It's Okay to Stare Longingly at My Sausage

Groovers and hoppers, pushers and poppers, put your hands together for the super bad, intestine clad, wish you had, cover your eyes dad, miracle of homemade sausage!

But, in proper dramatic fashion, let's roll back before the beginning of our tale.

This Far, No Further

I have become increasingly frustrated for what the passes as the 'fair price' of beef in this area. While most of my roasting and grilling needs are easily subbed out for various cuts of pork or chicken, my ground meat needs were somewhat harder to manage. The premium placed on grinding up even the more reasonably priced meats really stuck in my craw. So, I began to consider a meat grinder.

Then there was the particularly upsetting episode where the supermarket ran out of the hot Italian sausage I like. Frustratingly, this was the second time in as many months I couldn't get my hands on a decent sausage! On the first occasion, I settled for... sigh... Johnsonville. I opted to walk away this time, my hands sadly empty rather than tightly gripping the spicy Italian I craved.

Needless to say, my patience for hot meat was wearing thin.

IT DOESN'T SUCK!!! Safari Mixer for Google Assistant

I have had the dubious 'pleasure' of encountering several of the 'games' released for Google's voice enabled personal assistant, humorlessly dubbed Google Assistant (Because giving an AI you're supposed to identify with a name like Alexa or Cortana to make a human connection is, obviously, beyond the capabilities of Google engineers).

My initial encounters with Assistant games were promising. Perhaps the first one I stumbled across was Google's own Riddle Rooms, an quirky, atmospheric, and psychedelic journey narrated by the default Assistant voice.  I also had some nostalgic fun playing Dungeon RPG, a voice controlled remake of the classic text adventure Zork. It is not the ideal way to play Zork, but it was fun to wander around Flood Control Dam #3 while cooking dinner.

Most of titles take the form of quizzes of varying quality. Diving deep into the library of shovelware in this voluminous category of software is not for the faint of heart. Outside of the most popular entries, you'll find scads of broken, incomplete, and just wrongly labeled trash. Modern History featuring questions on Waterloo and The Crusades; World History that focuses exclusively on modern politics in India; Quizes from popular TV shows featuring a whopping 3 questions in total. Naturally, spelling, grammar, and capitalization (if you are playing on a phone instead of a smart speaker) and all implemented to varying degrees at random. There's even a "Fun Quiz" that is nothing but math word problems ripped from a textbook somewhere (Probably India). Fun indeed.

And I guess we should have a special shout-out the the small category of love-starved, offensively robotic, and completely inane 'virtual girlfriends'. No, Chatbot Julie. No matter how many times you ask, I do not want to kiss you. Yes, I'm glad you find that "Interesting".

But, just like real life, if you sift through enough crap you find... Umm...

"Okay Google, what is something good you can find in poop?"

Yeah... Let's not and say we did. I have Safe Search turned off. "Hey Google, abort metaphor."

Anyhoo, Safari Mixer is a breath of fresh air in the fecal stench filled world of Assistant games.

More toy than game, Safari Mixer asks you to name 3 animals which it then blends together and presents to you with a silly name, fun fact, animal sound, and a delightful image of your Moreauvian beast (Sorry smart speaker users, you're missing half the fun).

Much to my surprise, Safari mixer is no slouch on content. There are a number of animals included and the app will offer suggestions if you're drawing a blank or asking for an unsupported critter. There is also a remix option for the creature you just created, but I had problems with app crashing trying to use it.

It may not be the most riveting of pastimes, but is a light delight to mix up a mutant freak when you have a minute to kill. I can imagine young children getting a huge laugh out of this. I know I did.

Much like the advent of touchscreen gaming, it will take a while for designers to crack the code on what a virtual assistant game can be, but Safari Mixer is a shining beacon of hope in the primordial morass of smart speaker plug-ins. It is charming, accessible, and, most important of all, entertaining.

Try it for yourself by cuddling up to your favorite Google Assistant enabled device and say "Okay Google, let me talk to Safari Mixer".

Some Crap Pictures

Oh, no! A fragment of a Mechanoid hive has crash landed near the colony!

Wait... I'm not feeling the physic drone... Oh, okay, it's just the septic tank. Wait, what?!

Last month the GUO homestead became more civilized. Thanks to an annexation deal with the city, we now have access to a real sewer system! Yes indeey folks, we're getting all 800BC Rome up in here. Toga, toga, toga!

As part of the deal, the old septic system got ripped right out of the ground and hauled away. If you were ever wondering what exactly a septic tanks looks like, well, here ya go.

 Also, what is wrong with you?!

Now if they could just do something about all those boomalopes in the neighborhood!

*For everyone who cares about getting all the Rimworld references in this post, you may be interested in our 2016 Game of the Year feature.

Cooking à la CPU

Its' summer. And, boy, is it hot! Have you ever thought that your PC was was hot enough to fry an egg on when you heard the fan spin up? Well, it is.

This feature comes straight from Japan courtesy of Captain Taremi. Enjoy!

Want some steak to go with your eggs? Not a problem!

The Lost Post About Popping Pecker Pills

I had a horribly paying gig last year for a 500 word article about Cialis in Australia. Signed over all the rights so I didn't even get a byline, but whatever, I like food. In all honesty, I never really expected it to see the light of day without being butchered as I REALLY punched this one up and was in rare form. I would have loved to post it here, but... Well, this is what happens when you sell all the rights.

Other than Australia being changed to South Africa (which COMPLETELY ruins some of the jokes and makes me angry because I don't know if the stats quoted are correct now) it is here in its entirety. If you were ever wondering how I'd do as an ad writer for boner pills, look no further. Also, why were you wondering that?!
It looks like it got posted as the original Australian article elsewhere, but that page is 404.  
I'm not going to put in a real hyperlink for Internety reasons, so if you're curious, copy/paste this to your address bar:

Behold My Passion... Butterfly

A couple weeks ago I had a red, spiky caterpillar on my window.

Later that afternoon, I had what looked like a moldy caterpillar on my window. I noticed it had, strangely enough, dropped its head on the ground. Yes, really.

The next day I had a cocoon that looked like a white, upside down Metapod on my window.

This morning I have a Gulf fritillary, or passion butterfly, on my window.

Happy Rebirthday, little guy! Here's some pics from the coming out party.

If you'll excuse me, I gotta get back to the party. I'm on the hook to buy the next round of nectar.

Five Other Valentine's Days

Here at GUO, we love loving love!

Everyone is already familiar with the origins of St. Valentine's Day, of course. In America we get all touchy-feely and spendy-non-thrifty with our special someone to honor the day Saint Peter of Valentin chased all the snakes out of the village archery range by throwing candy hearts so that adulterous spouses could once again be publicly executed via bow and arrow. It's common knowledge. But what about far-flung couples around the world?

Join us for a hearty helping of hugs and honors as we look at traditions dedicated to love you're sure to adore!

Saint Dwynwen’s Day

Wales honors its own patron saint of gettin' a piece on January 25th. The tale of St. Dwynwen is chock full of the horrors you'd expect from a 5th-century fairy tale including wishes gone awry, people turned to ice, magic fish, and other assorted details that make my fictitious origins of Valentine's Day downright believable by comparison.  Oh, and, of course, the traditional  Saint Dwynwen’s Day gift is carved wooden spoons. I leave the wood in your mouth jokes as an exercise for you, dear reader.

Merry Christmas from Chiron Beta Prime

Well, since I got called out on it for skipping last year, we are once again honoring the brave colonists of Chiron Beta Prime who have the great honor for serving under the auspices of our vastly superior robotic protectors.

From the cast and crew to you, here's wishing you the happiest of holidays!

Have a Bouncy Christmas!

I bet you  though I'd forgoten about you, huh? Bah, you should know better than that! Time's just been a little on the short side lately (To say nothing of the fact that my muse seems to have run off ;) )

Anyhoo, here's a little present I made for you this Christmas. I hope you like it. I had to ditch out on work today to get 'er done. If you'd like to have a go at our all new 2018 Christmas game, A Bouncy Christmas, head on over to MikeyKae.Itch.Io and have a go.

Just use your keyboard to scoot left and right to bouce those presents right into Santa's sack! Some folks with fat-cat phones will find that this works on mobile as well, but just don't hold your breath.  If you are one of the lucky one-percenters, than enjoy the fact I implemented some touch-to-move controls for your enjoyment.

Oh, and my spell-checker seems to be on the blink, so please excuse the typos!

Merry Christmas! We love you!

How Smart are Gmail's New Smart Replies?

The Smart Replies feature included in the new version of Gmail offers quick snippets of text mapped to a button to make human communication more thoughtless and cookie-cutter than ever before. But how smart are they? Let's have some fun!

How about we start out easy:
Alright, simple enough. How about another one?
The time questions are an interesting addition to this particular query. It is unclear why this response triggered a time question reply yet the above one did not. Also of note, an email simply asking "Lunch?" did not have any Smart Replies at all.

What if we needs to know a time?
Nice! It didn't even balk at the typo. What about something with a more binary choice?
Google seems partial to Fridays. Far be it for me to argue with the largest information siphon in the world, but let's try another:
No real opinion on colors. I'm kind of surprised it didn't just plug in the two options on such obvious either/or type questions.

Let's try something a little more... Googley.