Category Archives: Games

Expertise

“Everyone is ignorant, just in different subjects” – Will Rogers

I sometimes commiserate with other workers in the service sector of our corporate reality, that allegedly brilliant lawyers, stockbrokers, even policy-makers cannot seem to find a book or order a sandwich intelligently to save their lives. I am not implying that this invalidates their other skills, just illustrating how none of us are as smart as we think we are.

This phenomenon can be illustrated by the way people interact with my room. One friend of mine, amidst party-goers and video-game players, managed to effortlessly peruse my vinyl collection (even pointing out a miscategorization) and select three musical gems in succession. Others would not have been adept at operating a record player, no matter how new. Different people react differently and with varying levels of interest, curiosity, and affinity to my eclectic bookshelf. Even more counter-cultural types will be drawn to the sticker wall, perhaps recognizing a street art hero or adding to it themselves.

I noticed that a recent visitor, compatriot and video-game enthusiast who stayed on my couch was immediately familiar with the whirring sound an XBox makes while the controller is left in to charge. He unplugged it before drifting off to sleep, but others would’ve (and have) been confused, not knowing the sound’s origin, how to stop it, or been mistaken as to its utility. Compare this to the complex usage of remote controls on my system, which is nearly impossible for anyone to master.

At this point, my girlfriend knows nearly everything about my room, its contents and workings. I’m really not all that complicated.

Even the video games themselves offer a microcosm of the diverse talents, skill sets and interests available to the general population. Many require Halo or some other FPS to really excel and be entertained. My girlfriend and many others only seem truly fulfilled by Action/Adventure RPGs, such as Skyrim, Fable, or Fallout. Almost everyone has some patience for a good puzzle game, like Braid, but with their own level of competency. Throw in a classic copy of MarioKart, however, and you really start to see some sparks fly. A rare few seem able to dominate any gametype. And most people who visit, ‘hang out’ or party have no interest or skill in video games at all.

The possible extrapolations of which really have me thinking. It’s not that Jamie Dimon is an idiot, I’m sure he’s very skilled and competent at dominating and cheating the system. He just has no patience and knowledge of how ridiculous he looks lying in front of Congress. It’s not that Mitt Romney misspeaks when he alienates the “lower classes” using Ivy League, Ayn Rand 1% rhetoric. He just doesn’t understand, he isn’t experienced, and can’t comprehend what America means to most Americans.

This does not excuse them, of course, from pretending to know what’s best for everyone, while really only serving their own self-interests.

Whether they are attempting to preach economists (while refuting the top economic analysts), make claims about science (while contradicting leading scientists), or speak for the American people (in spite of the protests of their constituents and customers), the authoritarian types can’t seem to stop “being experts” on everything! It’s really quite remarkable, what with all the information that’s out there, that any one person could make such a claim, and assume they are 100% correct.

If I came over to your house and started rearranging your kitchen utensils based on my own knowledge of culinary efficiency, I would be in no proper context at all. I am neither a chef, nor am I as intimately familiar with your organizational comfort level and and ease-of-use as you are.

Whenever the rich, the pundits, the legislators, the lawyers, the demagogues, the elites, and the corporate mouthpieces try to appeal to authority, make sure you ask, on whose authority, anyway? More often than not, they’re speaking out of their ass, scientifically speaking.

Status Impossible

I have long thought about the status bars in my life, and the appropriate relative comparisons made to video games like the Sims and Grand Theft Auto. And beyond some simple Tetris effect, as we enmesh with technology even more concretely, these descriptions become even more applicable and important.

Jesse Schell (When games invade real life) has made some excellent points about this, as well as NY Times technology blogger Nick Bilton, in his book I Live in the Future & Here’s How it Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted.

Game achievements and status completion in games can reflect what we do in our newly augmented reality; downloads of content, how much of the entertainment you have consumed, work progress, to do lists, all of it can be broken down into percentages and infographic representations. At one point, I even made little bars for my bookshelf, so that I could be reminded how many of those books I had read, and how many I still needed to crack open.

At the same time I think about my purposefully created memories in this temporary experience:

I have formed my memories by accident.
Though some I have made my own.
They stick out in a swampish sea floating like bouys against a throng
A waving flag in front of the Federal building
As I was about to sign my life away
The yellow halo of a girl’s auburn hair
knowing she could never be mine but in that moment didn’t care
The evening I lost my virginity, the look in her eyes
And not knowing the role I would be doomed to reprise
Stuck in a ditch on a field trip, mud sucking at my shoe
hoping to not get caught, my friend not knowing what to do
A tree during recess, its sun-dried leaves pockmarked and empty
the hard carcasses of bugs left as the wind grew cold and wintry
A stolen toy, an unfelt guilt, a growing phobia, unheard accusations
Maroon and brown, like wood grain,
pulpy wet and bright, popping, blaring pain, light.
Or perhaps I’ve never remembered them, but simply a broken reference link,
I’ve fooled myself into remembering that I did remember them.

and how your free-roam experience in sandbox games is sometimes enhanced most by mere urban exploration. And though the work of these video game designers today is mind-boggling, it still pales in comparison by many orders of magnitude to the level of detail still available “IRL”. Geocaching, foursquare, and yelp are all allowing us to interact in new ways with terrain, businesses and environments that may have previously been background, to see more of the NPCs that make up our cities and staff its shops and restaurants.

With the nearly endless number of businesses, buildings, and public spaces in your metropolitan area, how could you ever hope to traverse them all (of those allowable), or even provide a statistic or percentage? Subdivide your map and think about how many you might reasonably explore and learn, so that when you walk by them in the future, they may each hold a particular experience or fleeting memory of this experiment.

Could you traverse or trespass every square foot? How long would it take you to fill that bar? To get that achievement?

Because after all, it all may turn out to have been a video game experience all along…

Bits

2010-09-04

We’ll gather every bit in this modulated tribute to video game chiptunes and gloriously remixed heroes of yesteryear (the 1980’s) by they mysterious elves, robot boys, vampire killers or Italian plumbers.

PLAYLIST
RADIx – Mountain King – RADIX
Bit Shifter – The Uncertainty Principle – Life’s a Bit Shifter
Sergeeo – Blue in Green – Kind of Bloop
8-Bit Operators – The Robots – Tribute to Kraftwerk
Vangelis – Blade Runner (End Titles) – Blade Runner Trilogy
Rush – Subdivisions – Chronicles
Anamanaguchi – Blackout City – Dawn Metropolis
Brian LeBarton – Threshold – Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World
8-Bit Weapon – Crazy Comets (Orbital Decay Mix) – Confidential 2.0
Beck – Gameboy/Homeboy (Que’ Onda Guero) [Remix by 8-Bit] – GameBoy Variations (Hell Yes Remix)
Astroboy – Bubble Bobble Remix – OCRemix
The Laziest Men on Mars – Invasion of the Gabber Robots
Koji Kondo – Super Mario Bros.
Minibosses – MegaMan 2 – Minibosses
The Protomen – The Sons Of Fate – The Protomen
Metroid Metal – Sector 1 – Varia Suite
Powerglove – So Sexy Robotnik – Metal Kombat for the Mortal Man
Residents – Love Leaks Out – Our Tired, Our Poor, Our Huddled Mas…8Bitpeoples – Hidden Dangers – Rawk Hard
McVaffe – Undergroud Riddims – OC Remix
Slim Thug & Mike Jones – Still Tippin’ – Ocarina of Rhyme
Army of the Pharoahs & King Syze – Bloody Tears – Ritual of Battle
MC Chris – Robotussin – Life’s a Bitch and I’m her Pimp
Extended Famm – Line Drop – Happy F*ck You Songs
Zee-roh – Galaga Galagzee – OC Remix
Group X – Mario Twins – Stepping on the crowtch of your americain presidaint

Stranger in a Strange Land 2010-09-04: Bits by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

THEORIES

2010-04-24

Call and tell me about the mysteries of the world around you, and perhaps we can try to unravel them together. What are the differences between news, gossip, general knowledge?

Sound clips from Ron Paul, Jesse Schell, and some great tunes…

PLAYLIST
Marimba Bells – In The Hall Of The Mountain King
Mother Earth – Apple Green – The People Tree
Buckethead – Ghost Riders in the Dub – Bootsy Collins and the Japanese Connection
Santana – Latin Tropical
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Lenny – Texas Flood
The Illinois Speed Press – Hard Luck Story – The Illinois Speed Press
Bo Diddley – Bad Trip – Where it All Began
Al Anthony – Ebb Tide – Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 6: Rhapsodesia
Suzanne Vega – Blood Makes Noise – Reaction
Fleetwood Mac – Tusk
Rotary Connection – I Am the Black Gold of the Sun – Nuyorican Soul
The Doors – Love Street
Wanda Robinson – A Possibility (Back Home) – The Doors of Perception
Pretty Lights – Switch Up – Taking Up Your Precious Time
Jamiroquai – Cosmic Girl – Cosmic Girl – EP
US3 – Much 2 Much – Hand On the Torch
Dudley Perkins – Flowers – Peanut Butter Wolf’s Jukebox 45s
Kosma – Atlantis – Early Works
Parov Stelar – If I Had You – Seven and Seven
Fugees – Zealots – The Score
Superscientifiku With Peter Um – Scientifik Jazztet – How We Gonna Fail Now
Lemongrass – Journey to a Star
Bonobo – Shadowtricks – Animal Magic
Amon Tobin – Nightlife – Permutation
Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombone – Swordfishtrombones
Hardy’s Jet Band – Selected Sound
Tin Hat Trio – Hotel Aurora – Book of Silk

Stranger in a Strange Land 2010-04-24: Theories by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

The Big Lebowski Game

YOU WILL NEED
vodka (or rum)
cream, milk, or half & half
Kahlua or Tia Maria
ice
‘Old-Fashioned’ glasses
that good Sasparilla root beer
PBR and Miller High Life beer
weed rolled into joints
In-n-Out Burgers

must drink a Caucasian whenever the Dude does
must ‘do a j’ when the Dude does
must sip either beer or that good Sasparilla when ‘the Dude’ is said
when ‘fuck it man, let’s go bowling’ is said
when ‘shut the fuck up, Donnie’ is said
whenever someone says ‘Johnson’ or ‘Marmot’
whenever someone gets a strike
must make ‘one hell of a Caucasian’ when Jackie Treehorn does
must eat In-n-Out burgers when they appear on screen

In the order of the resolution of some climactic suspenseful cliffhangers:

So I finally have a job. I will be working in a bookstore, which is something that SHOULD have happened to me eight years and thirty-six days ago, already. Oy! And with the kvetching, even! And to let you ease back off the edge of your seat; yes, I found a website with cool games. http://pixeljam.com/ They only have a couple for now, but they’re pretty addictive.
But that’s not what you were really expecting me to talk about. You all expected me to talk about.. birefringence. So without much further ado (ado? a doo? adieu? fais do-do? hm):
AMAZINGLY TRUE FACTS ABOUT BIREFRINGENCY!!
1. Birefringence is a property of birefringency.
2. Birefringency results when isotropic materials are deformed such that the isotropy is lost in one direction
3. To be a little more quantitative, since the index of refraction of a material is defined as the ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum to that in the material, we have for this case, ne = c/V| | and no = c/V^ for the velocities of a wave travelling perpendicular to the director and polarized parallel and perpendicular to the director, so that the maximum value for the birefringence, Dn = ne – no.
4. More generally, birefringence can be defined by considering a dielectric permittivity and a refractive index that are tensors.
5. The effects of birefringent material result from its anisotropy, which often shows a strong temperature dependence, vanishing at the nematic to isotropic phase transition.
6. Birefringency may arise from molecular organisation of the material (form birefringence.), alignment of molecules due to tension (stress birefringence.) or alignment of rod like particles in flow (flow birefringence).
7. If the material has a single axis of anisotropy or optical axis, (i.e. it is uniaxial) birefringence can be formalised by assigning two different refractive indices to the material for different polarizations.
8. High birefringence induced by elliptical air hole photonic crystal fibers (EHPCFs) is analyzed numerically using the finite-element method. Ellipsometry can also be used to measure the phase change in birefringent materials
9. Applying a magnetic field can cause a material to be circularly birefringent.
10. Birefringence can be observed in amyloid plaque deposits such as are found in the brains of Alzheimer’s victims. Modified proteins such as immunoglobulin light chains abnormally accumulate between cells, forming fibrils. Multiple folds of these fibers line up and take on a beta-pleated sheet conformation. Congo red dye intercalates between the folds and, when observed under polarized light, causes birefringence.
11. Biaxial birefringence, also known as trirefringence, (or alternately, trirefringency), describes an anisotropic material that has more than one axis of anisotropy. For such a material, the refractive index tensor will in general have three distinct eigenvalues
12. Birefringency and related optical effects (such as optical rotation and linearly birefringent uniaxial crystalline materials characterised by having a unique optic axis of symmetry, or circular dichroism) can be measured by polarimetry.
13. Birefringency is a property of birefringence.
14. Needle aspiration of fluid from a gouty joint will reveal negatively birefringent urate crystals.
15. In biochemistry, flow birefringence is a hydrodynamic technique for measuring the rotational diffusion constants (or, equivalently, the rotational drag coefficients. The equilibrium between two processes as a function of the flow provides a measure of the axial ratio of the ellipsoidal particle.
16. Crystals possessing birefringence include hexagonal (such as calcite), tetragonal, and trigonal crystal classes exhibit birefringence, and are known as uniaxial, the oft cited example is rhombohedron calcite. Silicon carbide, also known as Moissanite, is strongly birefringent.
17. Birefringent materials are often prone to cleavage
18. Colchicine alters the nerve birefringence response.
19. As a wavelength gets shorter, more stringent tolerances are required for low residual index inhomogeneity, anisotropy, and birefringence.
20. Applications of birefringency include retinal birefringence scanning (RBS), methods for compensating the birefringence of optical polymers by doping them with inorganic birefringent crystals, the birefringence of an isotropic material estimated when observed and/or photographed in a polarized light microscope, but in seismic applications, birefringency presents two opposing aspects.
21. Inducing stress in a material that exhibits birefringence can indicate molecular orientation.
22. A constraint related to time of flight is birefringence.
23. Violating birefringency can erase linear polarization as a wave propagates, hence measurements of polarization constrain the relevant operators.
24. Birefringency and birefringence are interchangeable terms.
25. The broadening and depolarization of pulsar average profiles may be due to the birefringence of the plasma above pulsar polar caps.
BIREFRINGENCY… AND YOU! Here are some websites to help you in your long and embattled journey through the labrynthine logic and migraine-inducing topography of BIREFRINGENCE!!
Oh. And I’ve decided to join a bunch of online dating services, stop paying taxes on the basis that there is no tax code at all, join the Flat Earth Society, and accept the moon landing as fake. (Just wait til they hear my theories on the Holocaust!)

meh

I wish I knew some cool internet games.

Nobody on the whole world-wide web will play Toki Toki Boom with me.

Pixelart

just some noodling within the 8-bit dimension:

Improv Games

Academy Awards
Do boring scene, every time outside troupe member blows the whistle, the actor speaking must step out and do a cheesy academy-award winning monologue.

Alter-ego
Two actor scene getting relationship, the other two are the voices inside their heads. Interplay between voices and actors, funny if theirs contradictions in this game, action-action-action.

Customs agent
One person leaves, get from audience country that they are coming from, wacky contraband, and mode of transportation. Person comes in and has to work with customs agent/other troupe members in order to guess the three things.

Dating Game (Love Connection)
Get audience member, three troupe members are the bachelors, imitate either dating game or Love connection style, get traits/occupations for bachelors, audience member is picked at beginning of show and writes their questions ahead of time.

Emotion Zones (Car)
Two actors, get location and three emotions, separate the stage into three sections and assign each an emotion, actors have to have that emotion in that zone, other troupe members can come into the scene.

Emotional Roller Coaster
Number of actors: 2, and a director
Audience participation: Audience gives a long list of emotions (these can be stretch emotions like French or stupid) and a location.
How it works: Scene starts off basic, but the director will call off emotions from his list and one of the actors changes their emotional being; the other actor plays the “straight-man” Scene usually ends with narcolepsy.

Entrances and Exits
Number of actors: 3-5
Audience participation: The audience gives each actor a word; location.
How it works: Scene starts with two actors on stage the others offstage. Whenever an actor’s word is said, that actor must make an entrance if they are off-stage, exit if they are on-stage. Scene ends when all actors are offstage (i.e. when one actor is left on-stage, he says his own word).

Every-day Olympics
Get every-day activity from audience, have two sportscasters, two competitors, and two on-the-field reporters.

First line/last line
Two person scene, other players can support. Get a first line of dialogue and a last line of dialogue for the scene, players fill in the rest of the dialogue.

Four ways to die
Number of actors: 4
Audience Participation: The audience gives a location and four ways a person could die.
How it works: The scene starts (with usually not everyone on stage), and through the course of the action, each actor must die by one of the 4 ways given. No one is assigned any of the 4 ways, the actors figure out who will die by what way as the scene evolves.

Half-life
Two actors on-one off get first line/last line from audience and a location. Actors do the first scene in a minute, with third actor coming in about 3/4 the way through. Scene is then done in 30 seconds, 15 seconds, 10 seconds, 5 seconds.

Interpretations
Get a story from someone in the audience. present this situation three different times, rotating the actors playing the different parts and interpreting the situation differently. Can forgo with audience member story (for simplicity) and do three person scene and then rotate actors.

Lines from a Hat (Whip it Out)
Number of actors: 2
Audience Participation: During an intermission or before the show, the audience write lines of dialogue on pieces of paper and puts them into a hat. When scene stars a location is given.
How it works: The two actors do a simple scene, but must pull lines intermittently from the hat, read them immediately and incorporate them into the scene. Wackiness ensues.

MacGyver
Like the show, two actor’s (MacGyver and little Jimmy) must save a life-threatening situation or catastrophe, but only have three-objects told to the actors by the audience.

Minor Characters
Start off with two actors and get location/story-title – two actors start scene – another minor character comes in – when he exits – actually when anybody exits the scene, the scene follows them, try to have a coherent story-line and wrap things up with re-current characters at the end.

Movie critics
Get a name of a movie, two movie reviewer characters, introduce themselves and the movie, but not the first clip, actors perform the first clip, then hosts set-up the next clip for the actors, then the reviewers give their thumbs up or down (or other thing, preferably, up or down or amount of something, like three avocados), then preview next week’s movie (actors do a tableau) and say good-bye.

Mr. Subliminal
Get occupation for the two actors, one subconscious gets something to be fixated with, the other gets childhood trauma, two actors are the thoughts for the other two actors but the thoughts are fixated on the two topics, escalates to the point where two thoughts rank on each other and get into fight and have to be separated by the actual two people.

Objection
Audience gives topic to talk about. One person starts talking until another actor yells objection and states their reason. The judge/timer can sustain or overrule, if they sustain the objecting person starts talking about the subject. Object is to be actor talking after three minutes is up. Objections should start out normal and then get wackier/personal.

One-letter Improv
Two actor’s-get two consonants from the audience. Every sentence (or word!) each actor says must start with their letter.

Press Conference
One actor is sent out of the room. The audience gives a famous person, a problem, and something weird about the problem to the fronter. The actor comes back in, and gives a press conference, trying to guess who he is and what his problem is based on clues given by the other troupe members in the questions they ask him.

Return-a-product
One improver leaves, and get an object from the audience and something wrong with it that normally wouldn’t think would be wrong with it, person comes in returning it but has no clue and must figure out what it is, clerk doesn’t help that much, but other improvers come in and help out.

Righting-a-wrong
Audience member tells about a time when they feel slighted, unjustified, improvers portray the scene, then right the wrong in a funny way.

Script writers
Get title for movie/TV show two guys are writing the script, they set up scene, other actors come up and play that scene, authors keep changing things, going back, plot twists, introducing new characters, monologues, songs, etc.

Slide-Show
Two actors leave the room, third person gets a place to go on vacation, a famous person or character to go on vacation with, and six things that they did while on vacation. Actors come in, person presents their slides by making clicking noise to which the actors freeze into a new position, hilarity comes from how presenter explains obviously contrary pictures.

Space Jump
Number of actors: 4-6
How it works: First actor is given a simple action by the audience. He starts off by doing the action until one of the other actors freezes him, the new person comes in and starts a new two-person scene justifying the new scene by incorporating the last person’s physicality into the new scene. The new scene continues until another person freezes it and comes in and starts a new three-person scene. This continues until all the actors are in the scene, at that point, the last person who came in finds a reason to leave, and the scene reverts back to the scene before he came in. This process continues all the way back until you are left with just the one person again doing his action given by the author.

Stunt Doubles
Two actors do a scene about a (dangerous) activity, when one of the actors is about to get hurt, the director calls for a stunt double for him, an outside actor comes in and takes the physical punishment, the scene then resumes with the original actor who is unharmed. Their are two stunt doubles for the scene, and they carry previous injuries into subsequent times they enter the scene.

Sub-titles
Number of actors: 4
Audience participation: made-up language, and topic of expertise
How it works: Two actor’s do a scene in their made-up gibberish language, the other two-actors run across the stage after each line and translate the line, thus the sub-title.

Two Utes (Film noir)
Get relationship, after each line, actor steps out and narrates like in film noir, tells things that other actor is doing/will doing, humor in this game is from forcing other people to do crazy, unexpected stuff. Also done simpler by each person sticking to saying after the other’s line, “he said while …. (insert activity).”

You sick bastard
Take audience member and a controversial or gross topic, members from the troupe come up the audience member and try to make them laugh by doing something pertaining to the topic, when they do laugh, the audience yells, “you sick bastard” If competition style, points are given to team of succeeding person. Teams should alternate in this game.

Here Comes Charlie: two-three people waiting for Charlie, they describe different traits he has, actor then comes in as Charlie and has to display those traits.

Scene with an Attitude: each actor gets an attitude for the scene like ìEveryoneís out to get meî, ìEverybodyís beautifulî, etc.

Levels/Status: either two person scene, where have eventual change in each person from high to low status, or the whole troupe mingling around in a party as either high or low status and then have everyone switch, in these games, everyone should act to the extreme, in all scenes, someone should be high and the other person low status.

Counting: actors must count off, but only one number per person, in random order, and if two people talk at once, count starts over

Walks: lead with different parts of your body, and see what kind of character springs from that kind of walk

Human Knot

Bombardment:  one person is in the center, each person around the circle thinks up of a relationship to that person and/or something that they want from that person, the director then taps random people to go in and bombard that person, and then tags new people to go in and the old person leaves.

Four Through the Door: someone leads, every improver comes up to them, they are at an information desk, as a different character, and for each round can have a different style of character (i.e. ethnic or energetic).

Name Three: name three-five things associated with a place, three-five things not associated with a place.

3-Sentence Scene: Actors take turns doing scenes with just three sentences. Other rules are that you can’t ask questions, each statement must be said with emotion/attitude, and the first two sentences must acknowledge who the other person is. Optional rule: limit the number of words in each sentence.

Protector/Predator: Everyone gets around in a circle. In their head they choose one person to be their protector and one person to be their predator. When everyone is ready, someone yells go, and everyone runs around with the objective of always trying to keep their protector in between themselves and their predator.

Hitchhiker: Two people mime driving down the road, eventually they pick up a hitchhiker. The person playing the hitchhiker has a physical and/or verbal personality quirk that the other people in the car must pick up on. Once they do, the driver leaves, and the shot-gun person moves to driver and picks up a new hitchhiker.

Job Interview: 3, 90 second scenes. In each scene, one person comes in as a different character interviewing for a job with the same interviewer. Interviewer asks them a series of question delving into their personal and professional life, finally ending off with “So tell me why you want to be an X” where X is something that this person is not qualified to do.

Scenes on a Theme: Everyone in the troupe participates, get a noun or theme, everyone performs in at least one two-person scene based on the theme or noun given. Scenes can be supported and swept to a new scene just like a Harold, but no scenes come back a second time.

Physicalization Scenes: Two person scene, actors do physical actions for location or noun given for 30 seconds before starting the dialogue for the scene.

Cocktail Party: X sets of two people at a cocktail party. Each group gives the next group their theme for the conversation. Each group converses on their theme until another group starts talking and the first group fades out. Eventually each group lets their conversation be affected by the topics of the other groups without actually physically interacting.

Motivation Scenes: Two person scenes where each actor is secretly given their motivation for the scene by the director.

Wake: One troupe member pretends to be dead. Each actor in the troupe goes up to the dead body and says their good-byes to that person. Each subsequent person must build upon what the last person said in their good-bye through the eyes of their character.

Commodore Bob and I are playing a game…

We are playing the “would you rather” game. Would you rather be Tom Woolfe or Hunter S. Thompson? Would you rather have all your fingernails ripped off or all your toenails? Cross the perimeter of Australia with no provisions, or pull a dagger quickly from your buttocks? Having your dick caught in a rattrap, or getting your leg caught in a beartrap? Would you rather be James Garner from Maverick or James Garner from Rockford? Who would win in a fight between Ricardo Montalbaum and George Hamilton? Who would win in a fight between Kojak and Columbo? Who would win a race between the car from Dirty Harry and the car from Bullit? Who would you rather be, J.R. Ewing or Bobby Ewing? Young Marlon Brando or Old? Julis Caesar or Napoleon? East of Eden James Dean or Rebel Without a Cause James Dean? Die like Jack Nicholson in the Shining, or die like Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? Kublai Kahn or Ramses II? If you were a Sith, would you rather be defeated by Mace Windu or Yoda? Would you rather win or lose a really good argument with Henry Kissinger? Which is better, checkers or chess? Which would you rather be stabbed to death with, checkers or chess pieces. You’re out of toilet paper; do you use the pages of National Geographic or Saturday Evening Post? Would you rather be eaten by zombie Andrew Lloyd Weber or zombie Quentin Tarantino? Would you rather toil in obscurity for the better of mankind, or have hollow fame handed to you on a silver platter? What was the best fight in the Rocky movies? Who was a better Riddler, Jim Carrey or Frank Gorshin? Would you rather be a man about to lose his baby because his girlfriend wanted an abortion and you had no say in it, or the woman who had to make that decision? Would you rather live out the last two months’ of John F. Kennedy’s life, or live the entire life of a cat? Would you rather be a guy who lives under an opera house with no nose or ears, who pines for a woman he can never have, or be a heart and brain inside a four-armed robotic escape artist. Would you rather have done special effects for Raiders of the Lost Ark or Lost Crusade? Which do you choose; coke or pepsi, Long Island or Jersey, New York Times or London Telegraph, John Grisham or Dean Koontz, James Joyce or William Faulkner, Bram Stoker or Mary Shelley, Green Acres or the Beverly Hillbillies?

Would you rather be eaten by space aliens or your close friends and family?

If you were any Beatles song, which would you be? Rob said the Fool on the Hill, and I said a Day in the Life, because I love to turn you on.

Would you rather get away from your plane full of convicts (where you were one of them) and win a bunch of money in Vegas, or get away from the police with a briefcase full of diamonds? Would you rather be gunned down in Mexico in front of your surrogate brother, or fed into a wood-chipper by your former partner?

These are stupid questions, but they make better fodder than any internet quizzila you’re bound to take, and certainly better than the tripe that Barbara Walters’ serves up.

Benjamin Disraeli: “You don’t even know who I am, do you?”