December 19, 2013

A Tabletop Dungeon Escape Game

Hello World.
I made a new game.
It's a tabletop dungeon escape game played atop QR code maps (all scan-able, yay!).
It is called Queen Regent's Dungeon Escape.
I made this for my kids for Christmas, but unfortunately didn't finish in time to receive a print of this, so I will need to print this on my printer for them.
But the book is now available here: Queen Regent's Dungeon Escape
I figured, since you can't get it by Christmas either, I will give you all a download of this book here: QRDE.pdf
You can print it from your printer.
This download will be available through December 25th, 2013.

Download and play with your kids!
Merry Christmas!

November 5, 2013

345 - Fun w/ Numbers

I realized I hadn't updated this blog in a while (sorry, been busy with things I'm sure I'll update you about in the near future). So, I calculated you all a poem.

There are two ways to read 345: one way is to read it as a series of numbers, the other is to read it as a series of letters. 180-degrees, ya dig?

Here is the poem as a zip file of 13 images:

Um, Enjoy!


July 30, 2013


TERMINAL BOOT is an experiment in translating methods and delivery of digital literature to a purely pen-&-ink medium. The load time of electronic work is here represented with printed words, producing a text which reflects not only the visual characteristics of a boot screen, but also the time taken to load a larger piece of software by an honest read-through.

Additionally, this book is an experiment in pacing, tension and resolution, through erratic progress indication.

The conclusion is intentionally open-ended, so that this book may serve as a thought-provoking standalone artifact, or as a prologue to any existing work of printed text.

It may be found here: TERMINAL BOOT



June 27, 2013

Adalay Drifts Away - Bilingual Children's Lit in English/BASIC

I'm not going to lie: I love the time of year for Cheerios books.

If you're not familiar, every year for a couple of months, Cheerios releases their Spoonfuls of Stories books, bilingual children's books (English and Spanish) that are included inside specially-marked boxes of Cheerios cereal. My kids love these books. I love these books. They are pocket sized, beautifully illustrated, and the along-side Spanish translation helps to reinforce the lessons which Dora the Explorer and her abrasive backpack have taught my 2-year-old about alternative languages (something this pocket of America so unfortunately lacks).

I've always wanted to write a Cheerios book. Now that I'm a grown up, I suppose I can.

But let's rewind to a time when I wasn't a grown up. I didn't have Cheerios books. The only marginally bilingual books that I owned looked like this:

This and many such books may still be found online at

They were usually a series of short stories, or complete novellas, which, within the standard story prose, would contain snippets, or entire standalone sections, of code which could be entered into a BASIC interpreter. These pieces of code would enhance the story in one way or another, from displaying text on the screen to allowing entire games to be played to further the narrative. And while they didn't teach me Spanish, they taught me BASIC to at least a base level of competency.

Now I know there are many that will argue that BASIC is not a "language," and would not help to satisfy a language requirement toward degree completion, but honey nuts to that. By reading these books as a child, and inputting the printed code into the Commodore 64 BASIC interpreter, I was learning to communicate with a machine. There was no slang, no ambiguity, and my goodness, if I didn't get the syntax exactly right in every sentence which I "spoke," the machine would tell me, hand-slappedly, that I was doing it wrong (very much like my high school German teacher: "The Frau").

I've always wanted to write a BASIC-enhanced book. Now that I'm a grown up, I went ahead and did so. And to kill two birds &c., I've gone ahead and created a bilingual, Cheerios-style children's book, in English and Commodore 64 BASIC.

Adalay Drifts Away is a book that I wrote for my daughter to give her the same experience that I had growing up with a C64. Now that these machines are hard to come by, I've loaded an emulator on our home machine (Frodo for Mac OS). She's a little too young to input the code at this time, but with her daddy's assistance, she is able to experience a higher level of traditional storybook storytelling.

In a manner similar to that of Cheerios books, the English prose is set side-by-side with a BASIC translation of each scene. Rather than be a simple translation (like an English-Spanish one would be), the BASIC translation takes what is written in English and presents on-screen animation, audio, and other user-driven processes which directly reflect the words on the page.

I will admit, one of my favorite aspects of this is seeing the code written on the page. This, to me, proves the legitimacy of BASIC as a written language. If one is fluent enough, the need to input this into a machine goes away. The code becomes a set of signifiers which the brain can process and translate into mental images, audio, and other user-driven ideas, just as well as a machine can.

For a gift to my daughter, I've had this book printed, and if you are interested in receiving a hardcover copy, go here: Adalay Drifts Away. If you just want to check it out and get a better sense of what I'm talking about, I have made a lower-quality .pdf version which you may get here: Adalady .pdf.



May 18, 2013

Huckleberry Finnegans Wake

Next week I will be flying to Karlskrona, Sweden to perform Huckleberry Finnegans Wake along with fellow collaborators Talan Memmott, Eric Snodgrass, and Michael Maguire at The Mixing Realities Digital Performance Festival on May 24th. Here is a description of what we're doing:
Huckleberry Finnegans Wake  is a combinatoric performance work bringing together Mark Twain’s  Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.  With both texts based around river culture, folding one text into the other can form contextual imbrications and through this, combinatorial engines can be developed for the texts as well as implied visual and auditory material. Though both source texts are replete with exclusive language (regional dialects, neologisms, etc.) when brought together what emerges is a fantastical environment lacking specificity, but for the rivers (the Liffey and the Mississippi) that run through both. Imagine steamboats on River Liffey, the Pike County dialect being spoken in County Dublin, or Mutt and Huck on the banks of the Mississippi. The performance of Huckleberry Finnegans Wake utilizes a number of applications to generate a multi-modal interpretation of the combined text that includes visual material, audio, and live readings from various combinatorial engines.
 I'm pretty stoked, so if you're in the area, check it out!


March 14, 2013

DRONE - A Pejorative Card Game

Portion of TARGET card

Drones bother me. Everything about unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), to me, screams: "I'm a pussy."

You can quote me on that.

I don't imagine I need to explain what they are, or what they're used for. But I will: They're machines used for killing people. They have no other purpose. They're used for killing people.

I've created game poems in the past, but when trying to address the drone issue, I could think of nothing "poetic" to communicate. Therefore, rather than create a poem about this particular subject, I've created more of a statement; to be more precise, I've created an expletive.

DRONE is a pejorative card game I designed based off a traditional deck of playing cards. The artwork was designed to signify anonymous targets, with piles of civilian deaths in iconic night-vision hues. The game play, the instructions, and the visual tone of DRONE is one which, however, was intended to be family friendly. Kids and adults of all ages can play this game without the gore and guilt of actual violence, which, quite frankly, reflects what I imagine is the viewpoint of the pilots themselves: totally removed from humanity, miles away, at a computer interface.

DRONE card
Number 7 card

You may download the instructions HERE as a .pdf, and play with a traditional deck of cards. Or you may navigate to HERE, where you may purchase the official deck (and make me a negligible amount of money).
Number 5 card

I apologize if I've offended anyone. Drones bother me. But hey, the card game is fun! Again, this game truly is family friendly; it's satirical. Hopefully, if you're playing with your kids, they'll pick up on the wrongness of it all. Hopefully they'll get that feeling in their gut that they shouldn't be playing this game. And hopefully, so will you.



March 8, 2013

Louisville Arcade Expo 2013

I regret that I hadn't brought this to your attention earlier (inexcusable, I know), but once again the Louisville Arcade Expo is bringing classic arcade games, pinball machines, and console games to the public this weekend. If you're in town, do not miss out on this event! I will once again be in attendance; this year I will be displaying Nothing is 0k, my generative poem for the Atari 2600.

For more information, please navigate to In addition to unlimited gameplay, there will be chiptune performances and game tournaments, as well as vendors selling classic games and game-related paraphernalia.

If you're in Louisville, this weekend, GO GO GO!!


March 4, 2013

EMP-LIT: a New Course at UnderAcademy

Myself, along with Talan Memmott, Ray DeJesús, Sandy Florian, Linus Lancaster, Alan Sondheim, Erik H Rzepka, Rob Wittig, Claire Donato, Mark Marino, Jeff T. Johnson, Richard Smyth, and Maria Damon, will be teaching in the upcoming 4th Cycle at UnderAcademy College. Above is a flyer with a description for the class that I will be teaching, EMP-LIT, and is transcribed as follows:

Darkness. Sweet, silent darkness. The power’s out. Permanently. Piles of plastic. The network is down. The network is dark. Sweetly, silently dark.Where does electronic literature go when the power is out? Permanently? When the server no longer provides the PC? When the Personal Computer no longer provides the person?Into darkness. Into sweet, silent darkness.This class will explore and define methods of digital preservation beyond the place of power. Hypertextuality, generativity, multimedia interactivity: gone, replaced by piles of bargain-bin pop-sensational fiction, unless we work to analogize these methods to a platform with more longevity. In a first act of desperation, we will be transposing what we as electronic literates have discovered through digital composition back onto paper which, when all has become dark, sweetly and silently dark, can still be experienced by candlelight.
Admissions are open now. You may view other courses and enroll here now, free of charge.

A higher quality flyer may be found here.

Hope to see some of you there!


January 27, 2013


Lately I have been considering methods of preserving digital literature post-apocalypse. Not in a grim, Afternow kind of way (okay, maybe a little), but in a more realistically inevitable way. That is to say, at some point in the future of Earth, I imagine electrical power will be gone, and as such, so will the entire history of digital literature and all gained from its corpus.

To anticipate the permanent unreadability of e-lit (electronic literature), I have been toying with what I'll call EMP-lit (literature born after the great theoretical electromagnetic pulse that takes down our servers permanently). EMP-lit takes contemporary methods of digital storytelling such as hypertext, random text generation, audio and video presentation in conjunction with text, and translates them into a context that holds more longevity: that of tried-and-true ink on paper. One early example which I've completed is the poem Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg.

For those who are not aware, Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, also known as Lake Webster, is a lake in Massachusetts that was once a gathering place for the Nipmuc Indians. At 45 letters long, Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg is one of the world's longest words. According to the Olde Webster website, the word is most accurately translated as: "Englishmen at Manchaug at the Fishing Place at the Boundary." Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg is not only the title of this particular poem, but also serves as a constraint, in that the letters found in the title are the only letters used within the body of the poem, which I will now discuss in more detail.

This poem, which exists on paper and can be reproduced without the aid of a computer, uses concepts such as random map generation as well as visual animation. More precisely, there are 45 maps cards, each representing a portion of a fictitious river system, and each using one letter from the title to represent the area around the river, through which the reader is navigating. Using rules I created for Cimmerian Cell, the deck is shuffled and each card is picked from a deck and placed around each other as the boundaries of each card dictates. For example, if the first card drawn has three sides open, a card may be drawn and lain adjacent to the first card as long as that new card has an open side facing that of the original. For more detailed instructions for this, look HERE.

Sample Map card - 4 open sides

Sample Map card - 3 open sides

Sample Map card - 3 open sides

In addition to the map cards, there are 5 "occur" cards. When one of these cards is drawn, the reader sees a scene unfold from within his/her boat. These scenes are found in one of 7 flipbooks, each unmarked and shuffled like the map cards. When an "occur" card is drawn, the reader randomly takes one of the flipbooks and views the scene. Each scene is represented by text, which as mentioned above, is constrained by the letters found within the title. Be aware, however, that one of the flipbooks will bring death to the reader. This poem is meant to be experienced and re-experienced, and much like a video game, will produce different endings in each play.

Sample occur card

Sample Scene animation

If you die, the poem is over. If you can no longer place a new map card, the poem is over. If you play all of your map cards successfully, then the poem is considered read in its entirety, though because the reader has only experienced 5 of the 7 flipbooks, still has not seen the entire poem. So, experience it again.

All of the cards necessary for this poem can be found HERE. Rudimentary instructions for experience and construction can be found HERE. You may print and cut these cards out on regular paper, or print them on business card stock. More importantly, however, these cards may be reproduced by hand or by typewriter, and you have my absolute permission to use whatever reproduction methods as you see fit. The scenes for the flipbooks are all numbered, so that scene 1 will have its first animation cell labeled "1a" and the final cell labeled "1t." There are 20 cells in each flipbook. I used a stapler to bind the ones I produced; use a better method if you can.