Feb 172014
lol on a candy heart

lol on a candy heart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I spent Valentine’s Day re-enacting all the Hoth scenes from “The Empire Strikes Back” trapped in a hotel/airport in Alexandria, VA.  That lady sure got upset when I sliced her luggage open and crawled inside.

One thing that was in abundance even in such romance-starved wastelands as the airport were candy hearts.  You know the kind I mean – the chalky, vaguely flavored candies that taste mostly like they were molded from bat cartilage.  They have the printed sayings on them like “Be Mine” or “Kiss Me” or any number of things you don’t feel like being or doing after someone has given you one of these to express their feelings.  Most of them were pretty nondescript, but I got some messages that I wasn’t sure were entirely appropriate candy heart material, listed below:

  1. Stop Crying
  3. Look Behind You
  4. Is That Your Sister? Hello!
  5. Show Me Your Relevant Genetalia
  6. Candy Organ Donor
  7. Ate the Last Granola Bar
  8. Choke On This
  9. This is the Only Hard Thing in my Pocket
  10. F = ma
  11. Help Me
  12. No Message Due to Ennui
  13. Give ‘Em Hell
  14. Settle
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Oct 252013

In many ways, it is like one of your toys, but a toy for adults.


Original drawing of Johnny Five-Aces

In 2006, a man on the SomethingAwful forums had a vision.  This vision was to solicit volunteers on this forum to create the best computer RPG to date.  This RPG was “The Zybourne Clock.”

When the object enters the timestream, time begins to correct itself. Let me use this example: Imagine four balls on the edge of a cliff. Say a direct copy of the ball nearest the cliff is sent to the back of the line of balls and takes the place of the first ball. The formerly first ball becomes the second, the second becomes the third, and the fourth falls off the cliff.

Time works the same way.

In a very short time, the project produced a prodigious amount of material consisting mostly of bad game ideas, poor artwork, and horrifically written prose (a later parody would introduce the character Dr. Malaprop because of the vast amount of malapropisms).  Any kind of criticism was met with harsh resistance and removal from the project.  Unfortunately, the group’s single programmer fell to this Damoclesian sword after two weeks.

You always had a pension for the dramatic, Johnny.

Once the project materials leaked, the SomethingAwful forums at large had a field day writing parodies, creating “fan art,” and even a fake game trailer and interview.  In fact, far more effort and material has been produced making fun of the Zybourne Clock than was ever produced as actual game content.  Even to this day, it’s very difficult to tell the difference between parody material and original material, mostly because the original material was so colossally bad.

Next few things I want to cover. The change mood command will change the selected characters mood at random. It can only be used once in battle. You can also use an item to change a characters mood by using an item or by seeing a Psychologist. Okay, Ill let you do the rest! Look forward to our next and final installment of tutorials, Timesynch!

Oh yeah one more thing.

Anger <> Hurt

Tense <> Nervous

Happy <> Sad

This Friday, for your entertainment, dear readers, I present you with the keys – the keys to a door – a door to space, and a door to time.  Open this door carefully, for this door, the door you behold and are about to enter through the door, has on its other side nothing other than the Zybourne Clock.

The answer came to me while reading an article out of a Science magazine that I had picked up about 2 years ago. The article basically summarized how the planet got to its current point in its evolutionary cycle and where it had started. It compared key points of life over 20 millenia and now. I sat there in and thought about the article for a good 3 hours. If we could subtely alter the cycle at which the planet terraforms and speed up human evolution, we could, possibly make humanity advance far past wars in a few millenia’s time. My heart jumped into my throat as I ran through the bay doors to tell my colleagues that I had finally found a safe way to alter the way the timeline to such a degree as to not rip a hole in time itself.

As I looked around the room, my excitement faded. All of them looked as if they had just became very ill.

“Doctor, you understand if we do this, We will fade from existance as the timeline corrects itself.” One of my colleagues said in the grimest manner I had ever heard him speak before.

I began to turn pale, and dizzy. I quickly found a chair and used the magazine (that I was subsequently still clutching) to fan myself.

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Mar 192013

Want to know about the most recent updates to SimCity?  Keep checking back for patch updates.

Update 3/20/2013 – Update 1.7b


  • Your city’s fire department will now attempt to extinguish fires with water instead of the default kerosene.
  • Hospitals will no longer be constructed purely from asbestos.
  • Crime will no longer only be committed by Sims with poor education. It will now also be committed by Sims who ride skateboards or listen to loud rap music at intersections.
  • We are no longer coating the boxed edition of SimCity with poison ivy.
  • Sims will no longer plot your real life murder when game is minimized.
  • Plate tectonics no longer throws your city into the sun.
  • Sims will no longer jump off cliffs to shorten commute to work.
  • Trains traveling on intercity railroads now occasionally stop.
  • Airline pilots no longer spontaneously Harlem Shake while in flight.
  • Size of railroad stations reduced to 500 city blocks.
  • Parks and Recreation advisory dialog no longer incorporates meta-style humor.  Purely observational a la early Seinfeld.
  • Jets replaced with actual jets.  Dancing Caucasian street gangs are no longer a valid transportation option.

Traffic Improvements:

  • Sims no longer make their commute entirely in reverse.
  • Mobility added as feature to cars.
  • Streetcar operators now contact AAA for assistance in turning corners.
  • Traffic patterns now governed by zoning, time of day, and availability of public transport as opposed to vengeful whims of Jor-Kryton, Lord of Traffic.
  • Cars now correctly allied with Autobots and will engage in 20% fewer instances of open warfare.
  • Emergency vehicles now run on internal combustion engines instead of sails.


  • Servers now available two days a week.
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Mar 192013
PhotonQ-Homer' s Evolution Theory

PhotonQ-Homer’ s Evolution Theory (Photo credit: PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE)

The Random Language Cloud (Confusicus Maximus)

Example Quote: “Does anyone Scrum the backlog issues into maximum value for the business process?  What are the risks and how do you number the point enhancement?”

Description: Maybe it’s because English isn’t their primary language.  Maybe it’s because the contributor has a very complex concept in their head and has trouble expressing it clearly.  Maybe it’s because someone wanted to spark a discussion and increase their influence for the week.  Whatever it is, the Random Language Cloud is commonly found starting discussions with questions that make no damn sense.  Sometimes, they will also interject into a discussion, but that is a much rarer sighting.

Natural Predators: None.  Virtually nobody interacts with an RLC, although I’d give someone five bucks if they’d just post a reply to one that said, “…what.”

The Guy You’re Not Even Sure How to Start Fixing (Falsus Presuppositionus)

Example Quote: “In agile, what is the best file format for the BA to give me the up front requirements document?  Or do you prefer an electronic tool?  I’d really like to minimize the amount of communication the team has to do.”

Description: Great care must be taken with the GYNESHSF, because some of the time, deep down, is someone who genuinely wants to learn and genuinely has no clue.  They are only difficult because there is obviously a long string of knots that need untying before you can even start to address the issue they raised, but in the long run, the effort is usually worthwhile for both parties.

There is another breed of GYNESHSF, however, that is bound and determined to cling to their original presuppositions and want you to say things that will fit it.  A common sign is the comment, “Well, X wouldn’t work here.”  This is actually a great way to troll agile discussions, but a very bad way to have a real one.

In either case, when this species moves from asking questions to offering advice, get ready to grab a mop and a bucket of napalm.

Natural Predators: Theoretical Agilists – these guys will spend all day with the second breed of GYNESHSF.  Experienced Agilists will spend all day with the first.

The Humble Noob (Genuinius Noobicus)

Example Quotes: “I’m just starting out trying to be more agile, and I’m having problems understanding how to do relative estimates.”

“I’m actually new to all this, but we tried Practice X, and it seemed to work all right.  I’m not sure if it’s the best way to do things or not.”

Description: A reasonably rare sighting, the Humble Noob is great. They genuinely want to learn and are aware that they don’t know very much.  They are careful with their questions, and the advice they offer is suitably qualified with the idea that they may not know the best answer, but they’re just trying to help.

Natural Predators: Theoretical Agilists love these guys because they can rattle off answers from The Textbook without any fear of challenge or contradiction.  It validates their credibility and releases endorphins.  Experienced Agilists, in their best moments, also have a bit of Humble Noob in them throughout their career.

The Theoretical Agilist (Armchairus Quarterbackus)

Example Quotes: “Kanban is no good for software development.”

“Apple is more or less an agile company because Steve Jobs was a Product Owner.”

“Do you have a Product Owner?  Why don’t you have a Product Owner?  You need a Product Owner.  Preferably a certified one.”

“This article by Ken Schwaber answers your question.  You should seriously read this book.”

“That’s Scrumbut.”

“Process is the enemy of Agile.”

“Agile coaches should never help with the team’s actual work.”

Description: The Theoretical Agilist has read books and perhaps has gotten certified.  They are, surprisingly, often Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters.  They may even be advising actual teams.  However, the common characteristic they share is that they really don’t know what they’re talking about because all they know is what they’ve heard or read.  They do not learn from their experience, if they even have any, but instead force their theoretical knowledge upon their experience to try to make it fit.  They are often very good at selling themselves and presenting themselves as subject matter experts, but very poor at articulating the foundations for their views or practical applications.  Professionally, they will happily charge you money to provide no real value except by accident.

Pantheon: Ken Schwaber (the one true inventor of Agile, which is usually a specific process), Mike Cohn (his greatest prophet), Steve Denning (the Real Business Expert)

Natural Predators: Me. Seriously, I lose my s whenever these people show up, and they become more numerous with every Scrum Master certification class.  I am trying to work on this because occasionally in these self-proclaimed experts is someone who really just wants to learn but is insecure expressing that, and I don’t want to turn those people away.  I also don’t want to be a jackass to anyone, but I so, so am when this happens. So, opportunities for personal growth there.  But if you ever want to troll me on LinkedIn, the best way is to jump into a discussion about agile and say that Kanban won’t work in software development and support this by quoting Steve Denning’s blog.

The Experienced Agilist (Mythicus Unicornus)

Example Quotes: “I’ve tried Practice X at four different companies and it worked really well.  It didn’t go so well for one company I tried it at, and I think it’s because it wasn’t a good fit, there, so I tried Practice Y and that worked.  But usually, I try to go with Practice X if I can.”

“Let me show you the change in delivery metrics of this team over the past six months.”

Description: These people have been forged in the fires of adversity.  They, like the Theoretical Agilists, have usually read a lot, are often certified, and sometimes work as full time Agile Coaches or Scrum Masters.  The key difference is they have been at this a long time and can articulate the differences between The Textbook and An Actual Business.  They can also tell you when The Texbook is dead on.  They can also tell you under what circumstances their favorite techniques don’t work well and what better measures are.  They can demonstrate their successes numerically and do not shy away from talking about their failures and what they’ve learned.  They don’t just know What To Think, they also know What To Do.  They know when to let an organization come to their own realizations, when to push them in the right direction, and when to go, “Look, guys, what you’re doing is just stupid.  Stop it immediately and do this other thing.  Just trust me on this.”

Natural Predators: Theoretical Agilists swarm these people like sharks, because 99.999% of the time, their advice varies to some degree from Holy Orthodoxy.  They are also both appreciative and critical of leaders in their field, which does not sit well.

Where do you fit?


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Feb 282013

SITH-03 (Photo credit: Lupin Tyde)

It’s been a while since I last condensed my wisdom into useful proverbs suitable for framing, preferably under a photo of a soaring eagle or a sunrise over a snowy mountain.  I can’t hold it in anymore, however, so put on your boots and get ready for condensed wisdom!

Before you ask others to change, change yourself. Specifically, change yourself into someone who doesn’t really care if anyone else changes, because then it’s, like, a win-win.

I wanted to live a life that others only dream about, so I showed up at my old high school in my underwear and took a test I hadn’t studied for.

The currency of Viet Nam is the dong, so the next time you’re around a bunch of high-powered investors, tell them you’ve been buying a lot of Vietnamese dong, lately, then sip your brandy and nod smugly.

Before you blame someone for failure, choke them with the Force. If you’re a Sith Lord. If you’re not, then, um… so… have you thought about being a Sith Lord?

Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. And 100% stealing from Nikolai Tesla.

If you are sharing a planet with a people group known as “Decepticons,” the odds are good they’re going to screw you over at some point. Plan ahead.

Every business mogul tells you how much you should focus on being disruptive until you show up at their son’s briss.

If I wrote Chinese fortune cookie fortunes, I’d try to make them ominous and specific like, “Watch out for Steve,” or, “The blue one is more prone to catch fire.” They wouldn’t hit very often, but when they did, it’d be absolute gold.

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Dec 212012
Portrait of Henry Ford (ca. 1919)

Portrait of Henry Ford (ca. 1919) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FORD: Behold! The automobile!

(FORD unveils automobile)

FORD: The driver sits here and maneuvers the car with this wheel. He uses this pedal to accelerate, and this pedal to decelerate. It is an amazing new way to travel.

SHIRLEY: Where does the saddle go?

FORD: Pardon?

SHIRLEY: I don’t see a place to fit a saddle.

FORD: This doesn’t need a saddle. You sit in the seat, instead.

SHIRLEY: No saddle? Sounds unsafe. I can’t imagine traveling without a saddle.

BRIAN: Seriously, Ford, is this some kind of joke?

FORD: No, see…

BRIAN: You can’t travel without using a saddle.

FORD: Yes, if you’re riding a horse, but this is a car, you see. The paradigm is completely different.

BRIAN: I don’t see a place for a bridle, either.

FORD: But there is no need.

SHIRLEY: Oh, right. We just use bridles to control direction. No big deal.

FORD: But this uses a wheel to control direction.

SHIRLEY: Of course. That’s why everyone else uses a wheel to control direction.

BRIAN: Ford, nobody uses a wheel to control direction.

FORD: That’s because everyone else rides horses. This is a car.

BRIAN: There’s a reason everybody rides horses, Ford.

FORD: Yes, because they don’t have cars. This is a car.

SHIRLEY: We have a lot of money sunk into a saddle-based infrastructure. Do we just throw all that away?

FORD: Well, I guess you could make something else out of the leather, or use the saddles decoratively.


FORD: I don’t know. The point is, you don’t need saddles.

SHIRLEY: All our laws regarding travel are built around horse riding. If you can’t feed this car or tie it to a post or saddle it, how are we supposed to control it?

FORD: Well, there will have to be new laws.

BRIAN: So, we’ll just scrap a bunch of old laws and make new ones. That sounds safe.

FORD: It’s not like murder will be legal, it’s just that new paradigms mean lots of things have to change.

BRIAN: So, murder will be legal.

FORD: No, there’s no reason to change that law.

BRIAN: I don’t see why not. That’s basically what you’re proposing. All the laws and saddles and hitching posts that have served us so well up to this point are just stupid compared to YOUR idea. Your one single idea that nobody else is actually doing.

SHIRLEY: I mean, I could understand cars working on a small scale, but they’d never work here.

FORD: What do you mean?

SHIRLEY: Well, there’s no saddles, for one thing.

BRIAN: I’m not saying the whole idea is bad. I like those lights in front.

SHIRLEY: Yes! Maybe we should take the best of both worlds. Ford, could you stick those lights on a horse?

FORD: Not really. You kind of need a power source.

BRIAN: You could harness the horse’s motion.

SHIRLEY: I like where this is going.

FORD: So, you want me to rig up an elaborate structure that will most definitely slow the horse down for the purpose of attaching lights to its head.

BRIAN: I thought you said cars were faster than horses.

FORD: Yes, but….

BRIAN: So, which is it? Are cars faster or are horses faster?

FORD: Cars.

BRIAN: So, what’s the problem?

SHIRLEY: Why don’t we just try the light thing, and if it makes our horses faster, then maybe we’ll consider using more of the car.

BRIAN: And see if you can figure out how to fit a saddle and bridle on it.

SHIRLEY: That would be ideal.

[curtain falls]


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Dec 122012

Jim (Photo credit: stan)

Jim: We actually had an agile coach come out two years ago to get us going doing Scrum.

Me: How’d that go?

Jim: Well, he got us going on sprints and all that, and, I don’t know.  I think it slowed us down.

Me: Well, anything new is going to slow you down.

Jim: Yeah, that’s what I told people, but the problem was that the business expected us to be able to tell them when things were going to be done, and whole sprint thing didn’t make a lot of sense to them.

Me: I’ve also found that.

Jim: Well, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on that, because I asked this coach or consultant or whatever, and he told me that Scrum doesn’t actually fix anything, but it raises issues, and it was up to us to figure it out.

Me: He told you to figure it out?

Jim: He was more diplomatic than that. He said something about beginning a journey of learning.

Me: Did he take you on a journey?

Jim: No, I elbowed him in the face and said, “Welcome to a journey of learning!  Figure that out!”

Me: *laughs*

Jim: No, I just did that in my head.

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Oct 262012
Christopher Turk

Christopher Turk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If a white male writes a book, movie, or TV show where the main character is white but has a black friend, there is a 93% chance that friend will be a replica of Turk from “Scrubs.”

If someone leaves you a message along the lines of, “I need to talk to you about something” and does not indicate what it’s about, there is an 82% percent chance that what they need to talk to you about is actually pretty trivial.

If it exists, there is a 47% chance that there is a sexy Halloween costume version of it.

“Maybe” means “no” 68% of the time.

If someone uses the word “decimate,” there is a 99.9% chance they mean “almost destroyed” as opposed to “reduced by ten percent.”

There is an 83% chance your co-worker has heard of the band Journey and a 24% chance they can successfully identify a Journey song that is not “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

Managers have a 77% chance of using nouns as verbs and verbs as nouns.

There is a 65% chance that you have rolled your window up or changed the station at a stoplight so the other drivers wouldn’t know what you had been listening to.

There is a 98% chance that, “We realize this is just an estimate; we won’t hold you to it,” is another way of saying, “We will totally hold you to it.”