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The Good Bits, January 2024
Jan 15th, 2024 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I had to drop $1100 on new tires at the Big O Tire on Colfax and when I got my car, the speaker in the back of my truck was upside down and disconnected. $1100 just doesn’t go as far as it used to. BUT! My wife took a flat tire on our old Jeep to one closer to home and they fixed it for no charge. I declare the day even.

* * *

Baseball! Baseball. This … whatever this is from last month was weird to me.

The Blue Jays played in 3 parks in 2021 and people are quick to attribute the great season of Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. to it. But come on, it doesn’t make sense that it just benefitted one guy. I hear that he only played well due to the minor league parks a lot, though.

Robbie Ray, a starting pitcher, won the AL Cy Young award that year. I guarantee you that we’ll never hear that it was one of the greatest pitching performances in baseball history. These two smaller parks won’t skew his season positively as we look at it historically, like this narrative tries to do for Vlad Jr. negatively.

* * *

I reviewed a few games this month on my BBS.

Elevator Action Returns. (Baaaarely positive.)

Slain: Back to Hell (Quite positive.)

Legend of Amberland II (Quite positive.)

Bully (Laughably and extremely negative.)

Baldur’s Gate III (It’s so big I’ll never finish it and never be able to write completed thoughts on it, but I am starting to enjoy it after 8 hours in the same way I did for Baldur’s Gate II. My memory is that BG2 was almost instant fun, whereas BG3 takes time to get to the same spot.)

The Good Bits, December 2023
Dec 16th, 2023 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I had an email address at beaver@zombieworld.com for 20+ years. The service went away without any kind of warning. It had enough downtime over the years where I had gotten most of my logins off, but one thing I did not anticipate was Valve allowing Rockstar to put their pointless middleware in between clicking “Start” on Grand Theft Auto 5 and actually being able to play the game. I don’t have the password to a Rockstar account tied with my address that went away and can’t reset it.

And Rockstar and Valve were both horrible and incompetent about it.

Rockstar had me go through a process that took three days to prove that I owned the game in question. Of course I did. I’m in my 40s, I didn’t get hacked, this was an actual thing I needed them to change for me. After giving them everything they asked for, they closed it on a Friday. Why not, gotta start that weekend:

If you have any further information we could use to investigate, or if there are any further questions, please let us know so that we can try to help.

Best regards,

Alejandra P. Rockstar Support

Well, yes, you lazy cretin, I did have more information but since you CLOSED THE FUCKING REQUEST, my attempt to send it to you failed. I will start over at some point I guess, but if I couldn’t get the email address changed then I don’t see how anyone does. So the entire process is a giant waste of time.

Valve was equally worthless – I asked for refunds for the games I can’t play any longer. The support kid saw that it was more than 2 weeks out and closed my request. Yeah. It was more than 2 weeks out. You guys let Rockstar worm their way in recently for games people bought 4 years ago. That’s on you. If Rockstar won’t take responsibility for customer service, then you need to. I mean, I can easily warez these shitty games if I was dying to, but that’s not the point.

I have 385,000 “Steam Points” for being a model customer over 20 years. Maybe they could let me spend some of them to talk to a human.

* * *

Protector for the Jaguar sucks. That’s all I’ve got this month. Happy holidays?

The Good Bits, November 2023
Nov 15th, 2023 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I am really happy to state that there is a new book on video game horror, published by Bitmap Books. There’s a section on my game Necrotic Drift, I am also happy to say. I’m learning a lot about spooky video games throughout gaming history. It’s called From Ants to Zombies: Six Decades of Video Game Horror. Check it out here!

I’m gonna inline a little sample picture from their store here:



* * *

On November 1st there was an online Google Hangout for IBM PCjr enthusiasts, as it was the 40th birthday of my first and favorite computer, the PCjr. I have been posting about it a lot on my forum and on Mastodon and really I do genuinely love it but I just have so much nostalgia for the Jr as it was the first computer our family ever had. My dad bought it for us for Christmas in 1984 or 1985. It was great to connect with McMartin and just getting a chance to hear about everyone’s experiences and projects was so much fun. My father really changed my life when he got us this thing and it brings me a lot of delight to have one in my office.

UPDATE! My PCjr’s monitor fell and no longer works. Arrrgh!

* * *

My two favorite managers / head coaches in sports are, of course, the two guys that delivered championships to my teams: Cito Gaston, who did so twice with the Blue Jays and Sean Payton, who did so with the New Orleans Saints.

Payton is universally reviled online. I love him. He beat the shit out of the rest of the NFL for 16 years and we were doormats before him and unwatchable after. It’s simply a different experience when you have a good coach and quarterback. A lot of fans get righteous about the “bounty” program that was apparently in play, but 1. Goodell didn’t prove anything 2. It later came out that many other teams had one and 3. The entire concept is stupid; guys at this level are going to play harder for $100? Really? But what do I know. Favre played another year after the 2009 NFC Championship game, so I guess he wasn’t banged up that badly. Even on Saints forums, because Payton “only” gave us 16 years and apparently didn’t die face up in the French Quarter, I see irritating Saints fans disparage our previous coach.

On the other hand, Cito Gaston is by all accounts a decent person, a good man and he was an effective manager. He won back to back championships in 1992 and 1993, was the first African American to manage a team to a World Series victory and only ever got another shot at managing with the Blue Jays for a second time for some reason. In the years between his stints I would say there were at least 15 teams each and every season (including the Blue Jays) that could have used him, but what do I know.

Gaston is on a hall of fame ballot and he’s the second guy I’ve ever seen Bill James, who I think the world of, HOOWWWWL with incredulousness at the thought of him getting into the hall of fame, the other being Thurman Munson. I don’t see why a manager with two World Series victories is all that crazy to debate. He went to the post-season 4 times and would have gone twice more if six teams went like they do now. He had a lot of good players but a lot of managers had a lot of good players. I don’t think Jose Bautista becomes an MVP candidate without Gaston’s help. What I do see, every time Gaston’s name is mentioned online, is some middle-aged guy from Baltimore screaming like a banshee because his name was simply mentioned. I’ll explain.

In 1993, the All-Star game was in Baltimore. As Gaston won the World Series the year before, he was the manager of the American League team. He told Baltimore Oriole player Mike Mussina that he would not be playing in the game (because of his age; Cito wanted to be sure to get the older players in… he told the same thing to his own young pitcher that was present, Pat Hentgen) but Mussina decided on his own to warm up in the 9th inning.

That’s the entire incident.

I get that it might be disappointing to not see a hometown player there, but it was THIRTY GOD DAMN YEARS AGO. It really makes me not take online criticism for any manager or coach seriously because you can be totally hated (Payton) and literally never do anything wrong in your life (Gaston) and there’s a contingent of sports fans that hate you anyway. But what do I know.

The Good Bits, October 2023
Oct 15th, 2023 by Ice Cream Jonsey

A port of the game Thrust was recently found for DOS. I tried it on my PCjr. It works. Check out the post here, which has links to the blog post describing how this port was found.

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 https://mastodon.gamedev.place/@icecreamjonsey
I am on BlueSky at “@icecreamjonsey.bsky.social”. 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!

cohost.org 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: https://mastodon.gamedev.place/@icecreamjonsey

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.

* * *

Annie
Nov 1st, 2022 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Annie, you silly, silly pup!

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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!”

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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.

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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.

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