Monday, December 15, 2008

Shoe throwing

As an unbiased observer and avid shoe-throwing connoisseur, I have the following advice for participants on both sides of all future shoe-throwing events.

Advice to shoe-throwee : The next time you are at a press conference, somebody throws a shoe at you and you are able to dodge it, plan your next couple of seconds while taking into account the fact that most humans are bipeds and that another shoe will surely be forthcoming.

Advice to shoe-thrower : The next time you throw a shoe at someone, first do a pump fake. That will cause your target's head to dodge reflexively. When it bobs back up, that's when you actually throw your shoe. Also, try not to let your overwhelming hatred for the guy impair your shoe-throwing aim.

That is all.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Video game taunting

There is currently an interesting discussion going on in the video gaming forum on the best way to taunt someone whom you've just killed in an online gaming session. Taunting has always been an integral part of sports and gaming both offline and online and methods for doing so have varied. In real life, it is easy to taunt someone. You can just tell the guy that he sucks. Or you could pretend to hold him up in your arms and gently lower him onto your hips in an act of conjugation. Forcing a fellow member of your own gender to envision the scenario of sexual congress with yourself has traditionally been a pretty effective taunting tool for male competitors, both juvenile or otherwise.

However, taunting is much more complicated when you are playing online. I remember when I was an Unreal Tournament fanatic in my youth, I used to derive a lot more satisfaction from the celebration that accompanied the demise of my opponent than his death itself. In UT, taunting was easy. You had a fixed number of pre-programmed verbal taunts that could be applied at the click of a button. Many people favored the "You like that?" taunt, which I personally found a bit grating. Imagine the nerve, asking someone you've just killed if he liked it. Very discourteous. Some people were more blatant with the "Die Bitch" taunt. Again, that was not my style. Too primitive for a thinking man. The only time I employed it myself was when somebody killed me eight times in a row and then finally, I managed to kill him back. It was a good way to release all that pent-up homicidal fury. My favorite taunt in UT was "Neeeext". Now that is an intelligent taunt. Not only does it inform the deceased that a celebration of his demise is under way but that killing him was so bereft of any challenge whatsoever that I was immediately ready for my next victim with no need for respite. In UT, you could also do celebratory dance moves that were similarly pre-programmed into the keyboard. I seldom used them because for one, I suck at dancing even when I am in pixel form and the move is pre-programmed and two, I have been killed too many times while dancing and it is quite a humiliating way to go down.

So what I learnt from the forum discussion is that taunting is a big part of the Call of Duty 4 online experience, which I am currently addicted to. I have never indulged in any taunting in COD4 until now simply because I never knew how to do it and COD4 doesn't have any pre-programmed verbal taunts or dance moves. But apparently it can be done. A popular taunt in COD4 is what's known as "tea-bagging". Now I know what tea-bagging means in real life but I wasn't sure what it entailed in an online pseudo-environment. Fortunately, I was saved from the embarrassment of asking this question by someone else who asked it before I did. The reply was quite detailed and graphically informative.

"There are variations ... but its basically kneeling on top of a corpse's head so your genitals are obviously on his forehead. You can do one long kneel or a quick kneel-stand up motion a couple times to emphasis the tea-bag. I prefer the quick up and down motion ... I get better results. Sometimes it helps to say 'tea-bag - tea-bag - tea- bag' for each kneel down."

A less informative reply that was too cliched to be humorous was, "You fill a cup with hot water then pull out a bag of your favorite bag of tea, then commence on t-bagging." I could "groan" at this reply but that would be cliched as well.

A subsequent poster elaborated on a variation on tea-bagging that he claims to have developed himself in his spare time, which he calls "tuck and twist". It involves "T-Bagging the person whilst spinning in a 360 degree circle". It is an interesting approach and I can see how that would work with the tea-bagger and tea-baggee both spinning together in sweet harmony. I would have tried that one out but spinning makes me dizzy. A third poster brought up the point that he prefers his taunting to be pre-mortem in that he sneaks up on snipers and first humps them in their back before killing them, the advantage of this method being that the deceased is able to replay the entire sequence during the killcam clip (the short animation that plays back the player's death for his benefit).

Now that I've reviewed a bunch of people's taunt sequences, I've come up with one of my own. This is what it's gonna look like. I'm gonna do it to a sniper because I hate snipers and I think it is my duty to periodically remind them of how much they suck. So I sneak up behind a sniper and I sit beside him. Perform a few pushups. Then, when I am ready to see him die, I knife him. Then, I pick up the weapon he just dropped, shoot his corpse with it, fire it in the air till it runs out of bullets, throw it back onto the corpse and finally, yes, I'm gonna go with the flow here, tea-bag the corpse till it weeps in heaven.

I do no favors online.

Monday, December 08, 2008


I love that television commercial. The one where the squirrel runs out onto the road chasing a nut and a car is driving up and the squirrel sees it bearing down on it and lets out a panicked human-like yell and then other animals in the vicinity, fearing for the squirrel's well-being start yelling as well, including raccoons, mice, deer, owls and so forth, even a grasshopper whose yell is in the form of a mild buzzing, which is conceptually quite funny. Then the woman in the car, who has a funny face on her begins to scream as well and now everybody is yelling or screaming, except the guy who is driving the car, who looks at his screaming female with some amusement and with a deft turn of the wheel, drives around the screaming squirrel. Apparently, that particular make of car has amazing handling. I effing love that commercial. It is very funny. The problem is, even after watching this commercial a hundred times, I still do not know what brand of car it is promoting. Commercial Win or FAIL?

And then there's the Head-on commercial. It simply consists of a female voice repeating the following sentence three times in quick succession, "Head-on : apply directly to the forehead". On the screen is a picture of a woman applying Head-on directly to her forehead. While she is thus engaged, the caption next to her reads, "Head-on : apply directly to the forehead." The message is unmistakably clear. The product is called Head-on and it should be applied directly to the forehead. Aesthetically, probably the absolute worst commercial of all-time. But as to effectiveness, look at me, I'm writing about Head-on. Definitely commercial Win.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Theory refuted

Researchers in Harvard and UCSD appear to have refuted my law of "conservation of happiness". This theory of mine was a pretty solid one as seen by the fact that it lasted for about two years and required the combined resources of these two academic behemoths for its refutation. What these researchers have now concluded is that contrary to my theory, happiness is not a finite resource and that there exists a perpetual happiness machine which has the ability to generate this emotion continuously without requiring any additional input. This happens through a chain reaction of happiness initiated in one person and subsequently transmitted to other people without any loss of happiness in the emotion-initiator. Although I am a bit miffed that my theory has been invalidated, I am also happy about the fact that happiness is a renewable resource and that mankind need not fear running out of it. And that this happiness of mine will, in turn, generate happiness in other people around me and leave the happiness in me untouched.

In spite of the failure of my theory to withstand scientific scrutiny, in the interests of fairness and good science, I demand that my theory continue to be taught in schools alongside this newer theory in order to allow students to hear both sides of the argument and make up their own minds.

Rusty Gears

gawker : So did you interview the new guy?

colleague : Yes, I did. He's smart.

gawker : Really? What are his qualifications?

colleague : He has a masters degree from UPenn.

gawker : Cool. Masters in what?

colleague : Bayesian.

gawker : Bayesian?

colleague : Bayesian.

gawker : Bayesian probability?

colleague : Yes, Bayesian.

gawker : How will that help him in tech support? Are you sure about this? That he has a masters in......

colleague : Bayesian. Yes.

gawker : Hmmm....Bayesian....strange.

colleague : Yes. Bayesian.

gawker : Masters. In Bayesian. Hmmm.

colleague : Yes...?

gawker (sound of rusty gears creaking into motion) : Oh.....

colleague (waiting) : Yeeees........?

gawker : Goddamn you.

colleague : LOL.

gawker : Thank you for your patience.

colleague : You're welcome.


I get the following email from my colleague :

"Gawker....there's something strange about this function in the code....Did you write it?"

I go through the function and it's in a file that I usually stay clear of. So I reply to that effect, saying no, it's probably not mine. Colleague then sends out an email to my boss, asking her if she wrote the function.

A few minutes later, my boss replies, "The comments to the function contain the word 'anomaly'. That's not a word I usually use."

Colleague mails me, "You know what, I don't even know what anomaly means. So I'm sure it isn't my function either."

Sure enough, it turns out to be my function. Now I have been instructed to use the word "anomaly" in the comments of every function I ever write. Digital urine.