Tuesday, October 15, 2019

This Is My Brain On Bills. Any Questions?

I got paid today.  As usual on payday, the first thing I did this morning was log onto my bank account to pay some bills.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had more money left over than I thought I would.  Then I went through my stack of paper bills to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.  My heart jumped when I found a plate renewal notice for my Mazda.  Apparently the plates had expired two weeks ago, at the end of September.

I remember receiving the notice back in early August.  At the time, my wife had a bonus coming up, and I remember thinking, “Well, I guess part of that bonus will have to go to the tags.”  I remember sticking the renewal notice on the shelf, and I don’t remember thinking it about it since.  But, it was morning, my brain was still fuzzy, and I couldn’t be 100% sure if I’d renewed it or not.  I decided to go outside and look at the plate, but I wasn’t dressed yet.  So I made a mental note to check the plate before I got in the car to drive it to work.

It didn’t occur to me that there were at least three ways to check it from the computer I using at the time.  I always keep the receipts from electronic renewals in a folder on my hard drive.  I also have a spreadsheet I use as a checkbook, that would have had the listing for the tags.  If all that fails, I could always log onto my bank account and look for the transaction there.  But no, my brain decided that the only way to know would be to look at the tags.

Except I didn’t.  I didn’t even think about it again until I was already driving, halfway to work.  So I told myself, “When you get to work, check the tags before you go inside.”  Of course, I could have waited until the next stop light, and grabbed the registration out of the glove compartment.  But my brain was still stuck on the idea that my only option was to look at the plate.

Aaaand once again, I forgot to look at the plate when I got to work.  I remembered as soon as I sat down at my desk.  I decided I would check the plate at lunch, and if it was expired, I would get my emissions tested on my lunch hour.  I even told my supervisor I might be a few minutes late getting back from lunch.

Lunch came around.  If you think I remembered to look at my plate before driving off, you haven’t been paying attention to this story.  I was halfway to the emissions place when I thought, “Wait a minute, I seriously can’t go there without checking first.”  I have a very close, personal relationship with Murphy’s Law, and it would be just my luck to pay for an emissions test and then find out I hadn’t needed to.

So I looked for a parking lot to stop in.  I’m oddly picky about that; you know, it can’t be a busy lot, it has to be on the right-hand side, it can’t be a business where the employees can see you through the window because I don’t want them to see me park without buying anything, and did I mention I’m neurotic?  I finally stopped at a bowling alley and got out of the car.  September 2020.  I couldn’t believe it; I honestly have no memory of getting the tags renewed.

Just to be sure, I checked the glove compartment for the registration.  Yep, it even told me when I renewed it, back on August 18th.  To be fair, I do sort of remember renewing it.  It’s just that I renewed both cars within four months of each other, so the memories are kind of overlapping.  When you’re younger, four months is a long time, but I’ve hit the age where two similar events in that time span just sort of merge into one memory.

So the good news is that I have an extra $100 grocery money to get me through the next two weeks.  The bad news is, well, that they let people like me drive.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Pride of the Spankees

I saw this meme this morning: "As a child, I had two choices for dinner: Take it or Leave it."  I'm not sure I get the point of the meme.  Are they making fun of modern parents who give their children choices for dinner?  Do people really do that?  Is it a common thing?   Because I think it's kind of cool if you can manage it.

I mean, okay, it might be a little too far to actually give your kid a full menu every night, but if the kid truly hates meatloaf, I don't see the crime in offering to microwave them a hot dog.  My wife was forced to eat a lot of things she didn't like as a kid, and to this day she has some debilitating food issues because of it.  Seriously, ask her the pineapple story sometime.

I understand the point of making kids develop healthy eating habits, and I understand they should get a variety of foods early on so they can appreciate more foods later.  But some kids actually do hate certain foods to the point that it makes them nauseous, and parents often force them to eat it anyway.  This is how eating disorders start.  Don't be that parent.

"But we're training them to be adults here!  Adults don't always get choices."  Um... actually, adults do get to choose what they want for dinner, most of the time.  What the fuck kind of adult life do you live, where you think this teaches kids about life?  Are you training your children for a future in prison?

You know, it doesn't matter, that's not even the point of this blog.  Making your children eat "yucky" things isn't what's bothering me, it's being so proud of it that you made a meme.  I understand that sometimes parents have to be cruel to be kind, but this whole culture of "Ha, I'm a crueler parent than you are" is like some primitive dick-measuring contest.

I see tons of variations of, "In my house, if you talked back, you got the belt" or "More kids are criminals these days because their parents didn't spank them enough."  Look, I don't want to tell other people how to raise their kids.  I'm generally wary of spanking, but I understand that different children require different punishments.  Time-outs simply don't work for some parents.  So while I lean toward the anti-spanking crowd, it's not something I'm very vocal about.

But again, it's not about the spanking, it's being proud of it.  At its best, spanking is a necessary evil.  At its worst, it's child abuse.  This whole attitude of, "Yay, I got to spank my child today, I must brag about it on Facebook" strikes me as brutish and fetishist.  Can you imagine if people bragged about hitting their spouses as often as they do about hitting their children?

And it's not just parents who brag about it, sometimes the kids do too.  I know one guy who says, "When I was a kid, I was spanked every day whether I needed it or not, and I turned out fine."  Well, actually he grew up to be an asshole, but I'm not going to tell him that.  It's weird to me that so many people are proud of having been spanked, though.  Are you saying you're proud of your parents for being strict, or proud of yourself for being a rotten kid?  "Oh yeah?  You got spanked a lot?  Well, I went juvie for sexual assault.  Top that!"  But again I'm getting off track.

Or how about those "creative parenting" posts?  You know, where parents give their child a humiliating punishment, like holding a sign that says, "I stole a piece of candy from the drug store" in public?  Again, I'm not criticizing the parents for trying a different punishment, especially if all the other punishments failed.  I'm just annoyed that they were so goddamn happy they got to humiliate their child that they decided to upload it to Facebook as well.  It makes you wonder if it was really about teaching their child a lesson, or more about the attention they got from their Facebook friends.

My parents were pretty light on punishment, or maybe I just wasn't bad very often.  But whenever I went to a friend's house, I paid attention to how their parents punished them, and usually I was horrified.  The parents who had the harshest rules were the ones with kids who lashed out the most, but I make no claims on which was the cause and which was the effect.  Maybe the parents had to up the punishments because the kids kept getting worse.  Or maybe the kids were getting worse because they were starting to realize their parents were monsters.

Regardless, I will never forget this one time...  We were probably in the fourth grade.  My friend and his little brother kept fighting and calling each other rude names.  Their dad ignored it for as long as he could, until they got so loud that he couldn't hear his TV program.  That's another side note - I've rarely seen kids punished for actual sins.  They can punch and kick each other as long as they want, as long as they do it quietly.  They tipping point is always when they damage something or annoy the parents.

Anyway, my friend's dad reached that tipping point, and he went to get his belt.  But… I will never forget the gleam in his eye when we went to punish them.  That look was not “This will hurt me as much as it hurts you” or “I don’t like doing this, but it has to be done.”  It was just for a second, but his expression very clearly said, “They were bothering me and I will enjoy straightening them out.”  I sat in their living room and stared into space while I heard the loud thwacks and cries of pain from their bedroom. 

Afterwards, I went into my friend’s bedroom to comfort him.  My friend wasn’t thinking about what he’d done, or pondering how to be a better person.  He just talked about hating his little brother for getting him into trouble.  The assault had not put the fear of God into him, only the fear of Dad.  It was pointless pain, and the only outcome was that it widened the rift between all the family members involved.

Was there a better way?  Could he have resolved the issue without violence?  That’s not for me to judge.  He did give them a couple of verbal warnings before he stood up, so there’s that.  Maybe they wouldn’t have listened to anything but the belt.  That’s a debate for another time.  Today’s gripe isn’t about the action, but the attitude behind it.  The sociopathic egoism it takes to hurt someone out of so-called “love”, and then to feel proud of it.

Bill Cosby - you know, the rapist - had a whole bit about his children’s nightly beatings.  To be fair, that’s just a comedy routine, and I used to find it funny.  It might be based on actual experience, it might be exaggerated for comedic effect, or it might be made up from scratch.  But then, my point isn’t that he beat his kids, but that he thought the act was so funny it was worth describing it to an audience for laughs.  And isn’t it kind of interesting that the kind of person who made those jokes is the same kind of person who drugged women for sex?  No, I’m not saying every who spanks their child is a potential rapist, I’m just saying… it’s an interesting coincidence.

Look, I'm not a parent.  I know it's a tough gig, but I'll never know just how tough.  And the last thing I want to be is one of those judgy non-parents who criticizes parents for doing what works for them, without ever having had to deal with it myself.  But having to punish your child should upset you as much as the child.  It's not something to be proud of, it's just something you felt you had to do.  It's fine to commiserate with other parents about how tough it was, but spanking/beating is not something to joke or brag about.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Another Video Game Dream

I had another video game dream last night.  Okay, I dream about video games a lot, but they’re usually either based on real games, or just generic zombie games. 

The game I dreamed about last night was like a cross between Final Fight and Tapper.  The game was probably inspired by the recently released “River City Girls” game, because the main characters were teenage girls in school uniforms.  Like most of my video game dreams, my point of view would switch back and forth, from being a character in the game, to playing the game on a TV with a controller.

In this game, you walk through the streets, getting in fist fights with gang members.  So far, that describes half the games Capcom made in the 90s.  However, you’re also pushing a food cart.  It’s about the size of a hot dog cart, but full of cupcakes.  Your character parks the cart by the sidewalk, and customers start lining up.  You have to serve each customer, occasionally putting cakes in the cart’s little built-in oven.

Meanwhile, gang members walk up and start harassing your customers, so you have to beat them up (the gang members, not the customers).  If you ignore the gang members, they harass and scare off the customers.  But if you spend too much time beating up the gang members, your customers starting leaving because they had to wait too long.  If you forget to put more cakes in the oven now and then, you run out of cakes and more customers leave.  If the oven timer goes off, you only have a certain amount of time to get the cupcakes out of the oven before they burn.

Like any Final Fight style game, once you beat up a certain number of gang members (or in this case maybe sell a certain number of cakes), an arrow flashes “GO” for a few seconds, your character pushes the cart down the street to the next stopping point, and the whole process starts over.  When I played with two players, there was still only one cart, but there were twice as many customers and gang members.  But I think there was also a competitive mode where you each had your own cart.

Some customers would stand at the cart for a few seconds making up their mind.  I don’t remember the exact “serving” controls, but I think it was pretty simple.  Just make sure you’re standing at the counter when a customer is ready to order, and press a button to serve them.  The serving and paying animations took a couple of seconds, so you really had to manage your time between serving, fighting, and baking.

I also vaguely remember a bonus level that involved decorating the cakes, which reminded me a little of Overcooked.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

This Post Is Literally Ironic

Note:  Any grammatical inaccuracies in this blog are probably intentional, for comedic effect.  Yeah... that's the ticket.

Someone once asked me, "If you could have dinner with any famous person, living or dead, which would you choose?"
And after some thought, I was like... "Um... Living."
I mean, seriously, who chooses dead?  Why would anyone want to have dinner with a dead person, except maybe Hannibal Lecter?

Buuuut... it's possible I misunderstood the spirit of the question.  I'm like that.  I don't always understand language the same way as most people, and it can get me into trouble.

There are three things that are getting on my nerves today:
1. People who misuse the word “Literally”.
2. People who misuse the word “Ironic”.
3. People who complain about people who misuse the words “Literally” or “Ironic”

Okay, let’s start with Literally because it’s easier.

Literally literally means “Actually, not figuratively, not a metaphor, not an expression.”  In other words, if you say it’s literally raining cats and dogs, that means actual cats and dogs are falling from the sky.  There are a lot of words and expressions you can use as an intensifier, like saying something is “as big as a whale” when it’s really not.  But “literally” is supposed to be off limits.  The very nature of the word literally means you shouldn’t use it metaphorically.  It’s the last word you should ever think of using to mean something it doesn’t.

Buuuuut… I also hate the people who complain about it because they always say the same thing:  “Don’t use literally when you mean figuratively.”  You know what?  The don’t MEAN figuratively.  They may be using the word figuratively, and yes, if they were to replace the word literally with figuratively, the sentence would technically be more accurate. But if the word “literally” suddenly ceased to exist, these people wouldn’t suddenly start saying, “I figuratively had a cow.”  No, they’d use a different intensifier, like seriously, or extremely, or incredibly.

I mean, which sounds more like something a real person would say: "I figuratively had a cow" or "I seriously had a cow."  So whenever you correct them by saying, “You mean figuratively,” you look like an idiot.  If you want to correct them, great, but at least suggest a proper substitute.

You know I’ve come across a second way to misuse literally?  I used to know a guy who would use it for extremely dull situations, like, “I literally drank a glass of milk.”  Which isn’t… technically wrong, I guess?   I mean, there probably wasn’t any danger of me thinking he metaphorically drank the milk, but I guess he wanted to be extra clear?  It seems like a waste of a good word on an everyday situation.

Ironic is a bit harder, but that’s because it’s an almost useless word when the grammar cops get a hold of it.  There’s a meme going around that says “There needs to be a word that means what people think ironic means.”  Well, there is, and that word is “ironic.”  Common usage leads to official definitions, that's literally how language evolves.

I’m going to make a confession here.  I have no idea what “ironic” actually means.  I used to know, but then too many opposing forces kept changing the definition on me.  I first learned the word in elementary school.  We were taught that it meant “when something turns out the opposite of what you would expect”, which is pretty close to the third entry on Wiktionary:  “Contrary or opposite to what may be expected.”  Okay, I hate that definition, because it relies on me having normal expectations.  I mean, who decides what is to be expected?

Okay, so I saw a movie once where a guy was looking at himself in his bathroom mirror.  Then he opens the medicine cabinet behind the mirror, grabs his toothpaste, closes the cabinet again… and BAM!  Nothing.  Nobody was revealed to be standing behind him.  No ghost, no psycho killer, no scare chord, we were just back to seeing the guy’s reflection again.  A lifetime of watching scary movies has taught me that anybody who opens a medicine cabinet is going to see a monster behind them when they close it.  Never mind that this was a romantic comedy.  It still subverted my expectations, so apparently that makes it ironic.

Except of course it isn’t.  No one in their right mind is going to argue that it’s ironic for someone to use a medicine cabinet without getting eaten.  I’ve also seen enough crime dramas that if the camera focuses on the ignition when someone starts their car, I expect it to explode.  That doesn’t mean it’s ironic when it doesn’t. My point is, you can’t use a definition that’s so subjective. So, that definition is useless.

The problem is, there’s like, eleventeen different types of Irony, and the definition of each has been in dispute for centuries.  Classical irony, Romantic irony, Cosmic irony, Verbal irony, Situational irony, Dramatic Irony, Tragic Irony, Comic Irony, Historical Irony, Socratic Irony…  I’m not going to go over each one, but if someone says something’s ironic, there’s a good chance it fits at least one of the definitions.  But the grammar cops will get mad at you if you use anything but their favorite one.

But if you go strictly by a grammar cop’s restrictions, the word “irony” is both nearly unusable and almost never used correctly anywhere.  Even Twilight Zone endings are no longer considered ironic by some people, and I refuse to live in a world where Twilight Zone endings aren’t thought of as ironic.  You are dulling the English language every time you correct someone.

The definition I see used most often in casual conversation is “A funny little twist of fate,” which the grammar cops don’t consider a proper use of the word.  But the first use of it in this manner supposedly happened in, like, the 1600s, which is far enough back for it to be considered a valid definition by now, in my opinion.

Now, you know I couldn’t get through this video without mentioning… the song.  You know which one.  Here’s my take.

The first time I heard anyone complain about the song “Ironic”, was on the TV show Lois and Clark.  This is important, because that episode is about twenty three years old now, and it wasn't like the show was known for brilliant observations. So if you're still ragging on the song Ironic, you were scooped more than two decades ago by a silly show based on a comic book.  You're not exactly being edgy.

The problem is, everyone who complains about it says the same thing: That there’s not a single actual example of irony in the song.  Some even make the joke that the song actually is ironic because it’s called “Ironic” despite not having any legitimate examples of irony.  The problem is, unless you’re just using the strictest possible definition of irony, at least one or two examples in the song can be considered ironic.  But no, you said NONE of them were, that is what you said, I heard you.  Which makes you a liar, and I can no longer trust anything else you say, you slimy piece of worm-ridden filth.

Okay, admittedly, rain on your wedding day is not ironic.  Depending on your attitude towards rain, and where you were planning on having the ceremony, rain can be unfortunate, a mild inconvenience, or even a bad omen, but it’s not immediately ironic.  But maybe we don’t know the whole story here.

Maybe the singer has a deathly fear of rain, after her parents were killed in a flood.  Her fear of rain was so great that she started her own company, “Rainstoppers INC”, who specialize in predicting long term weather trends.  When it came to her own wedding, she intentionally booked the ceremony in the driest place on Earth, which Google informs me is the Atacamba Desert in Chile.

She consulted her companies weather predictions as well as public weather reports and even the Farmer’s Almanac so she could be absolutely sure it wouldn’t rain on her special day.

But when it did rain, it was the result of a hurricane that hadn’t been predicted by any of the weather sources.  Worse yet, this hurricane never would have formed if it hadn’t been nudged by the pollution put in the air by the singer’s own company, Rainstoppers, Inc.

So, you really don’t see any irony in that story?  Yeah, I know it doesn’t say any of that in the song, but you have to learn to read between the lines!

And how about those ten thousands spoons, when all you need is a knife?  That's not a normal occurrence, there's obviously a story there.

After pissing off the cutlery mafia, you find yourself trapped inside a burning knife factory.  You’ve been locked inside one of the storage rooms.  The building is burning around you.  There’s an emergency exit door in this room, but the handle has been bound shut by heavy rope.  The knots have been pulled so tight that you can’t untie them.  If only you had a knife!  But wait, you’re in storage room of a knife factory, surrounded by crates.  You hurriedly open the first crate, and find it’s full of spoons.  You open another crate… more spoons.  You soon find that every crate in this room is full of spoons.  The funny part is, this factory doesn’t even make spoons.  They were storing them as a favor to the overstocked spoon factory next door.

Now, you’re seriously telling me that you don’t see any irony in that story whatsoever? None?  Really?  No dramatic irony, no situational irony, none of that?  Are you really so uncreative that you can’t stretch your imagination just a little and meet Alanis halfway, you pathetic little squidlicker?

Like, the song doesn’t say, “Isn’t it ironic in the literary sense.”  The song just asks, “Isn’t it ironic?”  Which could… literally… imply any one of the eleventeen definitions, even one of the informal definitions.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter.  That song made bizillions of dollars, and every time someone complains about it, Alanis gets another nickel, so I doubt she has trouble sleeping at night.

One last thing... We have a cat named Wicket.  A few years ago my Mom found him abandoned as a newborn.  Since he was found in a gooseneck trailer, Mom named him "Goose."  But when she gave him to us, we decided that "Goose" wasn't a geeky enough name.  We renamed him "Wicket" because he kind of looked like an Ewok at the time.  Flash forward a couple of years, and thanks to Captain Marvel, having a cat named Goose actually would have been pretty geeky.  Isn't that ironic?  No seriously, is it?  After researching this blog, I honestly can't tell any more.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

9/11 Memories

I will always associate 9/11 with Gallagher.

When I was a kid, I was a big fan of the comedian Gallagher.  I loved prop comedy, so his Sledge-O-Matic routine was especially hilarious to me.  I also loved how he made fun of words and pronunciations.  Some of his content wasn’t really appropriate for children, but my parents were cool with it.  We didn’t have cable growing up, but we had several of his specials someone had taped off of Showtime for us.   Some of his jokes were mildly racist, but I didn’t get the impression he was racist himself, so much as he just saw the humor in everything and loved having fun with stereotypes.  Which was typical for comedians, really, both then and now.

In August of 2001, I found out he would performing in downtown Nashville the following month.  It was the same arena where I used to attend wrestling matches as a teenager.  My wife had never seen his routine, so I hoped she was in for a treat.  We also brought one of my high school friends.  I wondered if Gallagher was still as funny as he used to be.  His signature act was so full of energy, I wondered if he’d slowed down as he got older.  Plus I was older and wondered if my tastes had changed.  But good or bad, the three of us looked forward to a night out.

So… between the time we bought the tickets and the night of the concert, 9/11 happened.  I was on my way to work when I heard about it on the radio.  They said an airplane had hit the World Trade Center.  I didn’t realize it was a passenger plane yet; in my mind I was picturing a private, one-person plane, maybe an amateur pilot who got off course.  When I got to work I immediately turned on the radio, and soon heard about the second plane hitting.  Now we knew it wasn’t an accident.

It was hard waiting to get off work that night.  I wanted to get home so I could e-mail a friend who lives in New York, and make sure he was all right.  He was fine.  He’d made a lot of posts about it on a message board I frequented at the time.  I found out that somebody had already posted a T-shirt in an online store that said, “I flew into the World Trade Center, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”  The seller’s location was NYC, and (supposedly) the shirt had already been posted before the second plane hit.  People on the message board were furious, but my New Yorker friend advised them to let that one go.  “This is how New Yorkers grieve,” he said.  “We make jokes.”  I guess I’m not cut out for NYC.

It was a while before anybody was in the mood to laugh again.  A lot of sitcoms didn’t air that week.  When time for the Gallagher concert came around later that month, I almost wanted to give away the tickets.  In retrospect I wish I had.  But just enough time had passed that I was ready to see if I could laugh again.  I should have realized that 9/11 affected comedians too.

Gallagher was not funny that night.  He was angry.  He told a few jokes, but he spent the majority of the time making racist rants about people from the Middle East.  He must have been funny to someone, because he did get some laughs.  There was an extremely drunk woman behind me who spent the concert laughing so loud we could barely hear Gallagher.  But I don’t remember any actual jokes.  Several times he mentioned wanting to bomb the Arabs back to the stone age.  By this time, the world knew that the attack was the result of terrorists, rather than a government, but he was still happy to imagine an entire country being bombed to rubble.  He didn’t even do the Sledge-O-Matic bit.  He got the hammer out, and then let audience members line up and smash things.

I don’t blame him for being angry; we all were.  I’m not even sure I blame him for the racist bits – everyone was hurting at the time, and wanting to retaliate against someone, anyone within reach.  I’ve seen the same misaimed anger on crime shows.  The family of the victim often wants to convict the first guy the police catch, even when it becomes obvious they’re innocent.  Because it’s easier to punish the target in front of you, than to come to terms with the killer still being on the loose.  And it’s easier to say “Let’s blow up the continent these bad guys might be on” than to accept that it might take years to find the terrorists.  People think they want justice, when they really just want closure.

So I don’t blame Gallagher for feeling the same.  But I do blame him for not simply cancelling the concert.  He had to know he wouldn’t be funny, he had to know he wasn’t in the mood for comedy.  Maybe it was therapeutic for him, getting to air his grievances in front of an audience.  But it’s not our job to pay for his therapy.  I’m not mad – How can I be mad about a stupid concert when so many lives were lost earlier that month?  I’m hardly the first person to have to sit through a disappointing concert.  I was lucky to be alive and attending bad concerts; too many people weren’t.

But for me, Gallagher and 9/11 have a permanent connection in my head, and I can no longer look at him without thinking about the tragic event.  Maybe he doesn’t deserve it, but he will never be funny to me again.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Pour Painting

My wife has started making "pour paintings".  These are beautiful works of abstract art, made by pouring layers of paint onto a canvas.  You can see some of her work here:


And as long as you're looking at DeviantArt pages, I've got one of my own as well.  Mine's mostly cat pictures, but I've also uploaded a few of my bad drawings.  Here's the link:


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Video Game Dream

Last night I dreamed I was playing a video game.  The graphics reminded me of “No More Heroes”, and the gameplay consisted of a variety of mini-games with different controls and rules.  The overall theme was very Japanese, the kind of game that rarely gets exported to the states.  I don’t remember the title.

At the beginning of the game, your best friend is murdered by the CEO of a major corporation.  The opening has your character visiting your friend’s grave, then performing some sort of mystic ritual to guarantee the friend gets his revenge.  Then, believing yourself to be the instrument of your friend’s revenge, you enter the CEO’s downtown skyscraper and try to make your way to the top.  Your intention is to confront the CEO and challenge him to a duel.

Your character is tall and thin, wears a business suit, and carries a sword.  However, you never use the sword until the very end of the game.  The building has 100 floors.  You have to complete one encounter on each floor.  After each encounter, your character runs up a flight of stairs to the next floor.  Apparently there are no elevators, or maybe they require keycards. 

Your character doesn’t want to hurt anyone but the CEO, so the encounters don’t involve combat.  Instead, each floor is its own minigame, with a bizarre and eclectic mix of puzzles and stealth.  On one level, you might avoid employees by hiding behind potted plants and support columns.  On another, you might have to talk your way past a security guard by picking the right dialogue choices, or by doing a short fetch quest for them.  Some of the levels were really bizarre, like having you compete in a Parappa-style rap battle with a security guard. 

It was one of those games where weird things happen for weird reasons, like “Feel the Magic: XX/XY” or “Incredible Crisis”.  Some of the mini-games would repeat themselves, with harder versions occurring at higher floors.  You never had to go back down a floor; everything you need to complete a floor was found on the floor itself.

When you finally reach level 100, the CEO accepts your challenge and you fight.  It doesn’t control like a fighting game, instead being more of a drawn out quicktime event.  However, it is impossible to win regardless of how well you perform.  If you do poorly, he kills you.  If you gain the advantage, he cheats by having a henchman grab you, and then he kills you.

You are buried next to your best friend.  The ending shows the CEO standing over your grave, making a villain speech about how he always wins.  Then, thanks to the ritual you performed at the beginning of the game, your friend’s animated corpse bursts out of his grave and drags the CEO underground.  So you were the instrument of revenge after all – your death was the only reason the CEO ended up standing so close to your friend’s grave.