BrokenJPG

A Copywriter’s Blog
You Really Like Me Ben Levy 27, March

Well, maybe not “like”. Maybe “stalk”. But if you’re the author of a semi-autobiographical blog, they amount to pretty much the same thing.

There’s this scenario that keeps playing out in my life recently. I’ll run into someone I haven’t seen for a while. And before I can open my mouth, they’ll say something like “How are you? I know you’ve been busy.”

And I’ll give them a weird look. Because I have been busy. So busy that I haven’t seen them in a while, and therefore there’s no way they could know how busy I am. Which is when they say something like “I know you’re busy because you haven’t been posting as much. Or tweeting.”

And I’m struck by two things.

First, that they actually read my shit.

And second, that they actually notice if that shit stops flowing.

I firmly believe that my life is only truly entertaining to others when I’m making an ass out of myself. And so I mostly rant -comedically- about everything that goes wrong in it. But the truth is that I have an incredible life. And with everything going on the last few weeks, it’s become painfully obvious just how many people are in it who care.

I rarely check BrokenJPG’s analytics. I write this blog because it amuses me. I’d like to think that if my readership dropped to zero tomorrow (ie- The Wife stopped reading) I would keep writing it. But because I write it just to amuse myself, it’s incredibly gratifying to see that it amuses others as well. It suggests that while I’m certainly not normal, neither am I alone. There are other people out there just as screwed up as I am.

Or at least amused by how screwed up I am. I’ll take what I can get.

And so I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for tolerating my egregious run-on sentences. And thank your for tolerating my use of words like egregious.

And now, because this has been a fairly serious and mushy post, I leave you with the following thought:

Poop.

That is all.

Comments Off
Friday Feature: Meta Ben Levy 25, March

Ever have one of those days where you’re at work, concepting, doing your thing, hitting your stride, and then all of a sudden you realize it’s Friday and you completely forgot to post a video on your super-important-no-really-i’m-not-being-sarcastic-at-all internet blog?

Yeah. It hits you kind of like this.

Good thing I had that clip handy, huh?

Comments Off
Step into my library. Ben Levy 20, March

So, I own a kindle now. I’d like to take a moment to talk about how this happened.

I love reading. There may be some of you out there who don’t know how to love, and so cannot appreciate the depth of that statement, but for the rest of you, please understand that I’m not making a euphamism. I love the act of comprehending the literary word. It holds for me a special magic.

Now, I’ve got nothing against glue and paper books. Nothing at all. They don’t require charging, they’re generally easy to carry around, and the larger ones have a comforting weight to them if self-defense becomes necessary.

But.

I take the train. And it’s a half hour each way for my commute. And so I would go buy a physical dead-tree book, and finish it in a week. Then buy another. Then another. Then feverishly reread the last them all in an attempt to stop funneling money directly from my bank account to Barnes&Nobles. The success of this tactic can be measured by the need to purchase a second bookshelf.

Feeling desperate, I decided to see what sort of classics are free online these days. Turns out, damn near all of them.

I started with Lewis Carol. Then all three Sherlock Holmes anthologies and Hound of the Baskervilles. Then Dracula. This was amazing. This was fantastic. This was all being read on the 3.5 inch screen of my Droid Incredible, and I was getting eyestrain.

It’s one thing when I was reading for half an hour twice a day, but once I caught myself reading my phone before bed, I knew something had to give.

And so I went out and bought a Kindle. And so I now own every classic work of literature. They take up zero space in my office. I can read them without eyestrain even after staring at computer screens for 10 hours straight.

I love the future.

There is one thing in all this that bothers me. I don’t think I’ll miss dead-tree edition glue-and-paper books anymore than I miss reading a newspaper. But I will miss the ability to browse someone’s bookshelf to see what they own. I’m not 100% clear on the etiquette with these things yet, but I suspect it’s poor form to turn on your buddy’s e-reader and start scanning through the content. But I’ll try it at least once just to be sure.

Comments Off
Friday Feature: Small Hands Ben Levy 17, March

In case you were wondering, there’s four levels of competence: novice, practitioner, master, and this-shit-is-such-a-walk-in-the-park-i’m-gonna-make-a-joke-out-of-it.

Well done sir.

Oh by the way, I’ve been working for a week and a half now. I can’t say much more than that due to NDAs and the fear that Fate reads my blog posts just so it can fuck with me. But I thought I should post it here so people knew not to worry. About that at least.

Comments Off
In Which I Play A Minor Role Ben Levy 13, March

I have returned from PAXEast. It was awesome.

I don’t think I said much about last year’s PAXEast, the first convention of it’s kind on the east coast. That’s because at the time I experienced the entire event through a haze of mucus and Mongolian Terror Flu. I was so sick that by the time I left, I lost my voice. Completely. For a week.

This year, I was capable of breathing through both nostrils at once, the convention was in an even bigger space, and I fully enjoyed the hell out of it. For the uninitiated, PAXEast is a gaming convention. Yes, this means video games. Also card games. Also board games. Yes, people do in fact still play those.

I am continually impressed by just how nice all the people I meet at PAX are. It’s ridiculous. It’s as if we all shared the same ostracized childhood and are now determined to spend the three days of the convention trying to reassure each other that not everyone in the world is a dick. These people are kind. Polite. Respectful. Which is why I was so shocked when, right in the middle of a staff member demonstrating a new game to me, some dude just walked up and dumped a double handful of dice all over the table.

I glanced at the demo guy, whose nametag declared him to be “ETHAN from STEVE JACKSON GAMES”. He seemed to be standing up straighter than he was a second ago. Like a soldier who suddenly finds himself in the presence of his general.

Then I glanced at the nametag of this impertinent jerk who just-

STEVE JACKSON from STEVE JACKSON GAMES”

Well, look at that. He is a soldier that suddenly found himself in the presence of his general. That’s funny.

My brain began doing that thing where instead of helping me form words and act normally, it starts screaming “OMG OMG OMG OMG” Like a tween girl who just got her first cell phone.

Steve goes “We’re going to learn to play a new game. It’s called [REDACTED BECAUSE I DON’T WANT STEVE JACKSON TO HATE ME FOR TELLING ANYTHING I DON’T HAVE PERMISSION TO TELL].

I smiled at him across the table. “It’s an honor, sir.”
There was a pause. He gave me a blank look for a second before continuing as though nothing happened. DAMMIT, BRAIN.

Steve Jackson is one of those mad geniuses who mutters to himself while inventing, using anyone in the vicinity as a sounding board for his ideas. He barely began the first turn before harping on everything he felt were wrong with the game. The turns took too long. There wasn’t enough risk/reward in the decision-making process. But he liked this mechanic here, and he thought that part was pretty cool. “There’s something there” he said at one point “it just needs more Elvis”.

The rest of us were offering probably-not-at-all-helpful bits of advice, which Steve would absentmindedly nod at or reject for one reason or another. My friend was blurting out all kinds of things, while I was sitting there trying to get my brain to do something besides scream “THAT’S STEVE JACKSON- FOR THE LOVE OF GD SAY SOMETHING SMART.”

My friend suddenly burst out with “What if these were wild?”

Steve paused.

“Aaaaah. Wild. Now there’s an idea.” He began talking to himself about the pros and cons of the change, giving the thought serious consideration. I could feel the excitement rising. We were helping! Steve Jackson was changing a game in development because of something one of us said!

Then he caught sight of someone across the room and- explaining that he hadn’t seen them in years- ran off.

ETHAN from STEVE JACKSON GAMES looked at us. “That was Steve Jackson,” he said.

“We got that,” my friend replied.

He looked at the rapidly retreating back. “In three years, that’s the longest conversation I’ve ever had with him.”

Comments Off
Stuff Later Ben Levy 11, March

I’m at PAXEast. It is awesome. I’ll tell you about it once I get back.

(I met Steve Jackson, and he showed me a game he’s working on that doesn’t even exist yet. Squee.)

Comments Off
Winning Like Charlie Sheen Ben Levy 6, March

I was laid off 8 days ago. And I was pretty alright with it, all things considered. One day I’ll be able to share the details of exactly what occurred, and why I’m fairly certain it goes down in history as the Best Layoff Ever. But right now, out of respect for an agency full of people I still very much care about, that story will have to wait.

But my point was that I was laid off 8 days ago. And that was ok.

It was ok when, 6 days ago, The Wife woke me up with phone calls at 7am to tell me she got rear-ended on the way to work. No one was hurt, there was no damage to speak of, and she wasn’t at fault. It was ok.

But at midnight that same day, when we got the lease renewal papers from our landlord informing us that our rent was increasing FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS A MONTH, it was no longer ok. It was fucking aggravating.

In four days I had lost my job, our car got scratched, and we were being (essentially) kicked out of our apartment.

I have had better weeks.

My solution was twofold. First: Sing this song repeatedly until I started believing it again.

And second: Find a new place to live so fast that we actually go backward in time, destabilizing the earth’s magnetic fields and spontaneously causing all the oil to turn back into dinosaurs.

My feeling was if we could get at least one thing going our way, everything would be alright.

Two days ago The Wife and I were approved for a new apartment, about 3 blocks from our current one, with a balcony and a view of New York. For less than we paid last year.

Sorry about all the Triceratops running around.

Friday Feature: Alice Ben Levy 4, March

This is the second time Alice has appeared on BrokenJPG. Which I think means she’s been shown here more times than I have. Which is ok. Because I’m not so desperate to post movies of myself on my own blog that I would eat a live octopus.

Jesus, Alice.

Comments Off