Goodbye, Jokulhaups

A few weeks ago we had to put one of our cats, Jokulhaups, down.  He was only 3 years old, but he had developed FIP.  From what we understand through the vet and some Googling, there is a common virus that many cats get when they’re young, but all it really does is give them some diarrhea before they get over it.  However, in some cats, it then mutates into FIP, and there is no known cure for FIP at this time.  Cats usually affected by FIP are on the young end or the old end, and the vet said Jokulhaups was on the upper edge of the young end that get it.

After we put him down we had him cremated, and we got him back yesterday.  They put him in a nice wooden box and printed a shiny gold sticker with his name on it – unfortunately it was spelled wrong, but it’s on the back, and I’m considering ordering a plaque for the front.  We put the Jokulhaups Magic the Gathering card (which he was named after) next to him.

Jokulhaups was such a smart and determined kitty.  We got him along with Dragon in 2011, and from the beginning he was finding ways to rebel against us.  When we first got them we kept them shut in our bathroom so they could become more comfortable before we released them into the apartment.  Jokulhaups was always eager to explore more and kept trying to escape the bathroom, so soon we decided to expand their area.  It’s a bit hard to explain, but basically across from the bathroom door was the door to our bedroom.  Standing at the bathroom door looking at the bedroom door, there was a wall to the right, then a sort of open frame to the left that led to the rest of the apartment.  What we decided to do was take a folding table and lean it on its side against the open frame, so that the cats could travel from the bathroom to the bedroom but couldn’t get to the rest of the apartment.  It was at a height where we could just barely swing our legs over it to get back and forth when we needed to.  Jokulhaups decided that wasn’t enough – the tiny 2-month-old kitten jumped high enough to just jump over the table!  No matter how many times we put him back, he would just jump back over.  At that point we just gave up and let them explore the entire apartment.

Jokulhaups had crazy energy and loved to play.  He also got into everything, though.  He chewed through a laptop cable once, and he would chew any paper or pens he found, so we learned to keep everything shut away.  That wasn’t quite enough though – he learned to open the drawers and cabinets in our desks and in the kitchen.  We ended up velcroing them shut, but he was so strong that sometimes he was still able to pull them open, as they all had handles.  It was pretty amazing to watch – the kitchen cabinets had vertical bar handles, so he would just stand, place his left paw against the left cabinet door for stability, and use his right paw to pull on the handle just like a human.

At our second apartment, he was also able to open the kitchen cabinets – these cabinets were the kind with a little indentation at the bottom for you to pull with your fingers, and he figured those out, so we would often come home to random cabinets open.  We were able to reorganize to keep important things where he couldn’t reach though, so we left them.  At this apartment we discovered another amazing thing he could do – when we first moved to this one, we kept them in the bedroom only, to make it easier for us to unpack outside.  Again, this was not good enough for Jokulhaups.  He apparently watched us enough to figure out how to open doors – the doors at this apartment were light and the hinges were loose, so all he had to do was pull down on the handle and he was out.  It was pretty scary the first time we were in the living room and all of a sudden heard the bedroom door opening.  We ended up having to keep the bedroom door locked until we were ready to let them roam free.

As I mentioned before, the doors at this second apartment had loose hinges – the bathroom door would naturally swing almost shut.  Opposite from Jokulhaups, Dragon decided it was fun to shut doors, so she would go into the bathroom and lean a bit on the door so that it would shut completely.  The first time she did this, I watched Jokulhaups open the door for her again from the outside.  However, he wouldn’t open it for her after that all the times she decided it was fun, so after coming home to her shut in the bathroom a few times, we just had to get a door stop to keep her from shutting herself in.

When we got our condo, we actually decided our kitchen cabinet styles based on Jokulhaups – what would be the most difficult for him to open?  We settled on flat cabinets with a round knob.  He couldn’t possibly open those, right?  …Wrong.  We once again came home to random open cabinets.  Jack told me he witnessed him open one once – he actually wrapped his little paw around the round knob!  How did he know to do that?!  We also came home to some open closet doors a few times, but I guess they were too boring for him, as he eventually stopped opening them.

Jokulhaups grew up to be a very large healthy kitty, ending up around 16 pounds as a 3-year-old.  Dragon is only around 9 pounds.  When we first got them Jokulhaups would be pretty aggressive, and would win any play-fights.  Over time though it seemed that he would let her win – we would watch as he would lay on his back with his belly wide open, and allow Dragon to just pounce at him.  He loved to play and didn’t use his weight as an advantage.  He was also so very friendly – a friend brought her cat over once and that cat and Dragon were terrified, but he just wanted to play!  He excitedly went right up to that cat to investigate, and tried to play.  We also brought them over to another friend’s place that had two cats, and Dragon and those cats were terrified, but Jokulhaups just kind of took the entire apartment over, investigating everything.  He loved to say hello whenever anyone would come over.

When we moved to our condo in January, we noticed that he became a little more reserved – we figured he was growing up and maturing.  We no longer needed to keep our pens and papers hidden away, and he did not open the cabinets as often as at the last apartment.  However, a few months after that we noticed that he slowly stopped eating.  We couldn’t figure out why, as we didn’t change anything around that time, but after a while he started eating again, so we didn’t think much of it after that.  A few months later we noticed that he seemed to be losing his balance.  When he was on the couch, he was very unsteady, and he quickly got worse – he didn’t have the strength to jump up onto the couch when he wanted to snuggle, and would fall back down and give up.  We took him to the vet and they could see he was unsteady and that he had lost 6 pounds, but couldn’t find anything obviously wrong with him, so they took some blood for testing and let us know they would get back to us.

When they did get back to us, we found out that he had FIP.  It was uncertain how long he had.  At the vet appointment they had injected him with some fluids, and we got some liquid medicine to give him that would make him a bit more comfortable, but not cure him.  He wasn’t happy with the medicine though; the first day he took it fine, but the next few days after that he would throw up the morning dosage.  We went back to the vet and they gave him some long-term antibiotic shots (long-term meaning a few weeks) so we could stop giving him the liquid medicine.  They also showed us how to inject fluids into him, so that if the fluids helped and he felt better, we could give him fluids weekly on our own.  It kind of freaked me out – I don’t do well with needles, and the fluids also cause a hump under his skin when injected that also freaked me out, so I couldn’t really watch and Jack had to take the responsibility of learning how to do it.

The shots and fluids seemed to help him a bit – he was much more awake and aware, and was hungrily eating the liquidy food they gave us for him (he was too weak to eat the chunky food we usually give them, so we mixed the liquidy food with some water, heated it in the microwave, and spoon-fed it to him multiple times a day).  However he was still very weak.  We had to go out of town for a wedding and had my brother watch the cats, but by the time we came back he could no longer stand.  We found him laying under the couch in our second bedroom, and we didn’t want to disturb him so we didn’t move him, but we became very concerned that night.  Every night since we’ve had the cats they always join us for bed – Dragon always sleeps on my pillow and eventually migrates to snuggle with Jack, while Jokulhaups would often sleep on different spots on the bed.  Even if he didn’t sleep on the bed, he would always be in the room.  However that night he did not join us, and was still in the exact same position under the couch the next day.  It seemed that his legs were slowly becoming paralyzed; his little feet got colder and colder.

At that point we knew we didn’t have much time left.  He could not get up to eat or go to the bathroom.  We put a towel under him, and spent the next few nights next to him on an air mattress in that second bedroom.  He’s always squeaked rather than meowed, and whenever he squeaked at us we would lay him in the litter box in case he needed to pee.  During the day, the sun shines directly into that room, so we placed him in front of the window so he could enjoy it while we were at work.

The day before we were scheduled to put him down, we bought some rattly mice.  They have always been his favorite toy, but he would always lose them under things when he played with them.  I figured I would give him one more.  However, I couldn’t get just one, in case Dragon took it from him because she didn’t have one.  So, we gave Dragon one of them outside in the living room where he couldn’t see, hoping that it would make him less upset that he couldn’t play.  We gave him his in the second bedroom – I thought that it would make him feel better but it was so heart-breaking.  He immediately grabbed it in this mouth and tried with all his strength to get up and play with it.  When he couldn’t, it just dropped it and lay there.

The day of, we took the day off work to spend time with him in the sunny second bedroom.  Dragon joined us, and we spent a lazy family day in the sun.  When we put him down, they let us leave that rattly mouse with him.

We’ve tried to keep an eye on Dragon since then to make sure she is okay.  Thinking back on it, she did become very clingy a little while before Jokulhaups got really bad, perhaps because he stopped playing with her.  She started following our schedule very closely – when we went to get ready for bed, she would follow us and sit on the edge of the tub waiting.  Then, once we were done, she would follow us to bed and fall asleep with us as usual.  She was always there when we woke up – and she still does all that now.  She was never that close with Jokulhaups; the very few times I caught them snuggling, I could tell it was Jokulhaups that snuggled up with her, and she never really paid much attention to him even at the very end, other than some play-fighting.  She seems okay now, but I think she still misses him, and she had never been home alone before that day.  Now she is all alone by herself all day when we are at work.  After a few more months, I think we may get another kitty to keep her company.

This got really really long, but I wanted to remember Jokulhaups.  Goodbye, Jokulhaups – we love you.

Wedding site part 1: Getting started

Now that we have a date and venue, I can start really working on our wedding site!

As of now there’s still nothing on it, just some piggies and a coming soon message.  However, we’ve decided to do a one-page site with fancy parallax effects.  I’ve never done anything like that before, so this will be fun.  The goal is to have it done by August 15th, so it will be ready when we send save the dates the next week.  (Assumed in that goal is that we’ll have save the dates designed and printed by then – we’ll see…)

I found some pretty neat one-page parallax wedding sites as inspiration:

  • Judy and Z – I like the way the navigation bar works in this one.  It starts at the bottom of the main section, then sticks to the top as you scroll down.  It also changes the color of the link to the section you’re currently looking at, so you know where you are.  Something I’m kind of iffy about is that in some sections, you have to click something to see more – if it’s one big page, I’d rather it’s consistently one big page you can scroll smoothly through, without needing to stop to get information.  I am going to do that for a photo section though – although it will at least give you a preview of some photos, and you can interact if you want to see more.  In the case of the Judy and Z site, there is no information in, for example, the “About Us” section unless you click.
  • Casper en Danel – I can’t read anything in this one, but I thought the the timeline section was neat, with the text and photos coming in from the sides as you scroll.  I feel there’s a little too much movement though; it takes half of my screen height for the text to finish moving from the edge of the screen to its final position, so my eyes have to move a lot to try to read.
  • Vince and Mars – This one is cute!  I like the parallax clouds/stars and change with your mouse.  I also like the cute header with the navigation under it; however once you scroll it kind of gets in the way.  On my screen, that header takes up half the height, so as I scroll I can only use the other half to see the content.  I think I would like to do something like this with a cute header and navigation underneath, except that instead of having the entire header + navigation stick to the top, only have the header stick to the top – kind of like the first site above (Judy and Z).
  • Julia and Artem – This one is also so cute!  I love the hot air balloon idea, and that it lands when you get to the bottom.  This one, like the Casper en Danel site, also has text fly in from the side when you scroll.  However, it’s much easier to read because when it comes in, it very quickly reaches its final destination while it’s still near the bottom of my screen, so my eyes don’t need to move as far (only up and down!).  I just also love that at the bottom, it says “Design by the bride, programming by the groom”.
  • Helen and Josh – So unique!  It’s kind of the opposite of the hot air balloon landing – you start at the base of a tree, and scroll up to “climb” it.  This one doesn’t seem as practical though, as it doesn’t have any actual wedding information.
  • Jess and Russ – The text was kind of small and hard to read, but I really like the keyboard and moves into place as you scroll.  I also like the letter that slides out of the envelope at the bottom for guests to enter and RSVP.  Something about the art made it a little creepy though…

So now we’re sketching out ideas of what we want things to look like, and I’m also putting together a skeleton.  I’m going to keep everything on GitHub; I’m also going to take this opportunity to try using watson (apparently not capitalized)!  I found it a while ago and wanted to try it out but wasn’t working on any personal projects – you can add tags to your code, and it will pull them out and even add them as issues on GitHub!  I had a bunch of issues trying to get it working – I tried both the ruby and perl versions, and had a bunch of missing dependencies, things that weren’t high enough version, etc.  I finally got it to work though, and am trying it out now.

It’s kind of irritating for HTML because it takes the ending “–>” as part of the description of the tag.  It does specifically list that it supports HTML though, so maybe I’m just doing something wrong?  I’m also having trouble getting it to connect to GitHub, hopefully I can get that sorted out soon.

…and never mind.  Apparently the version I installed as a RubyGem was not the latest version.  Grabbed the latest version from GitHub and everything is awesome now.  I realized it when I tried to set my own tag format as described on GitHub, but my version said it was an unknown setting.  It successfully added my 4 todos to GitHub as issues!  Hooray!  This is neat.

watson

watson

Bonus: In the course of looking up parallax examples, I found Flat vs Realism.  I don’t know what to feel about it.

We’re still alive!!!

BaconFriedRice has been neglected for a long time.  We’re still using this ugly theme I randomly picked a long time ago, even though I was working on making one over a year ago… Jack hasn’t posted about games or anime, and I haven’t posted about books or worked on anything in my spare time like I used to.

Biggest reason – we have no spare time!  Work is awesome, but we put a lot into it and it takes up almost all of our time.  When I’m free on the weekends I’d rather just sit around doing nothing than work on anything.  I’ve sadly even dropped the things I was doing while I had nothing to do at my previous job – I used to read books all the time, and now my reading has slowed so much that it took me over a year to finish reading Crowdsourcing (don’t even ask when the post about it will be!).  I’ve only finished two other books since then (I Am Jackie Chan and Nine Algorithms That Changed The Future), and I never learn – I start new books without finishing my current ones, and still keep buying more!  One day I’ll get through all the books I have… and one day I’ll post about them all… in the meantime, I’m still keeping track of my books on my Books Trello.

I’ve also stopped working on all the projects I had been working on… and learning the new languages… I have nothing made with Node.js, haven’t even finished one language in Seven Languages in Seven Weeks, have not finished the BaconFriedRice redesign (started May 2012!), stopped playing around with random parallax things… just stopped learning stuff on my own like I used to.  I’m sad and I want to keep working on stuff, but I’m just so tired when I get free time now :(  I need to somehow motivate myself to do things again.

In other random life news… My hair has purple highlights, we are buying a condo that will be completely constructed around December/January… and that’s about it.  My life is boring.  Hopefully you’ll see a post about a book or a project soon.

Fate/Zero

Allison and I watch a lot of television shows while eating. As we started to run out of “real” TV shows to watch, I started to watch Anime and Allison didn’t seem to mind. This means I’ve actually gotten the time to watch anime from 2012 while simultaneously fulfilling my “spend time with Allison” daily quota.

http://i.imgur.com/lCmFfVQ.jpg

Fate/Zero is supposed to be the best anime of 2012, according to several web sources and a random candidate I interviewed at work. When it first came out I was very hesitant to watch it as it’s a prequel to Fate/Stay Night, an anime I consider to be awful. However, having heard all the great reviews, I finally watched it and was very pleased by the results.

So the story is essentially the same as the original, 7 masters summon heroic spirts of the past to fight to the death over the Holy Grail, an object that can supposedly grant wishes. The only difference is that it’s executed ten times better. The animation is top notch, with everything looking crisp and detailed. There were some fantastic and memorable scenes, like the fight between Emiya and Kotomine and of course all the Noble Phantasms.

The biggest improvement over the original anime was just how much more serious everyone was about the entire ordeal. The #1 thing in the original anime that pissed me off was that every master was essentially a random highscool kid or some other irrelevant character. In Fate/Zero, most of the masters are adult mages who have trained for years to prepare for this event. I cannot stress how much of a difference this makes in the overall feeling of the anime. It adds so much impact to the motivation and tone of the story, compared to a bunch of kids that randomly got dragged into a fight. Fate/Stay Night would never have serial murdering of small children but an atrocity like that completely fits the tone and motivation of the characters in Fate/Zero. And yes, there are a lot of little kids getting killed in this. It sounds awful but it fits and I’m glad they didn’t shy away from something like that simply because it’s too shocking.

The main characters are very well developed, and Emiya Kiritsugu has a fantastic back story and personality. I really liked the direction they took with the main character, as he would frequently shock you with his brutality, yet it would always fall into his “ends justify the means” philosophy. What was really fun was looking at the wiki and reading about the real-life characters that the heroic spirits were based off of. I was surprised how much actual history went into recreating the personalities and motivations of the heroic spirits.

http://i.imgur.com/aOPGa1H.jpg

Unfortunately, Fate/Zero is still plagued by the annoying fact that it has to be 25 episodes. Thus, we get to see people employ the “teleport away before I lose so that we can drag the fight on to another episode.” There are probably 3-4 times when two people decide to not finish the fight because it’s not honorable, it’s unfair, or they’re just tired.

Regardless, I was very pleased with Fate/Zero overall. The fantastic action and engaging story make up for the anime dragging it’s feet. It’s definitely a must watch and one of the best animes I’ve seen in the last few years.

Happy 4th anniversary! And late Halloween pictures

We’ve been neglecting BaconFriedRice for a while.  Since I’ve started my new job, we’ve been really busy.  Jack and I work at the same place now, so we end up staying later than we want, as often I’ll be waiting for Jack to finish something, but by the time he’s done I’ll be in the middle of something, and so on…

This also makes it hard to make things for each other for our anniversary, since we leave for work together, are at work together all day, and come home from work together.  No time to work on secret presents!

Now that I’ve made my excuses, here is all I was able to give Jack.  I was stuck at work until midnight last night waiting for him to finish, so I didn’t have many supplies.  I even ran out of lead for my pencil, and all I could find were whiteboard markers and highlighters, so I just stuck with my pen.  It’s also unfinished, since he came back before I was done.

Jack gave me this: Piggy as an Assassin!  Based on Ezio.

And now, our late Halloween pictures.  I was based on the splash screen of one of Storm8‘s games, Castle Story.

And Jack was Faust from Guilty Gear:

Terrible Design and The Cat That Opens Doors

We moved to a new apartment on Saturday.  That night, we heard this annoying periodic beeping, so Jack went to check out what it was and turn it off.

This is the security system that is in our apartment.

See that long On / Off button?  Doesn’t it look like the top would be On, and the bottom would be Off?  Jack pushed Off just in case it was the security system making the beeping.

Instead, he accidentally turned the motion sensor on, and set it off at midnight.  It was going for around 10 minutes before he finally managed to get the alarm to shut up (no one had told us the passcode when we moved in).  Thank god it’s not connected to the police department!

This system is so poorly designed – apparently that long button is actually an On/Off toggle button, so instead of turning it off, Jack turned it on.  First of all, why would you make it an extra-long button and label the top and bottom separately if the entire button does one thing?  That is not intuitive at all.  Why wouldn’t they be separate On and Off buttons, to make it clear?  Furthermore, why can you turn on the alarm system without a passcode?  The system in our old house in Virginia required a passcode both to turn the system on and off – no chance of accidentally turning it on!

In addition, my friend Rosemary had the following to add to the list of how terribly unclear this system is:

  • What in the world does FUNCTION do?
  • And what about BYPASS?  Does that mean you can bypass the system without a passcode?
  • RESET?  INTERIOR?  INSTANT?
  • Is the phone number for customer service or emergency information?
  • What does that warning light mean?  Was there a break-in?  Or is there an error with the system?  12 errors?
  • What do all the numbers mean?
  • Why in the world do the 7, 8, and 9 buttons spell FAP?

In other news, we are settling in to the apartment.  The first few days, we kept the cats in the bedroom so that they wouldn’t get in the way while we rearranged and unpacked all our items.  Unfortunately, Jokulhaups is TOO SMART and figured out how to open the door.

Apologies for how blurry the photo is.

We ended up having to tie the bedroom door handle to the bathroom door handle so he couldn’t pull the door open.

Since I haven’t started my new job yet, I spend the days following the kitties around with a spray bottle and teaching them where they’re not allowed to be.  Jokulhaups has already figured out how to open the cabinets and drawers in this apartment.  In the old apartment, we Velcroed the cabinets shut, and he was still strong enough to open them.  In this apartment, there isn’t enough overlap between the cabinet body and cabinet door to add Velcro – I have no idea what we’re going to do!

When we took them to the vet, Dragon was weighed at 8 pounds, and Jokulhaups at 15 (the doctor said he isn’t overweight though).  He’s almost twice her weight!

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

I’d been hearing bits and pieces about Jiro Dreams of Sushi for a while and drooled over the trailer a few times, but never really got around to watching it despite its 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.  Last week, however, a foodie friend posted about it on Facebook, and I ended up having some good sashimi on Sunday, so I finally decided I need to watch this!

The first thing I have to mention is that the order of the topics in the movie didn’t completely make sense to me.  I was typing some interesting points on my phone as I was watching, and reading back on them now, they seem kind of random.  They would bring up Jiro’s sons, then talk about daily fish purchases, mention his apprentices, talk about his personal life again, then talk about his daily rice purchases… I’m going to reorder topics in this post in a way that makes more sense to me!

I never realized so much went into sushi – or perhaps this much only goes into really good sushi.  I liked watching his hand movements while sculpting a piece of sushi, as they were very deliberate and consistent, but also very artistic and beautiful.  I’ve commonly seen people in the US mix wasabi into their soy sauce and dip the sushi in, but from what I’ve read and heard, that’s not the “accepted” method in Japan.  In the movie Jiro put wasabi between the fish and the rice, then brushed soy sauce on top, and it was expected that you just eat the entire piece of sushi in one bite as is.  It puts so much trust and pressure on the chef to prepare food perfectly the way everyone enjoys!

It looks like it would be intimidating and maybe a bit awkward to eat there – he places one piece at a time on a plate in front of you, so you have to keep up with his meal pace, and he is always there in front of you.  I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t like one of them – I wouldn’t want to show it to him, and I’d have to eat it since the meal is so expensive (over 300 US dollars)!

I had never thought about where the fish comes from before.  One of my favorite parts of this movie was when they talked to the tuna dealer.  I find it so interesting that he specializes in tuna – all he does all day is select, buy, clean, and sell tuna.  The dealer said he could tell if the tuna will taste good by its texture – I can’t even imagine knowing anything so well.  The tuna auction looked so chaotic but exciting at the same time, and it was neat to see all the huge tuna lined up on the floor.

Shrimp, octopus, rice… everything they select and buy in the morning for that day!  He said that they massage the octopus for 40-50 minutes – it blows my mind that they pay that much attention to everything, just to serve one small piece of each type of sushi to each person.  I wonder if the octopus was alive while massaging though… and if not, if they massage before or after cooking.  They were slicing the eel while it was still alive; they staked it behind its head to the cutting board then sliced the body in half.

The movie mentioned that apprentices are under Jiro for 10 years.  For how much of a perfectionist the movie kept painting him as, he wasn’t as mean or strict to the apprentices as I expected – unless he acted differently for the movie, of course.  I don’t think I would be able to handle doing the same thing every day all day for 10 years.  With my personality, I can’t handle doing the same things every day!  The biggest thing that caught my attention, though, is that the apprentice said that one of the last things they are allowed to do is to make the egg sushi.  The highest honor isn’t even to make sushi involving fish!  I am now certain I don’t understand the art of sushi at all.

The one thing that irritated me about this movie, though, was gender bias, both by Jiro and in the focus of the movie itself.  At one point he tells his customers that he makes smaller pieces of sushi for the females, so that the meal moves at a consistent pace and everyone finishes pieces at the same time.  Such bullshit!  I want just as much sushi as anyone else.  And some women can eat more than some men.  I understand Japanese culture does still put more emphasis on sons and child order (his oldest son is still working under him since he is expected to take over for his father, but his second son got to open his own separate restaurant), but I thought Jiro himself might not be as traditional, since at one point, he says something like, “Why should I respect my parents, they never did anything for me!”.  The movie never mentions his mother or wife, and Jiro himself only mentions his wife once.  In fact, I’m still not sure if she is alive or not.  I googled “Jiro Ono wife” to find out and I just got a bunch of reviews talking about the lack of mention about those two females in his life.

Overall, a very enjoyable mouth-watering movie.  I need to go have some sushi this week now.

Analyzing Drinking Games

Like Mew2King, I take games very seriously. While this usually applies to the video variety, it inevitable carries over to drinking games as well. Drinking and drinking games have always been a particular interest of mine. Not because I’m an alcoholic (although I do occasionally enjoy a good binge drink) but because drinking has such interesting effects on people’s behavior and personality.

One of the things I frequently think about while drinking is the design behind the games. I ponder over what makes drinking games I’ve played before fun and exciting. In addition, I note down when situations become boring or inconvenient and think of how I would improve them. This includes not just the game mechanics itself, but the logistics and setup that is often unique to drinking games.

Easy learning curve

Most people are generally stupid and have a difficult time learning new games. This tends to be magnified even further when drinking. Therefore, the rules of any drinking game should be easy to explain. Any physical actions should be simple to perform and players should not require extensive practice to complete the basic goals. Drinking Magic the Gathering might be a great idea, but good luck trying to teach a drunk person the “stack”.

Accommodating a flexible number of players

Drinking is a social event and typically happens around a large group of people. It’s important that the number of participants in any game is flexible. Nobody wants to be left out and forced to “wait” till the next round. Beer Pong is a game that suffers immensely from this problem. The game typically allows for a max of only four players, and anyone who has been to a crappy frat party can tell you how long the waiting list typically is.

Allow players to enter and exit with no break in action

One of the absolute truths of drinking is that everything you consume eventually has to come out. Whether that be through one end or another, people will constantly be getting up to go to the bathroom. Drunk players are also easily distracted, whether it be by the cute guy or girl that just walked into the room or some friends coming to talk. A player that needs to step out for any reason should never stop the game. You’ll see this happen in a variety of games where all the players of the game are required to progress.

Losers should be punished more

The loser(s) of the game should drink more than the winner. While some people may not consider drinking more as “losing”, the truth of the matter is that drinking games exist to force someone to drink. Without that factor, you might as well just sit around and drink casually. Flip Cup is the most egregious violator of this rule, as the losers inherently drink less than the winners.

Standardized penalty

The amount you drink must be a pre-defined constant. This means no “sips”, “seconds”, “drinks” or “gulps”. A cup should be filled with a quantity of liquid, and that cup must be finished completely before the game continues. The point of a drinking game is to force drinking when one would rather not. If you give players control over how much they can drink, you always end up with 10 second drinks consuming absolutely no alcohol.

Luck and Skill

A game should require some sort of skill, whether it be mental sharpness, a quick reaction, or good hand eye coordination. However, there must also be a high level of luck involved so that newer players have a chance of defeating veterans. Nobody wants to play drinking chess. Beer Pong is a fantastic example of a good luck vs skill balance. The game takes an incredible amount of skill to play well. I can attest to that, since I used to practice shooting ping pong balls at a single cup of water in my basement. However, the weight and size of a ping pong ball make it very difficult to shoot consistently. I’ve read online that there are professional players with insanely high shot percentages, but even the most skilled players I have ever met (I knew someone who won the CMU Inter-fraternity Beer Pong League) wouldn’t shoot higher than 25%.

Opportunity for low chance but high impact actions

With a lot of luck comes a lot of opportunities for incredible “one in a million” plays. Nothing is more exciting in a Beer Pong match than coming back from a large deficit in redemption. These are things that happen rarely but are statistically likely to occur after enough play. Human memory tends to focus on the single, exceptional moment, while conveniently forgetting the mundane hour leading up to it. By adding very impactful but difficult mechanics to a drinking game, it makes the game feel more exciting than it really is.

Creating a sense of rivalry and competition

Games should allow one player to target another and also allow players to team up against one person. This creates drama and tension that completely random drinking lacks. Teams and temporary alliances creates camaraderie between players, resulting in more interaction.

No night ending penalties

While forcing the loser to chug an enormous amount can be amusing, it is generally better to have multiple small losses that slowly add up. Alcohol is best taken in manageable amounts, consistently throughout a night. Games like Kings, which accumulate alcohol in a central cup over the course of a game, typically end with the loser stepping out of the game, passing out, or worse. You want everyone to eventually become drunk, but it should happen at the end of the night once the game is over, not in the middle.

The Pinnacle of Design

I lived for a few years with players from the CMU Rugby Team, and there is only one useful thing I can pull from that experience. They played a variation of Quarters where players sit around a table with 2 shot glasses, a central glass of alcohol, a refilling pitcher, and some quarters. 2 players attempt to bounce a quarter off the table into the glass, and when successful, pass the shot glass to their left. If a shot glass is passed to you while you still have a glass, the glasses are stacked and you have 1 chance to make this double shot. If you do, the double stack is passed to your left for the next player to make. As soon as you miss the double shot, the player to your left takes the top glass and continues shooting. You must then drink the central cup, refill it, and then continue shooting. If you manage to bounce the quarter into the shot glass on your first shot, you can pass it to anyone not already holding a shot glass.

Why is this game so well designed? Outside of some hardware requirements (a table, 2 shot glasses, and quarters) it satisfies every single positive aspect I listed above. The game can accommodate any number of players from 4 up to 10+ by simply adding a 3rd or 4th shot glass into the rotation. Individual players can leave and re-enter the game at any point and the rotation continues like normal. The game has a standardize central cup as a penalty, and players can fill it as much or as little as they want, allowing for extremely tense moments when a full cup is at stake. The game is very skill based, but luck still players a heavy part in the bounce. The double stack shot provides constant chances for a “low chance, high impact” moment for everyone to cheer at. Passing the glass to anyone if you make it on your first shot allows you to target specific players.

I’ve played a very wide range of drinking games and I’ve found that this variation of Quarters provides the highest combination of entertainment, competitiveness, drama, and fun. Try it out some time if you’ve never experienced it, and I’m certain you’ll agree with me. And on another note, I have my Quarters table ready anytime someone wants to come play. Yes, I went to Ikea and bounced quarters on every one of their tables until I found the optimal one to buy.