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The day Megan talked to the cats marginally more than usual.

Yoda with the Fleet

Our felines aren’t much  like pets. They’re more like miniature furry people who can’t speak English. They have their own language, which we understand.

Dog people might hear, “meow” and “brrrt” but we hear requests, complaints, observations. Yoda alone has taught me 463 variations of the word “meow” which mean different things.

  • “Meow” – Open this door immediately!
  • “Meow” – It’s dinner time!
  • “Meow” – There’s a glass door between me and that delicious bunny.
  • “Meow” – Pay attention to me.
  • “Meow” – My water bowl is dry.
  • “Meow” – My litter box is dirty.
  • “Meow” – Sorry you had a tough day at work. Let’s commiserate over tuna and beer.
  • “Meow” – I don’t understand impressionism. I think it’s just a cover for painters who can’t depict with clarity.
  • “Meow” – I agree, The Empire Strikes Back was the best Star Wars movie. It introduced my namesake!

Combined with different noises and body language, we have a thorough understanding of our cats. Miramax will likely option our Cat-to-English Dictionary for a movie quite soon.

Our cats, in turn, understand us. We tell them everything. Not just that it’s not dinner time, but why it’s not dinner time. We’re lazy and you’re annoying us, so shut up; then we’ll prep your food.

Yoda even argues with me:

“Yoda, get out of the kitchen.”
Mrow! No!
“Yoda, get out of the kitchen.”
Mrrr. I don’t want to.
(Warningly) “Yoda…”
Mrrrmmm. Dammit, fine.

With so much inter-species dialog, you might wonder how I could detect a marginal increase in person-to-feline communication, but I did. There’s a rhythm and flow to household noises, and you can sensitize yourself to variances in the pattern. Or you can do as I did, and make a lucky guess.

The other day, Megan offered the cats not only dialog, but entire soliloquies. Soliloquies, I add, marginally longer than those she typically delivers to our miniature compatriots. An increase of approximately 17%. What did it mean? What had happened to the cats recently? What had happened to Megan? A 17% variance in behavior is significant according to some studies I just made up.

Like any good scientist or statistician — of which I am neither — I started examining contributing variables. Recent activities, beverages, meals, work habits…

Work habits? Wait a tic. Monday I was at a focus group and didn’t get home until 11 PM. Tuesday we celebrated a co-worker’s recent degree; I got home around 6. Last week, my boss kept me late nearly every day working on a super secret project whose details I cannot yet reveal but I’m dying to. With dad working lot, “mom” and her fuzzy children bonded more than usual. The new habit bled over into times when I was actually home.

Like me, Megan is an introvert who needs lots of space. We’re a match made across the room from each other. It’s heartwarming to realize just how much she misses me when I’m gone.

Yoda, Rosie: Once you’ve learned my Windows password and read this, take good care of your mother. She deserves it.

Where Madden 13 Fails Hard

Madden 13 is applauded by players and critics as a high mark in the series. The Infinity Engine adds realism, connected careers merge your franchise with your friend’s.

What’s not to like?

Plenty. Players are only “impressed” because EA lowers expectations annually with their cash-cow monopoly. Improvements that should’ve come years ago are such a relief that we give the title higher marks.

EA has us fooled. Read More →

The War At Home

Every day I chastise myself for not growing up.

Then berate myself for the chastisement.

I have a vision of “grown up” Jason. He eats healthier, exercises daily, writes daily, games less, reads more, watches no tv. Practices guitar. Manages his calories. Lives by schedule to guarantee time spent productively.

Part of me hates that vision. GrownUpJason is boring. He can’t discuss the latest MMOs because he never plays them. He won’t crack jokes from the latest season of The Office or South Park.

FunJason believes (for good or ill) that good writers not only write, but they live content-rich lives with myriad experiences. Read More →

Tempting. And terrifying.


Scattering these assembled pieces

MINDWRITERS is my greatest work. MINDWRITERS is an utter emberassment.

Let me back up.

I’ve only written short fiction this summer but Ryan Jones, a member of our small writers’ group (you have to be short to get in) has been sharing a novel-in-progress, out of order, and it’s been a thrill to see it develop.

This inspired me to dust off MINDWRITERS. And it’s emberassing. Every other line is superfluous and the language is overwrought.

As slush, I would fail this in a heartbeat. Read More →

The Greatest MMO soon free

This article from Time examines an event I’ve eagerly awaited since…February. Not long, still exciting.

Star Wars: The Old Republic can’t keep up with its subscription model and is going free-to-play this fall. The game has fallen under 1 million subscribers, but bad news for Bioware is great news for me.

Matt Peckham examines the free-to-play model as the new MMO-standard, even citing World of Warcraft as joining the bandwagon. What Peckham doesn’t realize is that the WoW free-to-play model is a joke compared to others, with a level limit of 20, despite the fact that DCUO, Champions Online and a host of lesser-known MMOs offer free-to-play with no level cap, and even limited economy participation. WoW’s “free” model is more of a trial account, not a truly free model. Read More →