Leaving EB Games, Ten Years On

Ten years ago today, August 20th, 2006, was my last day with EB Games.

I could have told you without looking when my first day was — June 30, 1999 — but not the last. It wasn’t burned into my memory in the same way. I knew it was coming up, maybe it was even past, and yesteday morning before work I looked through my email archives and discovered that the anniversary was today. (Yesterday was a different anniversary; it was the anniversary for the going-away party for myself and two other Raleigh-area managers.) Endings are like that, especially in real life instead of fiction, because life, unlike a book, keeps on going.

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I remember that my last day was a low-key affair. It was a Sunday. One of my last customers of the day was a former EB Games manager from Georgia. He’d left the company for health problems, and somehow he ended up in the Triangle. He bought something, I don’t remember what, and he said, “You’re doing things the old school way, not the GameStop way. It’s refreshing.” When I told him it was my last day, he said that was his luck; he’d finally found an EB Games he could shop at, and now that manager was leaving. At the end of the day I packed up my coffee pot and the EB Games training manuals (I was supposed to have thrown them away months earlier, but I’d kept them at the store for nostalgic reasons), locked up, and it was over. All that was left was to turn in my keys the next day.

When I look back on my time with EB Games, my memories are happy one, even in the final six months, the period after the GameStop buyout. I had wonderful customers, I had great employees, I had fantastic colleagues.

Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can “see” my store in Raleigh. I can walk through it. I can open the cabinets and run my fingers across the spines of the PS2 and XBox games. I can pick up cases on the shelves. I can feel the cashwrap, its strange metal top, and the place worn smooth my the main register. And I can even feel the crumbly press board underneath the cashwrap there.

There are things about EB that I miss. I miss the people. I miss the camaraderie. I miss feeling like a resource, and I miss the feeling of independence I had as a manager.

But, I don’t miss EB. In many ways, the company I left was no longer EB Games, and it hadn’t been for a long time. The name above my door read “EB Games,” but it was a GameStop, and a GameStop was a very different thing.

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For a long period of my adulthood, my identity was EB Games Manager. Now my identity is Writer. In truth, that’s a better identity.

And my, have I written

On a Miserable Flight

Sometimes selfishness doesn't pay. Which isn't a lesson I've really learned in my life, as I generally am not a selfish person.

Still, selfish moments do happen. And one such moment happened on a flight from Las Vegas to Raleigh.

Until six years ago I worked for EB Games. We had annual manager conferences, usually in Las Vegas, and the last manager conference I attended was held at Mandalay Bay on the Vegas strip.

My flight from Raleigh, both directions, involved layovers in the Newark Airport. Yes, I flew northeast to fly west. It didn't make any sense to me, but that was the flight the company booked me for.

At the Newark Airport, on the flight back, I had an hour layover. Before boarding, the person in charge announced that the flight to Raleigh was overbooked, and if someone was willing to be bumped until the next flight (three hours later) they would receive a pass for future flights.

Since I was in no particular hurry to get home — I had nothing to do except sleep that day — I volunteered. And yes, free flight passes was a selling point.

The airline boarded the flight. I gave up my seat, I was given a pass for the next flight, I settled in for a two hour wait, and then…

"Sir, it turns out we're not overbooked. We still have one seat."

"Oh, okay, then." I knew I wasn't going to get the seat I was supposed to have — an aisle seat — but it was fine.

And then I found out where my new seat was.

The last row. A window seat. With a corpulent man on the aisle.

I spent the flight wedged between the man and the window, and it was a miserable flight.

I was never so glad when I arrived in Raleigh. I could move. And I could breathe.

I said not a word to my companion on the flight.

If only I hadn't wanted that free flight pass! If only!

That's what you get for being selfish.

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On Retail Experiences

I have an account at DailyKos, the progressive online community, though I’ve very rarely used it in the past six or seven years. Maybe I’ll post a diary once a year, maybe I’ll log in and make a comment on a post that interests me.

Maybe.

This morning I saw a diary entitled “Confessions of a Retail Worker: $8/hr is generous sez higher-up. Intrigued by the title, I clicked through. It told a tale I found familiar — someone was working the retail life, and they were underpaid and unappreciated. Having spent many years in the retail trenches, I know both.

(I should note for the record, though, that retail is not the only job sector where employees are underpaid and unappreciated. It happens in every job field.)

So I posted a comment, giving another perspective. Here is what I wrote…

Until five years ago, I was a store manager for EB Games and GameStop in the Raleigh, North Carolina area.

As an EB Games manager, we were entrusted with a lot of power. We had our guidelines about where things had to go in the store, we had a payroll budget, we had sales goals, but beyond that, we got to do things pretty much as we saw fit. EB Games, basically, allowed creative thinking.

Eighteen months before I left the company, we were bought out by GameStop. We were told for months that this wouldn’t have any effect; we weren’t to think of this as a buyout/winner-loser situation, we were to think of it as a merging and blending of the two cultures.

September approached, and I started doing interviews for my Christmas season hires, and I’d settled on three really good candidates. Raleigh isn’t that expensive a place to live, but it’s a growing place, and there’s a lot of competition for good workers, so I knew all along that I’d never get away with paying minimum wage, because someone else, someone with social skills, would be able to go somewhere else and get more. The manager over at Crabtree paid about $2.50 over minimum, I paid closer to $1.50, sometimes $2.00 over minimum. My part-timers only worked about 8 to 12 hours a week; they were usually high school or college kids who had other interests and concerns.

Even though we weren’t technically part of GameStop at that point (the government’s approval didn’t come until February, as I recall), GameStop started meddling with EB’s culture. And as we were gearing up for Christmas hiring, the edict came down that, per GameStop, we had a wage scale for part-timers. The maximum that we could pay was 23 cents over the federal minimum wage, unless the store was in a state with a higher state minimum wage in which case the maximum was the state’s minimum wage. (The only way an employee could get that maximum, by the way, was if they had a PhD and spoke three languages. We had a chart with 11 questions, we had to document the answers, and we had to submit the completed chart with the new hire paperwork.)

This disrupted all of my Christmas hiring plans.

I understood GameStop’s view — lots of young people want to work with video games because they love the product — but I thought it was a short-sighted view. What a company pays (and is willing to pay) says a lot about how a company values its employees. The kind of person I would want to hire could just as easily get a better paying job at Barnes & Noble, which is why I was willing to pay more. GameStop took that away, because GameStop believed that no employee was valuable and that every employee could be replaced. (As I would learn once the merger was complete, even the manager wasn’t valuable. A GameStop manager is, basically, a well-paid part-timer, with many responsibilities but no rewards. Even our ability to write a store schedule was taken away, as the schedule was written for us in Texas, and we simply wrote in the employee names when it arrived.) GameStop’s managers couldn’t understand why EB stores had significantly less turnover; as an EB manager, I couldn’t understand why GameStop’s culture of employee turnover had been encouraged and allowed to endure.

I valued my employees. I know a lot of EB managers valued their employees. Everyone that works in a store, especially a little store that has maybe six employees, is in the boat together. You become a team, and you all pull your weight.

Not every company — and not every manager — feels that way, though. Sometimes it’s the person. But I think, more often than not, it’s the culture. And that’s really unfortunate.

On Remembering An Old Employee

I woke this morning to two messages on Facebook from an old acquaintance.

Someone who worked for me at EB Games a decade ago had passed away last month.

His name was Chris Jackson, and I met him one of my first days working for EB Games in Exton in June 1999. He was a regular customer of the store — Bonnie, the manager, knew him pretty well — and he’d have still been in high school then. He’d come in with his girlfriend, in whom he was completely besotted. (I don’t recall her name, unfortunately. All I remember is that she looked like a teenaged Lalla Ward.) As time went on, they would come in the store at least once a week, and we’d talk about this and that, but mainly about games. I liked Chris.

Time passed. He graduated from high school and enrolled at West Chester. I was promoted at EB, then promoted again, and one day in the spring of 2001 he wanted to know if we were hiring. If I had to make a stab at when he started working for EB Games, I’d say it was ten years ago exactly, plus or minus a month.

I didn’t know, until this morning, that Chris was an Eagle Scout, but now that I think about it I can see that. He was a good kid, very responsible and very upstanding, with a strong moral core. There are people who take to responsibility the way fish take to water or kids take to LEGO, and Chris was one of those who was born responsible. I never felt any qualms in leaving him in charge of the store to lock up. He was only twenty, and I think he actually liked the responsibility.

But he made one really big mistake.

He “borrowed” an Xbox and a PlayStation 2 system. He also “borrowed” some games.

Every morning at EB, managers had to do what we called “perpetual counts.” Basically, it was a list of merchandise items that needed to be counted each day. I had been off one day, I did the morning perpetual count and discovered some serious discrepancies — some game systems were missing. Thinking they might have been damaged out but put in the wrong place, I called Chris — who had worked the day before — and I asked him if he knew where an Xbox and a PlayStation were.

Chris gave me an answer I wasn’t expecting, an answer that I would never have expected. He told me that he had them. He’d opened the previous day, he really wanted to play them, so he took the systems and some games and put them in his car. I didn’t have to pry that answer from him, he offered it honestly and straight. He had been up all night, wracked with guilt over what he’d done.

The by-the-book response to this would be to 1) call the district manager and 2) call corporate Loss Prevention. I saw very little value in that; they would have sat him down and yelled at him for an hour and left him a quivering emotional wreck.

My unorthodox response?

“Chris, you understand that you can’t work here any more?”

He said he did.

“Then this is what you’re going to do. You’re going to come in this afternoon, you’re going to turn in your keys, and you’re going to pay for what you took. Once that’s done, as far as I’m concerned, the matter’s closed.”

He agreed, and later that afternoon when I was working with another of my employees, Jordan, Chris came in. He could barely look at me, and he looked like he had been through an emotional hell. He had a list of what he’d taken, complete with serial numbers. I rang up the merchandise; it came to over a thousand dollars, and he paid in cash. He handed me his keys. When it was done, I shook his hand and wished him well. I never saw him again.

Jordan asked me what he had just witnessed.

“Chris doesn’t work here any more,” was all I said. There was nothing left to say.

Offering him the “out” was, to my mind, the mature, responsible act. He had made a mistake. He had owned up to it. It was a mistake that cost him his job, but it didn’t need to be a mistake that ruined his life.

There’s another story that I associate with Chris.

In the summer of 2001, Chris and his family took a week’s vacation and they went to Florida. When Chris came back, he brought a photo album for everyone in the store to look at, and he was so proud of it. He handed it to me, and I flipped through it, and there was page after page of Chris and a young woman who wasn’t his girlfriend.

“Who’s the girl?” I asked.

Chris beamed. “That’s my first cousin Mandy.”

“Mandy. Got it.” It didn’t mean anything to me. I finished looking through the album — there’s nothing more soul-sucking in the world than to look through someone else’s photo album — and I handed it back to him.

“So? What do you think?” he asked.

“About what?”

“Mandy.”

I shrugged. “She looks nice enough.”

“It’s Mandy.”

“And…?”

“It’s Mandy. Mandy Moore.”

Yes, Chris was the first cousin of actress and pop star Mandy Moore. Unfortunately, I had absolutely no idea who Mandy Moore was — and, to be perfectly honest, I still wouldn’t be able to pick her out of a police line-up today. He was disappointed I didn’t know who she was. That happens.

Chris passed away a month ago, at the far-too-young age of twenty-nine. I see, in reading his obituary, that he did some exciting things in his life and, when he died, he was working with video games for GameStop in Exton, actually.

When I think of Chris, it’s the good times I’ll remember and not the way things ended in 2002. I’ll remember him with Lalla Ward. I’ll remember him excited about a video game or computer game. I’ll remember him complaining about the staff of the restaurant he worked at after high school. And I’ll remember his glee at the photo album of his cousin, Mandy Moore.

Peace, Chris.

On the Rare Remembered Dream

I’ve mentioned at times my utter inability to remember dreams. I know that I dream — or, at least, I feel that I’ve dreamed. I’ve been in the dream state while awake, which is a very strange place to be. But, by and large, my dreams are walled away in my consciousness and inaccessible to me.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I woke up this morning with a vivid memory of a dream.

I went in a GameStop. Well, technically it was a GameStop. It had originally been an EB Games, in particular a store that was either built or remodeled in the 2000-2002 time frame.

EB stores of that time had a distinctive “look.” The stores had a certain LEGO-like look. The walls were solid colors, blue and red. The overstock area was a solid green. The cashwrap area was a bright yellow. Primary colors. LEGO colors. After 2002, the designs toned down the LEGO-ness; the cashwraps stayed yellow, but the primary blues and reds were replaced with grays.

The store, in my dream, was a LEGO-styled EB Games.

Someone who was working in the store knew me, though I didn’t know him. We talked, and while I don’t know what the conversation was about I do know that the conversation made me feel a bit anxious.

Suddenly, my old boss — my district manager from North Carolina — was there.

We stepped outside of the store. He wanted to talk to me about coming back to work for the company.

I don’t remember precisely how the conversation went, but I do know that I was quite vehement that I wouldn’t, and the conversation became heated. As much as I loved working for EB Games, I despised working for GameStop; one company favored original thought, the other wanted passive drones, and I’m too much of a free spirit to have ever fit comfortably in the GameStop mold. But more than that, I simply wasn’t willing to work the stupid number of hours that GameStop required of its managers.

There was one other oddity to the dream, which I won’t mention. Just someone surprising, because he had nothing to do with EB Games ever.

The dream upset me. There was nothing wrong with the dream. It was actually nice to revisit some aspect of the past in some way. But I couldn’t imagine any reason why I would want to return, and I don’t know why I had to have a conversation about the matter.

On Christmas Eve Reflections

I’m out of town this weekend for the Christmas holiday, visiting friends and family in North Carolina. Yes, even atheists celebrate Christmas. :)

I thought I’d go to the archives and share two Christmas Eve stories.

I used to be a store manager for EB Games, first in Pennsylvania, then in North Carolina. Christmas Eve 2004, I received a letter from one of my customers:

Dear Sir:

I’m writing this letter to you because I’ve been given an assignment at school to write a letter to someone in the business world who has made an impression on me with their kindness. You were the first person I thought of.

Everytime I come into your store, you are always so nice to me and take the time to answer all my questions. You never rush to get to someone else. So even though they opened a new [store] right down the street from me, I’m still going to your store.

Thank you for doing such a great job!

His name was Brandon, as I recall. I have the letter still, though it’s in storage at the moment.

There was a little more that Christmas Eve, but that, I think, was the big thing.

I’ve always had trouble seeing myself the way others see me, and it often surprises me how I’m seen by others.

Last Christmas Eve was the tenth anniversary of another unexpected message, this one from a veteran of Iwo Jima.

I began the story thusly:

Ten years ago today, I received a surprising e-mail.

Christmas Eve 1999 was a strange day. That was the day of the infamous company Christmas party layoffs, where as some of us walked into the party we were pulled aside by our supervisors and told we weren’t needed on the 26th. This does not a festive holiday make.

That night I received an e-mail from a stranger.

It was the kind of e-mail that, were I to receive it today, I would automatically dismiss it as spam. But spam was not as prevalent ten years ago as it is today, and spam e-mails tend to wear their absurdities on their sleeves. No, this e-mail was too normal, too right. There was, it was clear as I think back upon it, a man behind the words.

His name was William. He was a World War II veteran. He had served in the Pacific Theatre. He wanted to know, was I the Allyn Gibson that had been in his unit at Iwo Jima?

For what it’s worth, the Veterans of Foreign Wars seem to also think that I’m that Allyn Gibson; they keep trying to recruit me.

If you’re braving the shopping malls today, be safe. If you’re visiting with family and friends, happy trails. May you have a fantastic Christmas holiday, each and every one of you.

Merry Christmas, everyone! :cheers:

On a Black Friday Memory

I’ve little doubt that some of you reading this, perhaps many of you reading this, spent the day braving the shopping centers and malls, in search of Black Friday deals and making a dent in your Christmas shopping.

I spent another Black Friday at the office. I had little on my plate today; I wrote like a demon Monday through Wednesday (two 10k-plus days) for a number of reasons, and that left me with little to do beyond some spreadsheet clean-up, some desk clean-up, and some instructioneering that I’d been putting off. Except for a stop at the post office to buy stamps — I am not using the Madonna and Child stamps this year for Christmas cards; instead, it will be the Angel and Lute! — I went near noplace that sold anything at all.

My Christmas shopping is largely done. Partly, I lack the extra money to throw around in December; it’s more sensible to spread the Christmas money load around. ;) And it’s partly experience; I worked in retail for a very long time, and after a near-disaster holiday where I simply didn’t have the time to do any Christmas shopping until the very last minute, it’s better to get the unpleasantries of shopping out of the way early.

I drove to work today; I knew that there wouldn’t be rush hour insanity on the Beltway, and I pulled into the office parking lot twenty minutes after leaving the house. Driving home, I tried to think of any great Christmas season war stories. I worked retail long enough; surely I have a story or three?

Except that I really don’t.

Oh, I could tell the story about the man who came into my EB Games store five minutes before closing on Christmas Eve, and I made sure that when he left with his PlayStation 2 that he went home with all the worst games. (Yes, I made the man buy Fantavision. And Eternal Ring.)

I could tell another story, about getting clocked on the head by a falling PlayStation system box.

None of these are Black Friday stories, though.

And I realized that I don’t have any great Black Friday stories. I’d arrive at work long before the sun came up, I’d go home long after the sun went down. The moments all blend together. There’s nothing unique — or even particularly worthwhile — in sharing those war stories. When you work retail in November and December, you can go entire days without seeing the sun.

One Black Friday customer does stand out in my memory, mostly because he was weird.

My last Black Friday with EB Games was 2005. We had a door-buster sale running, and it wasn’t a great sale by any means. It was additional savings on a group of underwhelming games that we had in stock. (That’s the secret of Black Friday sales, by the way; what’s on sale is stuff that the company has a fuckton of and is sitting on, and they want to move it, so they price it to move and shovel it out the door.)

The door-buster sales were programmed in the system to run from 6 o’clock to 9 o’clock. At 9 o’clock, the sale wouldn’t work any more. There was a way to force it, but it shouldn’t be necessary for more than one or two customers because, honestly, the person who wants to take advantage of a door-buster sale gets there when the store opens. They don’t want to miss anything.

I unlocked the door a little bit before six, a dozen customers come rushing in, some buy the door-busters.

One of those early-bird customers was a man in his early forties. He was rail thin, he had a mustache and silver-gray hair. He clutched his sales flyer from the morning paper. He wanted the door-buster sale. Fortunately, I had a display of the door-buster items on the counter. He stood at the display, looked at the games, picked them up, carried them around the store.

Now, my store wasn’t that big. I didn’t even have a line of customers.

Six o’clock became seven. The man was still in the store. He would consult his sale flyer. He would look at the games. He would pick a game or two up and carry it around the store. He would put the game back on the display, consult his flyer, and this dance would begin again.

Seven o’clock became eight. I left my employees to look after the place, went to Panera, got coffee and a bagel, and came back. The rail-thin man, mustache and silver-gray hair, was still there. Still consulting his flyer, still trying to settle on which of the door-buster games he was going to buy.

At eight-forty-five I made an announcement that the door-buster sales were ending in fifteen minutes and customers needed to bring their purchases to the register if they wanted to take advantage of the sale. The mustached, grey-haired man was still consulting his flyer and pondering the door-buster games.

At nine o’clock, the register stopped automatically giving the door-buster sales. I walked up to the man, who wasn’t in line (because I didn’t have a line), and told him that he needed, at that moment, to make his door-buster decision. “I’m still thinking,” he said.

“The register isn’t going to take it. It needs to be done now,” I said.

“I don’t know. I’m still thinking,” he said.

At nine-twenty, the man made his decision. He came to the register with three door-buster games.

“I can’t give you the door-buster sale price,” I said. “The register won’t allow it.”

“Can you override it? Surely you can override it.”

“If you’d come to the register before nine, it wouldn’t have been a problem. If you’d come to the register even fifteen minutes ago, I could override it. But, it’s nine-twenty. The sale’s been over for twenty minutes. I can’t override it now.”

“But I didn’t know what I wanted.”

“Sir,” I said, “you had three hours to decide what you wanted. You looked at the flyer. You held the games. You walked around the store. How could you not decide?”

“I didn’t know what I wanted.”

“I can’t give you the sale price. I’m sorry.” He gave me back the games and he left the store.

I couldn’t even feel bad. He’d been in the store for three and a half hours at that point. He couldn’t make a decision, even when I told him he had to make a decision. I asked him to get in line, and he didn’t. Indecision had its consequences.

He was a weird, weird man.

On Dreams of EB Games

I dreamt last night of EB Games.

I was in my store, in Cary. I was alone in the store. Presumably, it was before I unlocked the door. Early morning, then.

My store was… odd. The fixtures were big, bulky, wooden things. No other EB Games store looked like mine. The walls were brown. The shelving was oddly shaped; it was designed for only two DVD cases deep.

I walked behind the register. I opened the cabinets. I thumbed through the gut trays, where the game discs were stored in red storage trays, under the counter. At the primary register, I touched the metal counter top, where it had been worn smooth.

The dream was pleasant.

I don’t often think of EB Games. I left four years ago, but in truth, the company that I loved had died six months before that. All that remained was a zombie, one that employed the people I knew and loved and respected, but one that didn’t have the soul.

My head gets lost in the past sometimes. I close my eyes, and I see stretches of road I used to drive, places I used to live, places I used to work. It’s surprising. And unexpected.

I suspect the trigger, yesterday, was that for the first time in a very long time, I wanted to play video games.

Scratch that. I wanted to buy video games. When I worked for EB, I invariably bought more games that I could ever play.

Yesterday…

Besides reading up on Age of Empires Online, I checked out the website for Lord of the Rings: War in the North (and changed my desktop wallpaper at work to this image of Rivendell from the game). I watched the trailer for the game, which was rather brutal, and while I thought that the game didn’t look especially Tolkien-esque (too much magic), I know I’ll give the game a shot.

Then, I learned that Peter David, writer of stuff, wrote a Fable novel, to tie into Fable III, and I realized that I’ve yet to even start Fable II

And finally, I learned that there is another LEGO Star Wars game on the way:

Unfortunately, it’s based on a series I’ve never watched — nor have any particular interest in. I can see the reason behind the game, though; Star Wars: The Clone Wars is fantastically successful, kids know it, it’s good game fodder. I, personally, want a LEGO Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy game, but I don’t know how viable that would be. Oh, it would sell, no doubt, but I question whether or not it would be especially playable.

Two games I’m likely to buy, and a book I might possibly read. And because of them I wandered down the musty halls of memory last night.

That’s not such a terrible place to be.

On the Christmas Weekend

A hectic week at the office this shall be. I can already sense it, like a great disturbance in the Force. There’s nothing wrong with that; staying busy is a good thing. :)

It was a LEGO holiday. My sister and her husband gave me the LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary, which will prove invaluable in writing a LEGO Star Wars novel.

I also received two Christmas LEGO sets — a snowman and a Christmas tree.

This is interesting. LEGO emoticons.

On Saturday, I ventured out to the mall.

Now, I was in retail for a very long time. I’ve worked many Christmas shopping seasons. I’ve been there to the bloody end on Christmas Eve, I’ve been there before the crack of dawn on the day after Christmas.

I don’t remember it being that insane. The stores in the mall were like locusts had descended upon them.

There were only two things I wanted to do. One, get a LEGO book I’d seen at Borders on Thursday. Two, cash out a long-ago pre-order at GameStop, since I’d dug up my old receipt and I didn’t want to take their store credit.

In reality, I wanted to do number two (cash out pre-order), then number one (buy LEGO book). Howsomever, number two was impossible. Not because they wouldn’t let me cash out the pre-order, but because I couldn’t get in the damn store!

GameStop was packed. I vaguely remembered this from my years of managing EB stores in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. A line stretched from the register. The store was narrow, and it was impossible to move past the counter to get in line. The shelves were trashed, the store looked terrible. I decided getting my money back for Fable II (which I bought in June from my friend Tina in her store in North Carolina) could wait until another day.

Borders was barely better. They’re closing, sometime after the New Year, and the store was picked over in some regards. The only thing I wanted here was a book on LEGO Castles by DK. I’d seen it on Thursday when I’d gone in Borders after work, in search of a last-minute gift or three, and decided it could wait. Fortunately, on Saturday, they had two copies left.

And an issue of BrickJournal, with its sixty or so pages of LEGO Castles. If you’re at all interested in LEGO castles, the new BrickJournal is pr0n. Big castles. Small castles. Designing castles. Building castles. Good stuff! Really good stuff!

I also got caught up on IDW’s Doctor Who comics.

Finally, I changed my blog’s color scheme from blue to green.

Some may think that I’m already looking forward to St. Patrick’s Day in March or Bloomsday in June. Or that it’s a political statement, like Andrew Sullivan turning his blog green in solidarity with Iranian student protesters or that I’ve gone and joined the “left of the left.”

While there may be some truth to any or all of those — Guinness! Joyce! political protest! political protest! — the truth is, I wanted to tinker, and changing the color of the graphics and the links was an easy way to tinker for an hour.

It’s a new week, the last of 2009.

And when the week’s over, it’s 2010. The year we make contact. :h2g2:

On Illinguistic E-mails

There are times I’m glad I no longer work for EB Games/GameStop. Opening up my e-mail inbox today was one of those times.

Here’s the subject line:

Hugenormous Savings at GameStop!

“Hugenormous”? Whiskey tango foxtrot?

It doesn’t roll off the tongue, not the way “ginormous” does.

How do you pronounce that? “Hug… enormous”? “Hew… gee.. normous”?

I’m leaning toward “Huggy-normous.” Which sounds baffling and stupid.

Another linguistic and literary gem from this wonderful spammish e-mail: “Didn’t King of Fighters XII Marry Henry VIII’s Sister?” Umm, that would be… no.

And here I was, thinking about going into a GameStop and pre-ordering some games. Like Beatles Rock Band. or Watchmen: The End Is Nigh.

But why support GameStop’s mangling of the English language with my consumer dollars?

Huggy-normous.

Jeez.

And I don’t know if “illinguistic” is a word or not. If it’s not, it should be. :cheers: