Friday, July 14, 2023

A Modern Prometheus

 Dr. Thomas Frank was not looking forward to this particular appointment. It wasn't a bad person or something specifically unenjoyable; rather a large lunch and hot weather had combined to make him incredibly tired. As he contemplated laying on the floor and taking a nap while he waited for the appointment to start, the buzzer sounded.

"Stone's here," the voice on the intercom said.

"Come in," he called out.

"Hey Doc," the patient - one Jack Stone - greeted as he made his way in. "Hot one today, eh?"

"I've been in my office all day, but the air conditioning is barely keeping up." Dr. Frank agreed. "I'm not looking forward to going out in it later."

"Yeah, with the heat and humidity I'm just about beat." Stone punctuated with a long sigh. "I'm afraid I'm going to fall asleep mid-sentence if I'm not careful."

Dr. Frank laughed politely. "Yeah, I'm in the same boat."

The two men shuffled around for a moment as their bodies formed into psychologist and patient postures.

"Hey Doc," Stone broke in. "I'm really beat. Do you have any coffee or anything in this place?"

"Not really, no." Dr. Frank paused for a moment. "But now that you mention it, I could really use a pick-me-up too. Maybe I can send out for something."

"If we're doing that, maybe we could get something high test? An energy drink or something?"

Dr. Frank nodded slowly for a second, then nodded a couple big 'I've made a decision' nods. He pressed a button on the intercom."

"Shelly, would you run to the corner and pick up a couple energy drinks for Mr. Stone and myself?" He raised an eyebrow toward Stone as he continued. "Whatever you grab first will be fine." Stone, for his part, nodded his assent.

"Sure thing!" the intercom answered. Dr. Frank conveyed his thanks and sighed a 'reset' sigh.

With that task set in motion, the two men began the session in earnest. Stone began with what was bothering him and laid out some things left unresolved from the previous session.

"Really though, is it wrong of me to want to be as knowledgeable as possible?" Stone was in the middle of asking when the buzzer sounded again.

"Who is it?" Dr. Frank asked, having momentarily forgotten about the errand.

"It's Shelly - with Dr. Frank and Stone's Monster."

Monday, July 10, 2023

Review(?) of: Duskers, Offworld Trading Company, Oxygen Not Included

I took a week off work in late June (and had some additional time off work in early July) to spend “vegging out” and playing video games. To this end I picked up Duskers, Offworld Trading Company, and Oxygen Not Included on Steam. As is my wont, I feel very guilty of spending maybe 40 hours on these three games and about zero hours writing, so now I’m going to write about gaming. This is sort-of a review, but mostly a way for me to not feel as if I’ve “wasted” a work week. Don’t expect anything mind-blowing.

Duskers (2016)

The idea behind this game is you’re a sole survivor on a spaceship trying to investigate the universe / what in the world happened. I really, really didn’t care about the lore - I’m sure it’s interesting and deep, but I couldn’t find it in me to care. Maybe I’ll give it another go in the future.

The gameplay loop of this game is probably the best of the three - you dock with a spaceship / space station and direct a number of little robots (drones) to do certain tasks. Sometimes this is done by a command prompt where you type in the commands, though you can take direct control of a drone to give it specific directional (as in “go left”) instruction. All commands such as “generate power” or “gather resources” must be typed into the command prompt, which added a lot of drama to the game - I cannot tell you how many times I typed an ‘s’ when I meant ‘d’ to close a door as an enemy chased me.

Without giving too much away, there are four enemy types that each have their own traits / tells and you have to avoid (or confront) them as you gather materials to keep your ship and drones working. At some point you will inevitably fail and all the drones get destroyed or you run out of fuel or some other mishap befalls you and you’ll be forced to reset. It’s a roguelike, so there’s no hard feelings, though bad luck and having to reset on the first ship can be frustrating.

The only big issue I have with this game is that this loop is all there is to it. Stay alive until you can’t - maybe accomplish a completely optional objective while you do. There’s no end game that I’m aware of and getting to the fifth, tenth, or twentieth galaxy on a single run plays the same as resetting and starting out fresh. I realize not every roguelike can be FTL or Spelunky or Hades or whatever, but I do wish it had a bit more to it. With that said, I spent $10 on it and played for more than ten hours - a bargain however you slice it.

I will probably put a few more hours in the game - again, the loop was a lot of fun - but I’m not going to invest more than “oh, this’ll be fun for an hour while I’m bored” energy into it.

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Bubble Snake

Art by Sammy

"A Bubble Snake?"


"What the fuck is a Bubble Snake?" 

"It's just that - a snake made of bubbles"

The General looked at the Messenger for several seconds.

"And why the fuck should I care?" 

"Well," the Messenger paused. "It's attacking?”

"Attacking WHAT?" 

"Attacking our coast?" 

"Attacking HOW?" 


"And what the fuck do you want me to do about it?

"Stop it? Defend our coast?"

“You want me to order our troops out to - let me get this straight - shoot at some bubbles?”

“Well, it’s more the President wants that. Or something like that. He didn’t say ‘shoot the bubble snake’ specifically.”

“I would actively campaign against him if I even dreamed he said something like that. I cannot fathom a stupider saying or order than ‘shoot the bubble snake.’ I’ve been around some profoundly stupid, crayon-eating motherfuckers and I’ve never heard something even rivaling the colossal ridiculousness of the idea of ‘shoot the bubble snake’.”

"Well, sir, I can't argue can't argue with you there.

“So what are we even doing here?”

“We were discussing defending the coast." 

"Right. From a snake made of bubbles," the General thought for a moment. "And it won't just dissolve? It won't just pop?" 

"It doesn't seem to be doing that, sir. If anything, it's growing."

"How big is it now?" 

"About a mile long and three stories tall." 

"And it's attacking?”

"Yes - it seems to be actively eating boats and beachgoers."

"Well, fuck it. Give the order to shoot the bubble snake." 

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Turtle and Alligator

Art by Aubri

"See ya later, Alligator," said Turtle to Alligator.

"In a while, Crocodile," replied Alligator. 

Turtle paused, turned his head, and gave Alligator a quizzical look. 

"I'm a turtle, not a crocodile,"

"I know, Turtle," Alligator replied. "It's just a saying." 

"What do you mean it's a saying? Who says it? 

"I don't know, it's just something people say."

"We're not ‘people,’" Turtle declared. 

The two sat looking at each other for a moment. 

"It's just a cute saying that rhymes is all," Alligator defended. "I didn't mean anything by it other than to say goodbye. 

"You could have just said goodbye"

"I could have, yes, but the way you said goodbye rhymed and I wanted to have a little fun with it."


Turtle and Alligator sat in their sunning spots for a few minutes, neither saying a word. It was Alligator who eventually broke the silence.

"I thought you were leaving?"

"It's a free country," Turtle retorted.

"I'm not pushing you, sorry, I just thought you were going to leave since you said goodbye and all."

"Well, all this crocodile talk and stuff really put me off dinner."

"Sorry, I didn't mean to open a can of worms." 

"You have a can of worms on you?" 

"Ugh. No. Another saying. I didn't mean to start a whole discussion about sayings and idioms and whatever. You're my friend, Turtle, and I just want you to have a nice day." 

"It's okay, Alligator," said Turtle. "I suppose I got a little snappy." 

"Alright, well, I'm not done sunning," said Alligator. "So I'm going to snooze for a bit.

"Sleep tight," Turtle said, a grin slowly crawling across its face. "And don't let -- 

"Screw you, Turtle." 

Saturday, July 1, 2023

A Trip to the Twat-tanic (Round Robin)

Rules: everyone could see the whole story and had to either add one sentence or something to the drawing.

"It's a little small, but I think we can all fit in," the man in the top hat said to the gathered group. The smell of boneless chicken thighs wisped from his grizzled beard as he latched the massive door open. "Bathroom's in there," he said, pointing to a corner of the nine-foot-by-nine-foot steel box.

Billy looked nervously at the tiny room, turning to his dad when a small cat jumped through the group into the submarine before them.

"I named it the Titan," the Top Hat said proudly, "as it's a hubris against God and also in honor of my dick." He pulled out a photograph of Richard Nixon and smiled as he reached down to his fly and released his penis - also named 'Dick'.

Top Hap pointed at the cat and said "cat's name is Moby. Unrelated to the book. Now we're going on a journey." The door to the submarine closed behind them with a bong. Billy jumped.

"A journey - to the bottom of the ocean. My name is Chester and this is my vagin-advenure."

The crane picked up the submarine and dropped it in and Top Hat motioned wiping his hands, chuckling was the last thing Billy saw before they broke the water's surface.

"The deep sea is the last unexplored frontier and the twat-anic is a testament to the beauty and power of mother nature." The submarine began to descend and viscous, slimy bubbles began to adhere to the one window at the bow.

"Are we going to be okay in here?" Billy asked. "I have a little rumbly in my tummy." Top Hat smiled and grinned at Billy - inspecting his ripe asshole with his tongue, he gently mused "Billy, that is to be hoped for, my lad."

The yawning maw of the Twat-anic came into full view in that moment. Mermaids, krakens, the Loch Ness Monster, and Leonardo DiCaprio swam past the window. Billy smiled despite his misgivings, in awe of the wonderous sight, the land of milk and honey, and th-