Category Archives: Trolls

Dad 1:, Children’s trust: 0

Dad 1:  Children's trust: 0

So, a few days ago I was eating an Otter Pop because, you know, Summer. Well, Summerish. Is it Summer yet? I haven’t taken measurements with my sextant yet so I’ve got to rely on what the MASS MEDIA tells me about the Equinox or Solstice and… no, stay off the conspiracy websites me, they’re not good for you. Anyway, I was eating an Otter Pop which as you may know is a plastic sleeve filled with sugar water that you freeze. They come in exciting flavors like ‘Blue’, ‘Green’, and, (as featured on the cover of this month’s Cordon Bleu Magazine) ‘Red’ and you eat them by cutting (or gnawing) off the end then squeezing the icy mess down your gullet.

I had just finished delicately consuming (read: ‘like a duck, no time for swallowing just spastically gulping’) one of these when inspiration struck. I had used scissors so the pouch had a clean cut at the end and now I had a cunning plan.

After thoroughly cleaning it, I got to work on refilling the sleeve. Using a mixture of three parts Sriracha to one part water, I filled it then fired up the stove. With a little experimentation, I figured out how to melt the end so that the new contents wouldn’t drip out and flash to steam while the plastic flowed. The last part was important because every time a droplet of Sriracha Juice flashed to steam, it basically maced me with the pepper vapors. That wasn’t great, but squinting through tear-gassed eyes, I persisted.

Finally, I had a satisfactory seal on the tube. Holding it up, I could see that it wasn’t perfect, but perfect is the enemy of the good enough and this was good enough. I kneaded it a few times to make sure the mix was uniform, shook it for good measure after making sure it wasn’t going to spray Sriracha all over the kitchen, then popped it into the freezer.

A couple days later, it happened. I had handed out a couple of Otter Pops on request and one of them was the ‘live round’. Our ten year-old Child A ended up with it and I tried not to be obvious as I watched him clip the end off and start eating.

After a couple seconds he stopped…. then turned and walked quickly to the garbage can. As he passed me, he muttered ‘I hate you, Dad’ and never before have those words brought such satisfaction. He started spitting into the trash then threw away the Sriracha Otter Pop. A few seconds later, he reached down, pulled it out again, and tried to casually offer his brother Child 1 a taste. “Hey, want to try?” he asked. Child 1, for once, hadn’t had his nose buried in his phone and had caught on that something was going on. He passed.

With little more than a few cents worth of Sriracha and maybe 10-15 minutes of effort I managed to teach my kids another lesson about how important it is not to trust anyone or thing. Hopefully this lesson will treat them well going forward just so long as I can keep them off those conspiracy theory websites.

But today, just today, Sriracha Otter Pop was actually an inside job.

Unable to write good titles, webdude finds secret that

Clickbait.  Goddamn clickbait.  That’s what I used here.  It’s showing up everywhere and it sucks.  I even put a picture of a woman shocked by ‘some secret’ she saw as part of trying to draw you here and obviously it worked.

“She sure looks shocked, I’d better go check out the big secret!”

You'll never guess the amazing technique he uses to draw people to his shitty website!
You’ll never guess the amazing technique he uses to draw people to his shitty website!

Leading headlines like this are ridiculous, Buzzfeed and the rest of all y’all are parasites, and the rest of us should be ashamed for falling for it.  Facebook loves it; I think they even censor previews on things that are critical of clickbait.  I had to kajigger this post a bunch of ways before finally tricking it into generating a preview and I kinda think this can’t be shared with the above format intact by just starting with this URL.  You know why?  Because Facebook looooooves clickbait because clicks=$$$ for them in dozens of inscrutable ways beyond my ability to fathom.  As far as I can tell, there’s a function somewhere in Facebook’s link preview code that says basically:

if($post_text contains "clickbait")
    //fuck this guy

(I made this pseudolanguage up so don’t criticize my formatting, as far as you know it’s totally amazeballs syntax in my imaginary coding environment)

“Just this once, I’m sure it’ll be worth it..” we tell ourselves, and each time we’re spectacularly wrong.  It’s not worth it when we need to be tricked into it, so we’re losing dignity by falling for it.

Guys, guys….  we need to go back to, GUYS.  Pay attention.  We need to go back to the basics.  Guys, listen.  We need to go back to the proven techniques that made this web what it is today: spamming.  Well, either that or creating good content, but who has time for that?

I mean, look at the kind of junk I make here:

Just dreadful.

Raccoon War 2012:The Game


It’s not just for real anymore, now it’s a game.

I received an amazing gift for my birthday this month and wanted to share this.  Kassandra Kaplan made an actual ‘Raccoon War 2012’ board game for me, and it’s incredible.

As you may know, I had a series of incidents (linked) involving a raccoon that snuck into my house repeatedly defeating various traps along the way until finally (spoilers) I got it.  Kass was inspired by my struggle to create a board game where players can fight their own battles against the procyon menace and it’s a lot of fun.

First, the production quality is tremendous.  The game comes in a box (pictured) that contains a folding board, two cloth bags with game pieces, and two decks of cards in transparent boxes.

The Board

The bear board. I mean, BARE board! We can’t bring bears into this too!

The board is printed on quad-fold chipboard and has a heavy, solid feel.  When set up, it shows a map representing something that looks very similar to the Willamette Valley, with a few slight changes.  There are four geographical ‘zones’ with color-coded locations that often roughly coincide with real Eugene/Springfield places but have raccoon-esque names like ‘Orsetto Lavastore Pizza’, ‘Araiguma Dojo’, and of course ‘Tanuki Sushi’.  Thirsty?  Better head to ‘Waschbären Wein und Bier’!  Each zone belongs to a raccoon ‘general’/end-boss (who must be defeated).  There are 39 total locations which are interconnected to form a network of paths.  The top has a place for player cards and throwaways, and the bottom is dedicated to the raccoon army’s attack cards which are pulled each turn and control things like the spread of new raccoons, breeding rates, and more.

The Cards

Printed on 165# heavy clay coated card stock, they feel professional and look great.  There are two decks and some outlier control cards.  The players have a deck of locations they can add to their inventory (which they can then use as instant teleports, to fight raccoon generals once they have 5 of the appropriate color, build teleport bases) and mixed in (proportionately to the number of players) with them are raccoon escalation cards that do things like increase breeding rates, advance the raccoon agenda towards winning (the 9 circles on the bottom, a sort of raccoon game progress indicator), and so on. There are also player cards that change their role; master trappers who can trap more at once, real estate agents who can set up bases, etc.

The other deck has a card played each turn that helps the raccoons.  The 39 placenames can have new animals ‘appear’ on them as summoned by the raccoon attack cards, and the rate they accumulate increases throughout the game as they breed.


The gameplay is similar to Pandemic with many differences including a new ‘Ricky the Raccoon’ human-played antagonist that Kassie has been finalizing.  We played the inaugural game a few days ago and it was a blast.  Three adults and my 10 year-old played and everyone got into it very quickly.  The raccoons started out in a couple of tiny colonies and victory seemed assured, but for every fire we put out, another one or two started…  then spread.  It’s a collaborative game where we’re playing against a common enemy, so there was plenty of horse-trading (well, card trading.  There are few actual horses in the game.) within the rules and we had a great time.  You can perform up to 4 actions a turn (with some modifiers based on role-cards) such as move, trap, build base, etc. It sounds complicated at the beginning, but we were playing like pros within minutes.

Here’s a gallery with pictures of an unboxing and the board during our game:

In conclusion, this is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received and I’m blown away by the amount of work she put into this and the quality result.  Raccoon War 2012 will be a treasured family board game for years and a great reminder of both my victory against the furred menace as well as the amazing things the people we care about can surprise us with.  Thank you Kassie, you’re amazing!

As for you, Ricky the Raccoon, stay out!

Original ending to The Return Of The Jedi

The original ending of the blockbuster 1983 film was much less popular with test audiences than the version that finally made it onto the big screen.

The final redemption of the film’s original unlikely protagonist was, it seems, thought to be insufficiently clear to film-going audiences of the day.  Today’s audiences, of course, would be able to appreciate the transformation of Salacious Crumb from slave-jester to dignified hero at the moment of his death at the Great Pit of Carkoon, accepting of his fate as he rode the flaming wreckage of Jabba’s sail barge down towards the unforgiving sands of Tatooine.

The studio was in a panic at the news.  At the last moment, the actor playing Darth Vader was brought in to hurriedly fill the spot.  The ‘Jedi Ghost’ effect was quite expensive and a deposit for the special ink had already been put down.  Somebody had to fill the spot, so the little known character of Anakin Skywalker was grudgingly chosen.

Of snakes and tubs and terrible, terrible justice

It’s Friday afternoon and we have friends coming over to hot tub the next day.  It’s been a while since we used the spa so I decided to go give it a thorough maintenance/cleaning.  Anyone who has one of these knows that small animals will occasionally find their way in (the lids aren’t really air-tight, after all & frogs love ’em) and either hang out in the lid or fall into the water and drown.  It’s rare, but it happens.

I open up the lid and find…  a dead snake.  It’s floating belly up at the bottom of the tub.

This is a disaster.

I start a full drain and walk off disheartened.  How long has this animal been sitting in the warm water?  Is this 1.5 foot snake going to turn into multiple fractional snakes when I touch it because it’s been sitting there decomposing?

I end up leaving it alone for the evening, our hot tubbing plans are probably going to have to be called off.  This needs a full scrubdown and careful checking over to make sure it’s not a biohazard, after all.

I go to bed that night and actually wake up at 3AM after fitful dreams about snakes.  I sit there willing myself back to sleep, but no joy.  All I see over and over again is this snake that I know is just a few feet away that’s sitting there rotting.  I try to think of something else, but my brain rebels.  “No,” it tells me, “you’re going to have to deal with this dead snake tomorrow and it will be horrible.”  Damnit.

I finally get out of bed and start my day tired and stressed.  A simple chore has now become a looming dark task in my mind that I just know is going to _suck_.  Finally, breakfasted and caffeinated, I get on some dirty clothes (I know I’ll be showering immediately afterwards) and shamble resignedly to the back and lift up the lid.

The hot tub is now mostly empty (we can put men on the moon but putting drains in the lowest parts of a hot-tub escapes even the finest Relaxation Technology scientists) and the snake corpse is sitting in a small pool.

I have a large halloween-candy bowl that’s wider than deep and, I figure, might be able to scoop up the (presumably bloated) remains with minimal mess.  I pump myself up, let’s get this over with.

I bend over the lip of the tub, reach out with the big plastic bowl, and SCOOP.  To my delight, the entire cadaver slides directly into the bowl.  Part of the tail sticks over the edge, but it’s stiff enough that it doesn’t even flop over.

Wait, ‘stiff’?  That’s weird, this thing has been sitting in a hot tub for who knows how many days/weeks.  I’m no carrion scientist, but I’m pretty sure it should be some sort of half-stew mass of sludgy ichor barely held together by water-logged skin by now.  Why is it stiff?

Careful not to spill, I stand up and lift the bowl closer to inspect this mystery.  In the light, I now notice more details.  The belly scales are there, I can see the tongue, and…  a logo?  Oh god.

This, I realize in growing shock, is a rubber toy snake.  It’s one of many I’ve bought over the years to play jokes on people with.  I leave them sitting on the wing of the plane, on beds, at the top of stairs, you get the idea.  And now it’s sitting here in a bowl atop my empty hot tub.

I’ve been stressing over this task for maybe 18 hours.  I’ve lost sleep, appetite, and more over what turns out to be a toy snake?!

Then I realize something else: My kids…  they got me.

They really got me.

I’m so proud.

Superbowl recipe idea: Supernachos

It’s time for the SuperBall (or whatever they call it) again, which means it’s time to pull out those special snacks from that dark place where you keep them and the shame surrounding that one time when you said that thing you didn’t realize was so dumb and everyone heard you say it and you hope they don’t remember because it sure keeps you up at night.

A good start, but don't forget to deep fry those jalepenos!

Nachos are a popular dish, but you’ve gotta substitute the chips with pork rinds to establish a good baseline.  Also, the nacho cheese you buy at the store is too thin, I like to reduce it on the stove with bacon grease to replace the water/whey.

As for the vegetables, lightweight nachos might use onions and peppers and whatnot, but I’ve found you can chop those up into slightly bigger chunks, batter ’em, then deep fry them so it’s like you’ve got a handful of ‘onion rings’ and ‘battered peppers’ instead.  You’ve still got your vegetables (it’s practically a salad!), but now they taste better.

For your meats, ground beef loses a lot of flavor in the cooking (even with spices) so I like to use pork sausage instead.  Add taco seasoning to that, and you’ve got yourself a real fiesta.

Sour cream is tasty, but did you know you can get heavy-duty creme fraiche and ‘zing it up’ with some rum?  Great for dipping those chips in!

If it’s too salty at first bite, just drink more beer.  Eventually you won’t notice anymore.  Some chest tension and shortness of breath is pretty normal too, that’s how you know the nachos are working.