Archive for the 'Work' Category

Play Vidicule! Today Only!

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009


I worked on a little mini-game for YouTube called “Vidicule” that’s on their home page today — and today only.  Still, more people will probably see our game on YouTube’s homepage in one day than will see our games that have been up for years.  The Internet’s funny that way.

Perhaps after playing the game you should go visit one of the web’s more obscure sites.

If you don’t know where to find YouTube’s homepage, first of all, REALLY?  It’s the #4 site on the Internet!  Second of all, it’s here:

A Vacation

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

I’ve taken a month-long vacation from this website.  Here is what I learned during that time according to the photos on my phone.

Shama might be a switch hitter.  
She also might be, you know, a hitter.


I have a fun Job where a day of work sometimes involves
cutting a Whopper to resemble the number 2.


Bowling leagues are more fun when you don’t
have to worry about running them.  
They’re even more fun when your shoes have flames.


B-Fest is the nerdiest place in the world. 
This works out for me as I am a big nerd.

Fram was a great programmer with one laptop.  
With three he is unstoppable.


The Guy On The TV

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Several years ago Andy moved from Chicago to Michigan, but he’s so darn good at his job, Jellyvision didn’t want to let him go.  Instead we spent a bit of money on a video conferencing system, put a TV by Andy’s old desk and figured it would be like he was there.  

I was very skeptical.

I was also very wrong.  

Sure, he’s not all too pleased when he can’t come to lunch with us or we bring cupcakes into the office (although sometimes we make up for it) but in more ways than not, it’s like he’s actually there.  Maybe that means we’re all a bunch of stiffs.  I don’t know.

So when I saw this Cisco ad  I had a, “Why didn’t I think of that?!” moment. 

This should be a permanent installation somewhere — preferably in Chicago.  People could form friendships, practice speaking a foreign language, perform concerts, or whatever.  What a curiosity it would be.  

I happen to have a great list of potential cities.

Frosting Is More Important Than Cake

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

A few weeks ago, there was a discussion at work regarding the best cupcakes in Chicago.  Most of us in the office, myself included, are big Sweet Mandy B’s fans but Kurt sent an impassioned e-mail singing the praises of a cupcake-only bakery called Swirlz.

Time for a cupcake-off.

Turns out the company is very opinionated when it comes to desserts.

Anna (via E-mail): Seriously?  22 emails about cupcakes? Seriously?
Tiffany: I think you just made it 23, Anna.

In fact, there were about 40 e-mails on the subject.  Despite all the chatter, a clear victor emerged: Sweet Mandy B’s.  

Sweet Mandy B’s: 53%
Undecided: 17%
Swirlz: 12%
Other: 12%
Hates Cake: 6%

Basically, it came down to the frosting.  I think Amanda summed it up best:

  1. Thank you, very much, for the cupcakes.
  2. Swirlz is the superior cake.
  3. Mandy’s is the superior frosting.
  4. Since frosting matters and the cake is irrelevant, Sweet Mandy B’s wins, no question.
  5. The fact that they’re cheaper and closer means that Swirlz is heretofore banned from our offices.  Long live Sweet Mandy B’s!!  

Old Technology: It Works, But People Die

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008


Here’s some brilliant turn of the century engineering for you:  I work in an old warehouse building next to a large steel door hanging from rollers.  If there’s a fire, the rope holding the door in place will burn through and the door will roll down the inclined track, shutting the entrance to the room and, theoretically, preventing the fire from spreading.  

Of course everyone inside (i.e. me) dies, but still, pretty clever.

Who Knows What Mysteries Lurk In The Deep

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Outside Jellyvision on Kingsbury Street is a giant puddle — it’s practically a lake — and it is always there. The puddle amazingly resists water’s fundamental properties of evaporation and sublimation. In the winter it freezes, in the spring it swells, in the summer it smells, and in the fall, well, it still smells. Above, Steve-o sums up our general opinion of the giant puddle.

After several years, the city finally came and unclogged the sewer beneath the lakepuddle. Just as the ocean’s receding tide deposits treasures on the beach, the falling waters of our puddle revealed a cornucopia of heretofore hidden wonders. For example, these underpants.

What Happens At A Software Company When The Power Goes Out

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

The construction workers constantly jackhammering outside of Jellyvision’s offices finally did it. We heard a particularly loud crash and then all the power in the building went out. This actually happened last year too when a crane knocked down a power line a block away. (Hooray!) I love it when the power goes out. It forces you to change your behavior for a little while and I think that’s nice — especially when your new behavior involves playing Mafia with all your coworkers.

Unlike Celebrity, Mafia has a comprehensive Wikipedia entry written by someone who isn’t me. (Although I was prepared to do it if one didn’t exist. Here’s a fun little experiment: See if you can find something that doesn’t have a Wikipedia page.) If you don’t know how the game works, you can read about it there.

Like last year, Amanda dominated the game. She is the most ruthless murderer I’ve ever met — playing dumb, giggling, spreading rumors — all of it coldly calculated to manipulate us while she quietly kills the entire town.

R.I.P. Cone of Freshness

Monday, February 4th, 2008

There’s an intake vent at Jellyvision that has been pouring cold air into the office all winter. Woody calls it “The Cone of Freshness.” Fresh or not, it’s pretty inefficient to have cold Chicago air pouring into your building through a two foot intake.

I tried making a one-way valve out of paper that closes when the heater is off, keeping the cold air out of our office, but opens up and allows air to be sucked (intook?) when the heater is on. The photo above shows it in full suck mode with the valve open.

It seems to be working, although Nate, who sits right underneath it, says it scares the crap out of him every time it closes.

This Is Tap Water

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

We ran out of water at work so now we just have a closet of empty water jugs. A closet full of empty water jugs and a mysterious pair of pants that have been hanging there for a decade. I hate that closet with its sliding doors and creepy pants.

With no other choice, I filled my glass with lame tap water. But, lo, it was not lame at all! It was hott. Good hott — not actually hot. Well, it was a little warm. Or at least not cold. None of these are sentences. It was tasty water.

Being the resourceful young chap I am, I decided to just fill one of the jugs with tap water, making use of advanced jug-based water-cooling technology to… um… this story is dumb.

All I really wanted to do is say that Innis is an awesome artist. You see, I felt the need to label the tap water jug as such. I borrowed a marker from Innis and as I was writing my dumb sign, he said, “should I draw a tap dancer on it?” Ten seconds later this aqueous Fred Astaire appeared.

I work with some talented people.

Pump up the Jam…boree

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

I work in a weird neighborhood. Really weird. Our neighbors include an industrial paint factory, horse stables and a strip club. Walking out of work this evening I noticed there’s a new business in the neighborhood:

If you can’t read the subtitle, it says, “Inflatable Party Zone for Little Ones.” I asked them if I could look around. It’s pretty sweet. There are several rooms filled with stuff like this:

My crappy camera phone picture doesn’t do it justice. It’s big. And the room also had a giant moonwalk and some sort of inflatable gauntlet. And there were two other rooms. As I was leaving, the man at the front desk said, “Pretty cool, huh?” Yes. Pretty cool indeed.

It reminds me of one of the best parties I ever went to in high school. The folks who ran the school newspaper somehow convinced the proprietors of a neighborhood Discovery Zone to let them have a party there from midnight to 8AM.  There weren’t many balls in the ball pit by the end of the evening. I didn’t work on the paper, but I wasn’t about to miss that.

I think my next birthday party is going to be at Pump it Up. Mark your calendars!

Google Just Don’t Understand

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

My softball team, Ben Felt and His Traveling All-Stars, is in the second round of the playoffs. (This isn’t the Jellyvision team, but rather a team I’m on with my brothers and some other folks.) Next week we’re going to be playing the team that ended our season last year. The final play was a weak grounder that hit a rock, and subsequently, my brother’s face. The winning run scored, they went on to the next round of the playoffs, and we went to the emergency room.

Bri, after taking a ball to the face.

None of us want that to happen again — especially Brian — so we’re going to hit up the batting cages this weekend. There are several batting cages in and around Chicago, but my favorites are at Novelty Golf on Devon Avenue in Lincolnwood. Not only do they have batting cages, but they have mini-golf and a wonderful arcade. There’s an ice cream stand next-door called The Bunny Hutch. It’s technically a separate business, but people often refer to the whole Novelty Golf complex as “The Bunny Hutch.” It is, after all, a superior name. Plus there’s this freaky dude:

So naturally when I went to look up the address in Google, I typed in “bunny hutch devon.” This surprisingly accurate result was one of the top hits:

“Housing headache for giant bunny.”

You Wanna Know What Daisy Thinks? Daisy’s Gonna Tell You What Daisy Thinks.

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Wouldntchaknow, I’m dogsitting again. I’m taking care of Allard’s dog Daisy, the world’s oldest living Pug. I always get a little nervous taking care of her. It’s hard to shake the fear that she’ll finally head for that great milkbone in the sky on my watch.

Allard: If she dies, just put her in the freezer until we get back.

Daisy has trouble standing up these days. You kind of have to lift her up and hold her there until she gets her balance, but when she stands her tail sure starts wagging! She’s old, but she’s happy.

I took her to work today and she attended our weekly company meeting. All 30 of us were sitting in a circle as Amanda and Harry outlined the current business situation. While Harry was talking about a potential project and whether or not it was a good fit for our company, Daisy waddled to the center of the circle, squatted, and told us what she thought of the project (in turd form.)

Harry: I guess we’re not doing the project.

Since Daisy doesn’t walk so well she has to be carried around in a bag. Look how happy she is in her bag!


Do You Smell How Badly We’re Losing?

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

At Jellyvision, we have a cardboard cut-out of The Rock. He’s been with us for ages. Once, when the alarm in the office went off and the cops showed up, they pulled their guns on him as he stood silently in the dark. Thank goodness they didn’t shoot!

The Rock came out to cheer on our Jellyvision softball team during our last game of the season. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough. Though we played our little hearts out, we ended up losing in a fairly lopsided fashion.


After the game the umpire told us we were his favorite team — the season’s Miss Congeniality. We got that from other teams as well, often as they were hitting back-to-back-to-back home runs.

My other softball team is currently undefeated. No one ever tells us we’re their favorite team.