I had a bunch of people get together for my birthday three years ago and we all played a few rounds of my favorite board-game, Hoopla (seriously, I’ve played this game with the same set of cards for about 6 years and I still love it; and yes, I understand it’s technically *not* a board-game). For people who gave a unique performance during the game, I let them draw from a hat a description on a strip of paper of a fake prize that they had won. Examples include free slumber-parties at a mutual acquaintance’s that we barely knew (who had no idea he was involved in the prize) to a dance-off between two friends of the winner’s choice.
Hidden amongst all these fake prizes was a slip that looked just as made-up as the rest of them, but I actually had prearranged to make it into a reality. Some of my friends own a documentary company (Open Road Media, makers of fine films such as Pun Smoke and the Human Hambone) down in LA and I contacted them earlier in the day: Someone at the party would draw a prize of “A Free Documentary Of Your Choice By Open Road Media.” A choice would be made by the winner and I would discretely txt my friend, who would have a team of folks ready to take the chosen topic and turn it into a “documentary” as quickly as possible. They would then send me the result over the internet and I would play the video on the living room television for the winner and the rest of the party at the end of the evening.
Well, the winner of the documentary prize chose the topic of “Friendship” and the wheels were set in motion. About two hours later, I presented the documentary and had a very confused party, who were struggling to figure out what just happened.
Here is the 2min. 40sec. documentary on “Friendship”:
And what have we found? That over the years of domesticating cows and selective breeding, we’ve ended up with a mentally retarded version of the species former selves. GREAT FOR BUSINESS!
Both types of cattle show evidence of natural selection in genes that appear to be involved in making the animals — large, horned and potentially dangerous — docile. In some breeds, specific variants of behavior-related genes are “fixed,” or seen in essentially every animal. Curiously, some of those genes are in regions that in the human genome seem to be involved in autism, brain development and mental retardation.
Great for any fans of the Wire. BONUS: Also great for fans of inner city crime and bureaucratic mess. BONUS BONUS: A fan caught Simon before his appearance with Moyers and took him out to lunch. I like this David Simon character. If you haven’t started the Wire yet, start now. And you can’t stop until you at least finish a season; they start off decidedly slow.
Stephen Anderson makes a great case that good looks in design go more than skin deep:
The more we learn about people, and how our brains process information, the more we learn the truth of that phrase: form and function aren’t separate items. If we believe that style somehow exists independent of functionality, that we can treat aesthetics and function as two separate pieces, then we ignore the evidence that beauty is much more than decoration. Our brains can’t help but agree.
An in-depth look into Wes Anderson’s style and choices through the first few minutes of The Royal Tenenbaums. Some of the analysis is a little manufactured, but most of it is pretty interesting. Make sure to pause often. If you’re an Anderson fan, be sure to check out parts one, two, three, and four.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of helping Maddie attempt to be the King of Seattle. Inspired by the week’s previous King, Maddie decided to give it a go and I decided to support her. The title of King is awarded every Monday at 12am to the winner of that week’s foursquare competition.
foursquare is a location aware webapp for your phone that awards points for various activities that involve going out & about. The reason I “play” is because it gets me out of the house and acts as a great friend-finder. Alice Tiara just posted a great write-up of what makes the game interesting:
For example, on Monday night, I went to dinner with a friend. After dinner, I saw that two of my closest friends were at a local bar. We met them there, and over the course of the next four hours, about 10 other people showed up, all of whom found us through foursquare.
For people worried about privacy, don’t worry; you only check in when you want to be found and only tell who you want to. The more places you go, the more points you get; and if you’re creative with it, you can rack up the points. Here are some tips that I’ve come up with that will help you to be the King of your burg:
Only check in at new locations:
You get 5 points for every new location checkin and zero points if it is a duplicate checkin within the week
Rack up bar-hopping bonus points:
You get a travel bonus point for every subsequent checkin during the night (after 4pm). I.E. 6 points for first unique checkin, 7 for second, 8 for third, 9 for fourth, etc.
Start the Tuesday before your championship run and hit a place each night. By the time the next Monday hits the starting line, you’ll get 7 “Bender” points for the first time you check in each night.
If you’re bar-hopping, drink a pony glass of a dry stout:
You could just not buy anything, but that’d be shady. Buy something that has nutrients, like a Guinness. Otherwise, you’ll succumb to alcohol madness (or so I’m told).
If your score is within striking range, people *will* compete with you.
Either come out of the gate on Monday and establish such a daunting lead that people won’t attempt to compete, or
Pull an eBay – Stay just below the top 5 for most of the week so that you’re not noticed, then swoop in on the weekend to claim the crown.
Part of playing a game is the necessity of agreed upon rules. foursquare doesn’t have any defined rules at this point, other than “Don’t lie about where you are,” and even that isn’t very defined. In an effort to get people playing under the same rules, I would suggest something along the lines of the following (please alter or append any of these in the comments):
Must have intent to stay at a checked in location longer than 30 min.
The checked-in location must be a public place.
The checked-in location must be someplace in which you are capable of being social. (i.e. Not @ your coffee shop job or while running errands)
Strong suggestion you buy from the establishment if it is a bar/restaurant.
The rules would only be necessary if you’re interested in competing in foursquare. You can still get use out of foursquare, even if you’re not competing for Kinghood. I would suggest that competing is opt-in for users who’ve read “the rules” as defined and agreed upon by the userbase (ticket).
Other ideas for foursquare that would make me dork out:
Allow users to optionally enter home address and places of work – I’d love to let people know when I’m at home and at work, but don’t want to collect points for these locations. (ticket)
Mayoral voice – Give the mayor of a venue the ability to write a welcome message when a user checks in at their location. (ticket)
On the users “History” page, show which users who were also checked in with you when you visited. I’d love this page to act as my social diary. (ticket)
Add the ability to optionally display your Twitter username. There have been times in which I’d wished I was able to communicate with another user, but couldn’t. (ticket)
All this being said, this only works when you have friends using it. I’d have a lot more serendipitous moments if I had more friends playing the game with me…
The music industry makes records louder and louder and have pushed beyond reason in an effort to stand out amongst the rest of the radio. This drives me nuts. Every time I listen to a Lily Allen record, I can’t stand the fact that the drums are distorted to make a buck; and I particularly can’t stand the fact that the people who perpetuate this problem know about it, but deny that it’s a problem in the first place:
“Somebody told me about [people complaining that the Guitar Hero version of Death Magnetic sounds better]. Listen, what are you going to do?… …The Internet gives everybody a voice, and the Internet has a tendency to give the complainers a louder voice. Listen, I can’t keep up with this shit.” – Lars Ulrich
Lebron James may end up having the greatest basketball season in the history of the NBA this season. And the funny thing is, he’s still got flaws in his game: His post-up game; Spotty outside shot; Stands still and dribbles too much. I’m betting that he’s going to end up being the best player to ever play in the NBA. Case in point:
Back in 1986, actor/director Beat Takeshi, a man who doesn’t like video games, wanted to show people how foolish they were for liking video games by making the most annoying video game of all time for the Nintendo. For example: A level where you must sit in front of the TV and hold the select button for 60 minutes. Apparently it’s coming to the Japanese Virtual Console on the 31st of March.
In a similar vein, Penn & Teller created a video game for the SegaCD in which you must drive across the Nevada desert in real-time for 8 hours in order to get “1 point”. There’s a torrent available for the brave.