Remembering When Is A Cakewalk

, , , , , | Related | June 15, 2018

(My brother occasionally buys personal-size cakes for himself. Tonight, he’s talking about celebrating his birthday by eating an entire regular-size cheesecake. I remind him that he recently lost a lot of weight on a good diet, but he counters with:)

Brother: “You know how long it’s been since I’ve had cheesecake?”

(Sounds like a decent rationale; I’m about to shrug it off when I recall something:)

Me: “You had one just like three days ago!”

Brother: *delighted* “You do! You remember the small things. I was just testing you.”

She’s Going Against Code

, , , , , , , | Related | December 13, 2017

(I grew up in the DOS era — pre-Windows — and started programming with GW-BASIC when I was maybe twelve. As a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none hobbyist, I moved through QBasic, making video games for myself, then in college through Visual Basic and C++, as well as HTML, SQL, the text-adventure engine Squiffy, and game engines like RPG Maker, Game Maker, and Unreal Engine. As a lark, I learned ROM hacking enough to alter text and graphics in classic video games, and even, one summer, tried to learn Assembly Language. I was a programming tutor in college, and, after seeing the same problems crop up repeatedly, created a “Common Errors in Visual Basic” hand-out that got passed around by professors for a while. Now that I have nephews and nieces — six so far, ages 11-19 — I’ve been trying for several years now to get them interested enough in programming to actually work at it on their own steam, rather than by my prompting. I’ve gotten them to make little tiny starts on Game Maker, and two of them went to a robotics class that they really enjoyed. Now I’ve got a niece, age 11, and nephew, almost 14, working on Khan Academy’s “Hour of Code,” which teaches them the basics. My niece must have taken well to this activity, given that she just sits down next to me, as she is getting ready for bed, and offers up this cheerfully energetic advice:)

Niece: “You should learn how to code.”

Me: “…”

Putting The XP Into Experience Points

, , , , , | Related | November 22, 2017

(I grew up on the Final Fantasy series, but stopped playing games from that franchise around #8, and lost track of them entirely around #10. My brother’s in the kitchen one night, discussing upcoming game purchases. Note that his style of humor is quite deadpan, while I’m not great at social cues to begin with, so if there’s an in-joke here, I wouldn’t even pick up on it.)

Brother: “I’m having trouble deciding whether to buy Final Fantasy XIII, XIII-2, or XIII-3.”

Me: “Have they been taking their counting lessons from Microsoft?”