Archive for December, 2009

Disgustingly Romantic

Taken near-verbatim from a Gchat conversation.

Courtney: So there I was.
…not really sure where I was going with that. But I has an Oreo. I split them apart and lick the frosting off either side, then eat the rest of the cookie.
Taylor:  Who doesn’t?
Courtney:  /gives you the half with all the frosting. See? That’s how much I love you.
Taylor:  Awwww. That’s so sweet.
Courtney:  I’d even give you the last of the milk.
Taylor:  how adorkable.
Courtney:  Ya know, when the cookies start to break off and it leaves that yummy mess at the bottom of the cup? I would let you have that.
Taylor:  That mess is gross, you can keep it.
Courtney:  But it’s so yummy!
Taylor:  And you don’t leave the cookies in that long. Just until the bubbles about stop. That way they’re soft, but not paste.
Courtney:  If I couldn’t do it, would you dunk the cookies in the milk for me?
Taylor:  What kind of question is that?
Courtney:  I was just wondering! IDK. One of those “amg you’d do all these nice things for me if I couldn’t do them, rite?” questions.
Taylor:  Hon, if I had no arms and legs and it was a Thursday, would you get my umbrella from work for me?
Courtney:  Only if a man in an orange blazer offered me a half a pork chop and a small twig of berries.
Courtney:  I KNOW.
Taylor:  Can I post the preceding conversation on my blog?
Courtney:  Yes.
Taylor:  Okay, BRB.

Almost Interesting

So, I’ve been busy of late. I had a peritonsillar abscess, which from what I’ve been reading usually results in antibiotics or surgery or death. I raw dogged it. So… I got that going for me. I also bought Dragon Age, which… hm.

I’m increasingly of the opinion that BioWare’s games are successful at presenting a gripping story that almost makes up for the fact that I’m playing a BioWare game. God, I know some people that last sentence would piss off. I LOVED KotOR until the final boss fight, where suddenly being without my team and without one very specific skill for Lightsiders meant that I simply couldn’t beat it. I tried three different times to like Mass Effect because I sank sixty dollars on it, but at the end of the day the horrible mechanics made me put it down. On the third try, it was when it took me more than a dozen tries to kill a boss, and the fact that on three of those tries, I didn’t even get to move because I got thrown around so much, or a crate dropped on me, or some other horrible occurance.

Dragon Age was BioWare’s big chance to redeem themselves, and for the most part, they have. It’s fun and engaging, but that’s also because it’s a big step back from Mass Effect’s failures. It’s also because Dragon Age is so closely based on your tabletop game systems that there’s less room for error. In fact, I only requested Dragon Age as a gift because I can’t get my failure friends to play D&D with me. I’d much rather do that as either a player or a DM than play Dragon Age.

The game is fun, however, and the story is interesting, and it feels like they’ve made a big improvement by not having gauges ala Fable or Mass Effect that track how good or chaotic you are. In those situations, the only tangible in-game rewards were typically for maxing out the meter one way or the other and it made more realistic, middle-of-the-road play seem useless. Dragon Age’s moral choices are strongly individual, but with long lasting effects. I like it.

The largest problem I’m having with the game is its buggy nature. I’ve had several occasions where quests bugged out, or switches didn’t flip to progress whatever was supposed to happen upon my entering a room or killing a certain enemy, and it’s annoying. Furthermore, while I was incredibly invested in the game and playing it nonstop for a while, enthralled enough to work on two separate campaigns, my main story has progressed to the point where the actual story and lore are winding down, and after spending a day away from the game I have no desire to play it left. BioWare has this dialogue tree and story stuff down. Now if they got together with a game company that made games, they might get somewhere.

Maybe if I keep bitching about things people love I’ll get famous. Might need to be funnier or talk fast, though.

I’m holding a conversation concurrently with writing this post. I think that’s how the word concurrent works. And as my girlfriend pesters offers entertainment for me via YouTube, I start thinking about how I really don’t like watching videos compared to viewing images or simply reading. And I think I may know why.

Growing up, I read and played video games. Sure, I watched TV, but my two biggest forms of entertainment were books and hand-me-down consoles from my grandpa. Both of these are extremely interactive forms of entertainment – videogames require actual input, whereas books require the reader to conjure sights, sounds, and other senses in order to perceive a scene. Then, in seventh grade, I was introduced to the internet, and what might be one of the most significant developments since the printing press – hypertext.

In short, the internet is hypertext. It’s what the first two letters in HTTP mean. Anyone who has ever had a wikipedia bender leading from Mystery Science Theater 3000 to Jean-Paul Sartre knows what I’m talking about. It is a very stream-of-consciousness, chaotic, and reader dominated. Video, however, is not. The pacing is set. Rewinding and rewatching is difficult for the same reason that voice mail is difficult when compared to text messages. You simply get the same problems again. There is no (little) way to slow things down without what really amounts to changing the product you’ve been given.

I, and countless others, grew up on hypertext. We fed off of it. I am not the only person that grew up on video games, then discovered hypertext at a formative point. There’s a generation out there that has grown up expecting to set its own pace and be able to explore in its own direction. Give it time. Maybe another 30 years, maybe another 10, maybe two. Hypertext will kill the video star.

On a marginally related note, if you thought the definition of art was tricky now, think of it once hypertext takes over.

In fact, I have an even cooler idea than this website. I should take everything about Wilson, every character, every setting, every plot point, and I am going to make a wiki of them. And I will call that wiki the primary text, and I will go “Behold! I have written a hypertext epic!” And the critics and high-minded literary snobs will kneel before me, for I have invented the future, and it is the wikipedia bender. And I will sell ads on the website to make money, and because everyone will come to the site and invent their own narrative, I will get impressions. And make millions. It isn’t just post-modern, it’s post-text. And I am the future of art and

…wait. In the internet version of that South Park idiom about the Simpsons, Penny Arcade did it first.

But Wait, There’s More!

I’m on a bit of an As Seen on TV bender tonight. First, there’s the Necky. Not the bad guy from Donkey Kong Country, that’s the Necky. Say, I’ll bet Rareware could bring a suit out against these people. Not like they have anything better to do.

Second, I’d like to announce the winner for this year’s Greetings From Wilson! Award for Product Least Resembling What its Name would Indicate. This year’s winner is Mr. Flexx. Bonus points for the two Xs, a convention never seen outside the adult film industry.BONUS bonus points for the following, taken directly from the site linked above: Its´ accordion style gooseneck expands from 8 1/2″ to 13″ making it able to bend and reach deep into dark nooks and crannies.

I’d also like to note that in Europe, it’s apparently taken from the beginning of humanity until 2004 for someone to reinvent the gizzard stone for use with laundry.

Finally, here’s Japan’s entry. Terrific.


I decided to rework how I’m selling – and I use the term loosely – my works on Scribd. Instead of charging a buck a pop per story, which was the minimum I could charge and isn’t fair when actual books are like $10 each for a paperback, I’ve simply taken everything that belongs under the moniker Wilson, Wisconsin and tossed it together in one big living document, which is now for sale for $5.00 on Scribd.

Like I said when I first started ‘selling’ things – I have no expectations that people will buy this stuff. However, having a product for sale makes me feel like a real writer, and I like having a way for people to support my efforts. The fact that the catch-all document for sale has one and a half unreleased stories (one of which is still under moderate construction) that are currently unavailable on this site makes me feel like I’m offering some kind of carrot to those people. To the rest of you, do not worry. As soon as part one of the new stories is more finished, I shall upload it here for your reading pleasure, and the already finished part two with it.

Buy it as a gift for your friends, unless you want to keep them as friends.

Patch Notes – December 18

  • Changed the title of the story formerly known as Wilson, Wisconsin to The King of Pecatonica County. However, the story remains at its original URL until such time as I am willing to go through and update links. This was done to help avoid confusion between this story and the Wilson, Wisconsin project as a whole. In addition, whenever I lay and bed and fantasize about being a real author, I imagine this story as the first in a book and it’d need its own chapter/section title.
  • In the process of changing Clarice (from the Battle of Cliff’s Eatery series) to Clarissa. My proofreader, whose site I will link as soon as it’s up, said Clarence and Clarice was too confusing. I suggested Clarissa instead, and she said it was still too similar, but my mind was made up. My apologies, Stephanie.

Way Too Early

I meant to post this last night, but found myself distracted helping friends and roleplaying.

I’ve upgraded A Wilson, Wisconsin Holiday Special out of beta status after my proofreader found nothing wrong with it. You can find it in the usual places.

I’ve also added a box on the sidebar that allows people to become fans of this site and the Wilson stories on Facebook. I consider this awesome, and seeing on Facebook that someone became a fan of me is pretty badass in my opinion. Anyone reading this is welcome to do that as well.

That’s all the actual news. Now there’s just one anecdote.

Yesterday morning, I managed to get Dr. Feelgood by Mötley Crüe stuck in my head. As you can imagine, this was not a pleasant experience. Toward the end of the day I was simply praying to anyone out there to get it out of my head. There wasn’t much worse to get stuck in there.

Then, on the way home, Paradise by the Dashboard Light by Meat Loaf came on, and I knew how wrong I had been.

That is all.

A Sense of Completion

I think I’m going to put writing for Varendil on hiatus.

It’s not that I don’t like it, or that I plan on not playing and roleplaying the character. I think it’s simply that his ‘story,’ as it were, has been told. His character and personality have been established, the loose ends of his wife, daughter, and new wife dealt with, and even the feud with his cousin mostly ended. Varendil’s simply reached that point where he becomes the support character; I’m very okay with that.

I have ideas for him, stories dealing with him and Malfeasor, the lich I conjured to be his rival of sorts, but they wouldn’t bring anything new to the table. It’d just be Varen being awesome and silly, Lan being awesome and romantic, et cetera. I’d rather save the time and energy for stories other than simple character illustration. That’s what site writes are for, IMO.

In the meantime, I think there might be a Saelar story in the works. I don’t know precisely what it’d be about yet, but the idea of something called The Other Dawnblade about the Blood Knight in his cousin’s shadow might be interesting. However, my primary focus is on Wilson at the moment. I feel like that’s the most ‘grown-up’ writing I do and I’m very interested in doing more of it. Makes me feel like a real writer.

So if you miss the commentary on World of Warcraft that came with my Varendil stories, just wander on over to my other blog. There’s always a link to it on the right side of the page.

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Header photo by David Reber's Hammer Photography. Many ideas and images copyright Blizzard.