Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bingo Blitz: "Better than reality TV"

That's what a player said tonight while I was killing time and cool points on another bingo collection.

And she's completely right! Bingo Blitz, I've admitted to myself, has become my guilty pleasure. Not because I'm wasting hours of my life playing a virtual game that will leave me absolutely NOTHING to show for my time a decade from now, but because it's become my new Jerry Springer show.

I actually watch the chat to remind myself that there are people out in the world who are more screwed up than I am.

So what set me off on this random tangent tonight? Allow me to set the stage...

I'm in a bingo room for the newest collection to be introduced to BB.  This means there are around 1000 players working on the same collection, which typically breaks down to around 250 people allocated to the same chat room/game table per room. Of course, the DAY that a new collection opens you can pretty well expect there to be 6,000-7,000 people at any one time, but that was last week so it's not as quite as crowded tonight.

Think about how many words can be produced by a mere two or three people and how fast those words breed in a matter of minutes.  Now think about that in terms of 200 or so people. The chat window that is shared by these 200-250 players is about two inches wide and four inches tall and is constantly scrolling to allow for new text to appear. Got this image firmly in place?

Now follow all that text while you're looking for rapidly called numbers on 4 different cards.

Tonight, we were all happily going through these motions, pretending we were actually accomplishing something by getting a bit closer to completing a pixelated collection of goodies we'll forget about an hour after we get them all and switch to the next obsess-- collection.  A bingo game ends in a rush of last second calls and frantic daubs.  We all click the pretty gold buttons to see what the treasure chests have inside them.  We all click the pretty gold buttons to see our game reward summaries.  We all click the game cards we want to pay for in the next feeble attempt to get something worthwhile.  We all let our eyes wander over to the chat window for the ten seconds we have left before the next round begins.

We all see:

"Well thank you so much, everyone, for the non-response to my entering the room.  Guess I'll go find another room where everyone isn't so mean." (Because I'm a wannabe Grammar Nazi, I corrected a few typos. The original wasn't nearly that intelligent sounding.)

And then the line of text, along with a hundred or so other lines of text, immediately scrolls down out of the 2 inch x 4 inch window and essentially out of existence.

We assume the person who typed this also clicked the "Return to Lobby" button in what she imagined was an amazingly dramatic, huffy, and Academy Award worthy stormout... complete with the angry heel clicking and deafening door slamming.  All the while, still being parked unceremoniously on her backside like the rest of us.

Seriously? You're so important to the Bingo Blitz world that our devices should trumpet alert sounds to notify us that you've logged in? Whenever you type something, the text from other players should all just disappear so we all see only the words your entitled, delicate little fingers produced? When you have something to say, no matter what it might be, we are all expected to drop what we're doing to respond immediately?

Well, it got a response.  Probably not the desired response.  But it got a response.

My writer's block stormed out right alongside her.

Suddenly I was writing down all the ridiculous things BB players say that just drive everyone else playing at the same time absolutely batty.  And I was getting suggestions from other players to add to the list.

~~"This room has been open an hour and I haven't gotten the whole collection yet.  It's rigged!"

Yup. You're totally right. The whole thing is rigged. It's just not right that BB might actually want you to have something to work toward while they brainstorm and put together another collection for you to get angry about.

~~"I completed that last collection an hour ago. Why haven't they released a new room yet???"

Yup. You're totally right. It's just not right that there isn't a BB moderator watching your every keystroke and waiting with bated breath to notify the programming staff that YOU are now bored and must be entertained. Everyone else still trying to complete collections obviously just aren't as dedicated and committed as you are and therefore don't deserve to finish.

~~"So this room opened three and a half minutes ago? Awesome! Anyone got some items they can give me?"

Yup. We were all waiting just for you to enter the room so we could all chip in and complete your collection for you. After all, we wouldn't dream of you using any of YOUR credits or coins. Please! Let us use up all of ours! We weren't gonna use them anyway. Honest.

~~"So this room is set up exactly the same way as all the other rooms that have opened in the last two years? Cool. Which ones are the Hard To Gets and the ones we can't trade?"

You do realize that in the time you spent typing out that question and then waiting impatiently for someone to stop what they're doing to give you the same information you've seen over and over for years you could have clicked on that handy-dandy "Inventory" window and read all the pertinent information for yourself, right? Too much work? Gotcha.  Okay then. Let us stop what we're doing and give you the same information you've seen over and over for years. Can't remember what the answer was? No worries! That same question will get asked again 847 more times in the next couple of hours.

~~"Hey, remember how you Friended me 8 months, 12 days, 11 hours, and 3 minutes ago so we could trade? No? That's alright. I remember! And I was looking through your inventory (since you showed me that nifty "Inventory" button) and saw that you have some stuff I don't have. You won't mind giving them all to me, right? Right? Buddy? We're friends, ya know..."

Sure! We don't mind you rifling through our inventory like it's your own personal donation site. We weren't planning to use those items as trades for future collections or anything. And did we mention that we just LOVE being put on the spot and being forced to play the part of Scrooge if we'd really rather not just give up every item we've got? TOTALLY love it! We live for that stuff!!

~~"I said I needed this shadow and you bingoed anyway. MEANIE! I called dibbs!"

Yup. You're totally right. All 200 of us were completely out of line for playing the cards we paid for. Everyone knows our collections aren't nearly as cosmically important as yours is. We would all like to take this opportunity to offer our most humble apologies and we will now put ourselves in Time Out to think about our bad choices.

~~"You said you had an item I don't have and you won't just give it to me. MEANIE!"

Yup. You're totally right. We should not be permitted to keep extras in the event an appealing trade opportunity turns up for us. Everyone knows our collections aren't nearly as cosmically important as yours is. We would all like to take this opportunity to offer our most humble apologies and we will now put ourselves in Time Out to think about our bad choices.

~~"I told you guys that's not how you should play bingo. You're all idiots and selfish and now you're screwing it up for me! MEANIES!"

Yup. You're totally right. All 200 of us were completely out of line for playing bingo in a manner that would benefit us as opposed to you. Everyone knows our collections aren't nearly as cosmically important as yours is. We would all like to take this opportunity to offer our most humble apologies and we will now put ourselves in Time Out to think about our bad choices.

~~"Every time I log in to play this game, I lose credits and coins and don't ever win anything and I can't get bingos or items or finish collections and it's just not fair! BB hates me!! MEANIES!"

Yup. You're totally right. You are so important that BB has made it their mission statement that YOU and YOU ALONE must be brought down and destroyed. It is imperative that you must never reach your true potential and destiny of winning an online game. You're not paranoid. They really ARE out to get you. As a matter of fact, WE are all on their payroll and it is in our job description to keep YOU from ever succeeding in the bingo world.

Like I said... it's the new Jerry Springer show.

Don't get me wrong. We love all the people who fall into these scenarios. Without them, our online time would be much less entertaining.

And people like me would have to find some other way to put sarcasm to good use.

(If you enjoyed this post, please consider visiting my other BB post Bingo Blitz is Going to Get Someone Killed.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

It's a new year, new slate, new ME! *cough*

Yay! New year! Time to start over with a clean slate!

Okay, so it's time to start over with a smudged, stained, and slightly warped slate. But hey! It's my slate and it's unique.

Today is the first day the kids are back in school which is why I'm able to sit down and try to concentrate on busting through my blogger's block. So far it's not going so well.

I find myself glancing around my house and listening to the sounds of no one being home to fight over computers, television remotes, Christmas presents, chocolate, cats, "my side of the room"s, ...oxygen in general... and try to picture what a normal family's home looks like.

You know... clean, organized, dusted, uncluttered, properly decorated and coordinated to each season. Everything my house is not.  Oh I have plenty of delusions of tidiness! It's just that whenever I start to move in that direction something always seems to get in my way.  

Usually me.

For example:

It's the new year!  First order of business is to take the Christmas tree and decor down and neatly pack it away for safe keeping until Thanksgiving.  For the normal person that would mean retrieving boxes, putting said decorations into the boxes, and putting the boxes away. A good pass with the vacuum cleaner and you're all set to begin stocking up on Valentine's Day chocolate.

Yeah. That's not how it works here.

For me, putting Christmas away looks alot like this:

~Look around the house to determine all the rooms Christmas danglies got hung in.
~Distract the cat who just got reminded there are dozens of sparkly danglies hanging around the house.
~Head toward Christmas storage closet to retrieve the designated boxes.
~Discover that all of the required boxes have been stacked behind present wrapping materials.
~Clear children's toys and the cat off the nearest furniture.
~Empty Christmas storage closet of pretty much EVERYTHING in quest to reach designated boxes.
~Look around the house to remind myself which boxes were the original goal of entering Christmas storage closet in the first place.
~Dig through piles of storage boxes until finding the required boxes.
~Move through house removing sparkly Christmas danglies one at a time while fending off overly interested cat.
~Remove other cat from storage box before packing danglie and going back for another.
~Chase original cat down and rescue sparkly danglie that was too close to where the step stool was left.
~Remove other cat from storage box before packing danglie and going back for another.
~Wash, rinse, repeat until all sparkly Christmas danglies are packed safely into their boxes.
~Take boxes back to Christmas storage closet.
~Stare back and forth from empty Christmas storage closet to piles of Christmas decoration boxes while strategizing how to pack everything away so next year's unpacking and redecorating will be efficient.
~Evict cats from piles of Christmas decoration boxes.
~Pack most of the boxes into Christmas storage closet.
~Remember that the Christmas tree, its lights, and ornaments have not been packed away yet.
~Remove several boxes from Christmas storage closet until finding the designated lights and ornaments boxes.
~Evict cats from Christmas storage closet.
~Remove one ornament from Christmas tree and tuck carefully into storage box.
~Chase cat down and steal back ornament.
~Pack ornament into box.
~Gingerly reach into Christmas tree at about shoulder level and detach cat from branches, one paw and a tail at a time.
~Remove one ornament from Christmas tree and tuck carefully into storage box.
~Wash, rinse, repeat until all ornaments have been removed from the tree.
~Pull cat out of ornament box.
~Crawl under Christmas tree to get hold of one end of a string of Christmas tree lights.
~Tweak back and neck trying to crawl backwards without getting hair tangled in low hanging branches or crushing cat limbs under knees that suddenly seem as big as elephant feet.
~Make myself dizzy walking in slow circles around the tree while winding light cords around my arm.
~Gingerly reach into Christmas tree at about shoulder level and detach cat from branches, one paw and a tail at a time.
~Retrieve ornaments that were missed the first time and stolen by other cat.
~Wash, rinse, repeat until all light strings have been removed from the tree, bound up, and stuffed into the bottom of a box somewhere.
~Wait for the room to stop spinning.
~Haul remaining Christmas decoration boxes back to Christmas storage closet and unceremoniously cram the whole shooting match inside while muttering "Stay!" and glaring threateningly at what has become an impressive Jenga sculpture.
~Slam Christmas storage closet doors closed and give serious consideration to getting chains and padlocks to make sure they stay closed.
~Head over to main storage room and discover that the corner where the Christmas tree will be carefully packed away has been buried and blocked off by two months worth of shoving things out of the way in preparation for my annual "Gotta organize this house!" fit.
~Evict cats from storage room while threatening all eighteen of their lives at once as nervous breakdown starts.
~Remove everything from the storage room that blocks the path to where Christmas tree will be packed away.
~Evict cats from storage room while threatening all eighteen of their lives.
~Consider powerful medications and just how bad could all those side effects really be?? I mean, if they were so terrible they wouldn't be allowed to sell the stuff right?  RIGHT???
~Take Christmas tree apart and begin packing it into its protective bag.
~Unpack Christmas tree and chase cat out of protective bag.
~Repack Christmas tree into its protective bag with one hand while pinning both cats down with the other hand.
~Unlock front door and grudgingly allow children into the house.
~Drag protective bag loaded down with what suddenly feels like a four ton Christmas tree upstairs and into storage room corner where it will be carefully packed away for the next year.
~Pointedly ignore children who are now howling at the top of their lungs that they didn't WANT the tree put away.
~Evict cats... and kids... from storage room without uttering a syllable.
~Close storage room door.
~Climb over and around everything that had been pulled out of the storage room to clear a path for the Christmas tree.

You know what?

Clean, organized, dusted, uncluttered, properly decorated and coordinated to each season houses are totally overrated.  And there's always next year to start over, right??


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Where exactly do our oddball sayings come from?

No, seriously. I gotta ask this.

Yes, it's almost midnight and I really should be going to bed, but that's a different track of insanity I really don't wanna follow right now.

I just happened to announce in passing to my husband that I needed to use the household facilities.  As I bolted out of the room at warp speed in a race against my biological functions, of course, I mentioned this in as ladylike a manner as I possibly could...

Me: "Look out! I gotta pee like a race horse!"
Steve: "No, it's 'I gotta pee like a Russian race horse'.  Get it right."
Me: "Wouldn't that leave an awful lot of yellow icicles hanging around in odd places?"

Once the necessities were handled... shush, you... we found ourselves wondering just where this term originated and why.  So, like the expert researchers we are, Steve loaded up Google and went to town.

He found something.. somewhere on the internet... that explained something or other about horses, particularly show and race horses being uncomfortable piddling outside their stalls, thus the sense of urgency to suddenly get back to a stall for private time.

Personally, I think it's more along the lines of wanting to be in first place in a horse race, so you don't suddenly find yourself running through a rain shower that wasn't scheduled by Mother Nature.

But there are other phrases I hear that make me stop and wonder just where on God's green earth someone came up with such a saying, and more to the point, why in the world do we REPEAT them???

For example...

~~~"Best foot forward."

Errmmm...  Am I the only one who hasn't found myself sitting around staring at my feet to see which one is better looking than the other?  I suppose I could take the time to see if my left foot pulls off the stiletto look better than the right foot, but I think I'd get some pretty strange looks if I ask the sales clerk to "only sell me the left shoe because the right shoe just looks awkward in that style".

~~~"Bite the bullet."

No thank you.  You bite the bullet. I'm not that hungry.  I'll take a chunk out of that chocolate bar. K. Thanks.

~~~"Bury the hatchet"

Awesome.  We're gonna be buddies because you buried your hatchet.  I'll be more inclined to believe that when you bury your crossbow, knives, ax, rifle, flamethrower.... oh and your shovel just to prove you're not gonna dig all that stuff back up while I'm sleeping.

~~~"Break a leg!"

This one really confuses me.  I realize that it means to wish someone in the acting world good luck on their performance, but you would have to be one helluvan actor to make breaking ANY limb seem like a positive thing.

The only way I see this being a happy phrase is if you work for the mafia and just got sent on a high paying job to maim someone.

~~~"Nothing to sneeze at."

Hrmmph.  As if our noses actually need a target to suddenly discharge every ounce of mucus our bodies have stored up since the last time our faces exploded in a usually public place that guarantees everyone in the vicinity is going to turn to stare at us while we use our bare hands to try to defy gravity and a mini Niagara Falls impersonation all at once.

Has anyone else noticed that most of our sayings revolve around gross bodily functions?

Sophisticated we ain't.