Monday, January 30, 2006

Wiki Mouse Club

Despite my lack of posts lately, I still enjoy writing from time to time. Last week I had fun contributing to Wikipedia, specifically the entry for the Disney game Toontown Online. The old entry was very haphazard and incomplete, so I pretty much reorganized and rewrote the entire thing. It's funny because my family doesn't even play Toontown that much anymore. But it's such a well-designed game and I have such fondness for it that I felt it deserved a better looking entry. Yes, apparently I really am that geeky. In my own defense, I submit this link to Top Ten reasons Geeks make good fathers.

As of this posting, the only part of the Wikipedia entry that's not mine is the stuff about formulas and algorithms, which I think is yucky but I didn't have the heart to rip it out. Two of the screenshots are mine as well -- the first is a pic of my son and I playing, and the "Playground" pic is my daughter's "toon".

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Good lord, my kids have been pestering me to buy this stuff, which basically looks like styrofoam beads mixed with slime. It doesn't help the cheesy commercial runs every 15 minutes, even on the "good" kids channels like Discovery Kids.

I totally get that the sales pitch uses some old-fashioned deceptions ("If you act now, we'll double-size it, plus throw in some green floam... ABSOLUTELY FREE!"), and I get that it certainly won't work as well as the commercial suggests. But after doing a quick Google search, I was still pretty shocked by a few things:

  • If you order via their website, you will very likely get tricked into spending 60 bucks -- or possibly much more -- without being asked. Based on this long list of complaints, their site borders on the criminal. They take your credit card info upfront, then they suggest several "upgrades" without indicating a price, then they "confirm" your order before giving you a chance to review it. Nice. I'd guess that most porn sites are more ethical. (Uh, stop looking at me like that).

  • Others complain that the stuff is stinky, is unusable right out of the box, and leaves permanent stains on walls and other surfaces. People suggested feeding the homeless or burning your money as more worthwhile alternatives.

As the late, great Phil Hartman once warned, do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

So hey, guess what? I'm not placing an order. But I did find a few simple "recipes" for making your own Floam. Sounds like a reasonably fun family project.