May 21, 2009

Infinite Summer

My summer project (and yours): infinitesummer.org.

May 15, 2009

Autistic Trekdom

Today in The Morning News, I have an essay about J.J.Abrams' new film: Autistic Trekdom. Contains no spoilers, by the way.

May 07, 2009

Confidental to My Three Remaining Readers

Not a whole lot of activity, here at the yeti. Still, I'm keepin' myself busy:

  • I was quoted in a Washington Post article entitled Forget Germs. The Real Contagion Is Our Paranoia. I have a brief bit in the final few paragraphs. Man, I gave that reporter lots of good material--I wonder why she didn't use it. Possibly because I confused her paper with the Wall Street Journal and asked if I should send a headshot for the stipple portraitist. (True story.)
  • I am providing color commentary for Friday's Layer Tennis match. This will be my third time in the lime-green sportjacket--the previous two installments are here and yonder.
  • Tomorrow, in this very space, I'll be posting something I recently wrote of which I am kinda proud. Stay Tuned!

February 20, 2009

Layer Tennis: Hunting v. Ansara

I am providing commentary for today's match. Preview here, coinflip there.

February 12, 2009

Mindfuck Movies

At The Morning News today I quantify and enumerate my favorite brand of film: movies during which you have no freakin' idea what the hell is going on.

Pretty much any list of this sort is going to provoke violent "this list is worthless without ______?!" reactions. (Ha! Halfway through writing that sentence someone IM'd me the link to this Metafilter thread). The last minute addition of Donnie Darko to the list was an acknowledgment of this fact, but I had to draw the line somewhere.

I decided early to not include more than one film per director. Scanners and eXistenZ and absent because Videodrome is there; Mulholland Dr. precluded Eraserhead and Lost Highway; and so forth.

There were a fair number of other movies that I skipped because of the "premillennium problem"--that is, the huge spate of remarkably similar films released just prior to the year 2000 (e.g., The Thirteenth Floor) Given that, you may wonder how The Game got on there. Well, first of all, it perfectly fit the criteria I set out in the introduction, so it wins on a technicality. And I quite enjoyed it. It's also significant because it sort of forecasts the rise of ARGs, but I somehow neglected to mention that in my review.

Here's some others I considered adding to the article ... and that you should consider adding to your Netflix queue:

Also, if you haven't watched the 1967 BBC series The Prisoner ... yeah. You should do that.

Thanks to this site for cluing me into La JetÊe, and Fipi Lele who provided a ton of great suggestions.

Feel free to mention your favorites in the comments.

December 24, 2008

2008 Holiday Survival Guide for Slackers

My 2008 Holiday Survival Guide for Slackers appears in The Morning News today.

October 31, 2008

The Roommate
Sally was in her first semester away at college. Classes had been difficult and midterms were fast approaching. After going out on a date with her boyfriend, she dropped by her dorm room to pick up her books before heading over to his apartment for the night. Knowing her roommate would be asleep, she entered the room without turning on the light, and softly closed the door behind her. For several minutes she wandered around the room in the dark, opening the closet to grab some clothes, reaching into the bathroom to get her toothbrush, and scrambling over to her desk to get her textbooks and notes. She patted around her bed, eventually locating her book bag, stuffed all the items in, and left, again quietly closing the door behind her.

The next morning, Sally returned to her dorm and found it surround by the police, one of whom approached her and asked if she lived there. They took her into her room, and...

Read my ending--and those of six other writers--at The Morning News today.

July 30, 2008

Re: Cephalopod

Will return to dy tomorrow. In the meantime, gO READ AND/OR ENJOY THIS: RE: CEPHALOPOD OH HEY WHY IS MY CAPS LOCK KEY ON??!!

July 10, 2008

The Great Unplugening

A Survivor's Journal appears in The Morning News today.

March 18, 2008

And Great Lyrics Quiz Rock Roll The

How good are you at identifying a rock song lyrics when they've been alphabetized? Find out at The Morning News today.

March 07, 2008

Tribute to Gary Gygax

I have a personal tribute to Dungeon Master #1 in The Morning News today.

Rest in peace, Gary Gygax. Einstein once said that God does not play dice with the universe, but I'm sure you'll convince Him to start.

Update: Some other tributes, in case you missed 'em: Penny Arcade | xkcd | Slate | The Onion

Update 2: I contributed to the WIRED D&D-themed logo contest.

February 07, 2008

The Third-Inning Blooper Reel ...

... in The Morning News today.

December 21, 2007

2007 Holiday Christmas Survival Guide for Slackers Cultural Warriors

The Holiday Christmas Survival Guide for Slackers Cultural Warriors, my annual round-up of the stupidest items available for purchase on Teh Neterwebs, is here.

December 14, 2007

Sound Focus

I'm on the local NPR program Sound Focus riiiiiiiiiiiiight ... NOW! 94.9 FM, if you're in the Seattle area. And you'll soon be able to listen to it online (I think).

Three of the games I talk about--Quirkle, Can't Stop, & Mr. Jack--are covered in my 2007 Good Gift Games Guide; Twilight Struggle I review here.

December 11, 2007

Annual Call of Slacker Guide Items

I'm working on my annual Holiday Survival Guide For Slackers and I'm looking for suggestions. So if you know of some stupid crap available for purchase on the intarweb, please mention it here or drop me an email. Thanks!

November 21, 2007

What's the Point of Giving Thanks?

With Thanksgiving approaching, I contacted a number of experts in the field of gratitude and asked them "What's the point of giving thanks?" Their answers appear in The Morning News today.

October 31, 2007

Halloween: The Backseat Killer

I contributed one of eight endings to The Backseat Killer, today in The Morning News.

October 25, 2007

Layer Tennis: Brian Taylor vs Jason Santa Maria

My pre-game introduction is live. The coin flip is here.

Visit http://layertennis.com/071026 Friday at 2 PM CST (UTC-6) to watch the match unfold in real time. You can even chatter behind-the-scenes in the official forum.

Update: That was hard.

October 10, 2007

America's Next Top Model Democracy

In a classic case of "suffering for your art," I watched three episodes of America's Next Top Model over the weekend and then wrote this.

A big "thanks" to The Queen, who first exposed me to the show. In much the same way that one person would expose another to tuberculosis.

September 28, 2007

Tricks of the Trade

Jeannie Yandel interviewed me on KUOW's Sound Focus today about Tricks of the Trade.

For the record, I have no idea what a Rat Rustler is.

September 07, 2007

One Hit Wonders

What ever happened to Exploding Lad? I reveal the answer in The Morning News today.

September 03, 2007

Elsewhere Me

My short story "Customer Service" appears in issue 19 of Thuglit. Also in that issue is a story by Linda Sharps of All & Sundry, who says she was inspired to submit it by my Web Noir essay that mentioned Thuglit. Sweet.

Speaking of The Morning News, last week they asked the contributing writers to recommend a bottled beverage. You can find my response, along with the rest, here.

I have a short article in the September issue of Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, describing my adventures in busking.

As threatened, Eden has wreaked her revenge.

July 24, 2007


I discovered something curious about Flickr while trying to remark upon this photo: if you leave a comment in ALL CAPS, all but the initial letters of each sentence are converted to lowercase. (Try it here.) I guess it's the "email from your father-in-law" filter or something.

Since I couldn't wisecrack in the original thread, I had no choice but to make this instead. Hey, that totally rhymed.

This in case you don't recognize her, this is the lovely Mrs. Kennedy.

Update: Cardhouse figures out how to stick it to the Man.

July 19, 2007

Web Noir

Today at The Morning News I take a look at a number of online crime ezines, which are publishing some of the most powerful and provocative fiction being written today. Check it out: Web Noir.

In preparation for this article, I wrote six people about the topic, expecting to hear back from two, maybe three. Instead, every single person replied, and each was incredibly generous with their input and analysis. My thanks go out to:

Number six was Charles Ardai from Hard Case Crime, whose disquisition on the difference between "noir" and "hardboiled" was so eloquent and exhaustive that it merits its own post.

April 30, 2007

Tricks of the Trade

For those of you wondering why Tricks of the Trade was AWOL for much of last year, here's the story in a nutshell.

When the original Tricks of the Trade article ran in August of 2004, I was immediately contacted by an editor from a well-known publisher, wanting to know if I had enough tricks to fill a book. Not even close, I told him. My original call for tricks had netted about 100 responses, from which had culled the 30 best. That left me with only 70 more, most of which were too specific, not specific enough, redundant, or otherwise unusable.

"Well," he said, "do you think you could get more? Because I think this would make a great book." I said I would try.

So the following week I started tradetricks.org. By my reckoning, doling out tricks on a regular basis would slowly build up a following, while making it easy to submit tricks would increase my accumulated store of tips.

Both of these prediction proved to be more-or-less true. By spring of 2005, I had amassed a couple hundred tricks--not nearly enough for a book, and sufficient to serve as proof of concept. I spent a week or two writing a book proposal and sent it to the editor. His response, while more subdued that his original zeal, was still positive and enthusiastic. He said that they were having a planning meeting later that week, and he would see about getting the book onto the 2007 slate.

Anyway, long story short. We corresponded for a few weeks thereafter, and at no point did I receive any indication that he was losing interest in the project. Then, one day, and every day thereafter, all my emails to him apparently disappeared into the ether. No responses from the guy whatsoever. No bounces, either, so presumably he hadn't been 86'ed or anything.

I keep the site going because ... well, because why not? It's pretty easy to maintain and people like it.

A year later I get another email from another editor at another fairly large publishing house. I tell her the above story, and she says, what hey? No one is currently looking at your proposal? Send it over! I do so, warning her that it's the first proposal I have ever written and therefore probably subpar; she replies with "no, this is perfect, and I totally want to take this to the next level." (Most of this is paraphrase, but she honestly said "take it to the next level." In 2006.)

So this goes on for a few weeks, and eventually she and I wind up on the phone together. And I say, "well, all this sounds great, but, you know, I'm kind of wary. Because the last editor just stopped returning my emails."

To which she chuckles knowingly and says, "well, I can assure you that's not going to happen here!"

So: any guesses as to what subsequently "happened here"?

Maybe this is just how editors at big publishing houses routinely end communications of all kinds: one minute you are chatting amicably with them around a water cooler, the next they dash off in mid-sentence and hide in a broom closet so you can no longer speak to them. At any rate, the experience(s) soured me on the whole Tricks of the Trade thing, as well as publishers, editors, books, words, and literacy.

Why, then, did I restart the site last month? Mostly because I got a surprising amount of email from people saying it was missed. Also, the tricks continue to flow in even while the site was inactive, and I had to do something with 'em.

A few notes. The old tricks have been removed, but will presumably resurface in this chimeric "book," assuming that ever happens. Some people asked for a full XML feed; I implemented that suggestion this morning. And the submit form is currently off-line--I hope to give this place a modest facelift in the coming weeks, and will re-add it then. (In the meantime, you can send tricks to submit@tradetricks.org if you are so inclined.)

And I still have this book proposal, sitting on the thumb drive in front of me. If you interested in it, and have an attention span of four weeks or greater, feel free to drop me a line.

April 18, 2007

The Adventure of the Missing Stocking

The writers of the hit TV series LOST (with my, um, help) take time out their busy schedule to write a a new Sherlock Holmes mystery.

April 02, 2007

The Purgegate Primer

The Purgegate Primer, providing a synopsis of the U.S. Attorney scandal, is online at The Morning News. Thanks to everyone who provided questions.

March 21, 2007

Every Dog Has Its Day

More Peace Corps adventures recounted today in The Morning News: Every Dog Has Its Day.

December 22, 2006

The 2006 Holiday Survival Guide For Slackers

My 2006 Holiday Survival Guide For Slackers appears in The Morning News today. A big thanks to everyone who sent in suggestions, especially:

  • umrain zero for the Rocket Fishingrod
  • Andre Torrez for The Beer Belly
  • Debra Duncan for Mullet Shampoo
  • knutmo for Polonium 210
  • My sister for Barbie With Pooping Dog
  • Robert for Giant Novelty Checks
  • Alan Taylor and Jon D. for the USB Humping Dog
  • Matt Waters for both Season Shot & Breath Capture
  • waterloo.bob for Neuticles
Zero thanks go to my "friend" Mark, who inflicted that godawful The "O Holy Night" mp3 upon me. A few days after I received it I stumbled across the same song on The Sneeze and, although I didn't steal it from there, I would have, if it wasn't already burned onto my PC's hard drive and my psyche. So a hearty "zero thanks" to you too, Steve.

Update: Yes, I know the X-Wing Fighter never shot missiles. I originally wrote it as the Battlestar Galactica ship, but then changed it to X-Wing so I could make the "Great shot!" joke, figuring that no one would actually be nerdy enough to notice. THANKS FOR PROVING ME WRONG, ENTIRE INTERNET.

December 14, 2006

The Gift of the Magi, By O. Reilly

I didn't so much "write" this story for The Morning News as amalgamate it.

December 08, 2006

Elsewhere Me

I am omnipresent.

  • I will be on KUOW's The Beat this afternoon at 2:00, speaking to Megan Sukys about holiday board gaming.
  • I was also interviewed as a board game expert for an article soon to appear in the Lancaster, PA "Sunday News." I don't know when it will run, but the title of the publication, along with my Jessica Fletcher-caliber deductive abilities, lead me to believe that it may be sometime over the weekend.
  • A joke I made over four years ago was mentioned yesterday in The New York Times. "The Evite brand is so well recognized now that there are spoofs on the Internet, including an Evite invitation to war on Iraq in which the only confirmed attendees are the United States and Britain."
  • My buddy John Moe will be speaking about / reading from his book Conservatize Me, and he asked me be his opener. I don't know what he was thinking when he made this offer (it's probably safe to assume that peach Schnapps were involved), but I accepted all the same. So come join us at 7:30, Tuesday December 12, at the Elliot Bay Bookstore for an event Seattlest predicted would be "a vortex of funny." High praise! I think! Unless they are alluding to the fact that vortexes are renowned for sucking.

November 22, 2006

Potluck Supper

I brought a dish to the Potluck Supper, appearing today in The Morning News.

I've been reading Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories to The Squirrelly -- could'ya tell?

November 07, 2006

Election 2006

And welcome to Election 2006.

In The Morning News today we have the winners of the Encyclopedia Brown for District Attorney contest.

In McSweeney's, please to be finding my 2006 Voters Guide.

And although this is the part of the post where I am supposed to urge you to "get out and vote!" Washington State elections now rely almost exclusively on absentee ballots these days. So, you know: fondly reminisce about that time you voted, like, three days ago.

Dare to dream
October 09, 2006

Encyclopedia Brown For District Attorney!

I am hosting a contest -- the sort that my literate readers should excel at. (Yes, I'm talking to you, the one who just shuddered upon seeing a sentence end in "at.") Get the details at Encyclopedia Brown For District Attorney.

October 02, 2006

Betting Wrong

In The Morning News today, I liken Newt Gingrich to He-Man. Yes, really.

August 31, 2006

A Walk In The Park

I wrote a tribute to Seattle's park system and it's available today at The Morning News.

July 11, 2006

The Works: Movie Blogs

I'm on The Works this evening talking about movie blogs. Here are the websites we discuss:

  • Ain't It Cool News: To movie blogs what The Drudge Report is to political blogs.
  • GreenCine Daily: A great, general purpose film blog.
  • Metacritic: A site that compiles movie rating from all over the Internet. (Actually, my spiel about Metacritic on the show was something of a rambling digression and John may well cut it, so it may not be mentioned on the show at all.) Also check out Rotten Tomatoes.

  • The Movie Blog: The guy who got got his site shut down by paramount for enthusiastically hyping up their upcoming Transformers movie. The post about the controversy is here.

  • Thank You For Smoking blog, King Kong production diary, and Garden State blog: Three blogs set up by the directors of films to keep fans abreast of the picture's progress. Zach Braff, director of Garden State, now maintains zachbraff.com.

  • Poster Wire: One of my favorite movie blogs is not about movies, but about movie posters. And any friend of Fipi Lele is a friend of mine. Here's the post where I learned that the MPAA had approval over movie posters.

Other good movie blogs include The IFC Blog, Movie City Indie, and The Filmmaker Magazine blog. Milo Vermeulen listed his favorite movie blogs here, and I'd encourage readers to do likewise in the comments.

June 20, 2006

Never Share

Files Are Not For Sharing, a collaboration between Goopy and I, appears in The Morning News today.

Apologies to Elizabeth Verdick, author of the "Xs Are Not For Ying" series. They really are good books and The Squirrelly likes 'em a lot, so go buy a few to assuage my guilt.

April 25, 2006

In Praise Of Loopholes

Today in The Morning News I have an article entitled In Praise Of Loopholes.

Thanks to Rebecca for telling me about the Anal Motion (well, if you weren't planning to read the piece, that probably piqued your interest), Катюша for the tip-off on Eruvs, and Torrez for reminding me of "Pudding Guy."

April 21, 2006

Mice & Men

I thought I'd see if i could get a list published in McSweeny's.

Why, apparently I can.

March 02, 2006

Fifteen Of My MetaFilter Comments, Taken Out Of Context
  • Once again Jesse Jackson heroically hurls himself between the givers and the receiver of publicity.
  • The website doesn't specify the source of the findings, but I strongly suspect they have been drawn from the scientific discipline commonly known as "making shit up."
  • Dear sir, I don't wish to brag
    Of my wealth but I've hit a small snag.
    These fund I must move
    So would you approve
    Of a cut of Nigerian swag?
  • Check out, the comma usage, in the linked, page. It's like listening, to someone who, just climbed some stairs, and is out, of breath.
  • The porn industry was one of the driving forces behind the invention of photography, as they were tired of having to describe blowjobs to patrons. True fact, look it up.
  • Some of you younger kids might not remember this, but there was a time in America when people acted stupid for free! It's true, they just gave it away! People acted like utter dopeity dopes and never received a penny in compensation. But then someone figured out that acting stupid could net you a fortune, by, say, pretending like you were honestly and completely unaware that eating fattening foods would cause you to become fat, or claiming that you thought cigarette warnings only applied to other people. Now stupidism accounts for over 13% of America's economy, and this clever exploitation of a previously free resource is exactly the kind of Horatio Alger-esque ingenuity that makes America great.
  • You may think that life without men would just be one giant party. But the first time all the women in the world went out to do karaoke and realized that "Islands in the Streams" was no longer an option, they would be very, very sad.
  • If this backfires, the scandal will be called "Conju-gate".
  • I discovered the identity of my girlfriend's next-to-last lover with AntePenUltiMate™!
  • The next time I get coffee in my office's Break Room, I'm going to take one sip of it, spit it out, and loudly exclaim "Jesus Christ! This tastes like a tree-dwelling marsupial ate the ripest and reddest coffee cherries, and then somebody made coffee out of the beans, which were excreted fairly intact and still wrapped in layers of the cherries' mucilage!"
  • If you believe in evolution you can justifiably call any US citizen an "African-American"
  • Of course Courtney Love is in favor of file sharing. The whole concept of taking someone else's good songs for personal use was the essence of Hole.
  • I just like that the word "Extreme" is now associated with two things: (1) People engaging in athletic events which require a staggering amount of physical prowess; and (2) People sitting on their fat asses and imbibing a staggering amount of cola.
  • Moral of the story: DON'T FUCK WITH THE EBERT!
  • I am sickened by the sheer ignorance of the people on Mefi in general and in this thread in particular, and that is why I'm leaving for good. No, I'm totally serious this time. I just removed my bookmark. And when everyone belatedly realizes what an important member I was to this community and rallies to my defense and publicly chastises those (and you know who you are) who brought me to this point, I will unfortunately never ever know about it because, as I mentioned before, I am not coming back. Even if someone emails me privately (jqm1213@hotmail.com) to let me know that everyone wants me to return and that the site has basically gone to shit since my departure, it won't matter because I'm done with you all. I mean it. I'm using UnInstall Wizard right now to remove my browser. Goodbye.

January 09, 2006

yeti Sightings

I am omnipresent:

  • The third installment of the New Fathers Roundtable appears today in The Morning News. I have participated in all. If you want to read them in order, you can start with Fathers Roundtable I and Fathers Roundtable II.
  • I will be on KUOW's The Works Tuesday evening at 8:00, talking about ways to make money by blogging. I am obviously the ideal person to discuss this issue, as I have yet to figure out how to earn so much as a Zagnut bar off my efforts.
  • Tomorrow also brings another edition of Ariel Stalling's Salon of Shame at the Rendezvous. The last one was a hoot, and this one promises to be every bit as good. I may-or-may-not be performing, depending on whether I can dig up something embarrassing enough to read.
  • Last Saturday I was featured on a Canadian program called Definitely Not The Opera as "the curator of all board game knowledge." It doesn't look like there's any way to hear the program online, but I'm looking for one (since I haven't even heard the show myself, yet).
  • defective yeti was named Seattle Magazine's "Blog Of The Month." I wouldn't have even known if Beth hadn't alerted me to the fact. A few years ago Seattle Weekly named dy Best Local Blog and, here again, I only found out because a reader saw it and dropped me a line. So if you see dy mentioned anywhere, feel free to let me know -- odds are it will be news to me.
  • The above item, illustrated: My mother wrote to tell me that defective yeti is cited as the source of a Scott McCellan photo appearing in a Russian newspaper.
  • I've begun freelancing for Knucklebones Magazine, a periodical devoted to games and puzzles. My first article will appear in the May issue.
  • Wednesday and Friday afternoons I stand on the corner of Pike and 5th, shake a stick at passing cars, and shout "Devil! Devil! Devil!" Watch for me.

December 22, 2005

Holiday Survival Guide For Slackers 2005

My annual Holiday Survival Guide For Slackers appears today in The Morning News. Please go read it and guffaw somewhere in a vicinity of four or five times.

Thanks to the many people who sent in suggestions, especially to Ryan (gold-plated slinky), Mel (NASCAR Crockpot), Adam (iAttire), Mike (Pretender Call Breaker), remlapm (Flip Flap), and machaus (Vomito de Gato sign).

December 16, 2005

Desperately Seeking Stupid

Yes, it's that time of year again -- time to send me your suggestion for the stupidest items available for sale on Internets 3-7 for my annual Holiday Survival Guide for Slackers. See previous Slacker Guides here: 2002, 2003, & 2004. If you've found something so stuplime that it merits inclusion, send me an email at matthew@defectiveyeti.com, or mention it in the comments to this post. Thanks!

December 14, 2005

Play Canada!

Hello Canucks! There's a rumor going around that I might be on CBC's Morning Edition tomorrow morning doing my boardgame spiel. They'll be calling me at the unholy hour of 5:30 AM for a phone interview, so it's likely that, at this time tomorrow, I'll have no recollection whatsoever as to whether or not this actually happened. If someone in a more Northerly nation and Easterly time zone could listen and let me know, that would be swell.

This marks the third form of media that The Good Gift Games Guide has appeared in this year (hypertext, radio, Canadian). Is there any doubt that I will be on The O'Reilly Factor by next Tuesday? "No Bill, you shut up," I shall say. "I sank your battleship fair and square!"

If you happen to work for a major media outlet and are wondering whether or not to book me for your talk show / news program / Ab-alizer 1200 infomercial / public service annoucement about the dangers of ferret-taunting ("... for more information, please visit slenderfury.org ..."), allow me to cite credentials:

  • Can speak eloquently and extemporaneously on any of the half dozen or so subject that I actually care about, including board games, my wife, the works of Infocom, fatherhood, silver era DC supeheroes, that one clip on America's Funniest Home Videos where the dog is running around on a frozen lake and his owner calls him and the dog runs at the owner as fast as he can and the owner realizes what is going to happen and starts yelling "No, no! Stop!" but the dog can't stop because he's on ice and he crashes into the owner and the owner does an entire flip and lands on his bottom, and beer.
  • Heard that song "My Humps" by The Black Eyed Peas on the radio today (this isn't strictly a "credential" but, omigod, have you heard that song? It's so! bad!)
  • Moderately not unattractive.
Media inquiries should be directed to my publicist who, by sheer coincidence, has exactly the same email address as me: matthew@defectiveyeti.com. I'm angling for the Tony Danza show here, obviously, but will take anything.

Update: Canadian and awesome (but I repeat myself) reader Kyle actually heard me this morning, and sent me the link to the segment. I just listened to it, and I think it went pretty well. My favorite part is where I run roughshod over the host, like, three times in a row, not allowing her to get a word in edgewise. Typical American / Canadian interaction. On a scale of 1 to jerk, I reckon I scored about a seven.

On the upside, that does allow me to add another item to my list of credentials: "Fluent in bullying, boorish discourse, perfect for political programs."

December 12, 2005

Good Gift Games On The Beat

I will be live on KOUW's The Beat tomorrow at 2:00 talking about my picks for the best gift games of the year.

Update: You can now listen to the show online at http://www.kuow.org/thebeat.asp?Archive=12-13. Here are the games I mention by name:

  • For Sale: The game I likened to Monopoly.
  • Poison: The game I likened to Hearts.
  • China: The game I likened to Risk. I neglected to mention on the show that both For Sale and China are put out by the Seattle game company Uberplay. Buy good games, support local business -- it's a two-fer.
  • Diamant: The game I likened to poker.
  • Shadows Over Camelot: The "unlike anything you've ever played" game. You can find my review of SoC here
The full 2005 Good Gift Game Guide is available here and a bunch of additional information (runners-up, older games, etc.) can be found over yonder.

If you live in Seattle, you can find local game stores and places to order these game online here. And if you have any question, feel free to send 'em my way.

November 07, 2005

Salon of Shame

Lovely Ariel of Electrolicious and the fine folks at A Guide To Visitors and putting on an event so excruciating that you won't be able to look right at it -- the only way to avoid being blinded by awkwardness will be to to view the spectacle through a tiny hole poked in a piece of paper.

Yes, inspired by the lovely Sarah Brown (it's "Lovely Monday," here at the yeti), they will be transplanting New York's Cringe to the left-coast and stymying Sarah. B's legion of trademark lawyer's by rechristening it "The Salon of Shame." This Wednesday, November 9th at 7 o'clock, watch in horror as folks take the stage to recite the most unbearably embarrassing poems, prose, and diary entries ever put on paper -- abominations of literatures that the readers themselves penned in their carefree days of youth and dumbness.

Read more about it at shame.electrolicious.com. Hope to see you there!

P.s. I neglected to mention that the folks at A Guide To Visitors are also lovely. I apologize for the oversight.

October 21, 2005

The Doings Of Fops

I have a piece in The Morning News today called Lone Star Statements. I only wrote about 30 words of it, but nonetheless got full credit as author. That's my kind of writing project.

October 13, 2005

Super Way-In-Advance Notice

Hey, I'll be part of a panel discussion last I mean next Saturday at the Hugo House's Annual Inquiry. If you weren't there it was totally your fault, with me giving you lots and lots of advance notice and all.

September 08, 2005

Playing The Game Part III

The third and final installment in my account of playing the Game has been posted: The Morning News: Endgame. If you missed the first two chapters, they are available here.

A big thanks to Gordon Dow, who invited me to join the adventures of the 'B' Ark -- he's the only reason I was able to participate in the Game at all.

September 01, 2005

Playing The Game Part II

Part II of my adventures playing the Game appears today: The Morning News: A Game Is Afoot

August 25, 2005

Playing The Game, Part I

At The Morning News today I have a piece called The Pre-Game Show, the first in a three-part series about how I spent last weekend.

August 23, 2005

May 26, 2005

Darth Vader Made Me Cry

One of defective yeti's most popular posts has always been Darth Vader Made Me Cry, my true tale of meeting the dark lord of the Sith in a local department store when I was eight.

In the years since I wrote it I've been telling an expanded version of the yarn in various venues, including A Guide To Visitors, and as my opening for Kevin Guilfoile at the Elliot Bay Bookstore. I've been meaning to revise the original article for a while now, and the release of Revenge of the Sith seemed like a good time to do it.

So head on over to The Morning News today and get the whole sob story: Darth Vader Made Me Cry.

May 17, 2005

The Works: Celebrity Blogs

I'll be on The Works tonight talking about "The Huffington Post" and other celebrity blogs.

Here are the sites we discuss:

May 12, 2005

A Run Around Lake Union

My friend Kate Bicket and I collaborated on a Seattle-centric photo essay called A Run Around Lake Union, appearing today in The Morning News.

April 26, 2005

Hero Of The Year

The Hero of the Year has been announced! Read all about it at The Morning News.

March 22, 2005

Of Recent Note

The other Morning News writers and I tell you what we're currently grooving on in a piece called Of Recent Note. Wow, was that ever an awkwardly worded sentence!

March 17, 2005

Pledge of Allegiance

My new piece, Pledge of Allegiance, is up at The Morning News.

March 15, 2005

Kevin Guilfoile At The Elliot Bay Bookstore

Sorry to make my entire readership juggle their schedules, and hope those of you outside the greater Seattle areas will be able to change the dates on your plane tickets and hotel reservations without too much difficulty. But I screwed up the date of my reading with the estimable Kevin Guilfoile. Let's try this again.

Wednesday (Tomorrow! Not Thursday! Tomorrow!), 7:30 at the Elliot Bay Bookstore, I will be the opening act for Kevin Guilfoile. Kevin will be reading from his new book Cast of Shadows, a deadly-serious and critically acclaimed crime novel that examines the ethical and philosophical quandaries that lie at the intersection of cutting-edge technology and the human heart's dark desire for vengeance. I, meanwhile, will be telling a story that involves the word "boner." Please join us.

March 08, 2005

The Works: Parenting Blogs

I'll be on The Works this evening, talking about the rising prominence of parenting blogs. The show airs tonight 8:00 on 94.9, KUOW, or soon you will be able to listen to the audio online here.

Here are the people, sites, and articles we discuss:

And I'm sure dy readers will be happy to mention their favorite parenting blogs in the comments.

February 14, 2005

Trials and Tribulations

A recap of my recent (and previous) jury duty adventures appears in The Morning News today.

February 01, 2005

Daddy Types = Fact-Checked

Today I do some record straight-setting over at Daddy Types.

January 13, 2005


If you've been wanting to hear me blather about boardgames for two stright hours (!), you can finally do so over at Boardgame Geek. I was the guest on the most recent episode of GeekSpeak.

December 22, 2004

2004 Holiday Gift Guide For Slackers

My third annual Holiday Survival Guide For Slackers is now available at The Morning News. It's not easy upping the cynicism on these things year after year, but somehow I seem equal to the task.

And a big "thank you" to everyone who sent me links to the most brain-numbingly stupid crap available for sale on the Internet. It's readers like you that truly make Christmas the most magical time of the year.

December 14, 2004

Boardgames On The Beat

I will be live on KUOW's The Beat this afternoon at 2:00, discussing my 2004 Good Gift Games Guide, the year's other notable games, and the Seattle gaming scene. You can also listen to the show online.

December 06, 2004

The 2004 Good Gift Game Guide

My 2004 Good Gift Game Guide appears in The Morning News today.

In my games archive you can find full reviews for three of the games mentioned: Ticket To Ride, San Juan and Hansa. You can also see previous G3 Guides for the years 2003, & 2002, 2001, and 2000. Enjoy the broken links and images!

Other Good Games

This was a pretty good year, and I had a tough time narrowing my choices down to ten. Here are some worthy of honorable mention:

  • High Society and Razzia (Society: Uberplay; Razzia: Ravensburger; Both: 3-5 players, 30 minutes, $20): Two of Reiner Knizia's classic games, High Society and Ra, have been out of print for a while. Both were rereleased this year, although Ra has been given a new name (Razzia), a new theme (Mafia) and simplified rules. Players are obscenely wealthy in High Society, purchasing yachts and mansions while dodging the taxman; gangsters divvy up their ill-begotten booty in Razzia, and try to secure getaway cars and drivers before the cops arrive to shut their operation down. Both games have ingenious auction systems at their heart, and are perfect for families or friends at a pub.
  • St. Petersburg (Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, 45 minutes, $28): Hire craftsman, build buildings, and recruit aristocrats in eighteenth century Russia. St. Petersburg was considered by many to be the best game of the year, but I find it a little to mathematical to make an effective G3. Thematically similar to San Juan , and the "gamier" of the two.
  • Attika (Rio Grande games, 2-4 players, 45 minutes, $33): I got totally addicted to Attika for a while, but the game is too abstract (and the rules a smidgen to convoluted) for make it suitable for gift-giving. Expand your city across the Greek Peninsula, beating your opponent to best building sites and making the best use of the available resources. Although rated from 2-4 players, I find that it really only works well for two. That said, it was my favorite two-player game of the year (aside from Memoir '44).
  • Hoity Toity (Uberplay, 3-6 players, 60 minutes, $35): While not a new game -- it was first released in 1990 and promptly won the German Game Of The Year award -- this is the first English edition in a long time. In Hoity Toity, players purchase antiques and earn points by showing off their collections to others, while dispatching burglers to swipe the valuables of opponents and employing policemen to capture rival thieves. This game uses a game mechanism called "blind bidding" which is one of my least favorite, so it's a testament to Hoity Toity's quality that even I think it's terrific fun.
  • 10 Days In The USA / 10 Days in Africa / Europa Tour (10 Days in *: Out Of The Box; Europa: Schmidt Spiele; All: 2-4 players, 30 minutes, $20): The same game (with minor modification) set on three difference continents. Despite the frightening "educational game" appearance, these arefirst and foremost ight and fun rummy variants -- learning the capital of Tunisia is strictly a fringe benefit. Another of those rare games that plays up to four but works wonderfully well with two.

The Canonical G3 List

All of the games listed at The Morning News and above were released in the past year. There are, of course, hundreds of great G3s from year's past. Here a sampling from the Canonical G3 List:

Family Board Games

  • Settlers of Catan: Now and forever the #1 G3.
  • Carcassonne: This is "the original Carcassonne" mentioned in The Morning News article.
  • TransAmerica: Looks similar to Ticket To Ride to the untrained eye, but they are two entirely different games.

Family Card Games

  • Bohnanza: A game about bean trading. For real.
  • Mamma Mia: A game about making pizzas. For real.
  • 6 Nimmt!: Recent rereleased as "Category Five"

Two-player Games

Party Games

Second Opinions

Don't trust the yeti? Here are the highlights of some other "best game of the year" lists:

Spiel des Jahres (a.k.a. "The German Game Of The Year"):

International Gamer Awards:

GAMES Magazine's game of the year:

Gamerdad's Unplugged 2004 Game Guide.

Gamefest's Gift Games Guide.

Where To Find

If you live in Seattle, check out the stores page of SeattleSpiel, which lists all the outlets for these games in Puget Sound. Online stores are listed there as well, for those readers who live elsewhere.

November 22, 2004

Father's Roundtable II

Today I discuss fatherhood and canderflabble over at The Morning News.

November 01, 2004

New Father Gaming

I have a little piece over in The Games Journal that's going to be largely incomprehensible to about 99% of the yeti readership. But if you are one of those people who instantly recognizes the name "Reiner Knizia," go check it out.

October 15, 2004

Ghost Stories At A Guide To Visitors

Hey Seattlites, I'll be one of the storytellers at Monday's A Guide To Visitors "Ghost Stories" show. Information at aguidetovisitors.org.

October 12, 2004

The Works: Humor Sites

I'm on KUOW's The Works tonight at 8:00, talking about the history of humor on the Internet. Here are the sites we mention by name:

  • The Onion -- the great grandpappy of Internet humor sites.
  • Brunching Shuttlecocks -- sadly defunct, but the archives are still there for the browsing
  • Homestar Runner -- "Strong Bad's Email" is especially popular
  • Metafilter -- a great way to find the latest and greatest Internet funny, before it arrives in your Inbox
  • Fark -- another place you can catch memes before they spread
  • Worth 1000 -- Photoshop contests, often with hilarious results
Here's a few we didn't mention but that are definately worth a look.If you have a favorite humor site, feel free to mention it in the comments.

Update: Good lord, how did I forget b3ta and The Sneeze (home of Please Steve, Don't Eat It!)?

August 24, 2004

Tricks Of The Trade

The Tricks Of The Trade article is now running at The Morning News.

A huge "thank you" to the hundreds (!!) of people who responded to my call for occupational secrets. Narrowing it down to 30 was tough, and I hope to post all the suggestions here in the near future. Again, sorry about the lack of names in the piece -- since 75% of the ones I chose were submitted as "Anonymous" we decided to run them all unsigned. I also shortened some, and, since they were all submitted in different tenses (past, present, subjunctive) and persons (first-, second- and third-person), I reworded most for uniformity of voice -- I hope no one is irritated by my heavy editorial hand. (Is it obvious how guilty I feel for altering your submissions?)

By the by, someone started a Metafilter thread on this topic, and more great tricks are being posted over there.

Again, thanks to everyone who wrote in. I have the best readers ever.

August 10, 2004

The Works

Speaking of talking politics with John Moe ...

I'll be on The Works again this evening -- in Seattle you can catch it from 8:00 - 9:00 on 94.9 KUOW, the online stream should be posted to the website shortly thereafter. Update: It's live.

This week we discuss political blogs and their influence on mainstream media. Here are the blogs we mention by name:

Right Leaning

Middle Of The RoadLeft Leaning

And here are some articles on the subject.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, though -- there are plenty more. I also read The Washington Monthly, Wonkette, and the grandfather of all political blogs (even though it isn't technically a blog itself), The Drudge Report.

If you live in Seattle and have a political blog (like my buddy Duane), feel free to mention it in the comments.

July 27, 2004

Bad Cousin Aaron

I have a short tale of a summer vacation gone awry in The Morning News.

June 21, 2004

The LiveJournal of Zachary Marsh

Hey, whoa, what happened to last week? I posted on Monday, and then I slapped up a half-assed, recycled entry on Tuesday, and then ... it's all a blur.

Anyway, it's Game On again here at the yeti, starting with my latest Morning News article, The LiveJournal of Zachary Marsh.

By the way, here's the full-sized ducks image and the inspiration for the piece.

June 15, 2004

The Works: June

Hey, remember this great post from last week?

I'll be on The Works this evening, talking about three "celebrity blogs" that surfaced over the last few weeks.

Andy Kaufman

  • Andy Kaufman Returns: http://andykaufmanreturns.blogspot.com/
  • The Hoax exposed: http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/hoaxes/kaufman.asp
  • Rance

  • Captain Hoof Blog: http://captainhoof.tripod.com/blog
  • An article about the mystery of Rance: http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/weblog/comments/1047


  • An archive of the original Washingtonienne blog: http://washingtoniennearchive.blogspot.com/
  • The days and nights of Washingtonienne: http://www.aolwatch.org/backup/washingtonienne.htm
  • Update: You can listen to the program online here.
    Uh, actually, the program airs tonight, June 15th.

    Also, it turns out that Peter Jackson's next movie will not be entitled Police Academy 8: Hijinks In Hobbiton as I previously reported.

    May 20, 2004

    The Ego Trip

    Over at The Morning News I have a story called The Ego Trip, another in the "Sweeping the Dirt Floor" series.

    May 04, 2004

    The Works & Leah Peah

    I will be on the NPR program The Works this evening as John Moe's Blog Correspondent. (Actually, I just made that title up for myself. Feel free to put "NPR Senior Blog Correspondent" on my business cards, John.) The show airs at 8:00 pm on 94.9, KUOW. Update: RealAudio feed now available on this page.

    If you heard the show and have come here looking for links to the topics we discussed, here you go:

    Tron GuyComment SpamViral Marketing
    Also, I was interviewed by Leah Peah

    April 16, 2004

    Coming This November

    I have an article over in The Morning News today.

    February 04, 2004

    Pizza Party U.S.A.

    Please support my latest initiative.

    January 23, 2004

    IKEA Strategy Guide

    Today I am The Morning News Non-Expert.

    December 22, 2003

    Christmas Week Goodies

    I'm taking Christmas week off, but here's a few goodies.

    My 2003 Holiday Survival Guide For Slackers appears in The Morning News today. Credit where it's due: thanks to

    • K for Revolve: The Complete New Testament
    • Skwm for the Trebuchet store.
    • Rob (Cockerham?) for reminding me of my buddy's "Juiceman" story.
    • Everyone else who offered suggestions.

    I'll get a review for Return Of The King up by the end of the day festive holiday season, (look for it below this post).

    I'll be yammering about boardgames on the KUOW's The Beat. I believe my segment is slated to air on the December 24th show.

    I've updated my favorite posts.

    And speaking of goodies, Daymented sent the yeti some cookies and a kickass mix CD. I hereby declare Stace and Sean Dayment to be: awesome.

    Merry What-Have-You, and a happy Something Else!

    December 11, 2003

    Life In The Fishbowl

    My series of Morning News essays taken from my Peace Corps journals continues today with Life In The Fishbowl.

    December 10, 2003

    Father's Roundtable

    Two dads-to-be and two dads-now-are participated in The Morning News New Father's Roundtable. I was one of 'em.

    November 17, 2003

    What Is The Matrwich?

    I spill the beans over at The Morning News.

    And completely unrelated: I called this.

    October 31, 2003

    Hook Of The Story

    I contributed one of the dozen endings to this story.

    Also! I conducted this interview of Ron Cockerham (of the ever-entertaining Cockeyed).

    October 30, 2003


    Last Friday. I spent an evening with A.G.H.O.S.T. -- the Amateur Ghost Hunters Of Seattle/Tacoma. You can read my report at The Morning News.

    A big thanks to Mr. Ross Allison and all the A.G.H.O.S.T. members I met -- they were a great group of folks, and I had a fun time. More information about the Amateur Ghost Hunters Of Seattle / Tacoma -- including investigation reports, photographs, and membership information -- is at http://www.theresaghost.com.

    October 03, 2003

    California ... In Crisis!

    I contributed to this.

    October 02, 2003

    Fuego! Fuego!

    I have an essay over at The Morning News today.

    September 10, 2003

    At The Dean Rally

    I attended a Howard Dean rally a few days back. Here is my report.

    August 22, 2003

    Bulletproof Your Resume

    Today I am The Morning News Non-Expert.

    July 11, 2003

    Copyrights and Wrongs

    Today I write about copyright law and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen over at The Morning News.

    By the way, this article contains the conjunction "contrawise," which I hereby declare to be a Real Word. Please begin using it forthwith.

    Update: I am now a Contributing Writer for The Morning News.

    May 14, 2003


    I'm slated to appear on KUOW's Weekday tomorrow at 10:00 to blather on about blogs. You can listen to it live (either at 94.9 FM if you live in the Seattle area, or via webcast if you live elsewhere). Or you can find it in the Weekday Archives after the fact and listen to it then. Or you can not listen to it at all -- see if I care, you jerk.

    If there's some particular aspect of blogging you think should be discussed, feel free to mention it in the comments. (Note: "VISIT MY SITE IT R0X0R!!!!" does not constitute an "aspect of blogging.")

    Update: If you are a Seattle Blogger but your site is not yet listed at seablogs.hellbent.org you can use this online form to add yourself. This is where I will be pointing those listeners looking for local weblogs.

    April 28, 2003

    I'm A Poet (And Now I Know It)

    The theme for the Metro 2003 Poetry On The Buses 2003 project is "Lost and Found," and a poem I wrote is included.

    March 03, 2003


    Firstly! I was on NPR's Marketplace last Friday doing my Legonomics shtick. You can listen to it online (RealAudio link). My piece is dead last, about 25 minutes into the 28 minute broadcast. Apparently Matthew Baldwin is a "freelance writer" -- who knew?

    Also! I am quite waaaaay behind on book and movie reviews, so you can expect a veritable passel of those this week.

    Furthermore! Last night I dreamt that I became a millionaire selling t-shirts that read "Well Slap Me With Brie And Call Me French: I Oppose The War In Iraq!"

    In Conclusion! If Reader's Digest ever featured a "Drama in Real-Life" entitled Slapped By Brie!, I would totally read it.

    February 20, 2003

    Schrödinger's Iraq

    My male readers may enjoy this essay I wrote for The Morning News: Schrödinger's Iraq.

    My female readers, on the other hand, would probably prefer to be keepin' it real 'n' eatin' some beef.

    January 24, 2003


    I will be appearing on the NPR radio show Rewind this weekend as one of their resident Know-It-Alls. So if you've ever wanted to hear the yeti howl, this is your big chance. You can also listen to it online -- my schtick begins approximately 28 minutes in.

    The question I responded to was:

    High school student and basketball phenom LeBron James is skipping college entirely and going straight to the NBA. And why shouldn't he? What does college offer that fame and fortune does not?
    My reply:
    As I see it, college has two distinct advantages over fame.

    First, in college you can wholeheartedly believe any stupid idea that comes along and no one will fault you for it. People assume that whatever crazy doctrine you currently subscribe too, you'll soon take another class or read another book that will send you off in new philosophical direction. After reading "On Walden Pond" you honestly believe that, upon graduation, you are going to renounce all your worldly possessions (except for your Phish CDs, obviously) and move to a remote cabin by a lake. And you tell your friends and family this, and they're, like, "That's a beautiful dream! We support you!" But inside they're thinking "Oh well, no need to worry. Next semester he'll take economics and be all like 'Greed is good! Invisible hand, yo!'."

    You can't get away with that when you're famous. If you announce that you deeply committed to some position or another people will hold you to it forever. How many college kids, back in 2000, said they were going to move out of the country if Bush won the election? All of them, that's how many. But no one asks them why they're still around. Alec Baldwin, on the other hand -- that poor chump is still getting grief making such threats. Unlike college students, he can't just brush it off with a "Oh dude, whatever: I was totally stoned when I said that." And look at Trent Lott. If he were attending a university he could have just said "Oh yeah, I was way into segregation a few weeks ago? But this semester I'm, you know, taking a class in African American history? And now I think diversity is, like, awesome!"

    College is like a big roleplaying game: three times a year you get a Course Catalog and have the opportunity to completely reinvent your personality. "Okay," you say, "I'm going to start this year with Ecology and Renaissance Literature and Nutrition," and you're essentially deciding, in advance, that for the next three months you're going to be a tree-hugging Eurocentric health-nazi. You take a class on Jean-Paul Satre, mope around for a season while listening to The Smiths and declaiming about the pointlessness of life, and your buddies just shrug their shoulders and gently suggest that, next quarter, you might skip "Existentialism 102" and take Microbiology instead.

    Famous people don't have that luxury. We have these platonic ideals of celebrities -- Barbara Streisand is liberal and Charlton Heston is a gun-lover and Shirley MacLaine is a nut -- and we don't like anyone messin' with those, not even the celebrity in question. But in college you can mix 'n' match opinions and beliefs like Geranimals, and no one thinks twice. Bruce Willis is doomed to be Bruce Willis forever, but, in college, you can be anyone you want to be, one month at a time.

    The second great thing about college is the free condoms.

    December 13, 2002

    The Holiday Survival Guide for Slackers

    The Morning News is today carrying an essay of mine entitled Holiday Survival Guide for Slackers. I was able to work some squirrels into it, so you'll definitely want to check it out.

    Credit Where It's Due:

    *Update: Have you ever had that moment in your life when you suddenly discover that one of your lifelong heroes is, in fact, a run-of-the-mill weasel, like when you found out Jimmy Carter had lust in his heart, or when Jim Henson let us all down by dying? Well, that happened to me today when I discovered that DAVE BARRY TOTALLY RIPPED ME OFF!!! His so-called "Gift" "Guide" contains the very same book as mine does! This is a scandal of pre-Subway Jared proportions!!

    Oh sure, you could argue that I stole the whole "gift guide of stupid things" concept from him in the first place. And you could point out that his guide appeared nearly two weeks before mine. And you could suspect that I, Asshole first heard of The Book via Dave Barry's column, so, in a convoluted sense, I ripped him off. Yes. Yes, you could do that. OR YOU COULD GO START YOUR OWN FREAKIN' WEBLOG YOU BACKSTABBING BASTARD!! You're either with me or against me.

    November 11, 2002

    Requiem for Boddy

    Everyone who reads my essay "Requiem for Boddy" over at The Morning News will receive a cupcake. Some restrictions apply.

    September 23, 2002

    The Morning News

    Your daily dose of yeti wisecrackery is available today at The Morning News.

    August 28, 2002

    In Other News

    An article I wrote appears today in The Morning News.

    August 19, 2002

    I, Fucker

    An email I wrote to The Brunching Shuttlecocks has been printed, forever ensuring that the Google search "Matthew Baldwin Fucker" will not come up empty.

    August 09, 2002

    Rewind Sketch

    If your local NPR station carries the comedy show Rewind, please listen to it this weekend and laugh uproariously at the sketch I wrote based on this post, and then later go to a party, drink four too many Cosmopolitians, and try to describe the skit to some other people, but get all the details wrong, and say "And then there was this part about a shoehorn ... wait, was there a shoehorn? I'm pretty sure there was a shoehorn ..." and finally give up with a "well, you should of heard it." Would you do that? Would you do that, please? Or you can listen to it online; my bit appears 19 minutes and 15 seconds into the RealAudio broadcast. Either way, it's the drinking too much part that's important.

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