Saturday, July 30, 2011

How to Improve Your Let's Play

Here are some things I've seen and heard while watching Let's Play commentaries on You Tube that I believe will help all of you LPers out there. Take notes, implement these suggestions, and watch the changes in your subscriber base and comments!

1.   Berate Your Viewers

Call your viewers noobs, douches, steaming piles of dung, whatever! Insert your favorite degrading phrases; pepper your commentary with a steady stream of vitriol against whomever may be watching. Don't discriminate, insult everyone imaginable. Bonus 1: Tell people to like you on Facebook, follow your Twitter and berate them there as well. Bonus 2: Record a Vlog and berate your viewers on camera.

2.   Jump, Swing POV

Jump around, crouch, roll camera and swing your Point of View continually, especially when it's unnecessary. If the game you are featuring has a bobbing or motion setting, turn it to maximum. Your viewers will applaud you for the feelings of seasickness and nausea.

3.   Mic Level

Adjust your microphone level to whisper softness. Viewers love to put their faces into their laptops or PC speakers to catch every golden phrase. Bonus 1: When you have them lulled into a sense of security, up your levels and scream. Bonus 2: Play death metal, hardcore rap, or Barry Manilow at maximum volume over the video, making sure that it overpowers your voice at all times.

4.   Darkness

Eyestrain is perfectly acceptable-your viewers can buy glasses. Laugh at their comments stating that they cannot tell an enemy or NPC from a wall, tree or structure.

5.   Language

Everyone swears nowadays, and you should, too. Lace your LP with all of the latest cool curse words and phrases, making sure you do this in the loudest voice possible so that parents of your younger viewers can join the fun as well.

6.   Monotone

Speak in a monotone at all times. It's hip to sound unaffected. Do not let one spark of interest or color enter your voice. There. Now you're cool.

7.   Silence

Better yet, don't speak at all. No one wants to hear any explanations of intricate gameplay anyway.

8.   Record with New or Incompetent Players

Know someone who has never played a game before? Record them playing, especially if they're incompetent, uninterested, or just plain inexperienced. Your viewers will love the hijinks that ensue through your constant coaching and lack of progress through the game. Bonus: Berate the viewers that complain. (See #1)

9.   Assume all your Viewers are Teenage Boys

Direct your commentary directly to teenage boys. Use “Bro” frequently, especially when addressing your viewers. Tell lots of penis jokes. Say “Boobs” as often as you can. Insert as much sexual innuendo into your commentary as possible. Repeat “That's what she said”, over and over. Don't worry about offending women, since they don't play video games anyway. Neither do people over 19. Bonus: If female gamers or those old people comment, repeat suggestion #1.

10.   NEVER do a Test Recording

Never test record and post a private segment on You Tube. Why check? Everything you do is perfect the first time.

If you do all of these things, you will definitely see a change in your number of comments, and in your subscriber base. Good luck!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Things I Learned Yesterday

Today I'm going to cheat. Well, not REALLY cheat - This is something I wrote a few years ago that actually made the Best of Craigslist.

Things I Learned Yesterday:

When you have to use the bathroom, do not let the dogs precede you into the room. Bathrooms are very small rooms and only have one door.

When the dogs knock you down while they attempt to exit the bathroom, do not fall on the toilet.

Toilets can explode.

Dogs vanish when toilets explode.

You can move at lightspeed when shutting off the water line to a toilet that has exploded.

Porcelain is very sharp, and cuts on the palm of the hand bleed profusely.

Dog towels are good for soaking up blood.

Dog towels are also good for soaking up water that results from exploding toilets.

Plumbers cost $150 per hour, plus travel time, plus a new toilet and hardware.

If you laugh at the plumber's prices, he will hang up on you.

Toilets at Lowes cost about $150.

Toilets are not too hard to replace. Just be careful, because porcelain is sharp.

You can save about 300 bucks if you replace the toilet yourself.

Dog towels are also good for wiping up the wax ring goo from underneath exploded toilets.

Yard sales are great places to buy dog towels. You can get a dog towel at a yard sale for about 50 cents.

Best yard sale bargain on Saturday, July 7th, 2007: 6 dog towels for 3 bucks.

Final score: Toilet=0, Plumber=0, Dogs=1, Dog Towels=6.

How was your day?

(Originally published to the showlist and Craigslist, July 7th, 2007)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

You say “AY-ther” with a Long-A, I say EE-ther with a Long-E. This is the tempest in a teapot surrounding the awesome long-awaited and newly released Aether Collaboration Mod developed by Kingbdogz, Kodaichi, Shockah, Flan and 303 for the popular indie game Minecraft. After watching YouTube LPers and their audiences alike struggle with, and forum-fight about, the pronunciation of the word “Aether”, I decided to take a look. Before we degenerate into Dan Quayle-ism, lets see what we can actually find out about the word.

So, checking the mighty Merriam-Webster online for the pronunciation key, I find the definition of aether listed as: “A variation of ETHER.” Hmm. I then check what I'm here for, the pronunciation key. No pronunciation listed on this word. Neither is the audio playback of “aether” offered. Hmm. Checking “ether” as advised shows it to be pronounced, predictably, EE-ther with the long E, \ˈē-thər\. And the audio playback option confirms “EE-ther” as the pronunciation. Time for a new source, hopefully one with information linked to “aether”. Goodbye, Merriam-Webster. Dictionary fail.

Maybe we can learn more from the etymology of the word than the piddly bits in the dictionary. Let's take a look at some classical literature. Greek gives us Aither, one of three gods of the heavens, as well as the rarefied air those gods breathed. There, it is pronounced Long-A “AY-ther”. Aristotle gives us “æther”, referred to as the fifth element of essence or spirit, as well as the force or material that gave celestial bodies their circular orbits. Here we are given an entirely different pronunciation: aith-EE-r with the long E moved to the second position. I get this-it is where “ethereal” or “aethereal” (ih-theer-ee-uhl) comes from. But still, no joy here, just another variant added to the mix.

OK, Google, time for you to do your stuff. Finally, a definition of aether that includes an audio playback and a pronunciation, (thr) . This one is another long-E aether, and lists Aristotle's aith-EE-r as well as the Latin, in which the pronunciation looks like EE-th-EE-r, with two long E's. Hmm. I also see a variant based in Greek that includes the Greek pronunciation chart: (ˈiːθə). This seems to be pronounced with the “ae” sound as a long E yet again.

Now, let's take a look at the mod itself and some of the “ae” words used within, specifically focusing on the “Aer-” prefix. How is this pronounced? Most people would pronounce it with a long-A, as in “aerosol”, but given what we've seen with this troublesome “ae” combination, lets sound out some words.

Aerwhales: Clearly Long-A usage. Can't see calling them EARwhales.
Aerclouds: See above. EARclouds? Naw.
Aechor Petals: Could go either way. Long-A-chor or Long-E-chor.
Aechor Plants: See above. Either/or.
Aerclouds: Long-A for sure, since EARclouds just sounds silly.

Primarily long-E from reference sources, but the long-A is well represented, too. Our named items from the mod itself seem to be primarily long-A, but some could possibly be long-E. Hmm.

Still as clear as mud.

From what I remember of long-ago school, I SEEM to remember that either variant, be it long-E or long-A, was correct. Then I remember-I have the definitive source. My mother. She's a retired ENGLISH TEACHER. So I call.

“Mom? I have a quick question.”
“OK?” (with trepidation, Mom knows me well)
“How do you properly pronounce aether? Is it AY-ther or EE-ther?”
“Either way is proper usage, dear. Why do you ask?”
“Mom, it would take way too long to explain. Love you, bye.”

There it is-Mom is always right.


You may now feel free to pronounce “Aether” any way you wish, and so may everyone else. Stop being the pronunciation police, and go out, play in the Aether and have a good time.

Aesop: The Crow and the Pitcher

Aesop's Fables: The Crow and the Pitcher

Picture credits: From The Æsop for Children, by Æsop, illustrated by Milo Winter, Project Gutenberg etext 19994

Greetings, and welcome. 

I am Kristal, known as thecrystalcrow in many online communities. For those who know me (and those who don't), I seem to be returning to writing after a three-year hiatus. Frankly, I don't know exactly what I'm going to post here. Right now, I'm posting whatever strikes my fancy, which could be anything from video gaming to needlework to German Shepherd rescue to what I've learned today. There will be a mixed bag here, no doubt. 

I wanted to start off with the story of the blog title, which comes from the fable "The Crow and the Pitcher" (I'm Captain Obvious), which tells the tale of a crow dying of thirst, and how ingenuity and persistence kept the crow alive.

Enjoy, and well met.