Sunday, October 31, 2010

Postcard #51

Another electronic greeting--this one from my Uncle Tau, who lives near Boston, Massachusetts. There was a reason I wanted actual, physical postcards--because I liked the idea of having real objects I could touch, and I wanted to see what kinds of postcards people would find locally--but it's nice to hear from people regardless. And personal photographs are always fun!


Postcard #50

Not surprisingly, Larry and Chris seem to shop at the same postcard store. But Larry also felt the need to disguise decorate his card before sending it.


Postcards #48 and 49

Two wonderful homemade postcards from our good friend Loren. We do miss the Mountain View Farmer's Market. And In-N-Out. And randomly running into people we know while we're out and about. Little things mean a lot.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Flash Fiction: "Friday the Thirtieth"

Yes, I know today is not the 30th. The title is my attempt to mash up two familiar tropes: Friday-the-13th horror and dreading-your-30th-birthday horror. I think the concept has merit, but I'm not sure I executed it very well.

And no, despite coincidental similarities to my 37 postcards project, this piece is not autobiographical. Informed by personal experience, perhaps, but I am neither a 30-year-old woman or haunted by mailmen from hell. Just to be clear.

Read "Friday the Thirtieth" at 512 Words or Fewer


I Have a Secret Admirer, Too!

CKL isn't the only special one around here. When we came home yesterday, there was a UPS package addressed to me on our doorstep.

Inside, we found this:

Inside that, were these:

They are delicious.

Thank you, Secret Admirer!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Postcard #47

Riel and his wife Tiffany just moved to Portland recently. Mutual friend Shenly introduced us by e-mail, and we first met in person at Lucky Lab's weekly game night. I'm looking forward to spending more time with them. He's right about the bridges, by the way--they're awesome.


Postcard #46

Adam is my editor at ProgrammableWeb and the author of Map Scripting 101. He's also very tall.

Speaking of PW, I'm taking a break from my API news blogging right now to devote time to NaNoWriMo and some other projects. I expect to be back on the blog-horse before the end of the year.

Also, "Back on the Blog-Horse" is the name of my bitpop OK Go cover band.


Postcard #45

Why don't people sign their postcards?


Postcard #44

After my sister and I both graduated college and moved away for good, my parents sold the house we'd grown up in and bought a smaller house on a hill in RPV. Then they moved into an apartment, temporarily, while my father "remodeled"* the modest home into a huge mansion. (As my sister says, you could hide immigrant families under the giant island counter in the kitchen. And as DeeAnn says, you could hide bodies inside that Sub-Zero refrigerator.) They have a koi pond and a beautiful view out their back window, and we always enjoy visiting when we get the chance.

* Apparently, if you leave just one wall standing of the original structure, you don't need the more expensive type of building permit.


Mars Stowaway

My tax dollars at work:

You, too, can send your name to Mars!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Comic Book Report: Wednesday Comics

Another reason I love my local library: because I can check out oversized hardcovers like this for free, instead of spending $50 and not having bookshelf space for them.

This was DC's tribute to the full-page Sunday newspaper comics of yore. The results are a mixed bag, but definitely worth a look. There's a wide range of storytelling talent and art styles on display here. Neil Gaiman's Metamorpho tale gets a lot of mileage out of tweaking genre tropes and panel layout conventions. The Wonder Woman pages were too busy for me, visually, but I was pleasantly surprised by the stories featuring lesser-known characters like Kamandi and Deadman. And I think someone may finally have found the right tone for a Supergirl story.

Buy the book: Powell's, Amazon


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

SnoutCast #39: "Playtesting"

In which we address playtesting-related questions raised by Larry, creator of 2 Tone Game, and refer to playtesting-related insights from Matt, co-creator of Ghost Patrol.

[ Download mp3 - 36 MB ]

00:58 - "exciting"
01:29 - our inspirations: Puzzled Pint preparations, Larry's "Question for GCs: Observing Playtesters," and Matt's "Puzzle Authoring and Editing In A Game Control Setting"
03:32 - "We probably shouldn't do podcasts in bed anymore"
04:18 - pondering the properties of pontification
05:20 - how Team Snout approaches playtesting
11:19 - playtesting parties and other good things about the San Francisco bay area
14:32 - the hindsight effect: un-hating puzzles in retrospect
20:32 - prototype revision anxiety
25:15 - The Game is bigger than any one person on GC
27:49 - "The needs of the many..." (Q.E.D.)
28:27 - remote playtesting in Hogwarts Game and DASH 1 & 2
36:18 - the playtesting hierarchy (worst to best): e-mail, phone, in-person
36:53 - Pope hat! Pope hat! (7:42)
37:37 - upcoming events: Ghost Patrol BANG/SNAP 7 (10/31, Bay Area/Seattle)
39:10 - The End

Music: instrumentals from "Code Monkey" and "I Crush Everything" by Jonathan Coulton

[ Subscribe to SnoutCast / iTunes link ]

CKL DeeAnn

P.S. A hearty shout out to Dann Webster and Jonathan McCue, with whom we spent a lovely evening in Los Angeles earlier this month! DeeAnn and I had a great time chatting with them about puzzle hunts and related topics, while enjoying California ribs and frozen yogurt (not at the same time).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Postcard #43

At first glance, I thought the photograph on this vintage postcard was from Disney World, but it's actually Toronto, where my VPXII classmate Claire lives with a curious assortment of wildlife.



An amusing photo from a trip we took back in July:

That's what we found in the bathroom when we checked into our room at the Holiday Inn Express. Incidentally, HIE has become one of our favorite hotel chains; they always have good kitchenettes (mini-fridge, microwave oven, and counter space), hot breakfast in the morning and snacks at cocktail hour, and usually decent wi-fi. Road trippers take note.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Postcard #42

A very pleasant surprise from my lovely wife DeeAnn, who was pretty sneaky during our visit to the Maryhill Museum of Art a few weeks ago. I love her more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.


Postcard #41

Apparently I have a secret admirer.


Postcard #40

I'm sure it's just a coincidence that the text on this card, from my erstwhile co-worker and Longshots co-captain Chris, forms the acrostic "I bat bofh." I'm sure it doesn't mean anything. Yeah.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Postcard #39

The VPXII roll call continues! This time it's Jeannie, who was an accomplished poet before the workshop and continues to proliferate verse from her home base in the Midwest.