Saturday, September 28, 2013

The translocator

I don't think any concept from a video game has impacted my daily thought processes as much as the Translocator from Unreal Tournament.  Basically the Translocator is a Frisbee launcher with a button that lets you teleport to the spot where your Frisbee is.  So, if you want to get upstairs in a hurry, you shoot a little disc upstairs over the railing, hope it landed in a safe spot, and then you activate the transportation effect.  If you happen to position the disc underneath someone else and then activate it, you'll be teleported inside that other person and they'll just sort of explode in a shower of guts.  If you fired the disc off into orbit and then activate it, well then you're probably going to suffocate in space.

In real life it would be a tad dangerous to use terribly often (as illustrated by the number of accidental suicides and homicides that it causes in the game), but it sure would be convenient.  Hardly a day has gone by in the past decade that I haven't thought of firing a disc off to some distant spot and teleporting there instead of waiting for an elevator or slow-moving people on the stairs.  (I don't usually think of the murder features all that often, but depending on the situation I suppose they could be a potential added bonus.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Forbidden parchments, anatomical mysteries

Shortly after I turned nine years old, my grandparents moved out to the country.  Their new place was seven acres or so*, a forest providing nearly endless opportunities for exploration and adventure when you're nine.  I was out there spending a couple days with them, and my friend Dusty (who was ten or eleven) was also there.  Dusty's family was friends with my grandparents, so I saw him once a year or so.  We were both super excited to discover and map out the whole property, but we were most excited by the dump.
The previous owners had made a small ravine on the property into their own personal dump.  It was mostly things like appliances and material scraps, but there were still a variety of thrilling treasures there like a gas mask, various broken objects, cords and tubing, and so on.  Obviously my grandparents didn't like us playing there, but the magic of such a boundless pile of joy was too much to resist.

Then on our second or third trip to the dump we found a big pile of porn.  We extracted the Playboys and Hustlers with the enthusiasm that one might lend to a pile of pirate necklaces and gold bars, carefully laying them out until we were sure that we had found them all.  Now, I'd been to public school, so a month or so after entering kindergarten I had become familiarized with virtually every swear word, body part, and sex act that humankind has imagined to date, but I had never seen actual pornography before.  (I think Dusty had, but I'm not going to put him on the spot here.  Don't want to get him in trouble.  Bro code and all that.)

As we turned the pages we marveled at the anatomical mysteries that were unraveling before our very eyes.  It was honestly probably the most exciting thing I had ever found in my life up to that point, even surpassing the time I found a five-dollar bill.  That day we became men, for we had seen boobies.  We continued inspecting the loot as best we could, but there was a significant problem: the pages were all stuck together, and only a few images were accessible.

Yes, I know, clich├ęd, but true.  Except in this case our foe was ice, as this was either January or February in Nebraska and probably twenty degrees outside.  We weren't sure how we were going to defrost them, but we knew we couldn't just leave such magnificent objects where we found them.  And we certainly couldn't leave them all neatly organized as they were now, because then it would be extremely obvious that we had found the forbidden parchments.  So we decided that we would hide them in a hollow log.  (Hollow logs are a real thing, city-folk.)  They would defrost by the next day (perhaps my grasp of how temperatures work was not fully developed by then), or if they didn't, we could find a suitably secure location in the barn that seemed to be away from prying eyes.

We went to bed that night positively giddy at the thought of what the next day would bring.  The next morning, we headed outside to rescue the porn, but we hit another snag: my grandpa was working on cleaning the dump, as he'd been doing for days.  Good thing we moved the magazines to that log, but we'd have to wait until later.  We found something else to occupy ourselves for a while, watching Grandpa like hawks, until we finally noticed him leaving the dump area, carrying a load of junk to the incinerator.  We made our way to the hollow log, and... it was hollow again.

I've been let down a lot of times in my life, but owning dirty magazines for the first time only to have them taken away to be incinerated before we had had the chance to fully research them was probably the biggest disappointment I experienced before my tenth birthday.  Not to mention the horror we experienced when realizing how easily our plan was foiled and that now he knew.  But Grandpa never spoke to us about the magazines, and I would certainly die of embarrassment if the topic ever arose today.

* * * * *

Note: The original title for this post was "Grandpa porn," but I changed it because I feared no one would read it with that title.

* ...and it cost 1/5 of what my tiny place here did, ugh.