Home Sweet Hyatt

I love staying at the Hyatt. Mostly this is because I associate it with Dragon*Con, but the hotel design is always so lush, and I’m uber-relaxed there. It feels like a good place to work and think. The Hyatt Regency in Dallas is just as good, smooth and comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. The unwashed masses of friendly AnimeFest freaks echo my Dragon*Con tradition and make it somehow more familiar, more like home.

There are definitely a few peculiarities that I’ve noticed this time around. If they happened in any of my Atlanta stays, I failed to notice them (or maybe just don’t remember). In my mad search for an electrical outlet I discovered that they were all cleverly hidden, and almost entirely inaccessible. When we pulled the topsheet back from the bed, all the under-linens came with it. Things in this hotel room are made to be beautiful, but they don’t stand up to inspection (or use). It’s actually sort of fascinating. They do such a brilliant job of creating a lovely environment, but it’s really just a lovely facade, and it doesn’t stay that way long. I’m sure ugly electrical outlets ruin their design, and they’re happier when we don’t use their wattage, but yow it was a pain to charge my computer!

A weird addition is that most of the staff is deadpan, nonchalant (and sometimes dense). I told Marty that I wasn’t sure if the Hyatt staff were just worn out from convention crowds, or if they truly didn’t care that much. We think it’s probably the crowds. I’ve never stayed at a Hyatt without a convention.

Itches and all, I have to admit it’s hard to really mind. We have a bathroom the size of a train station—a shower head like the bastard child of a tropical rainstorm and a 17-star massage. I had to think hard about whether I wanted to spend the entire weekend under the torrent of that glorious water pressure. The view from our window is fantastic; we have front row seats to the downtown trains and the huge, looming Dallas skyline. The picturesque city through that window looks like a giant walk-through miniature. It’s hard to remember that it’s real when it’s so perfect. The soap smells of lavender and citrus… heavenly. When the train blows its horn, it rings across the city in layered echoes. Since I’m not trying to sleep, the sound is beautiful.

So I forgive you, Hyatt Regency. I know cons are rough on you, and bedspread mechanics are hard to decipher. And electrical outlets are evil zits on the otherwise immaculate face of interior design. Just keep doing your thing and we’ll get along okay. (Those parking rates could come down a little, though. Dude.)

Dueling Pianos

“The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

~ Anais Nin

“Today is my day to blossom, like a majestic chestburster erupting forth from the ribcage of an unsuspecting cosmonaut!”

~ Marty Whitmore

The Usual Error Project (Plans are afoot!)

You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the Usual Error in a long time. There’s a reason for that.

I’ve been helping out instead. ;}

Braid, or How I Attained Nirvana

I read Penny Arcade pretty regularly. This week they mentioned something called Braid, using phrases like “something that really matters,” and “even within its circumscription their minds are shattered and remade,” and “genuinely huge concepts that hum with stradavarian fullness.”

Like, whoa.

So we bought the game.

It cost $25 to buy enough “Microsoft points” (oy. whatever.) to download it from Xbox Live Arcade, but Marty used the rest on something else he liked, so Braid cost us just about $15. And I’ll tell you something. This is one of the most fantastic games I’ve ever played. I can’t stop playing this game, and I’m not the same since I started.

It’s incredibly simple. It’s a mind game, about moving forward and backward through time and solving increasingly more challenging puzzles. It reminds us a lot of the dinky Flash version of Portal (that we loved so desperately and obsessed ourselves with conquering). But Braid has the basic problem-solving structure of Portal, the brilliant (and sometimes borrowed) humor of the original Mario games, the simplicity of a Flash side-scroller, the depth and beauty of a tragic romance, and the musical-visual high art genius of a mad Aphrodesian heaven.

For it is the artwork and the soundtrack that just blow my mind to pieces.

I loved Yoshi’s Island for the game art, but Braid is Yoshi’s Island for grown-ups. Braid has real brain puzzles and illustrations with the sophistication of oil paints—not vectors or crayons. The mystery and aching of its storytelling alters you in some impossible, unidentifiable fashion. This game, it plucks at your heartstrings; you move through pages of a book, pieces of a puzzle, you feel deeply emotional but don’t know why, the music really moves you, the lush landscapes—vast green meadows with sun-streaked clouds and city skylines billowing sunset flame—reach inside you. Change you.

God, why don’t they make more games like this?

I’m dying to know if a version will be released for Mac. I want to throw money at the creators of this wonderful work. Braid’s website is here; a list of songs in the soundtrack is here, and you can see screenshots here. But there’s nothing, absolutely nothing like playing the game and experiencing all these things moving together, in synchronicity. It’s breathtaking.

Guys, buy this freaking game.

Tipsy on Power

Oh, I get it. I know you.

Yes, I recognize you—I know exactly what you are. You’re that feeling I get when I’ve realized that I can do something—anything—worth doing. Something that affects the world, something that makes it better. Something that makes me stronger.

You’re the feeling that tells me I’m real, relevant and significant here; the feeling that I can make a difference, build something incredible, be noted and remarked on.

You’re the sudden, intense feeling that I am powerful.

You show up a lot these days.

Wanna get coffee?

Cone Hat

Oh, and by the way. Remember this?

I would like a cone hat. Like a wizard.

How may I procure one?

You all sent me awesome suggestions—and some truly heartwarming offers. But ultimately, I realized what I had to do. So…

Photo 6

I made one.


30,000 Unmarked Smooches

We attended a pie party Tuesday night. There wasn’t quite enough silverware, so we toted some along to add to the pool. Wednesday evening, I received this message sent from Crow’s email address. It was obviously co-opted by terrorists:

We have your forks.

If you cooperate, they will be returned unharmed.

We demand 30,000 unmarked, non-sequential smooches.

Inform the police, and it’ll be the garbage disposal…

I want to make a joke about dye packs, but it’s just not coming to me.


I would like a cone hat. Like a wizard.

How may I procure one?

Of Food and Folly

In the past month or so I have almost completely dropped the positive dietary changes I made while I was sleeping on a polyphasic schedule. I’ve been eating processed foods, meat, eggs, cheese, sugar, even corn syrup... and wheat.

I feel like crap.

I feel sluggish and loathe to focus. I am significantly more lazy. I don’t have any energy unless ingest caffeine, and if I don’t continue to do so, I crash (if I do continue to do so, I can’t sleep). The little joints in my fingers and toes hurt a lot, constantly, and the larger ones in my ankles and wrists and knees occasionally indulge in obnoxious stabbing pains that catch me off guard. I’d say the worst more recently is in my fingers, toes and knees. My wrists and ankles are obviously the reserves.

I don’t want to go running—in fact, I haven’t been running. I haven’t really even been walking regularly. I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I’m insanely stressed out by small things, so I won’t even explain that we’re working on buying a car (on a deadline, no less). I’m not getting as much work done as I was a month ago. And the cramps I experienced during my period last week sucked.

It feels like the world is moving very fast, and I am too slow to keep up. Compare that to any number of combinations I’ve experienced first-hand that result in me feeling like I have a head start on everybody else, and you have one frustrated and dissatisfied Megan.

There are some half-solutions I could employ. I could force myself to start running again. I could start taking six fish oil capsules a day. I could militarize my work schedule.

Or I could go back to eating real food. Because that would make all the other things – running, working – easy.

I’ll show you the culprits, up close and personal. Pizza. Hot dog buns. Coca-cola. Ben & Jerry’s. General Tso’s chicken. Crab rangoon. You know what the problem is, don’t you? Social food. I’ve turned into a complete wimp in the face of social food. I’m afraid to be left out. In the last few months, I’ve been a huge wuss; I’m not woman enough to stand my ground and take care of myself if everyone else isn’t doing it too.


It’s astonishing to realize that I felt like this all the time before I started making lifestyle changes. How did I live like this? It’s driving me batty. Even more, how does anyone? Even if you set aside the arthritis pain—not everyone experiences that particular inflammatory side-effect—the rest is bullshit. It’s just not okay to feel this way. Ever. And the worst part is, the food just isn’t that good. Fresh, real food is so much tastier and effective than the crap I’ve been eating!

Isn’t it interesting that we’re willing to compromise the sanctity of our bodies for a little short-term satisfaction? It’s eerily like drug addiction. Just pay attention to the way you eat, sometime, and see if you notice some strange correlations. Why do you eat the things you do? Is it because it’s the best food you could be feeding yourself? Does it seem to have weird side effects? It’s an interesting line of inquiry, I’ll tell you that. It leads you to bizarre and amazing places.

As for me? I haz delicious, organic brown rice.

Watch while I eatz it.