June 10, 2020
A majestic Go board can really pull together a room. It says to any visitor: “Would you like to play Go now? It's right here.” Hopefully the answer is yes.
And if you're looking to be a Go influencer, it's essential for those Instragram photos.
But if you want to play Go somewhere other than your home, theoretically even outdoors, a majestic board isn't going to cut it. It's heavy, awkward, and it's going to get scratched to shit.
So I needed a good travel board. Just in case I want to be a, uh, Go influencer at some point.
My first one was a $20 set from the mall:
It's light, and slides into a designer backpack or shoulder bag easily. But these stones have all the weight of chewy fruit candies; it's impossible to play with force without stones skittering off the board. A gust of wind could end a photo shoot.
Even more portable is this one, folded into book format. It was a gift from a friend who keeps rats as pets, and has the quality of having actually been chewed by rats:
The stones are bigger, and it's got a 13x13 on the back, but aesthetically, it leaves something to be desired. The rat story is cool, but how are you going to be a top Go influencer with a piece of red cardboard and a book telling you what atari means?
So I went online. Years ago I'd ordered my good board from GoGameGuru, but the site has since shut down, so I needed a new retailer. I soon found myself on the Kiseido site, looking at some very unique boards:
Ordering from this place, though, looks sketchy. The SSL is broken and the reasons do not inspire confidence.
Seeing as I don't want my payment information compromised en route, or perhaps stored in a plaintext file somewhere, I kept looking.
Now this one looked ideal: a roll-up magnetic Go board, in a convenient travel sling. It's like I'm going to Yoga, except I'm definitely not – the sweat is rather from spending the afternoon generating affiliate links.
The stones stay in place, and there's even the option to stick it to the fridge, so you can consider Go problems while you're making smoothies. Or you can write out motivational phrases for yourself!
But now your hordes of followers expect new phrases all the time, so it's a fridge board now, and not a travel board at all.
What I needed was a mix of everything. A set I could take from the office to the bar. Something with heft, but not too much. One with an intoxicating Cherry finish.
It came with a convenient carrybag for the bowls, and the board slips into a large tote bag. I wouldn't want to carry it around all day, but my assistant can.
When this pandemic is over I am going to be such an influencer.
August 26, 2016
A while back, before I became a proper programmer, I thought freelance writing was my calling. And with freelance websites teeming with jobs, how could I fail?
All sorts of ways, it turned out!
First of all, I had to bid on the jobs. These were mostly content creation gigs -- churning out articles based around a given keyphrase to boost the website’s SEO. The active bids were pretty depressing. At the high end, I could make about a cent a word, and most of them were closer to a half-cent. When I finally was selected for one, I wrote about 21,000 words and made $168.
But I kept at it. I did some reviews of guitar software which I happened to own, and those paid comparatively better. But one job in particular, for a men’s fashion and lifestyle company, was to write 100 tweets for something like a dollar each about style and online dating.
No one is more stylish than me. I should make that clear right now. At clubs, which I frequent, this is my reputation. But to apply for the gig, I had to send in a bunch of sample tweets anwyay.
Long story short, I did not get the job. I’m sure they just used all the best ones from the samples they got and never paid anyone, but I don’t hold a grudge.
Here were my submissions, and some commentary, with a few years’ perspective:
I still think this is pretty good men’s advice. Plan a good stubble! Doesn’t cost you anything.
Probably didn’t fit into the consumerist agenda the company was trying to push, but I stand by this menswear advice.
Probably should have told the reader to buy a blazer in every colour or something, but I’m still running off blazer knowledge from five years ago, and I’m doing fine. Blazers don’t change that much.
These next few veer into heteronormative dating advice. Is it skeezy to engineer a date, or is it ”romantic”? Don’t form an opinion just yet; we have yet to fully explore the topic.
This one would be pretty hard to pull off but I think it’d be a date this nameless female love interest would tell her friends about.
Why do people insist on talking about their phones? I don’t care what plan you’re on or how much you’re spending every month. Do other people? Maybe if people had more caramel hearts on their drinks they’d actually try to connect on a personal level.
You’re going to spend your whole relationship picking apart each others’ flaws anyway, so why not start now? #mensfashion
Getting passed over for that job wasn’t the end of the world, but it still makes me wonder: could I have transformed the world of men’s fashion and dating culture? I guess we’ll never know. Until then: don’t wear cologne. Everybody’ll hate you.