Saturday, August 31, 2013

Arsene Wenger Simulator

I have made another game! Wow!

It's called 'Arsene's Window' and is subtitled 'The Arsene Wenger Transfer Window Simulator.'

Can you do better than the real Wenger? Find out!

Let me know if there any bugs or typos.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Being Cecile Meier

I have created a piece of interactive fiction. It was partly inspired by the movie Being John Malkovich. So far, three people have played it. Here are the reviews:

Male #1: This is amazing. I want to make one of my own. How did you do it?
Male #2: It's very good. I enjoyed it, and learned a lot about the benefits of crab.
Female #1: I laughed a lot, but it's so weird. Why are you so weird? Did you spend the whole day doing this?

You can play the game by clicking on this link:

It's quick and fun. (It's playable on a mobile but on my phone the text was a bit small, so better to play it on a laptop.) Let me know what you think of it in the comments below.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cecile's Diet Diary

Fans of my blog, of which there are literally five, naturally assume that 'Cecile' is a comic character I invented. It's true that if she didn't exist, I'd have to invent her, but she is real. She moved to New Zealand to study journalism, and sometimes sends me drafts of articles.

I helped her with a sports article, and stalked her early career through the corrections page.

Here's her latest piece, originally planned for the Health section of the paper:

Testing the Low-Crab Diet

by Cecile Meier

Every week a new fad diet hits these shores. Most are unscientific or even unhealthy. The latest is the low-crab diet. Since my weight has been creeping up close to the 65kg dangerline, I decided to test it for a month and see if it works.

Day 1
I didn't eat any crab today. I did some online research about low-crab diets and found lots of very confusing and contradictory information.

Day 2
Still didn't eat any crab. Looked into which restaurants do the best crab. So I can avoid them.

Day 3
Found a childhood photo of me. Made me quite peckish.

Me, aged 13
Day 4
Good day. No crab. Waited all day to eat (crab-free risotto! mmm!) and my fiance Nick said I was 'being crabby'. Why do people keep saying that? I hadn't told him about this project and I couldn't believe he was accusing me of eating crab. We had a huge fight and I damaged the wooden floor by stamping on it. By the time I'd calmed down it was already the next day and Nick had gone to work.

Day 6
Accidentally ate some crab.

Day 9
Crab cravings reached intolerable levels. Tried to buy crab-flavoured ice cream. Supermarket didn't have any. Stole some cornflakes as punishment.

Day 14
I've been eating about 2 kilos of crab a day. But I'm losing weight! I'm down to 62kg. Strange results, but I'm enjoying this diet.

Day 15
Nick asked why I had brought home another three carrier bags full of frozen crab. I told him about the low-crab diet. His forehead wrinkled unattractively and he tried to tell me something about carbohydrates but I hate when he goes on about Science and I felt he was attacking me so I threw a crab at him and he went to work. But it did remind me that it's supposed to be a low-crab diet, not a high-crab diet. Must eat less crab.

Day 22
Haven't seen Nick for a while. Turns out he has gone to stay with his parents. His mother came round to get some clothes for him and the first thing she said was, "Holy Christ! This place stinks to high heaven! I thought he was joking." I pointed out that I'd lost 5kg and gave her some fried crab in some tupperware. It looked like she wanted to say something but she just left.

Day 24
Someone - and I suspect we all know who - has persuaded the shop to stop selling me crab. I was so angry I trashed their cereal aisle. Then I hid outside and persuaded kids to buy crab for me. I love kids! I'd be a good mother.

Day 42
My month-long experiment has turned into a lifestyle choice. I'm down to 50kg and my skin glistens. My pharmacist told me it has a "moist, cave-like quality". Hurray!

Day 45
Filed my article today. Manager looked at me over his glasses and said, "Ah... so that's the reason. But please stop coming to the office. We fired you two weeks ago. Because of the smell."

Day 80
Tremendous interest in my 'High-Crab Diet' book. Publishers are queuing up! They're saying it could be the top fad diet of 2014. Exciting times ahead! My personal life is going great, too. I've moved in with Pagrus. He's my soulmate!

Pagrus on his ship, 'The Genus Cancer'

Monday, August 19, 2013

Andrew's True Reviews

When I was a kid, my family gave me amazing Christmas presents, like a Tomytronic video game or Star Wars toys. In 1986 I even got a 'Kafka Sac' - a child-sized silk cocoon. Kids would sleep in these and try to turn themselves into an insect of their choice. (I wanted to be an earwig and collected all my earwax to ease the moment of my metamorphosis.)

Now, though, it has been 8 years since anyone got me anything for Christmas, and about 18 years since I got anything fun. So I have to buy my own treats.

Here's what I bought last Christmas, with reviews so you know if you should buy one too. 

(Yes, I've been using these things for 8 months. Think of the delay not as a reflection on how lazy I am, but how seriously I take my reviews.)

Brand: Swissgear 
Product: Backpack (GA-7301-14F)

True Review: This is the best backpack I have ever owned. I bought it from Amazon for cheap but ended up paying twice the cost because of import duties. This gave me huge buyer's remorse and made me hate the Swiss postal system, but when I put it on I felt I was being hugged by a cloud. A happy cloud.

It's near-perfect in its design. I say near-perfect instead of perfect merely out of British understatement. I was happy with my old Samsonite, but Swissgear is the future.

Brand: Elsa
Product: Memory foam pillow

True Review: I ponied up about 120 Euros for this little pillow thing. Bit of a rip-off, you probably think, and you might be right. But me and my girl Jen constantly bicker about who gets to use it. I wasted 30 Euros buying one for her but it's as much use as a thong on a hippo.

My first impression of my super-pillow wasn't good. I didn't sleep better. But when Jen spent the night she obnoxiously informed me that I was using it the wrong way round. After I won that night's pillow-right pillowfight I had a good sleep.

It's a luxury item, but if you can afford it, you'll sleep a bit better.

Brand: Philips
Product: Sonicare Sonic Toothbrush and Airfloss

True Review: I already had a Sonic toothbrush from Philips but it died after five years of loyal service. Apparently you're supposed to dry the slobber off after use. Anyway, they're great, and will save you money and pain at the dentist. Buy buy buy!

The Airfloss is a lot like a trebuchet, but instead of hurling giant stones at castles it projects mouthwash into the gaps in your teeth.

I like it because it dislodges the bits of pizza that clog up my crevices and it's a fun way to get mouthwash into one's mouth. My girl hated it though. She tried it once and as soon as it started its "launch sequence" she had a panic attack. Then she got mad at me for laughing at her.

"What's it doing? I don't like it!"

Brand: HP
Product: Officejet 6700 Printer

True Review: 
Take your pick:
1) I haven't been this frustrated by some plastic since I lost my thumb trying to open a blister pack
2) I haven't been this frustrated by some plastic since vuvuzelas in World Cup 2010
3) I haven't been this frustrated by some plastic since I realised the plant I'd been watering wasn't a plant

* With this printer you can, eventually, print documents.
* Great if you enjoy flashing lights and loud noises.
* The perfect printer for those who enjoy downloading software updates.
* Software is updated daily.
* After eight months of use, there are more software updates on this printer than their are atoms in the universe.
* With its advanced 'InSensor system,' it knows exactly when to run out of ink for maximum inconvenience.
* You have to rip pages out of books if you want to scan them (because it won't let you place a book or magazine on the scanner). Helps prevent copyright theft!

* It's just awful.

Brand: HP
Product: Pavilion Desktop PC

True Review: I bought this to replace my old laptop, which I'm giving to a charity in Africa because I'm a better person than you. I like having a proper keyboard and a monitor I can move around. But I had to spend many hours removing all the pre-installed crap. Perhaps HP stands for 'Hates People'.

I don't really have anything funny to say about it. I got stuck in a stream of consciousness that went like this:

* The Germans say that 'hope dies last.'
* You can't spell 'hope' without HP
* HP dies last
* In a nuclear winter, only cockroaches will survive
* HP is a cockroach.

I'll probably buy a different brand next time.


Sunday, August 04, 2013

The Hunger Games in Switzerland #11

I must kill 24 people in a Swiss reality TV show, or they will cut off my supply of pizza, beer, and wine. My name is Andrew Girardin. This is my story.

Previously on The Hunger Games - #1 "It begins" - #2 "Milk" - #3 "Elevators" - #4 "A Guest" - #5 "On Air" - #6 "Funeral" - #7 "Bazooka" - #8 "Cheesecake" - #9 "Sugar" - #10 "Smoke"