Friday, December 11, 2015

December 3rd, A Day that Will Live in Infamy

"The things we believe about ourselves are often a lot more illuminating than the truth..."

I don't know what that means but it sounded good.  I think I saw that in an analysis of one of the Republican debates as the author spoke about THE Donald.  Actually I think it can be used by a lot of us.

You know it seems like I forgot something recently??

Oh yeah two weeks ago it was my 5th Blogoversary.  Or was it one week ago it was a few days after I realized I wanted to continue blogging two more years three years ago?  Or was it a week ago I realized it's been a year since I realized I really shouldn't be doing this any more than one more year.

Oh well regardless I forgot about my blogoversary.  Actually that's a lie I've just been too dang busy and I'm finally writing what I thought I was going to write two weeks ago.  Actually I made notes about this post a month ago while attending a workshop on training and felt really good about getting this out on time but then stuff happened and I'm just now elaborating on the notes I took a month ago about the things I was supposed to say two weeks ago.  I think I get that.

So let's see I've been writing this blog about things a regular guy does when he goes many years without sex and lives with a woman who is a microcosm of Scarlet O'Hara, Martha Stewart, Miranda Priestly, and Leona Helmsley and then discovers a thing called "married dating."

OK, so I did that and then about a month later I found out about a guy named Riff Dog.  I learned a lot from Riff Dog, not the least of which was how to get a woman to actually write back to you on Ashley Madison.  But more than anything, I learned what this thing called "married dating" should really be about.  And more importantly what TALKING ABOUT IT ON A BLOG should be all about.

Oh wait I was talking about a workshop I attended recently, you might rather hear about that than to hear about sex and blogs and how to enjoy them both.

I attended a workshop about a month ago about "Gaming in the Classroom."  It was a train the trainer type thing and it looked fun.  It was, and the instructor was like super nerdy hot.  Nerdy hot is like the best hot because with the glasses and the articulate wordiness, the lady seems cut off but you just know that, in the bedroom, if you could get that dress off she would be a total wildcat!  Unfortunately I was not able to confirm that.  She did look a bit like Selma Blair with glasses, a bit naive looking yet probably an animal in bed.

Anyway, one takeaway from the class was this:  "We are seeing a mass exodus to online 'life.'"  Reality is broken, virtual is attractive.  We struggle to make the real world as attractive as gaming...  Gamers are motivated, we just need the portal back to the real world."

What we are seeing is the "Gamification" of life.  It is happening all around us.  And what is "gamification" you say?  Gamification is the application of typical elements of game playing to other areas of activity to induce behavior (such as the encouragement of product or specific behavioral engagement).

Why?  Because games are fun and "FUN CAN CHANGE BEHAVIOR!"

What makes this important is that this generation ain't stupid; they want things to be fun.  So if you want these Gen-Z'ers, Gen NeXT'ers, Digital Natives, etc to learn/engage in anything you are doing you better learn about gaming.  I know you can't teach an old dog new tricks; leave the gaming to the youngsters and just let us Gen X'ers have our coffee and Nirvana.  But maybe this gamification thing has some applications to us mid-life dudes or ladies life!?

I know, it's really a pity to talk about a workshop so near to the holidays so let me try to get back to my Blogoversary and what all this Ashley Madison stuff means.

You know what I have so often written in AM notes to various ladies is "let's explore an alternative third place that is just for us where we can be enchanted, bewitched, and beguiled together...."

I know, kind of syrupy, it works about 5% of the time.  I'm sure saying "what's up, let's get it on" would probably yield about a 5% ROI as well but hey that type of colloquial language doesn't make for good thoughty-type blogging does it.

But what I learned from Riff and what a realized through all of this AM stuff is that we are all here for some reason.  We are here for hope or maybe to run to something or from something.  More than anything we are trying to change or behaviors because our past behavior has just not been too fun and perhaps changing behavior will lead us to fun.  And as you know "FUN CAN CHANGE BEHAVIOR."  Wait did I just say that?

I did forget to add something from the workshop so let me just slip it in here.  There are two types of "Gamification," structural and content.  Structural Gamification is the application of game-elements to propel a learner through content with no alteration or changes to the content itself.  The primary focus behind this type of gamification is to motivate the learner to go through the content and to engage them in the process of learning through rewards.  This is like Pac-Mac, same screen over and over; just a little more difficult each level.  Or maybe like marriage first you get her flowers and you get laid, then maybe it's dinner and get laid, then it's a trip to Cabo to get laid, and then it's who the hell knows what it takes you just don't get laid!

Content Gamification is the application of game elements and game thinking to alter content to make it more game-like.  The game learns and evolves as it becomes new each time you play it.  Adding elements, such as a story, makes the content more game-like but doesn't turn the content into a game. In this type of game we learn to learn and adapt.  This is when you enter alternate reality with multiple outcomes based on your decisions.  Hmmmm.

OK, enough with the academic stuff.

Wait all this seems like its similar to me as I'm talking.  Could this AM thing be like a game?  If it was a game, is that bad?  If it was a game could it change behavior?  Is it fun because it changes behavior and as such is that why it's fun?  Could being successful on AM and the resulting change in behavior not only be fun but a life changing, evolutionary process or journey?  And then would the blogging about it be part of that journey?

You know what makes this gaming stuff so fun is that fact that YOU are the hero.  Long and challenging games create the best learning.  And what is great about games is that you fail a lot and that failure is part of the learning as you alter behaviors to successfully navigate through the game.  It is also immediate feedback about performance and you adjust your strategies based on your performance and desired results.  In doing so you don't stigmatize failure you actually celebrate failure in the pursuit of success or in this case winning the game and more importantly learning the lesson.

I've found that most women on AM are not looking for reality or even the truth, as it lives in our everyday life.  What they are looking for is an escape to an alternative third place.  They are looking to gamify their life, to find a portal to the truth of who they would like to be in their minds; at least for an occasional afternoon.  Be that hero, be that portal and you will succeed.  More importantly you will succeed for yourself.  And even more importantly the hero that you become in the game may shape the person you are in real life.

OMG, I meant to write a blogoversary post and I've been blathering about nothing for far too long!

What the heck does all this mean!!!

"The things we believe about ourselves are often a lot more illuminating than the truth..."

Oh yeah, that's where I started.  I guess all this means is we live a truth every day in the real world.  But there is a truth in our minds that is part of who we believe we are or better yet who we believe we can become.  All this gaming and alternate reality is a dangerous thing, you can get lost in that alternative world of your mind.  But if you can find a way to make that alternative world, or truth, in your mind (what you believe about yourself) transport to the real world then it can be pretty transformative.

I guess that's enough for this year.

Want an illustration of gaming in society - take a look at the "bottle bank."

Unfortunately this is only structural gaming.... I wish I could do a game video about Ashley Madison though, I bet that would be truly good content (storybook) gaming!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

C is for Cranberry!

No wait, C is for....

You see the Oxford Dictionary has formally given us approval to no longer speak in words but in pictures, or rather pictographs, or for you normal tweens out there EMOGIs!

Yes an emoji is officially the official "word" of the year.  Well actually it's the "lol" so much I'm crying or to be more to the point - 

Did you also know that last Friday was 

That's my emoji for National Cookie Day which apparently is every December 4!  Wow, I guess you can have a National Day for anything these days.  I wonder how I get to have a National Give Ryan a Blowjob Day, I wonder if I could get that through congress!  Hmmmm......

I wonder why we do love cookies so much?  I rather think we like them for many of the same reasons we like sex.  We all like cookies and we all like sex, right?  We like cookies because they are a small treat with such a variety of flavors and contrast of textures.  Think of chocolate chip cookies, ever so slightly crisp and crunchy on the outside with a deep rich melting chocolate squirt of flavor on the inside as you bite through.  OMG, that is exactly how I remember the best sex of my life!  You know chocolate chip cookies are always there for you and you can enjoy them just the way you like (with milk, after dinner, before bed, in the morning) just like your best sex partners (they know just how you like it).  And yet cookies are not so big and burdensome (like pie) that you can't mix and match.  Let's say you just had chocolate chip yesterday and the day before.  Today, you want a cookie but you want something new!  Well cookies have something new and exciting for you every day because today you can have oatmeal, or peanut butter, or sugar, or  maybe even maple, bacon, with sea salt. Who knows!  What you know is they won't dominate you into just one thing, they are willing to share and be as diverse as you need them to be!

OMG, now I just need a big old cookie orgy, don't you!!!

Well now that I am thinking of National Cookie Day, orgies, and December I come to one thought; it's time for 

 the Great Online (sex bloggers) Cookie Exchange Extravaganza!

As always a big thanks to JZ for organizing this treat every year.

OK, so we've established that today is not really for emoji's, it's actually for cookies.  Except that I never follow the rules so on this blog today it's for poundcake, or to be specific Cranberry Poundcake.  Now doesn't that sound all holidayish!

But you know poundcake is sexy too, just like cookies.  In fact if you can't have cookies, have poundcake; it goes great with milk as well.  I think of poundcake as like your girlfriend's older hot sister.  She's not your cookie but you would still like to pound her because she has that same nice soft round as(texture) but something just says I bet she might be really tart and lemony inside!  And OMG, I just have to taste that once!   :)


*  1.5 cups + 3 Tbs Cake Flour - sifted
*  0.5 tsp baking powder
*  pinch of salt
*  1 cup Cranberries (fresh or thawed, strained if frozen)
*  5 oz white chocolate chunks
*  0.5 cups unsalted butter (at room temperature)
*  1.5 cups of sugar
*  0.5 cups of heavy cream
*  0.5 cups of mascarpone cheese
*  3 eggs
*  1 tsp vanilla extract (pure)
*  2.5 Tbs browned butter

For Frosting:
*  0.25 cups butter (softened)
*  4 oz cream cheese
*  1.5 cups powdered sugar
*  1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

*  Garnish with dried cranberries and white chocolate chips


*  Preheat convection air oven to 325
*  Butter and flour an 8.5 by 4.5 by 3 inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper
*  Combine cake flour, baking powder, and salt and sift multiple times (set aside)
*  In small sauce pan o/medium heat, brown 2.5 Tbs butter until it's an amber color, remove foam (set aside to cool)
*  Whisk the egg with vanilla extract and set aside
*  Mix the butter on medium speed until it's creamy, slowly add sugar and continue beating until incorporated into creamy butter
*  Add heavy cream and mascarpone into butter and continue beating until mixture is creamy
*  Turn mixer on low and add dry ingredients (flour) slowly and alternately with eggs
*  Take handful of flower and toss white chocolate chunks & cranberries in flour until covered
*  Add chocolate chunks and cranberries slowly into batter stirring constantly and gently
*  Pour batter into loaf pan, smooth the top and gently tap surface until bubbles removed
*  With butter knife draw line down center and pour browned butter into crevice.
*  Bake about 55 to 65 minutes and until top of cake golden brown and inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Upon removing cake from oven cool for 15 minutes.
*  Remove cake from pan, separating from parchment paper.
*  With a mixer, combine 0.25 cups softened butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Slowly add in powdered sugar, beating until smooth.  Mix in vanilla or almond extract.
*  Spread icing on top of cake and place cake in refrigerator until frosting is set.
*  When frosting set melt 0.5 cups of white chocolate chips with 1 Tbs of vegetable oil in small sauce pan over low heat until smooth.
*  Sprinkle the cake with dried cranberries and drizzle white chocolate sauce over cake.

And as always I finish with that most tasty of songs, sing it Cookie Monster!

And here is that big cookie orgy!

Bleu (private blog, also posted here)
little monkey (private blog, also posted here)