Stray Thoughts That Stuck in Andy's Brain in 2010


Given the lack of outcry of my musings from last time about discontinuing this featurette, I've concluded that yes, Twitter has made Thought Residue obsolete. This therefore will be my final Residual Thought. See you on the Twitter!

In a world where I tweet little thoughts all the time but rarely update my old school proto-blog, I find myself wondering if this format really works anymore. As the Whenevers have gotten longer, I've been finding it increasingly difficult to bubble up 3 thoughts the way I did when I didn't have a Facebook account and was updating Wunderland.com every Thursday. Maybe it's just because I'm kind of blue right now, or maybe it's because I'm aware of work being done behind the scenes which will eventually change the whole look and feel of this page, but for whatever reason, I'm drawing a blank on the TRs at this time. Has Twitter made Thought Residue obsolete?

We've decided to find new homes for part of our collection of vintage video arcade machines, specifically: Joust, Qix, PacMan, and Roadblasters (the last one being a multi-game platform that converts to 4 other games including Marble Madness). All are in need of service, the middle two being non-functional. Let us know if you're interested. (Update: Qix has been sold -- the others are still available!)

"So they invent a completely implausible superweapon that they've never mentioned until now. ...and then, in the entire rest of the show, over five or six different big wars, they never use the superweapon again. Seriously. They have this whole thing about a war in Vietnam that lasts decades and kills tens of thousands of people, and they never wonder if maybe they should consider using the frickin' unstoppable mystical superweapon that they won the last war with. At this point, you're starting to wonder if any of the show's writers have even watched the episodes the other writers made." -- Scott (Squid13)'s analysis of WWII as it if were a TV series

"Even if the thesis of a show is Pie is Awesome, the host is still going to wake up one day and see headlines about a pie recall because some tainted filling killed 173 people. Guess what: he still has to do a show that day about why Pie is Awesome. He will manipulate B to make it fit A, even if he has to lie. He doesn't draw a paycheck otherwise." -- David Wong, "Why Talk Radio is a Terrible Source of Information," from "The 10 Most Important Things They Didnt Teach You In School"

I have a feeling very similar to how I felt when I first got my Kolbe index scores, and when I first understood that I'm an introvert living in an extrovert's world, by the aptly-titled page "This column will change your life: Are you an Asker or a Guesser?" I am a Guesser, and my wife Kristin is an Asker.

"Thinking about board games: I have the most fun when the relationship between luck and length of play is inversely proportional." -- tweet by Wil Wheaton

Another recent event is that I got to portray Plato in a wacky little time travel movie made one weekend by a bunch of my friends, as part of the "48-Hour Film Project". Thanks for the plum role in "The History Job" dudes!

Lately I've been getting into Starship Farragut, one of several amazingly sophisticated home-made Star Trek shows created by fans and distributed via the internet. I was particularly delighted to see that they've done a couple of episodes in the style of the animated series, of which I've always been a particular fan, it being the version I started with.

Other things that happened in the past month are that I went to New Jersey for a game store appearance, and also spent an afternoon talking to (and playing games with) a classroom full of fifth-graders. In both cases, I was urged to visit because of strong local fan-bases, and in both cases I had a lot of fun. Thanks for inviting me out, Rob of Family Fun Hobbies and Seth of the Green School!

I have bad news for phone book manufacturers: We no longer have any uses for your product. In our household, they've started going directly from receiving bin to recycling bin, like so much other junk mail. Could I maybe just get you to stop sending them to us?

One of the highlights of the GTS trip for me was some time I got to spend hanging out with fellow game designer James Ernest. We played poker and talked shop, which is very cool for us both since there really aren't that many other people we can do that with, given the uncommon nature of our careers. He told me about the webcomic he's been helping create, called Brian and John (here's my favorite installment) and I picked up a great expression from him, coined by Harvard professor Lant Pritchett, about how really revolutionary ideas are received over time: "It goes like this: Crazy. Crazy. Crazy. Obvious."

After pondering and debating the spoiler-ish question about Back to the Future Part 3 (which I posed here in early February), I think I've got it all figured out. Here's my version of the Untold Story of How Doc Brown Got Back to the Future from 1885, i.e. without Mr. Fusion or Plutonium. First, he would have needed to accumulate a small fortune -- an easy task for someone with his general knowledge of future events. Then he'd have been able to finance the construction of a circular section of railroad track on the top of a storm-prone mesa. After that, all he'd have to do was wait for a big thunderstorm to roll in, and then start driving his time engine around in circles, at 88 MPH, until the lightning rod finally attracted a strike. It's so simple!

Although my time there was very limited, while at Toy Fair I did get to meet Jared Sorensen, inventor of the Parsely system. Not only that, but Jared actually got to play in a session of my Muffins game run by Alison one evening during the show. It was great hearing his reactions to my take on his system, and we had fun talking about game design.

I recently concoted a new chocolate-lover's dessert (with a bit of inspiration from Robin and some help from one of the waiters at our local diner). I call it a Chocolate Split. It's basically a banana split, but without any of that pesky fruit (except for cherries on the top, which are fun to give away). Cookies 'n' cream replaces the strawberry scoop in the traditional trio (along with chocolate and vanilla as usual), then brownie bits or cookie crumbles replace the banana slices, and finally, the toppings are limited to hot fudge, caramel, and whipped cream. Yum! Now I can get what I want in the king-size serving one receives with a 3-scoop split, instead of having to settle for a mere 2-scoop goblet-style sundae.

Here are my favorite In-Be-Tweets (these being posts I've made to Twitter since my last update of Wunderland.com):

  • has been out in the blizzard, shoveling our walkways & pulling the huge fallen tree branch off of our buried car. Yay! No broken windshield! [Feb 6th]
  • thought he was going to lose that game of Hearts, but managed to pull ahead of John at the end by Shooting the Moon a couple of times [Feb 11th]
  • also really enjoyed Chris Wood's post at BGG about their house rules for Chrononauts [Feb 15th]
  • thought Avatar was ok (and it certainly looked AMAZING). It was like Lawrence of Arabia meets Star Wars with a touch of Aquaman stirred in [Feb 21st]
  • has been having a great meeting with Kristin, plotting and scheming about various future plans and secret projects [Mar 10th]
  • is enjoying a poem written by his niece Sharon called "Ode to Chocolate Cake," ending with the wonderful phrase "the quiet dignity of cake." [Mar 11th]

Here's something that's been bugging me recently about Back to the Future part III. [Warning, spoilers ahead!] What power source could Doc Brown possibly have used in 1885 to power the time circuits on that fancy time-machine-train engine he returns with at the end? It's well established that you need a much more powerful energy source for the time circuits than for whatever you are using to bring your vehicle up to the required 88 mph, so even assuming he could build a time locomotive that could handle such speeds, it doesn't explain how he could have sent that train forward in time, since neither Mr. Fusion, pellets of plutonium, nor a predictable bolt of lightening were available to him in 1885. So, what gives? The otherwise-amazingly complete timeline of events at the BTTF wiki has little to say about this...

Here's a product I'd like to see: Hazelnut M&Ms. I think they'd be very delicious and I'm frankly surprised they haven't already been created -- particularly when I hear about the opinions within top management at Mars about the superiority of the hazelnut over the peanut.

As a life-long fan of disaster movies, I hate it when the premise of the movie makes no sense, as in 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow. So here's a suggestion for Hollywood, about a disaster scenario I actively worry about. Actually, it's two: the eruption of the Yellowstone SuperVolcano, and the Mega-Tsunami that will result from the collapse of part of the island of La Palma, which could occur the next time the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupts. And if you still need to "go Hollywood" with the idea, to make it over-the-top enough, you could make both of these things happen to the same group of characters.