Tuesday, September 28, 2010

All about Cally

... And I don't mean California. I'm talking about my - er, our frandabulous cat, Cally. Yes, she's a Calico, and apparently the name is not that original. Sigh. I'm blogging about her because it has come to my attention that out there in the real world some of my beloved readers are fans of my cat!
How this came to be and how I was not aware of it, I am not quite sure as I try to stay quite attentive to the needs of my small but sophisticated readership base. So from here on out, if you have a request of subject, I would be MORE than happy to write about it for you, as sometimes I scratch my head while thinking of writing topics.
What? how is this possible? are you not living in the land of the interesting and quirky? you may be thinking. I do I do... but I have been living here for nigh on five years, and my eyes have become accustomed to many sights that would have once-upon-a-time been strange. It is a sad but true fact. SO today please excuse me if the topic is somewhat mundane.

Our adorable feline comes from the streets of Nerima-ku, our district of Tokyo, where she had been living in the 'wilds' survivng only on her remarkable talents of charming treats and tidbits from the hands of passersby. We met her in the park on the corner, where she not only convinced us by her pitiful meaows that her very survival depended on us (now that I know this fiesty cat a little better, I am certain she uses this very effective technique on everyone she lays her eyes on), but after we fed her and continued with our original purpose of going to the park (playing badminton), she demonstrated what a good housecat she would make with her very fastiduous hygeine by shyly releiving herself behind a tree, and then the entire time while we played our game, pawed neat line of dirt over neat line of dirt over her small pile, until there was a small mountain with the aesthetic feel of a zen garden on top of her privy. She looked at us coyly after this, as if to show it off.
"Oh my gosh Takeshi we have to adopt this cat!"

Fun cally fact:
she has just one crook near the end of her long tail, which she is rather sensitive about and will growl or murmur a complaint if you try to play with it.

We're not sure if she's a little too chubby or not. It's hard to tell. She has short hair that is very thick all year round and will only reluctantly tolerate it when I try to use the brushing tool called the 'furminator' on her. It seems the cat standard for 'a little chubby' is waay off from humans, as she still has the stray cat instinct of gobbling up any food placed in front of her (lest the other stray cats in her mind get to it first). I think most cats really want to be as big as possible, as this allows them to beat up other cats and steal their food, and 'level up' and repeat the cycle to yet bigger and bigger cats.

Hopefully she's not doing this when we occasionally let her out, but it's pretty suspicious as the week when we were on vacation and Takeshi's mom fed her and did not allow her out, she got remarkably skinny in only a weeks's time. The killer bit? Takeshi's mom admitted she fed Cally twice the amount we asked her to, (apparenly she was not yet steeled to Cally's aformentioned talents of weaseling extra food out of people). And she STILL lost weight. Uh-oh.

But let's not dwell on this, shall we? I still haven't mentioned Cally's amazing ability. She is actually a bit of a supercat. And no, I'm not talking about the weasling part, I think most cats with a bit of practice are quite excellent actors.
Twinkie comes to mind.
"Noooooo I haven't been fed yet!" (what's that bit of food on your plate then?) "I haven't been fed by at *least* one out of the five members of the family!"

I digress. Takeshi and I live in apartment, on the second floor. Yet Cally is an indoor/outdoor cat. We tried to keep her indoors, but she is very vocal about her desire for freedom. So she manages it somehow, through her magical powers.

She doesn't like the stairs, so she (with magical powers including the ability to fly) jumps from the window to an awning of the factory next door. Although it is about two feet down and two feet of open air between, she also on a rainy day wanted IN very BADLY and decided that the jump up and across this gap was nothing to a supercat, and got herself back in.

We have to be very careful because her other superpower is that of Harry Houdini, showing remarkable abilities to escape our apartment, finding any unlocked window and jimmying it open. THe first time she did this we thought for sure we had been robbed, but by a very strange burgaler who only left the window open about five inches and stole nothing but the cat.

"Cally, Miss Cally, there's noone like Ms. Callity, She's broken every human law, she breaks the law of gravity!" ***

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A Beautiful Disaster

What to do when your company is being partly managed by perverts?

Well, whatever they do privately is their own business. I'll turn a blind eye on the nubile bikini babe poster on the wall above their computer.
But when the guy who is in charge of new campaigns called together a meeting to discuss his latest brilliant plan, I didn't know I should be a little worried.

Normally our campaigns for this online game company, normally have something to do with, you know, the games we're promoting. For instance, if you log in a certain number of times in a week you get a special item. sometimes they're a little more abstract, like in-game fashion contests.
rarely, we have cross-promotion deals with stores or movies...for some bizzare reason our FPS shooter game had a tie-in with "Robo-geisha". come to think of it, the previews for that movie looked pretty raunchy. And our cute game recently (well, ok, 6 months ago) had that tie in with a maid cafe, to promote the new in-game maid costumes on sale.

So there you go. Just shows this has been going on for awhile without me noticing it. But anyways, I didn't think much about it or care, until recently. Just lately I've been put in charge of a lot of miscellanous projects that require programming with game data.
These projects: campaigns.
These campaigns "idea man": bikini poster boy.

The first campaign I developed was for was one called 'Tashiro Masashi's temple", the main challenge to create a magic 8-ball like bot to randomly answer users questions.

I was mentioning it to takeshi, when he snorted and his eyes bulged out.
"you mean *The* Tashiro Masashi? The famous celebrity turned pervert who was arrested and never allowed on TV again?"
uhm, maybe? I googled this guy, and the first image that showed up on Google's image search was a mustoiched man taking an up-skirt picture of an unsuspecting booth babe at an auto show.
Right, that guy.

So for the life of me, I couldn't see any connection to our games, and the only reason to have this campaign was to create a bit of buzz among our users. The reason for that partiular 'celebrity'? ... he was cheap.

Emboldened by this successful campaign, bikini poster boy called us for the fated meeting. His next big plan? A cute - girl voting campaign. Some random girls were to be put up on a special voting page of the site, and if you vote for them, you can see 'special data' and get an email from them.

The guy's eyes lit up as he described how you would have to register for our site to vote and "see their data". "You can always rely on pervy power!" he giggled excitedly.

Yes, he said exactly that, I kid you not.
I tried very hard not to roll my eyes at the meeting, since it had already been approved by the higherups. The cheif of the design team, my friend I went to korea with, was a little more forthcoming with her concerns.

"This game you're putting it on the site of, its target audience is girls. Maybe you should make this a .. guy voting system".
I laughed in delight. Immediately his face turned serious. "We already got the contracts for the girls. But maybe next time!".
So anyways, before leaving on summer break I spend a good two weeks developing this stupid pervy voting system, but of course the dummy data I worked with was benign. While developing, I got lost in the details of coding and made it to the best of my ability, leaving the last ten percent or so for my coworker.

When I got back from summer break, the first thing I did was check on the status of the project. I was supposed to be released the week while I was gone, yet it wasn't up on the site.

My coworker, in a hushed voice, turned me to our games forum page.
A huge number of posts all mentioned the campaign, nearly all extremely negative. One stood out more than most: a thread called "Petition against the 'too-beautiful voting campaign'". This one thread had over three hundred replies by unique users.

I will quote you what they said, roughly translated from the japanese : (for those that want to test their japanese chops, here is the link http://ta-online.jp/main/community/bbs/detail.php?search_bbs_no=2467&page_no=18&)

"definitely stop it."
"I'm 100% against this disgusting campaign".
"Gross, this is the worst event ever." etc etc. the list goes on and on.

The company issued an apology and retraction, and just like that, three weeks of work went down the toilet.

And yet, I couldn't be happier!!~ bikini boy is no longer in charge of campaigns, so at least for awhile, "pervy power" is going to have to take a back seat.