The Good Bits, September 2023
Sep 15th, 2023 by Ice Cream Jonsey

There were no good bits last month. My best friend died last month. Nobody prepares you for this, how could anyway, your best friend is not supposed to die for another 30 or 40 or 50 years and yet here we are, here we go. I have been trying to find the words for over a month and I can’t do it. If you didn’t meet him, he is impossible to describe. I will try.

He was as beautiful a man and a soul as has ever existed in the world. He looked like Charlie Brown. He saved my sanity multiple times. He gave me a life where, across six companies and 25 years, I didn’t hate my job simply because we worked together and I got to hang out with my best friend each day. He treated each person he interacted with as the most special person in the world, he was there for everyone, he would have given everyone all of his time and more if he could and he came so close. He was my manual QA guy, I was his automator, we made the best team in IT for testing that we could be. He let me take pictures of his haunted houses and I used them in games that I made and am making. Cryptozookeeper’s backgrounds are mostly reworked pictures from the haunted house he had called the City of the Dead, and the one he did with his brothers before that, which was … much less corporate.

Randy’s mind was simply not limited by fear, shame, caution or concern. He was who he was, an outgoing jokester, a warm and loving goof. He was great with kids, he was great with dogs and cats. He would pet my cats even though he had a deathly instant allergy to them. I remember one night when I worked until the end of a shift at his haunted house. He gathered his actors in an area and praised so many of them, picking an most valuable team member of the night, and I got the idea that he did that often. He couldn’t limit himself to one, of course. And the way these kids (I was old enough that they were all kids) looked up to him made me proud, so proud. Randy was a leader, he was a visionary, he was a performer, he was my friend.

I’ve cried almost every time I’ve been alone in my car. They can’t pull you over for that, that’s the loophole in this country. The earth didn’t stop raining in Colorado from the day he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer until three days later when he died. Why would it, if you knew you were going to lose your favorite boy, what would you do? I can tell you quite categorically what I would do, which is to let the sadness pour out of me time and time and time again and it doesn’t seem possible that this senseless grief can really be. There hasn’t been a day at work since he died that he wouldn’t have made things easier, better, smoother or more fun. I did not realize the extent to which I depended on him. At work and as a person. I can’t even really believe he gone, still. I can’t believe he’s gone. It’s stupid and it doesn’t make any sense, he should have lived longer than all of us. He loved living more than all of us. I am so goddamn sad.

Randy McLellan, “The Milker,” passed away on Saturday, July 29th, 2023. Hug the people closest to you, it is what he would have wanted and it is what he would have done.

The Good Bits (July, 2023)
Jul 15th, 2023 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Linking to things I wrote this month:

I bought a Tank Mouse. I like it. I’m reading that it burns through AAA batteries quickly. I DO like it. I haven’t used a mouse regularly for probably 2 decades, but I am using this for work. I really wish that it either just had a USB cord or had a rechargable unit crammed in somehow. I can see that the creator is having people yell at him online because of shipping (why is shipping through Kickstarter such a disaster? Why doesn’t Kickstarter do something to help?) and then also the virtual scroll wheel and battery life. All encouraging him to get right out there and design more hardware, I am sure. So I feel for him. And I do like mine. I may get some rechargeable AAA batteries if I keep using it.

UPDATE: Yes, I will need some rechargable batteries.

* * *

I am getting games running again on my PCjr. This time, Touchdown Football and Spy Hunter. The PCjr was in a unique situation. Every game made before 1984 should, in theory, be able to be made to work for one with 640KB of RAM.

* * *

Having tried and failed to get Nethack working on a PCjr, I am stuck with the requirement command set term=ibmpc – everything I read about Nethack 2.3e says that it is necessary, but when I literally type that, I am told – by Nethack 2.3e – that the term is invalid. I’m only going off what the instructions say, devteam! So I dunno. If anyone out there knows the problem, please hit me up.

* * *

I am on Mastodon, which I like a lot, at
I am on BlueSky at “”. I don’t know if it’s web accessible? I haven’t found a way to read it over a desktop site and they certainly aren’t going out of their way to tell anyone.

* * *

Another thread for the forum, I am trying to link to the best comedy sketches I can remember from various sketch troupes. It’s always been a fascination of mine, and well, here we go.

Cryptozookeeper and Jay Schilling’s Edge of Chaos on sale at Steam
Jul 1st, 2023 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Just in case you had always wanted to buy them but have not done so, they are part of this year’s Steam Summer Sale.

Some dickhead negatized Cryptozookeeper over there in the reviews because I didn’t have a version written and ready to go in Chinese, so if you’d like to help out your good buddy ICJ and dropped a review there you would go a long way towards repairing Sino-Jolt Country global relations.

The Good Bits (June, 2023)
Jun 15th, 2023 by Ice Cream Jonsey

* * *

My mother is 80 and not able to remember the difference between craigslist, the online garage sale site, and John List, who was a famous criminal that went on the run in the 1970s and ended up working for Xerox in Rochester. The way I have been helping her recall which is which is to remember that John List was the guy who killed his three kids, wife and mother because he saw “too much evil in the world.” So of the two, you just have to remember that there are many, many more murders out there thanks to craigslist.

* * *

The fight scene between Roddy Piper and Keith David in “They Live” is five minutes and twenty seven seconds long, and I would like to introduce a concept I am working on called the “They Live Fight Scene American Family Index.” Here’s how it goes:

It’s a happiness index for people living in households with spouses/significant others, pets and/or children. To determine the index, first wake up on a weekday at a time of choosing that, if it were you to you, would absolutely not be the time you chose. Work an entire day to the benefit of your family and help anyone and anything solve the problems they come with to you. After cooking supper, go to your bed and attempt to lay in it while the entirety of the fight scene from “They Live” plays. If you are not able to do so without some interminable form of drama requiring your immediate attention, then you should not be counted in the death index should a nuclear weapon detonate near you, as you are clearly in a better place now and happier for it.

* * *

One of my favorite things is seeing my nephew on Sundays. He is just about two. I had to start cleaning the garage last Sunday, so he was inside of it playing pinball as best he can and a few games. The one “game” he wanted to play most, though, was the big white button inside the garage that makes the garage door go up and down.

* * *

Twitter Alternative Roundup! does not let you see anyone’s followers or who they are following. That … is the best way to add people on any such platform. No? I guess they think we’re just going to type “Zork” in the search bar every 24 hours to see who signed up? The people that got to a social media platform before you did will make connections and find people you probably like and then — if you can see those lists — you can follow those people. They don’t have that. By design. It is a laughably stupid decision. It’s a decision kids would make. I’ve connected with 2 people. cohost is not a serious website.

Mastodon makes seeing followers difficult through mobile and following people through the desktop site difficult. It won’t always show you who people are following on mobile, and on desktop if you CAN see followers, it wants you to… login to a shard you’re not on… maybe? It’s pretty bad and it is by design. That said, I have connected to like 200 people, almost all of whom are retro computer or console types. The experience is great but it could be better.

BlueSky is doing the “invite” thing, and the people that have been invited, ahhhhhhhhhh aren’t my people. By that I mean that there is nobody in my communities except for the guy that invited me. For those people that are there, there aren’t any “Nazis” for them to punch, so the site is totally overrun with people wishing they had their sworn enemy “other” around so they could totally dunk on them. Those are the promoted posts, people ostensibly wishing for any enemy. Hey, ever since we pirated Castle Wolfenstein as a family I’ve been all for shooting a Nazi in the head, but they aren’t THERE. The problem is solved. They did it. If you’re wishing for a steady stream of enemies to be around to be happy then you’re the problem.

And this is where I realize that when it comes to social media, I am my own problem. Twitter wasn’t perfect pre-acquisition, it had many many problems. Many, many problems. Fundamental issues a child of four could have solved. If any actual competent businessman bought the company, the lack of features and issues Twitter had could even have been fixed. Well, not moderation, but many other things could be fixed! It will never be fixed. All I’ve wanted since my father brought home a modem was to read the things said online by people I like. We are farther from that than ever.

The Good Bits (May, 2023)
May 15th, 2023 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Welcome! Adam Cadre has a monthly feature where he collects stories that aren’t large enough for a full blog post and he publishes them at the end of every month. I have long been jealous and envious of his feature and really thought I should do something similar. It has recently been made obvious that life (in general) is a sniveling pantomime of hope and it can be cut short at any moment, so I’d rather get this stuff down than be scared to blog. Here we go! Go go!

* * *

I have a ChatGPT window up most of the day because I can’t remember syntax any more in the three languages/frameworks I write code in daily. I know what I want to do and it’s not a good use of my time to try to remember what a switch statement looks like in vanilla JavaScript versus TypeScript versus Hugo. I remembered that it had knowledge of events up to last year, so I asked it about games with cryptids. It gave me a paragraph before and after what I am going to link that were pretty much true, but man, when it’s bad, it’s bad:

The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the cryptids have escaped and are running loose. Your goal is to capture them and return them to their enclosures. Along the way, you’ll encounter a cast of eccentric characters and solve puzzles to progress through the game.

What makes Cryptozookeeper unique is its blend of humor, horror, and science fiction. The game is filled with references to popular culture and pop science, and the writing is often tongue-in-cheek. The game also has a unique feature where the text changes color based on the emotional state of the character speaking.

Well, the cryptids aren’t loose (you create them) your goal isn’t to capture them (you create them and they pretty much hang around your property) and the text color doesn’t change based on anyone’s emotional state. Though that is a good idea, ChatGPT! I should make a game where that happens. Although, since it said that, I bet there is another game where that happens and I don’t want to rip anyone off.

Although it made mistakes about the subject I am most familiar with, I nevertheless believe it a thousand percent for everything else it tells me.

* * *

I hate Twitter and love Mastodon, I’m at Mastodon here:

The absolute most frustrating thing about Mastodon is how they have completely ruined the ability to see other people’s followers. That is how I find people to follow. Of course it is, that is how everyone finds each other. Nobody can find each other there. Whatever justifications are in place to have it be this way are stupid and wrong. The Mastodon experience is amazing and wonderful: for all the many, many problems with Twitter pre-acquisition, they whole concept of “running to Mom” and people that couldn’t dribble a basketball for 30 seconds thinking they were “dunking” on others was a horrible mirror held up to society. On Mastodon I get none of that. What I do get is people talking about their retro computers and text game projects. It sucks that Mastodon obviously won’t get as many interesting people as it should because of the privacy(?) controls on trying to find people you might like.

* * *

Nov 1st, 2022 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Annie, you silly, silly pup!


She was the most beautiful spaniel and not because of her coat or posture but because she took to my wife Melissa and was her “protector” and my wife was her favorite person. Annie was originally dropped off at a vet in Nebraska because she had breast cancer. I think her original family gave Annie up, but I don’t know. The vet that removed the cancer was Melissa’s cousin. So now they have this cancer-free dog around…

Well, Melissa and her cousin have the same grandfather. Who lives in Nebraska! And was living alone and wanted a dog, so Annie went to live with Grandpa in his assisted living home. The two were inseparable!

Annie and Grandpa would golf together and walk to Walmart together and basically lived together. I know now what a wonderful companion Annie was.

About a year after this, Grandpa passed away. Grandpa fell at his assisted living home and was bleeding on the floor for hours and nobody knew. So poor Annie was inside the home and witnessed this. Someone eventually did notice, got Grandpa to a hospital – where he died a few days later. Melissa drove to Nebraska and brought Annie back to us. I believe I was with Roody in Milwaukee when Annie first came home. So from her perspective, Annie had a couple of days with Melissa and then THIS GUY (me) shows up. We drove to Grandpa’s funeral in Nebraska and brought Annie along for the ride. Thus began my life with the absolute sweetest, silliest, most caring, most loving dog I’ve ever known.

Annie decided that Melissa was now her person and she never left her side. I worked from home each day in 2020 and Annie would curl into a ball underneath my computer desk for work. We spent 12 hours together but she would race upstairs when my wife was home to see her. She was her person!

She went waterboarding, on car rides, and on all manner of walks in the mountains. She would figure out when we were leaving and get in the mud room. Waiting, hoping that she could come with us.

“Okay Annie, you can come with for the ride!”


She didn’t want to be left behind. While our Golden retriever, in her old age will do a circle to go back to the house if she sees a car, Annie always wanted to join us. Freddy’s, the burger joint, would give her a pup cup!

She died on Wednesday. She had been shivering while she was breathing and we tried to get her a biopsy and surgery and a CT scan and all the other stuff we needed to have done. We got her all the medicine we could to try to help for this last month. (There is a need for streamlining in the lung surgery process for dogs, let me tell you.) I spent Tuesday with her. I had to leave that night for corporate onboarding in a different city for a few days. Melissa had Wednesday off and Annie got much, much worse. Melissa comforted her the entire day — but on Wednesday, Annie stopped moving on her own and stopped drinking water. She wasn’t getting air very well and had a high fever. We brought someone to the house and she got to sleep and take a (literal) nap and then passed away, cradled by the one she loved most.

“Annie! Silly, happy girl!”

But look.

When dogs or kids came over, she made sure they did not get too close to Melissa. If other dogs were around and started playing, a lot of times she would break it up. We called her “the sheriff” because of that. We also called Annie-Banany and then sometimes just “Banany” and Mel got her a collar with little bananas all over it but I’ve never known a dog that knew her name so well and would come to you when called. And while she loved my wife more than anything, Annie’s tail would go a million miles an hour when she saw me and she would (confident that Melissa was safe asleep at night) inch her way towards curling up to me every night when I slept. I have woken up in my bed every day for the last four years with Annie laying on me.

When we first got her, she threw up on the floor while we were in the room and went to the corner of the kitchen like she was going to get yelled at. And I just went over and said, Annie, look. You can’t get in trouble here. You just can’t. For anything. And she wagged her tail and I cleaned up the mess and I don’t know what happened to her before Melissa’s grandfather got her, but I hope we were everything she wanted out of people for the four amazing, glorious years we got to spend with her. The earth is – I’m sorry but the earth is a demonstrable worse place now than it was a few weeks ago because this beautiful angel has left us.


One last thing. A few months ago, Melissa had taken both of our dogs and gone to her sister’s house, where there are two dogs. Some neighbors of her sisters brought their dogs over. All of the dogs are just running in and out of the house, having a wonderful time on a summer day. I arrived hours after Mel and Annie got there. After a day of playing and being surrounded by pup chaos, Annie saw me and stopped what she doing and came over, tail wagging with the biggest smile. She could SMILE. I have never seen a dog truly smile as she did. And for me! Reader, I’ve got some self-worth issues. Goddamn it is nice to have a dog be happy to see you like that.

Annie, I am going to miss you, sweetheart. I did not get enough time with you. I thought I would have years more. This is why this hurts so badly, I just thought you being here was normal and we’d have years, Banany. You are the sweetest pup there has ever been and all I want to do is live my life from here on out like the person you seemed to think I was. I will be the one to protect Melissa again, I promise. She’ll be safe. I love you, baby girl. I love you and miss you so much.


Updated download links for my games
Jul 13th, 2022 by Ice Cream Jonsey

In chasing a weird Linux issue, I wanted to download some games through this very site.

I discovered that Brave wouldn’t let anyone download the games that I had posted on my “Games” page because the links were HTTP instead of HTTPS.

Part of this is why I have used Steam twice (for Cryptozookeeper, Jay Schilling’s Edge of Chaos, and Cyberganked. And honestly, I’ll probably put other games I’ve created on Steam as well).

Here’s the link to go to the landing page for JC Games:

Jan 23rd, 2022 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Frobozz died three years ago.
Here is a picture of him.
I miss him every day.

Jay Schilling’s Edge of Chaos is now on Steam
Dec 27th, 2021 by Ice Cream Jonsey

“Jay Schilling’s Edge of Chaos” is a game that I created with Mike Sousa and it’s now on Steam. We hired Nikos Chantziaras to help with a beautiful front end that is new to the game and gives the player easier control to change fonts and colors. Mikey “Jizaboz” Phipps helped us get the game working on three different operating systems (Windows, Macos and Linux) so this is by far the easiest way to play the game.

Mike and I started Jay Schilling’s Edge of Chaos over 8 years ago and we had many large stretches where we weren’t working on it, but we always wanted to collaborate again after initially doing so in 2001. I’m happy with the result, I think that this game contains the best jokes and bits I have ever come up with and it is the first game I ever sat down and completely plotted according to something resembling a writer’s fiction framework (Dan Harmon’s Story Circle in this case). I feel that one of the pleasures of text adventures is the ability to go off the rails and make your own emergent narrative, I think that this game benefits from a guiding literary force in the way that none of my previous games have.

So I hope if you’ve made it this far you check it out or Wishlist it. I get it, most of us have dozens or hundreds of games in our backlog but, gun to my head, I’d put this game up against any of them if you are looking for a quick adventure that might put a smile or two on your face. Also “putting a gun to your head” is one of the required steps on the checklist to get a game on Steam, so please add “Steamworks” to the Skills section of your LinkedIn profile if you ever successfully got Dad’s firearms safe unlocked as a kid.

Sep 16th, 2021 by Ice Cream Jonsey

My father’s memorial was this past weekend.

One of the earliest memories I have of my father was when he packed the family into the car to visit a dealership on a Sunday. On Sunday the regular salesmen were not there, so he was able to freely look at the new automobiles in peace.

An extremely large guy named Stu lumbered over while Dad was driving us around the lot. “Hey there,” said the big fella, “I’m Stu, I’m from the dealership down the street.” He spoke with my dad for a few minutes about cars, which my father could do with anyone. It was a little unethical to walk a competitor’s lot on a day off.

“Well, here’s my card,” said Stu, eventually, all jolly at maybe poaching a sale. “Come on down to our lot next week.” My dad took the card.

“Stu,” my father said, repeating the guy’s name.

“That’s right,” Stu said, “Just come on in and ask for Stu!”

Dad then he turned to the back seats where my brother and I sat. He was grinning. “BEEF STU!!” he said to us. And then he did a thing he did many times, he cackled like a man possessed.

* * *

My father married the prettiest girl in town, my mom, in Portville, New York. They were married in 1965. We never knew how he managed to swing that, as he had a nose like a troll straight out of the Monster Manual. He wasn’t always like that, he told us that when he was young he was at a bar and was leaving and someone just shut the door in his face and broke it. Many years later, like when we were in our forties, he told us that he was actually in a bar fight. My brother almost developed the same nose – when he was probably 12 years old, he was trying to catch a football in the backyard. My brother was focused on the pass and it went into his hands and then – BAM! – he busted his own nose on the above-ground swimming pool that was our next door neighbor’s.

My dad waited a few days and then asked Mike a question he would ask people many times.

“Hey Mikey, does your face hurt?”

Mike said no, it didn’t.

“Well it’s KILLING ME!”

* * *

As much as he liked cars he disliked bad management. He worked 25 years for Kodak before he went into business for himself selling cars. One year, rather than give people interesting work or raises or more time off, Kodak was trying to demonstrate some ill-conceived fake concern from upper management about how all the blue collar workers would be more efficient if they knew more about each other. I guess in the 1980s the hucksters could extract money for their snake oil solutions that way.

So Dad and everyone else he worked with was in a conference room when the consultants, trying to illustrate their point said, “Even though every one of you drive on the same roads to come in here, none of you know what any of the rest of you even drive to work!” At that point my dad raised his hand.

“I do!” And he went around the room, pointing to every person there. “1982 Chrysler Cordoba! 1981 Toyota Tercel! 1983 Volkswagon Rabbit!” He did this for every person there. He had no patience for phonies and even less for dumb bureaucracy. He never easy to manage and he actually reported to my brother for the last ten years of his working life and I have to give him credit for creating the one manager at work that could handle him.

* * *

I saw my dad break down twice. The first was when he had to put our first dog, an Irish setter named Ginger down. The second was when my mom got sick about three years ago. He loved my mom so much, his big goofy face would light up every time she called when we were out. A few years after Ginger died he did get us a puppy, a cocker spaniel named Corky. We got him one summer after he asked us to help clear the tangled mess of land out back from our home. He woke us up a couple weeks into summer vacation from school and told us that we had to dig up weeds and haul away all the overgrown vegetation.

“You two won’t have to do it by yourself,” he said.

Well, that doesn’t sound so bad then. But what did he mean by that? Would we have help?

“You’ll have some help from our south of the border friend, Manual Labor!” And then that cackle again.

* * *

He died with us holding his hand. My beautiful wife, in what was just pure coincidence, bought me a ticket home the weekend he died. He was surrounded by his family.

My father bought us a computer for Christmas, it changed my life. I work on a computer every day of my life, I knew I wanted to be a programmer when I was 12 years old. He brought home a modem which I used to get on-line, where I met some of my best friends to this day, where I am typing this now. He figured out a loophole to get me into Syracuse and after college my friends had all moved to Colorado where I joined them, started my career and met my wife.

I’m an engineering manager and in this field, nobody exactly gives you a manual on how to do your job. You start working there before other people in your group and just sort of get to manage the ones hired later. If I am good at it at all, the only thing I have over anyone else in my position is that I got a first class education in the bad management my father observed for 20 years. I know what not to do. He went to work every day doing things he couldn’t have enjoyed to help my brother and I grow up and achieve everything we’ve accomplished. Everything I have in life I owe to my mom and dad. I miss him every day and every day that I wake up I remember again that he’s gone.

My dad had something he always said about the future, something that always brought a smile to us. It was his best philosophic observation. “I can’t wait for tomorrow,” he would say, “because I get better-looking every day.”

Bob Sherwin
My dad

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