Ingress is a free, invite-only game that a subdivision of Google devised. I normally describe it as a cross between a scavenger hunt and capture the flag. I also may comment that it’s what I always wished geocaching was like. It uses Google maps and landmarks. It encourages geeks to get outdoors and walk around while learning about their neighborhoods and history. It encourages geeks to meet people and stimulate their local economies. It’s a pretty neat game in all of those aspects. On the darker side, it’s also highly addictive and appeals to the geeks tendency to become obsessed with the game and fake world and story surrounding it sometimes a bit too much. While we’re used to seeing this with people glued to their computers in World of Warcraft, it gets a bit weirder when instead of a computer, it’s a phone and the great outdoors.
Below is a list of some signs, many inspired by things I’ve seen, that you may be taking Ingress too seriously. These are in no particular order. Please don’t get offended if some of these apply to you, especially since some of these stem from silly things I’ve found myself doing…
I’m sorry if these don’t make any sense because you don’t play the game yourself. If you’re interested in getting an invite and live in Massachusetts, look here. Enjoy!
You won’t wear any clothes that are the color of the opposing faction.
When you accidentally do, you feel like a traitor and hope there isn’t a meet up to play later (or if there is, hopefully it will be too dark, or maybe they’ll accept that you’re being ironic?).
You make blue and green arts and crafts that show your Enlightenment or Resistance team spirit.
If you’re a member of the Enlightened, you now look at your favorite pair of blue jeans with trepidation.
If you’re a member of the Resistance (especially if you live in or near Boston), you might have severely conflicting feelings with what to wear, drink, and celebrate on St. Patrick’s Day.
If you’re a member of the Resistance, frogs are not people and they club baby seals. If you’re a member of the Enlightened, smurfs are not people and they eat kittens.
Gauging if something is awesome or horrible is mostly based on whether it’s your own faction that’s doing or saying it.
When hiring someone at your company and looking at their resume, you wish it said whether they already played Ingress and which faction they belonged to.
You have spent more time, energy, and thought on what constitutes cheating in Ingress than you have on real social and political issues such as bank bailouts, gun control, and human rights combined.
You have a tiered list of what is “unforgivable cheating”, “regular cheating”, “sort of cheating”, and “uh, I hope this isn’t really cheating because I was doing it last night”.
You’ve tried each form of cheating, but only as a painstakingly documented scientific experiment which you intend to submit to the game makers so that they can make the game better.
You’ve spent so much time customizing your IITC map, including your own plugins, that you’re ready to either write your own version and rerelease it if it’s ever taken down due to TOS violations or weep uncontrollably.
You’ve actually read the Ingress TOS.
You’ve started the game over and leveled to 8 twice or more due to account suspensions. It’s not due to cheating, since you love the game too much. It’s because you used an iPhone.
You consider yourself a protector of the game and it’s community. You watch the comm like a hawk to look for suspicious activity both from your own faction and the opposing one. You use IITC plugins to assist (which is not cheating because it’s being used for good!).
You submit new portals for areas you don’t even play in.
You refer to certain portals as yours and get personally upset when someone tries to take them. You will remote charge from anywhere to defend them (toilet, funeral, your own wedding, jury duty, meeting with the boss, etc.).
You write Niantic lengthy, scathing replies to their portal rejections (whether or not you send them to Niantic or just post them to G+).
You’re seriously considering getting a permit to make a public art installation as close to your residence as possible just so you can get a portal that you can hack from your own home (possibly naked).
You already have a portal that you can hack from your home, and you hack it with more dedication and regularity than brushing your teeth, caring for plants/pets, eating, sleeping, or just about anything (often while naked).
You’ve submitted fake things as portals just to get more by where you live or work. “That advertisement counts as a mural, right?”
You’re really unhappy and bitter that Zip Car and Jamba Juice are portals, especially since it interferes with the plausibility of the premise and overall game immersion.
The World of Ingress
You’ve watched every single Ingress Report. You’ve read the The Alignment Ingress book. You’ve written articles (or at least long G+ posts) and consider yourself an expert with a valuable opinion.
You loved every second of watching the Ingress Report (if you’re a part of the Resistance). You’ve been annoyed and made the joke about it being such and unbiased news source (if you’re part of the Enlightened). “Unbiased news source!? Yeah, just like Fox News!”
You were excited to get an autograph from Klue or another Ingress actor as if they were a real celebrity. OMG, they let you get a picture with them too!
You feel like you personally identify with the philosophies of a faction. You compare them to real life movements and ideals often.
You have a very hard time calling Ingress a game or hobby because it all feels so real and important.
You scroll back and read messages you missed on the COM when you open Ingress (if you close it).
Time & Money
Being late to just about anything is acceptable if the detour was to hack, take, or upgrade portals.
You pay a taxi driver to drive around a monument a bunch of times.
Your faction pays for a Zip Car for you since you’re willing to drive anywhere at just about any time for the game.
You’ve started the game over and leveled to 8 twice or more because you wanted the experience of going to level 8 again.
You researched what battery pack to buy to recharge your phone in the field more than you researched you car, house, pet, or major appliances before purchasing.
You give out real life incentives to players to encourage your team: money, prizes, promises of beer, etc.
You don’t obsessively check for Homestuck updates anymore because you’re too busy with Ingress. You’ve also stopped your regular WOW raids, haven’t played a board or card game recently, haven’t donated to hardly any Kickstarter projects, and almost missed the Steam Summer Sale this year completely.
You actually have connected and memorized the faces, names, and Ingress handlesof the people that play in your area, even the ones you’ve never talked to. For those who cannot do this, you made a spreadsheet to help yourself.
You’ve actually bought (or considered buying) people you know with Apple products an Android device so they can play with you.
You wake up early so you have more time to play on your way to work. You go home from your job late so you have more time to play.
You now walk or drive around playing Ingress when you can’t sleep at night instead of turning on the computer or TV.
You never had a problem with your GPS, battery life, or RAM until you started playing Ingress. Now you are convinced you need a new phone or tablet.
Have your own ideas of what should be in this list? Add them to the comments below or send to TheSeize. They may be featured in a ‘part two’ post!
In my last post I mentioned that I was taking Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. I also stated that I had an epiphany about Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and its striking similarity to something else that is wicked fun.
I realized that Jiu-jitsu is really, essentially, live action Katamari Damacy. Sure, just like anything else that is a live action version of something, it is not exactly the same.
We cannot be a katamari though we wish we were. Katamaris are too great, powerful, and magic. However, we aspire to be more like the katamari. Jiu-jitsu can help with this.
Let me help you understand the things that lie at the core of both Katamari Damacy and Jiu-Jitsu with four main points.
1. You roll.
If you roll with someone in jiu-jitsu, it means you’re sparring with them. It essentially ends up looking like a human katamari is coming at you. There is no kicking, no punching, no eye poking, just grabbing on and rolling the other person up. This is exactly how it works in Katamari Damacy as well. Sure, in Katamari Damacy you roll up other things, but other humans and other katamaris are part of that.
2. The goal is to not be rolled up, but rather to roll up.
In Jiu-jitsu, the goal is not to get passed, swept, or essentially, rolled up by your opponent while trying to do as much to them. If you end up in a position where they are still rolling around but you can’t move, this is bad. It doesn’t mean things are over- you can break free and try to roll the other guy up, but it means that you’ve already lost some points.
…just like in Katamari Damacy.
3. You’ll lose if things don’t stick to you.
When we watch a katamari, it so effortlessly picks up the things around it. It rolls, things stick to it, struggling and there to stay unless thrown off. If you roll a person up and they come off, it means you got to go roll them up again. This is true both in jiu-jitsu and Katamari Damacy.
The effort of rolling up is greater in jiu-jitsu. The best comparison to Katamari Damacy is two player competitive mode. An important difference is that size, speed, and skill in Katamari Damacy means the difference between rolling up and being rolled up. In jiu-jitsu, skill and endurance are even greater factors.
4. There is a time limit and a point system.
In Katamari Damacy, points and winning are based on how much you roll up before time runs out.
Jiu-jitsu is not so different, however points are based more on how well you roll the person up within a time limit. One of the biggest divides here is a question of quantity versus quality. A katamari can roll all willy nilly over the earth while in jiu-jitsu, form is very important. Being the dominant roller is key, as you get points for moving into these dominant positions.
Also different is that you can use submissions to make the other person quit (tap out) in jiu-jitsu. That is illegal in Katamari Damacy and might get you arrested. Sure, a controller cord choke is kind of like a gi choke, but it is not acceptable in the gaming community. In jiu-jitsu, not only is it accepted, it is expected.
Sometimes I think in the style of Carl Franklin who does a bit on Mondays called “Things I have learned this week.” Some days I don’t need to make a thing up for any comedic reason, as life just sometimes manages to be way more unbelievable than anything I’d dare to make up.
These days are far more educational than I expected.
Since yesterday I have learned…
In the sovereign nation known as Rhode Island there are two acceptable spellings for the word train that have two distinct definitions. I learned this at the Amtrak station waiting for my train as I watched red, digital lettering scroll by…
“All trains are running on or near schedule…”
This, as a Massachusetts native spelling and meaning I am familiar with.
“…please do not enter or exit any moving trians.”
I watched this about twelve times wishing my camera wasn’t packed securely away as it was the sort of failblog submission that would make it to a post.
But I don’t want to be racist in saying that it’s a fail to have culture where trians is an acceptable spelling of train. In Rhode Island culture, when one refers to the act of jumping out of one, you spell it trian. It’s a cultural distinction, since in Rhode Island they have a jumping out of and entering moving trains issue that plagues their population.
I have learned…
The best way to advertise a maker of cell phones and other electronics in New York City is to wear large, black afros even if, especially if, one is a young Caucasian female. Add blue long coats to the ensemble and that just makes me want to buy their technology so much it hurts.
Don’t stand so close to the grates in New York city or you will be forced to ask the question: “Oh, dear god, what is that SMELL!?” and prey that you never actually get an answer.
I have learned…
That some guy in Brooklyn was way too busy playing with Jills boobs to notice. I’ve heard some funny things walking by people while they’re talking, but this is the first time I’ve been so educated.
There are all kinds of information we learn from this statement:
1. Jill has some amazing super power boobs that can completely hypnotize men. The alternative to this is that this guy has an inability to do things like walk and chew gum, it’s a wonder he remembered to breathe with her boobs present.
2. Something worthwhile was to be noticed. It was worth while and amazing enough that this friend must have been “What!? OMG!! Didn’t you notice…?” even though he was obviously having a great time with Jill nearby. What this worthwhile event was, we can only imagine, but we know it was big, and that friend thought it was bigger than Jill’s boobs.
3. Jill probably didn’t let him play with his boobs. Let’s face it, if he’s the kind of guy to make a statement like that, this guy also may be the type to use hyperbole to make a point, or maybe even stretch the truth. While this is something I have not learned for certain, I greatly suspect that the truth may have been something like “Too busy mentally playing with her boobs from across the room when she wasn’t looking”.
I have learned…
The end of the universe is in New York City, specificly near Times Square in Manhattan. Not only is there a Starbucks across from a Starbucks, there are many Starbucks across from Starbucks. I bet if you mapped the Starbucks, they would make a significant shape of some kind that would tell us more about the order and nature of the universe we live in.
So I googled it. Here is what I learned: In Times Square, there’s one Starbucks for every .04 square miles. There are SIXTY-TWO Starbucks in the Times Square area… I’m talking easy walking distance from each other. They don’t want you to discover the mystery of the pattern so they only will put up to nine on the map at one time.
The little brother had a defunct 80 gig iPod Classic. We were greeted by a brightly t-shirted fellow whose sole job seemed to be a greeter. We were led to another brightly t-shirted fellow who plugged in the iPod and announced it worked fine. I told him to try unplugging it.
It shut off immediately.
“Well, let’s get you an appointment at the Genius Bar.”
Genius, as in super smart IQ, and bar, as in drinking alcohol? I thought I misheard. I followed him to a brightly t-shirted woman.
“Hi guys. Let’s get you set up with an appointment at the Genius bar!”
Pinch. I hadn’t misheard.
“Can I have a name and email address?” I motioned to the little brother who had remained silent this whole time as I had instructed him to. I could tell he was pinching himself as well. He was trying really hard not to be a smart ass.
The Apple woman looked perplexed.
“Did you say yahoo.com?”
“No. Live.com. It’s for my Xbox live account.”
“Are we going to a circle of Apple hell for having a Microsoft affiliated email address?” I asked forgetting to keep my smart ass in check.
“No,” she laughed, a bit nervously I thought. I checked my peripheral vision for Matrix-style agents or Steve Job’s face.
We were given an appointment for about a half hour later. We passed children sitting on large black balls playing on computers and exited to Gamestop.
A half hour later we took a seat at the bar (the regular one, not the genius one) to wait for our turn. Large screens gave us such fun facts as “Did you know that a Mac computer has the power of two computers combined?”.
My brother couldn’t help himself, “Yeah, two crappier computers.”
My brother may be eleven, but he is pretty smart. I saw his logic, “Technically, yeah, any computer could have the power of two computers with half of the hardware behind them. So technically, what they’re saying isn’t wrong…”
“Correct,” I turned my attention away from the failed propaganda to the computer at the ‘bar’. Surprisingly, we could browse the web. After refraining from doing anything evil, we were called over to the more pretentious of the two bars. Yet another brightly colored t-shirted guy greeted us. This was starting to sound like a joke…
“A guy and a girl walk into a bar with and iPod.”
Q: “How many apple store geniuses does it take to troubleshoot and fix an iPod?”
A: “None. After plugging it in, holding down a few buttons, and trying to tell you it works fine, they just give you a new one.”
…which works for me. Two more brightly shirted people later we had a new iPod, a new case for it, and exited the Apple Store.
To those who missed the joke, lol cats is referring to the Mac operating system naming convention (ie: Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard). Can has werkin iPod, plz? Ktnxbye.
To those who see this as an opportunity to turn the comments into a Macs are better than PCs discussion, I am not interested in your fandom. I work with MacOSX, Windows, and various Linux distributions every day, and I do not have fandom attached to any OS or computer brand. If you are personally offended by my poking fun, then you need to get a sense of humor. Ktnxbye.
We saw an overall attitude approach to interviewing in one of my last posts. Some of you agreed and disagreed on this approach…
But, let’s push that aside for now. This post is about the big guns.
Apparently they don’t go with dress shoes no matter what you are wearing.
I heard this from a career counselor.
I don’t mean to be a nay-sayer. I am sure this councelor is very good at landing people jobs. BUT- somehow- I got my new job wearing white socks. At the time, I didn’t know any better. Call me lucky. Call me so good it didn’t matter, not even in the follow up interview. I wore them. I didn’t even have any neutral colored socks that weren’t boot socks at the time. I even wore them my first couple weeks of work.
Honestly, I doubt anyone noticed. This may be because I was interviewed by people more interested in skills or attitude. This could be because I was interviewed by men or just people who are too deep to judge a person based on socks. It could be that these people just didn’t look at my feet. They might be secret white sock supporters even.
Call me crazy, but maybe it is just okay to wear white socks with dress shoes. Maybe it’s not awesome, but I don’t think it looks that bad. I’d hire someone wearing white socks (even after Labor Day).
Fashion police, arrest me. I thought white socks were pretty safe, or at least safer than the ones with the little flying moo-cows on them. Those ones are okay only *after* they hire you.
My original thought was that I needed to come up with something in honor of Gary Gygax now that he has passed on to that campaign setting in the sky. This may still happen after I’ve finally come to accept its truth. Until then, I’ve made some startling discovery at what our friends the British apparently eat.
As a disclaimer, yeah, McDonalds is from over here and it’s gross. I’m sure there are other nasty things that make it out of our borders that I don’t eat, like Jello. As far as I’m concerned, none of it comes even remotely close to what I have discovered…
1. Spotted Dick: This is one I’d actually heard of. What I didn’t know is that it comes in a can. Also horrifying is that on this can it says you can microwave it. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME, because last I checked metal cans and microwaves don’t mix. I knew this, but didn’t know the extent of it until my little sister blew up the microwave trying to make Jello one day.
I have not tried spotted dick, but one of my friends has (see photographic evidence). Let’s see what she has to say on the matter:
“It’s as good as can be expected considering it’s cake from a can cooked in boiled water…”
I think that’s as good a review as we’re going to get.
2. Mr. Brain’s 4 Pork Faggots in a Rich West Country Sauce: I barely know where to begin. I am trying to figure out what about this meal is a faggot. I am searching my definitions… homosexual man? No. Bundle of sticks? Nope. Measuring those bundles of sticks? No again. Cigarette? Uh-uh. All right… I’m just going to have to assume that one of these weird meatballs is also known as a faggot.
My next question is what is so west about this sauce. The spotted dick friend tells me: “…the West Country (where my Brit ancestors originally hailed from) is a region of England.” This is good to know, but it tells me little about the sauce. Another friend who tried the ‘faggots’ recalled the experience like a horror story. She had this to say on the matter:
“I shudder to remember. This was back when I was eating meat, but no amount of creepy processed fast-food spaaaaaaaaaace meat could have prepared me for this. Pork faggots are basically these meat balls made not out of what we would typically define as “meat”, but instead is ground up pig’s liver and possibly some other organs covered in some disgusting gravy. Ugggh!”
So far, spotted dick in a can is better than microwavable Mr. Brain’s pork faggots.
3. Toad In The Hole: So… you put sausages in “Yorkshire pudding” batter and bake ’em. Now I’m out of willing candidates to try these things, but my spotted dick friend did have this to say:
“Oh, SHIT, Toad in the Hole? That looks terrible. TERRIBLE.”
Brits need to stop taking their sausages and putting them in everything! …
…we’ve already mentioned spotted dick, so I’m sure that couldn’t have sounded much worse.
Also on the subject of Brits and sausage…
4. Black Pudding: It’s sausage made with congealed blood. Brits like sausage apparently, and need variations.
5. Brawn apparently is a sausage form of head cheese. This has nothing to do with cheese, but everything to do with a head of a calf, pig, or sheep. It also can contain meat from the feet or heart. It’s even eaten cold. At least then we won’t smell it if someone reheats it. Thank heavens for small favors. I am not posting a picture as I’m afraid to try and find one.
Alright. This is about as much on the subject I can look into right now. If any Brits are out there reading this, we could use some insight into your cuisine. I for one, don’t get it. This is coming from someone who loves sushi, so I’m thinking the average American would be even more lost.
I guess my biggest questions are, do you actually eat this stuff, eat it often, and like it? …or is this just food propaganda that makes it across the borders to frighten us? I mean, there’s fish and chips, and that’s great.