve Dave, I knew we needed to go. It will have been unattainable for me to discover a trip extra good for my youngsters. In any case, it checks all of the bins for them:

-First time seeing the ocean.
-First time on a huge-ass boat.
-Getting the hell out of Minnesota in January. (Neither of them like winter).
-First time visiting one other nation – even when just for a day.
-Getting to satisfy the forged of their favourite present and see a number of performances.

It didn’t take lengthy for Christine and I to make the choice. And once we advised Ethan and Zach that we have been going, they misplaced their friggin’ minds. It actually was a sight to behold.

So even when I wind up getting some kind of explosive diarrhea from the all-you-can-eat meals, or if I get an VD simply by lounging within the pool, it’ll all be value it to know that the youngsters are going to have a tremendous time.


9/2/2015-The Magic Field

Let’s speak about this stuff:


What we’re taking a look at are two Raspberry Pi computer systems. I included the thumb drive for scale.

Inspiration comes from the strangest locations. A number of months in the past, my son Ethan started expressing an curiosity in pc programming and know-how typically. He’s turning into a really curious child, and enjoys math and science topics excess of I ever did as a child. It simply goes to point out that you could by no means actually plan what your youngsters are going to gravitate towards.

I feel it’s necessary to indulge your youngsters’ whimsies as you by no means know the place it might take you. Positive, the typical eight year-old in all probability picks up and drops hobbies extra typically than he modifies his underwear, nevertheless it’s enjoyable to see what sticks. And this curiosity in coding and creating appears to have caught for some time now.

When Ethan began asking questions on how video games, apps, and pc packages have been made, I did my greatest to elucidate with the restricted information that I had. However it quickly turned obvious that he needed to know greater than I might inform him. To the web! It didn’t take lengthy for me to find the Raspberry Pi. First, I discovered Scratch. I had heard of it earlier than, however Ethan’s math instructor beneficial that we give it a attempt, because it’s designed particularly to show youngsters the basics of coding.

Scratch held his curiosity for fairly a while, and he nonetheless tinkers with it occasionally. However this quickly led to questions on how computer systems labored. And that’s the place the Raspberry Pi got here in. I assumed it might be cool if he might construct his personal PC from scratch. However, as I did some analysis, the Pi utterly fascinated me. It’s a pc on a board that’s the dimensions of a bank card. 4 USB ports, HDMI and audio outputs, an ethernet port, a mini-USB port for energy, and a microSD slot. That’s it. And it’s superb. There are a number of different touches, just like the GPIO inputs and the digital camera add-on, however the simplicity of the Pi is what makes it so sensible for teenagers and hobbyists.

Let’s get again to inspiration. Simply by perusing the Raspberry Pi Basis’s web site for a number of moments, I used to be floored by what this factor is able to and what individuals have executed with it. Within the “Make” web page, there are dozens of tasks, full with step-by-step directions, prepared so that you can create. Music packing containers, robots, net servers. Hell, there’s even a fart detector. And what child wouldn’t need to make a type of? However past that, there are tons of sensible assets for issues like studying to code with Python.

However there’s a lot extra to do with the Pi, and that is the place I’m actually . Ethan and are presently engaged on constructing an arcade desk utilizing RetroPie and a bunch of elements we purchased from Focus Assault. The truth that we’ve been capable of match over 2,000 arcade video games on a reminiscence card smaller than my fingernail and run them on a pc that matches in my pocket is madness.

Then there’s this GoBox venture. I’ve had my eye on GoPiGo for some time, as each of my youngsters have gotten curious about robotics. However to have a brand new robotic venture delivered to our door each month? Superior.

One final Pi-related useful resource: MagPi. That is it. That is the supply of a whole lot of inspiration. MagPi is a month-to-month journal about Raspberry Pi which you can get in print or as a free PDF. Each month, there’s a whole part displaying tasks that folks have created, together with articles on learn how to design video games, construct robots, create connected-home units, and even use Python to show Minecraft into Splatoon. It’s virtually overwhelming.

I’m an absolute novice at these things. My programming expertise are very slim, and I do know subsequent to nothing about utilizing breadboards, HATs, and different computing devices. However studying these things together with my youngsters has been one of the crucial gratifying and rewarding issues I’ve achieved in a very long time. Hell, simply seeing them giggle like idiots as we use Python to program Minecraft so flowers come out of Steve’s butt when he walks has been value it.


9/1/2015-Sloppy Snake

Metallic Gear Strong 5 is out in the present day, and yeah…I’m caught up within the hype. Studying all of the tweets, evaluations, and breathless feedback about how superb this recreation is has me fairly excited to select up my preorder tonight, although I gained’t get time to play it till tomorrow.

Past the hype, there’s one more reason I decide up all of the “main” entries within the Metallic Gear collection. Story time…

I’ve talked endlessly concerning the yr in school once I lived with Moe and Hilden on the home on Fremont. And for good purpose. That was in all probability probably the most formative yr of my life, having met two guys who would go on to in a short time grow to be my greatest pals. That yr actually helped form who I’m at the moment. Nevertheless, the yr after was an entire 180. Moe and Hilden would go off to graduate and do their scholar educating, whereas I – as a result of the truth that I modified majors twice – had another full yr of faculty.

Separated from Moe and Hilden, I went on to lease a room in a home that may be generously described as an absolute shithole, with 4 mostly-strangers. Once I moved in, I used to be hopeful that this yr can be just like the Fremont yr. In any case, I didn’t actually know anybody that yr and I walked away with two lifelong buddies. Sadly, historical past wouldn’t repeat itself. The blokes I lived with have been simply superb, however principally stored to themselves, both confined of their rooms or stoned on the sofa with their girlfriends. So as an alternative of loud, late-night periods of Diddy Kong or gathering each night time to observe Seinfeld collectively, virtually all of my time was spent alone in my bed room watching scrambled porn.

However I digress. There was the occasional shiny spot. The yr was 1998, and Metallic Gear Strong got here out for the Ps in September. I didn’t have a Ps but, however had seen previews of the sport in EGM and was fascinated. I remembered Metallic Gear on the NES, however by no means acquired too far previous the man who famously stated, “I feel asleep” simply earlier than he handed out.

One night time, as I sat on my mattress, in all probability squinting as I attempted to catch a glimpse of a boob, considered one of my roommates knocked on my bed room door and stated, “Hey, there’s someone at the door for you.” I wasn’t anticipating any guests, however I went downstairs to see who was there, figuring it was in all probability my girlfriend making a shock go to. As an alternative, standing on the again doorstep, utterly unannounced, was Hilden, who occurred to be on the town taking good care of some faculty enterprise. In his hand was a Ps, an unopened copy of Metallic Gear Strong, and 1.75 liters of Captain Morgan. We spend the subsequent few hours sneaking round Shadow Moses and consuming till we couldn’t see. Actually. My solely hazy reminiscences are of me vomiting violently in the bathroom, after which crawling again, like Strong Snake, to my room the place I discovered Hilden handed out on my mattress. I stated, “Hilden, get out of my bed!” To which he muttered, “I got nowhere else to go…” I stated, “Alright…but don’t get any ideas” after which handed out subsequent to him.

Till the top of time, Metallic Gear Strong might be related to that night time, which was the uncommon beacon of happiness in my in any other case dismal final yr of school.



eight/31/2015 – The Ol’ School Attempt

I used to put in writing rather a lot. Day by day, a number of occasions per day. And, one way or the other, I used to get a whole lot of satisfaction from writing. However, as time went on and “real life” started to occupy extra of that point, writing fell off for me. In consequence, I’ve begun to note that the act of sitting down to put in writing has grow to be troublesome for me, and I’ve gotten so much sloppier. Not that I used to be some kind of literary maestro whose phrases leaped off the web page. I’ve all the time been mediocre-at-best. Nonetheless, as I stated, I’ve gotten sloppy and the act of writing has grow to be laborious for me. Hell, simply writing the previous few sentences has been an entire ache in my ass, making me significantly ponder abandoning this challenge earlier than I’ve actually begun.

However I press on…

A little bit of background: the primary web site I ever actually wrote for was referred to as GamingWorldX. Take a look at the way-back machine. The location is a marvel to behold with right now’s eyes. The early 2000s was a wondrous time to start out out a gaming web site; the fucking wild west. Indie basement operations, run by anybody who might afford a website identify (or a free GeoCities account), cobbled collectively by keen followers with not solely fantasies of parlaying their interest right into a career, but in addition unimaginable quantities of ardour for what they have been doing. Positive, 99.9% of the output sucked, nevertheless it positive was a enjoyable time. Anyway, GamingWorldX was a middling website that was (principally) plenty of enjoyable for me to work on. As a result of it was working with that website that I practiced writing each single day, principally by means of a weblog that I referred to as “Cooking with John”. Should you have been a reader of TeamFremont or RobotPanic, chances are you’ll keep in mind that identify as I carried it with me after leaving GWX. I simply loved it so rattling a lot; and never essentially as a result of I assumed anyone was studying my pointless blather. That weblog additionally served as a journal of my time throughout these years. And now and again, I’d have a number of drinks and scroll by means of the archives, reliving issues that I had forgotten about, laughing at jokes that I assumed have been humorous on the time, and relearning the teachings of these experiences.

Bringing me to my level: I’d wish to attempt to do a little bit of writing once more. Now that we’re buttoning up the film, there are another tasks we want to work on, a few of which contain writing. I had tried getting a head begin on a type of tasks a number of months in the past and was annoyed to find out how troublesome it was for me to take a seat down and simply fucking sort. If we’re going to maneuver on and do new issues, I don’t need my lack of potential/endurance to hinder our progress. So meaning: follow.

Right here’s my objective: from now till the top of 2015, I’d like so as to add a minimum of 5 totally different entries per week. These entries might be as lengthy or as brief as I would like. The purpose is to put in writing one thing.

As with Cooking with John, I don’t anticipate anybody to learn these things. That is actually for my very own private progress. (Puke). However for those who do learn, I’d respect any suggestions or contributions. One of many enjoyable issues about CWJ was getting letters and dialogue subjects from individuals. It offered an incredible quantity of incentive for me to maintain going. I absolutely intend to slog alongside alone, regardless, however I’ll drop a dialog matter within the boards simply in case.

Right here we go!