Saturday, August 29, 2015

Video Game Rant: Screen-Watching

Good day, my friend! Today I am going to hop on the soapbox and rant to you about video game stuff. Our topic is, as the title shows, screen-watching. It is a crappy practice that needs to stop. But before I start complaining, let me throw some positive energy at you.

Here's a fun fact: I. Love. Video games. They are fantastic, and some are way better when played with friends. Together you can enter strange and wonderful worlds to take down aliens, or take out each other. Depending on the game and the group, these contests can get pretty fierce. Different people are good (and/or bad) at different games, which almost always guarantees a fun day.

But, just like with everything ever, there are some jokers who will want to take a shortcut. And these people should be publicly shamed at every opportunity.

I know that local multiplayer is a rarity anymore, so for our purposes we will zero in on a classic: GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64:

In this game, up to four people can play at once. Each player gets a quarter of the screen to control his or her character. The small size is actually a bit of an advantage for veteran players, since it doesn't allow for much exploration. This can make the game very easy or very hard, depending on your skill.

That is not why I penned this, however. Being good at the game, or even just a certain level, is no crime. Anyone who plays often enough is bound to find some secrets or "hot spots" (i.e. where the best weapons are and where players re-spawn).

The issue is when certain players - jerks - take the liberty of exploring their opponents' screens. I have spoken to some of these dirty screen-watchers about their cowardice. The answer has always been the same: "Just be better at the game!"

Let me pause for a second to point out that I am not a top GoldenEye player, and have never claimed otherwise (though I have finally begun to use the radar, which has improved my outings). Because of this, I have no problem losing, unless I am thwarted by one of these bozos. There is no skill in screen-watching, only poor form. POOR FORM, I SAY!

If you want to brag about knowing the landscapes and weapon locations because you play often, go right ahead. You have earned that, after all. But if you're one of these ######### (sorry for the harsh pound signs) who claims to be good only to stare at the other screens? Please don't play with me. You will ruin the fun for all of us.

Honestly, what are you proving? That you are good at cheating? Congratulations, go work on Wall Street. It is unreal how common screen-watching is, and even worse that there are so many players who are okay with it. New paragraph for emphasis (EMPHASIS):

Screen-watching is not okay and it needs to stop immediately.

I realize it might be a bit silly to get upset over how people play a video game, but it's more than that. When you get together with your buddies to play, it should be fun, no matter how good or bad some of you might be. The experience should not be dampened by a cheater who can only win with a shortcut.

I'll leave you with this: be sure to publicly shame screen-watchers when you encounter them. Not for me or for you, but for everyone. Make them see that games are less fun when they play. And if you are a dirty screen-watcher? For shame - but I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed. (Okay, I guess I'm a little mad.)

That's all for now, friend. I hope you come back next time for another nerd rant, or something completely different!

Crap open a cold one!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Cargo Pants Are Acceptable Work Attire

There, I said it.

I am not sure where this notion that having extra pockets is "unprofessional" came from, but I would like it eliminated. Unless you wear a suit to work, you should not be shunned for your snazzy cargo pants. There is no way that being practical while looking great should be a workplace crime, and I will stand for it no longer!

Let's be real: if you are not required to wear a tie to the office (high five!), it has to be a fairly casual atmosphere. You should be able to wear and use as many pockets as you like, especially if you work in America.

Take my office for example: Yesterday I wore cargo pants and a polo (as I do pretty much all summer long), and three people told me I looked good. In addition to inflating my ego, this affirmed my point. If people are complimenting my style, and the head honcho pays no mind to my bonus pockets, why is there a crusade from the peanut gallery?

I have racked my brain all week trying to find the answer, and there is one word I keep coming back to: jealousy. The anti-cargo pants camp is likely full of employees who are held down by THE MAN. For whatever reason, their bosses think having extra pockets is bad for business. As if a prospective client is going to turn down the world's best sales pitch because the employee was "under-dressed."

(I am being facetious of course, but I am willing to bet there are business people who put that much stock into the pants of salespeople. If this happens at your office, call HR and demand sensitivity training for all the stuck up tightwads. Everyone will thank you.)

I believe in looking professional at the office, a hundred percent. I also believe in being as comfortable as possible. If you can do both while having extra storage space for pens and/or tots (hint: you can), go for it! And if you can do both while wearing sweatpants? Well, call me immediately, because I need some evidence to support my bill to make working in sweats okay.

We will certainly get back to sweatpants in the fall, but that will do it for this week. Special thanks to the crazies at Buzzfeed for indirectly prompting this post!

Coming soon: retro video game reviews, plus I may call out some nerds! Stay tuned!

Crap open a cold one!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Public Transit Adventures, Part 1: The Panhandler

Hey, friend!

Today I want to start what I hope will be a series of fun tales - written with you (yes, YOU) as the main character - from my adventures in Philadelphia public transit. I see some characters in my daily travels, and my hope is that you will get a laugh from reading about them (or avoid them, if possible).

If you are not from the area, or you are lucky enough to not need public transit that often/at all, let me try to set the scene for you:

Early evening. Smelly bus terminal. Drivers, maintenance staff, and commuters cram through single doors down hallways with leaky ceilings, to arrive outside to trash-covered sidewalks.

Picturesque, right?

You think you are safe, waiting with the crowd while the bus pulls up slowly. But then, here he comes: unshaven, ripped pants, stained shirt, possibly missing teeth. You think nothing of it since you have your headphones on - the DO NOT DISTURB sign of regular life. You can kind of hear his plea to your fellow passengers:

Hi, sir, my name is ________. I don't mean to waste your time. I am not an addict or a thief. I have hit hard times and was wondering if you could possibly spare some change or some food. I would greatly appreciate it.

One by one, the head shakes begin. Maybe he gets lucky once or twice, with some nickels or half bags of potato chips. But no matter his haul, he continues. The bus stops right in front of you, and you take a step back to avoid getting clipped by the doors. And then: he strikes.

He goes over his lines to you, ignoring your sign and stopping you from boarding. You shake your head like the others and excuse yourself. You think it ended then and there. But on this day, the man who has seen better days decides he needs to make an example of someone - or everyone.

He tilts his head at you, then turns to the crowd and raises his voice:

Wow. Is everyone so selfish? People can't even help each other these days? I'm not asking for millions, I just want a little food! This is ridiculous!

He takes another look at you, as if to say that his troubles are your fault. If only you had reached into your pocket, he could enjoy a meal for once.

Out of sheer curiosity, your look back as the bus turns the corner. You roll your eyes and maybe crack a half smile as you see him being chased away by police. And just like that he is gone, more than likely to return tomorrow.

You briefly wonder if he will remember you, if maybe your next meeting will become a verbal sparring match. But that thought quickly fades as it is replaced by upcoming dinner plans and dog walks. A near crisis avoided, you drift off to the sounds of your sweet tunes, thankful another adventurous day is behind you - like your new friend.

Now does that make you want to buy some tokens and hop on the next bus or what?

Thanks for checking in, amigo! Come back next Saturday for part two, or perhaps something completely different!

Crap open a cold one!