Saturday, May 05, 2012

So, I Decided To Create A Superpopular Videogame: Part One: The idea arrives.

The world will want to know the circumstances that led to the invention of The Superpopular Videogame, so here they are:

Yesterday, yesterday being Friday, May 4, 2012, I was lying on my bed in my bedroom,  which is where I keep my bed, and I was tickling Mr Bunches and trying to talk him into going for ice cream cones, because I wanted to go for an ice cream cone but I didn't want to be the one to come up with the idea, because then it would seem like I'm kind of a glutton. Also, Mr Bunches didn't want to go and it made him sad when I suggested going, so I needed him to be happy about it if we chose to go because nothing makes ice cream taste worse than knowing that, in getting the ice cream cone, you have actually made a little boy sad in the process.

So I was trying to convince him of that, but he wanted to stay at home and play his new boardgame, "Wake Up Bed", as he calls it, a game the world (?) knows as Don't Wake Daddy. 

The specifics of Don't Wake Daddy aren't important to this story. What is important to this story is that I said to Mr Bunches:

"You sure like your board games, don't you?"

And at that precise moment all the neurons in my brain fired off at once and I saw in a flash that was exactly like what happened to Saul only in my case I didn't become Christian (I already was one) but I did have an idea for a board game.

A board game.

But a really really cool board game.

I laid back on my bed, in my bedroom (remember, that's where I keep it) and thought about the board game and how it would look and how much Mr Bunches would like it, and probably other people.  Granted, I was not going to get this board game made in time to convince Mr Bunches to go for ice cream, but perhaps we would get it done in time to go for soup in the fall... I could dream.

After a few minutes, a couple of neurons in my brain cleared their throat and said, in neuronese, the equivalent of:

"Ahem. We were actually thinking it should be a video game."


In that moment, laying on my bed tickling Mr Bunches, I had the idea for a brilliant new video game that would be superpopular and awesome and fun to play, and I know it was a great one because I went down to Sweetie and had this conversation:

Me:  Want to know how smart I am?

Sweetie: Sure.

Me:  I just had an idea for a supergreat video game.  

Sweetie:  Sure.


Sweetie:  That is a really good idea.  You should make that.

And with that, I decided to make the Superpopular Videogame a reality, because I've had lots and lots of ideas like for my In-The-Cupboard dishwasher and my EZ Mover closet attachment and my Ergonomic Broom or Mop, but this idea was different from those in two respects:

1.  This idea did not require any actual physical equipment that I didn't already have. If you're going to build a broom, or In-The-Cupboard Dishwasher, you need the stuff those things are made of, like broom handles and dishwasher parts and, probably, Higgs Bosons.

2.  This idea was approved by Sweetie, who has previously only approved of two ideas I've ever had in my entire life, the first being that I should close my old law firm and join my new one, and the second being that I should write horror stories, and both of those have worked out fantastically for me, in that I have written horror stories and have a job that earns actual money.

So, I decided to create a superpopular videogame.

And I knew just how to do it.  I immediately went on my Kindle and I looked up books for programming superpopular videogames. 

Turns out there are a lot of books about programming videogames, and it turns out it is kind of hard to tell which ones are the ones that you might be able to actually use to take me, "guy who owns a computer but doesn't know much about that machine and in fact his laptop is missing the d and ; keys" and turn me into me, "guy who created that game you spent the entire meeting playing on your phone" and which ones are impossible to use/stupid money-grabbing scams.

I read through a bunch of descriptions of books about programming for phones and laptops and tablets and whatnot -- the Apple Whatnot(TM) hasn't been released yet but when it does come out it's going to wow you people, I can tell you as a computer-insider.  [I have been a computer-insider since yesterday at about 5:30 p.m.  Central Time. Maybe Central Daylight Savings Time. I think we're on Daylight Savings Time.][I'm not sure because while I'm a computer-insider, I'm not a Time-Insider.][Yet].

Eventually, I noticed that all of the books I was reading about kept mentioning things that I couldn't understand, and also kept mentioning a word:  Java.

 After skimming through the descriptions of at least 10 different books about programming games, I came to a decision:

"I am going to have to learn what this Java thing is," I announced to Sweetie, who by that time had forgotten that she had (perhaps inadvertently) given me the go-ahead to embark on a new career that would ultimately make us millions, perhaps billions when you count in merchandising from the Superpopular Videogame.

And so I did that: I learned that Java is a computer language, and then I deduced, being a computer-insider, that I would have to learn this computer-language to learn how to program games.

Or so I hope, because I bought, at a cost of $15.95 on my Kindle, which I will eventually write off as a tax deduction to reduce what I pay after I make those billions, the book Java For Dummies, and if Java isn't what you use to program videogames, then only the latter 1/3 of that title is going to be applicable to me.

And this morning, sitting in Mr Bunches' room, which is where we keep Mr Bunches, I began my new hobby, reading Java For Dummies in between playing with Mr Bunches and his stuffed cat, which I was required to occasionally place on my head and then tell to get off my head, because the cat was being troublesome, see, and I assume that this is how Bill Gates got started.  Which is weird, because Bill Gates really should not be playing with my son.  I'm going to talk to him about that, when I meet him at Big Time Computer Guy conventions where we will be billionaires together.

I am totally serious about this, too: I am going to create a Superpopular Videogame, not just because Sweetie told me to, but also because:

A.  My idea is a really really good one.

B.  I can do this using things I already have around the house, like my laptop, and me.

C.  I have been wanting to learn a new language and was going to learn Mandarin Chinese but really, learning computer-ese, this Java, is the same thing only I can use it to make billions instead of just talking my way out of a Chinese prison (which is what I assume Mandarin would be helpful for.)

I spent a half-hour reading the book Java For Dummies this morning - well, 20 minutes, because about 10 minutes of that time was "Get Off My Head, Cat," the game, which is not the Superpopular Videogame I thought up but which might be one I create, too -- and here is what I have learned so far:

Java is a computer programming language.  Other computer programming languages include Fortran, COBOL, C, C++, C#, and A-Flat-Minor.  (Fun fact: I made up one of those languages! See if you can guess which one.)

Java uses object oriented programming.  I didn't know what that meant, but I do know, as you'll see if you go on.

Objects, in computers, are data.  Which means you could have said Java uses data-oriented programming, but you didn't.  Why?  Why make it harder than it must be?

Also, there is something called classes that relates to objects the way houses related to siding, and I was starting to get into that and really learn but then Mr Bunches wanted to use my Kindle to type his name, so I came downstairs to write this.

That is as far as I got today. 


Not many graffiti artists have a good copy editor, and other photos from my week. (A Photo Essay)

Here are the pictures I hoped to use this week, but didn't.

Mr F, at my office, one Sunday:

Almost every Sunday me and the boys go to the office to do a little organizing for the week.   organize, they watch stuff on the iPad and play toys, and then we go do something fun.  Mr F this particular Sunday was feeling standoffish.  Later that day, we'd try to go to the Houdini exhibit at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, but Mr F was also feeling nonmuseumish.

I took this from atop the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art; we made it to the roof, and then looked around a bit at stuff until Mr Bunches tried to climb up the wall and then I got nervous and we left to go to McDonald's.


This is a sculpture on the roof of the Madison Museum of Art.  Officially, you are not supposed to take pictures of the stuff in the Museum.  But nobody else was up there, and why can't you take pictures of art?  Get over yourself, artists.  Me taking pictures of your stuff and putting it on a blog might be just the break you need.  Snobs.

Wizard, Or Something:

Walking back to our car after the Museum, we went by Madison College, which has an arch leading to its main entrance.  This guy is on the arch.  He may be a druid.

I've been trying to exercise every other day, and Tuesday I went for a walk after the boys were in bed.  This is a close-up of the Don't Walk signal on the stoplight near the park near my house.

Honestly, this picture was better in real life.  NPR yesterday had a sad and also kind of mean story about a guy who refused to take pictures of desert flowers for his dying friend because he thought the pictures wouldn't look good, and I can sympathize with that because this picture is actually of a ghostly contrail from a jet that was lit up very faintly by the moon and looked like the spirit of a falling star, but in the picture it just looks like dark.

This is Mr Bunches, playing at the bike rack outside Madison College.

This is in our backyard.  Mr F wanted to sit behind the bush and get some alone time.  Mr Bunches was jealous of Mr F getting some alone time, so he joined in.  You can see Mr F's reaction.

Flowers.  In our backyard.
These are some stairs in our front yard.  I took these in black-and-white because I had a fit of artsiness that day.

I've previously said that everything looks more significant in black & white, and that kind of seems true.  I was just snapping photos and I liked the way those plants looked, with the patterns and textures being more noticeable for the lack of color.  (Artists:  I'll see your snobbery and raise you!)

Titled that way because Mr Bunches has recently been watching Enchanted on an endless loop, leading him to be fascinated by manholes when we come across them.  What Narnian doors are to me, manholes are to Mr Bunches.  If life were really cool, a dragon would come out of that hole someday.

The timing and black-and-white on this picture is coincidental.  I wanted a picture of Mr Bunches in our backyard, and forgot that I had it on B&W.  At the time I snapped it, he turned around crying because he wanted to go walk down that road you can barely see, but he'd just been told he couldn't; that's the "private road" we used to walk down to throw rocks in the lake, but the rich-folk, jerky neighbors who live back there said we had to stop.

So now, whenever Mr Bunches says he wants to go on that road, I say as loudly as I can "No, we can't. That road is owned by rich, mean people and we don't like them."

At the park:

Later that week, we walked to the water tower and park, and got to the pond just as sunset.

I particularly liked that one, until I got to the best one.  It's a reflection of the clouds and the weeds in the water but looks like it could be dark sky with the sun breaking through.

This is the best one:

That picture above might be the best picture I ever took.  You can see Mr Bunches, silhouetted in the lower right corner.

Graffiti Typo

I went to dinner with my old law school roommate Friday.  Outside the restaurant, we saw this graffiti, which is both obscure in meaning and needed editing.


I was messing around with my camera, taking pictures of this little Easter-spinning-light-toy thing that Mr F had.  It's a tiny bunny in a glass egg with spinning lights around it, but I liked these.  They look like good sci-fi novel covers.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Pictures with Non Sequitur Titles, 3

"You know what used to be big when I was a kid but isn't anymore? Orange drink. You never hear anyone say orange drink anymore."

Thursday, May 03, 2012

I'm guest posting on a REAL AUTHOR's blog Friday...

Friday, I'll be guest-posting on P.T. Dilloway's Tales Of The Scarlet Knight -- a real author asking me to write stuff! You'd think I'd have put some effort into it.  But if you thought that, you don't know me very well.

The post begins like this:

Everything In The World Except Naked Girls, or Something.

The other night, while listening to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly on ukulele,

Click here to go read the rest of this fascinating tale of ravioli, road trips, and interruptions!

Then, 1.

"Keeping Warm" by We Were Promised Jetpacks...

This is the song I listened to for about 1/2 of my jog the other night.  If you're going to think yourself healthy, as I am, then you've got to keep on exercising.  If you're going to keep on exercising, as I am, then you've got to have inspirational music to spur you on.  This song does the trick.

Added benefit: A while back, I heard a podcast that suggested that if you are having a bad day or very busy, you should listen to euro-techno kind of music because that background music makes it seem like what you're going through is simply a very exciting movie.  This song is even better for that.  I'm listening to it as I type this post and get ready to start doing a brief, and it makes my sitting at my desk in my office seem as though it's not just another Thursday, but instead is the beginning of the kind of movie where people end up, at some point, driving triumphantly across a bridge, the wind in their hair and an exciting new world ahead of them.

So there's that, too.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The Many Faces Of Mr F (A Photo Essay)(Life With Unicorns)

I have the best wife in the world. (Thinking The Lions)

Sweetie is tops in wife-ly victories in every category you can imagine, including the all-important "Giving your husband a ravioli-bagel sandwich for his lunch because you are an awesome wife."

If that isn't a part of the traditional marriage vows, it oughta be.