Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sibling Sushi

“The older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.” -Baz Luhrmann
When I was a kid, my brothers were my playmates, my rivals, and my best friends. We ran all over the pasture at my grandparents’ farm, rode bikes around town, and built many precarious and architecturally unsound tree houses. We learned, grew, and got into trouble together. We had ridiculous nicknames for each other and stupid inside jokes that we couldn’t explain to others if we tried.
Then we grew up.
We don’t play together anymore, but that’s because I don’t have any Barbies and their G.I. Joes have been missing for years. The last fight we had was probably in junior high about whether we were going to watch a movie or cartoons. And nobody has dug any holes in the middle of the yard in an attempt to tunnel to the other side of the earth nor nailed boards randomly to the side of any trees for a decade or so.
We’ve still got stupid inside jokes and call each other embarrassing things. We’re still learning together and watching our children grow together while we sit and discuss the difficulties of having a career. We still love to ramble in the pasture at the farm and point out which trees that we used to pretend were our houses next to the dried up pond.
My brothers are still my best friends. I know that if I ever need anything, they will help however they can, even if it requires them to let me talk their ear off on the phone when they call to ask me something.
We love to get together whenever possible, whether we’re in my front hallway talking for half an hour without realizing how long we’d been standing there or hanging out in my parents’ living room, laughing about stupid stuff. But there is one thing we like to do at least once a year, and that’s Sibling Sushi.
Lincoln, Nebraska has several excellent sushi restaurants; every once in a while we pick one and head over, vowing that we will hang out, eat sushi, and high five. We sit and talk about anything and everything, fight over Philadelphia rolls, sip miso soup, and my husband and sister in law laugh while my brothers and I high five each other like we’re the kids we used to be.
Sushi is awesome, and so is hanging out with your siblings. If you’re like, “Eww, gross! Raw fish!” then there’s always Taco Bell. But in my opinion, by skipping the sushi you’re missing out on quite a few awesome alliterative possibilities.
No matter what you eat, hanging out with the people you were close to as a kid is a wonderful thing. (High five!)

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Long Weekend

Holidays are wonderful. You get to see all your relatives that you don’t get to see during the year. You get to give your family things that you think they’ll love. You get to eat food that you wouldn’t other times in the year: eggnog, candy canes, and those awesome peanut butter cookies with the chocolate stars in the middle.
The other thing you get is time off from work. This year it just happened that my husband had a whole week off. It was great to get to just hang out around the house, playing with our kids and talking. But a couple of days after Christmas, we both started to itch for something to do that wasn’t picking up all the new toys. My husband got out his work laptop. I cleaned the kitchen and did laundry. As wonderful as it was to have a week and a half to relax, nine days was too much.
I propose, in addition to the weekends that we already have, that every three months or so, everyone should get a nice, solid, four day weekend. Two days is okay if you don’t have anything going on, but if you do, you may not be able to de-stress after a long week and be able to take a big breath before plunging into the next one. Four days allows you to toss off whatever lingering work problems you brought home, relax, and even maybe do something with your friends or family. Plus, it’s short enough that you won’t get bored playing video games and go scrub the stove.
Humans need work. Having a day or four off is nice, but having a week and a half off is a bit much. Four days is perfect. Now I just have to figure out who exactly is in charge of this sort of thing and get to work making the quarterly break a reality.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Piano Scarf!

My beautiful cousin is a talented musician, and it’s cold here in Nebraska. For Christmas, I thought, what better gift than a practice keyboard that will keep her warm, too? A Piano Scarf.
This is not the first time I’ve disdained a pattern in favor of winging it, but it is the first time I’ve thought substantially about what I would do before I started. I thought about how to divide the keys. I thought about how to lift up the black keys. I thought about how much yarn it would take to crochet an 88 key piano, and what to embroider above middle C. I even crocheted some gauge swatches (that part was horrible).


ch 42.
Row 1: dc in 2nd ch from hook, dc across. 40 sts.Rows 2-3: ch 2, turn, dc across.
Row 4: ch 2, turn, dc in next 5 sts, switch to white & dc in next 25 sts, switch back to black & dc in final 10 sts.
Row 5: ch 1, turn, sc in next 25 sts, switch to white & sc in next 10 sts, switch back to black & sc in final 5 sts.Row 6: ch 1, turn, sc across.
Row 7: ch 1, turn, sc in next 25 sts, switch to white & sc in next 10 sts, switch back to black & sc in final 5 sts.
Row 8: ch 2, turn, dc in next 5 sts, switch to white & dc in next 25 sts, switch back to black & dc in final 10 sts.
Row 9: ch 1, turn, sc across.
Row 10: ch 2, turn, dc in next 5 sts, switch to white & dc in next 25 sts, switch back to black & dc in final 10 sts.
Row 11: ch 1, turn, sc in next 25 sts, switch to white & sc in next 10 sts, switch back to black & sc in final 5 sts.
Row 12: ch 1, turn, sc across.
Row 13: ch 1, turn, sc in next 25 sts, switch to white & sc in next 10 sts, switch back to black & sc in final 5 sts.
Row 14: ch 1, turn, sc in next 5 sts, switch to white & sc in next 25 sts, switch back to black & sc in final 10 sts.
Row 15: ch 1, turn, sc in next 25 sts, switch to white & sc in next 10 sts, switch back to black & sc in final 5 sts.
Row 16: ch 1, turn, sc across.
Row 17: ch 1, turn, sc in next 25 sts, switch to white & sc in next 10 sts, switch back to black & sc in final 5 sts.
Row 18: ch 2, turn, dc in next 5 sts, switch to white & dc in next 25 sts, switch back to black & dc in final 10 sts.
Row 19: ch 1, turn, sc across.
Row 20: ch 2, turn, dc in next 5 sts, switch to white & dc in next 25 sts, switch back to black & dc in final 10 sts.
Row 21: ch 1, turn, sc in next 25 sts, switch to white & sc in next 10 sts, switch back to black & sc in final 5 sts.
Row 22: ch 1, turn, sc across.
Row 23: ch 1, turn, sc in next 25 sts, switch to white & sc in next 10 sts, switch back to black & sc in final 5 sts.
Row 24: ch 1, turn, sc in next 5 sts, switch to white & sc in next 25 sts, switch back to black & sc in final 10 sts.
Row 25: ch 1, turn, sc in next 25 sts, switch to white & sc in next 10 sts, switch back to black & sc in final 5 sts.
Row 26: ch 1, turn, sc across.
Row 27: ch 1, turn, sc in next 25 sts, switch to white & sc in next 10 sts, switch back to black & sc in final 5 sts.
Row 28: ch 1, turn, sc in next 5 sts, switch to white & sc in next 25 sts, switch back to black & sc in final 10 sts.
Row 29: ch 1, turn, sc across.
Row 30: ch 1, turn, sc in next 25 sts, switch to white & sc in next 10 sts, switch back to black & sc in final 5 sts.
Row 31: ch 2, turn, dc in next 5 sts, switch to white & dc in next 25 sts, switch back to black & dc in final 10 sts.
Row 32: ch 1, turn, sc across.
Rows 33-42: Repeat Rows 10-19.
Rows 43-56: Repeat Rows 20-32.
Rows 57-177-: Repeat Rows 33-56 five times.
Row 178: ch 2, turn, dc in next 5 sts, switch to white & dc in next 25 sts, switch back to black & dc in final 10 sts.
Row 179: ch 1, turn, sc in next 10 sts, switch to white & sc in next 25 sts, switch back to black & sc in final 5 sts.
Rows 180-182: ch 2, turn, dc across.
Finishing: Sc all the way around edge. Switch to white, reverse sc around edge. Fasten off and weave in ends.

You can finish it however you want, but I just recently discovered the reverse single crochet and I think it’s very pretty. I also didn’t want any dangling tassels on this scarf. Those are a ton of work, and I wanted something around the edge to fancy it up a bit.
I used all of a black 7 ounce skein of Red Heart Super Saver yarn, and then some, in addition to about three fourths of a white skein of the same size and brand. Although since I worked the yarn through instead of cutting it off every time I switched colors, I probably used more than I could have. I’m not a huge fan of weaving in ends; they always find their way back out, no matter how hard I work to hide them.
I had a good time figuring out how to put the pattern together, and writing it all down. This is a good thing, since if my cousin likes it, I may be making another soon for my brother.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thursday in History: Stealing Victory

Generally, Americans don’t seem to care what or where or when the World Cup is. We’ve got our own sports that we like to pay attention to, and we’re content to let the rest of the world go crazy about what we call soccer and what everyone else calls football.
Randall Munroe (of xkcd)'s sports cheat sheet.
The World Cup is like the soccer Olympics. Every four years, various soccer-savvy countries compete to find out which of them is the best at the sport. America has never won, which may explain why those of us in the states tend to pretend the world famous tournament doesn’t exist.
The Jules Rimet Trophy, featuring
Nike, the goddess of victory
(photo by Reindertot, via wikipedia)
Aside from the prestige of being known as the best country in the world at playing the game, the winners of the World Cup get to take home the trophy. The coveted item was, until 1970, the Jules Rimet Trophy. However, following some thefts (from a public exhibition in England where it was on display), recoveries (by a dog who was just minding its own business, trying to dig a hole), and unauthorized production of replicas in 1966, FIFA commissioned a new one. And when Brazil won the 1970 World Cup, they were allowed to retain the original trophy forever.
On this day in history in 1983, the Jules Rimet Trophy was stolen from the Brazilian Football Confederation. It was never recovered. The next year, the Confederation had a replica made to keep on display in a more high security case. It is thought that the beautiful golden cup, with its lapis lazuli base, was melted into gold bars and sold. But since it was merely gold plated sterling silver, this is probably not the case.
In 2014, Brazil will host the twentieth FIFA World Cup. It is fitting that they should have the honor of hosting this momentous World Cup anniversary, since they won five times and have not missed a single tournament since its founding.
Perhaps Nike, the goddess of victory, will reemerge for the occasion.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Writing Prompt: Caution: Distracting Signs Ahead

I’m not the only one in the world who has to deal with a daily commute, or the only one who hates it. Actually, I think everyone hates it. It’s a given that if you have a commute, you dread that part of your day.
It’s worse when the weather interferes: fog, snow, even sunny skies are enemies of the commuter. The drive is best when it’s nice and cloudy. Rain is my personal least favorite. High speeds, wet roads, and poor visibility make for a dismal commute home. There are many things that can make you wish for teleporters even more, however: a bad day at work, road construction, and lots of traffic.
I dream about teleporters a lot on the way home from work.
That day, there was a wet umbrella on the floor in front of the passenger’s seat as I replayed the argument I’d just had with my supervisor in my head. The windshield wipers were making a ‘clack, clack’ sound as they labored to ensure that I could see the road.
And then I saw it.
One of those road construction signs was blinking at me through the gray afternoon. I let out a huge sigh. This was all I needed with my horrible day.
“CAUTION:” it read, “EXOTIC ANIMALS.”
I shook my head and took a second look as I approached it. I hadn’t been mistaken, that was what it said. I wondered what exotic animals could have to do with traffic. Had there been some mass escape from the zoo? Should I be on the lookout for lions, tigers, and bears?
About a mile and a half later, there was another sign.
“THEY’RE PRETTY COOL, GUYS.”
What? Were some road workers feeling bored, or something? It seemed like it would be dangerous to put up distracting signs like that in the pouring rain, especially if there might actually be animals running around on the highway. It wasn’t long before I spotted a third sign.
“RELAX AND ENJOY TIME OFF”
These were some seriously weird road workers. What were they trying to say to everyone on the road? Were they some kind of amateur philosophers? I was on the lookout now, for any more signs. Finally, right before my exit, I saw it.
“AT ZOOSVILLE, EXIT 329.”
Oh. It was a marketing thing. Why hadn’t they used billboards? Those were easy enough to see. Maybe not in the rain, but it wasn’t always raining. In fact, the weather was supposed to be nice the next day.
As I pulled off the highway and turned onto my street, I realized that I wasn’t thinking about work or my horrible commute anymore. Those signs had been distracting, but in a good way. I was gong to relax and enjoy my time off.
And maybe my family would like to go to the zoo on the weekend.
Writing Prompt #285

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lord of the Nostalgia

I recently took a backpacking trip behind the couch in my living room to find my DVD copies of the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I found them after spelunking in some boxes. I dusted them off, and plunked them into the PS3 to watch them (because when you don’t have a working DVD player, a 7th generation gaming console will have to do).
There are lots of great things about December. Christmas reunites you with family, and New Year’s Eve with friends. Aside from the holidays, what December reminds me of is my senior year of high school and the first two years of college.
On December 19th, 2001, my best friend Bruce was visiting from the east coast. We went to East Park Theater and stood in line, then found seats next to each other while his parents and brother had to sit several rows behind us.
On December 18th, 2002, we found space in two or three cars and drove across Norfolk and stood in line along with everyone else from school. Afterward, pushing the later dorm curfew that had been stretched just because it was movie night, we gathered back at Sam’s apartment to recap it. Jonathan jumped around making “arrow from the string” noises, pretending to be Legolas sliding down the stairs of Helm’s Deep on a shield, taking out imaginary invading Orcs. A couple of days later at East Park, Schmoove started giggling during a very serious Ent scene and leaned across me to tell Sloan what Jess had quipped to induce his amusement: “Fear the Maple Leaf.”
On December 17th, 2003, Lindy used one kleenex out of the box and I used the rest. There’s nothing more emotionally draining than last stands, heroic rescues, friendships reunited, and Kings restored to their rightful throne.
It’s fun to get out the movies and watch them again, because it reminds me of a time when my friends and I could get together without having to reschedule three or four times. When Lindy and Elizabeth and I played drinking games to Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit (and even knew most of the brown “movie” answers!). When I went to see Two Towers by myself and ran into Forrest and Jason and other Star Wars Classic Card Game players that I’d met in high school. When sitting up talking late into the night in the living room at the guys’ house was a common way to spend an evening. I miss those times.
When the credits roll, I can close my eyes and remember how much fun it was seeing those movies with the people that I love, and treasure the fact that I will get to relive those memories anytime I watch them.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Thanks for Reading

Hello? Is there anyone out there?

I am the master of MS Paint Stick Figure comics.
When I first started this blog, I knew that I was going to be doing the equivalent of writing a personal journal and then showing it to the internet. “What if people read it?” I thought, then followed it up by reminding myself, “but that’s what I want.” It’s a little odd to think about the fact that I have an audience that doesn’t share genes with me (Hi, Grandma!); it’s not like my living room is a concert hall and my laptop is the stage.
But in a way, it is. It may feel to me like I’m just talking to a wall, but there are actually people on the other side of the wall, (hopefully) finding my words amusing.
I’m not begging for comments or demanding that you share my hilarious writings with every single person you come in contact with on the internet.
I just wanted to say, “thanks for reading.”

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ideal Space: Contained Crafting

About a year ago I wrote about ideal crafting spaces. Those gorgeously organized, brightly lit, meticulously clean rooms you see in quilting magazines are what everyone strives for and no one actually achieves. I have a desk in the dining room where I keep a few paper-crafting things and a box full of yarn. Mostly, I use it to stack things I’m “going to organize” or “about to fix” or “will take care of later.” My mobile paper crafting kit is on the shelf by the door, and my secret cache of jewelry creation materials is stuffed onto the bookshelf in the living room.
I don’t feel bad about it.
Crocheting is different from scrapbooking or quilting in that you can move it around more easily. I like to watch movies or read while I work, and I can pick up a skein of yarn and move it from the couch to in front of the computer or even stick it on the shelf next to my bed while I balance my kindle on my lap. I don’t want a space specifically for crochet projects, because I’m more comfortable moving it around as I choose. If I had a “crocheting corner,” I wouldn’t use it.
Yarn can’t really be contained in an orderly manner. You can try to stack it, but soon you’ll be tossing skeins aside in search of a specific one, and putting everything back perfectly is often an unattainable goal.
Those pretty, well-lit, clutter-free spaces we see in magazines are an illusion. It may surprise you to know that photographers often stage photos. I want to see a magazine article about actual crafting spaces. I want to see pictures of messy desks and yarn in a snarl because it slid onto the floor from the crafter’s lap when they fell asleep knitting. “Ideal space” is an illusion. We can impose our will on crafting supplies, but it takes a lot more time than the actual crafting, and I would think that it constricts a crafter’s creativity.
You can try for one of those fake “perfect space” crafting areas, and I wish you success if you decide to go for it. But for me, a “contained crafting” system makes more sense. I know where everything is, it’s (generally) out of the way of my kids and guests, and if I need more room to work, I have a space I can clear off. It may not look very pretty, but my own system is ideal for my own crafting style.
My crocheting, contained.
One project near completion, the other less than a quarter finished.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thursday in History: Order of the Dragon


On this day in history in 1408, the Order of the Dragon was founded.
Sounds awesome, right? This was during the time when Crusades were still mucking up Europe and the Middle East, so before I get into what really happened, I’m going to make something up that sounds vaguely plausible but is way more awesome than what actually occurred.
Sigismund of Luxembourg, King of Hungary, returned to his royal tent as the Battle of Dobor came to a close. His queen, Barbara of Celje, welcomed him with joy and encouraged him to take some food and rest after his long toil to victory.  
“Well shall I sup and sleep this night,” he told her, “for today, Wife, I have slain two hundred noble Bogomil heretics.” The queen was very impressed with her husband’s valor, but did not bother him with questions. Instead she waited upon him and prepared a pillow for his head.  
Sigismund of Luxembourg, King of Hungary, slept well after his triumph. But as he slept, he dreamed. He saw the bones of the dead mean rise up on the battlefield and take the form of a great dragon, which burned the cities and villages of Hungary and would have continued burning all of Christendom if Sigismund had not raised his voice and commanded it to stop. 
The dragon spoke: “Why do you call me off my quarry, Sigismund of Luxembourg?” 
Sigismund stood before the dragon with nothing but his bloodied sword. “I would not have you destroy all the world,” he replied. 
“But you have done it yourself,” the dragon told him. “In your quest to rid this world of heretics, you have killed the very men who stood between your people and the Turks, who would take all this land and more for their own.” 
The dragon turned away and began burning all that Sigismund could see, until it was out of sight and all was black as night. 
When he awoke, Sigismund told his wife about the dream. 
“You must not be idle, my husband,” she told him. “You must stop the dragon. You must replace what has been lost. You must form a barrier of men between your people and the dangers that threaten them. An order of knights sworn to protect Christendom: the Order of the Dragon.”
The Order of the Dragon, like many other chivalrous orders of the time, was founded to defend Christianity. The patron saint of the order was St. George, so even though it did not have a name at the time of its creation, its association with a dragon-slaying saint gave it one.
Really, it was probably more of an elite club with a “ROYALS ONLY” sign hanging on the door. The rulers who were members were already planning to guard against Ottoman invasion, but as a member of the order, they could say it was for a higher purpose. Famous “Draconists” include the Prince of Wallachia, Vlad II Dracul, and later, his son, Vlad Tepes.
The Order of the Dragon may not have been inspired by a dream or done much more than inspire some dragonish additions to various royal coats of arms or lasted much longer than the life of its founder, but it definitely has a cool name. And a cool name will always be able to inspire an interesting story, even if it’s not quite true.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Writing Prompt: How the Past Became the Future

Her phone rang while she was at lunch. It was thankfully not while she was sitting at her desk, and as she answered it she could see the situation she’d avoided: scowling boss, cubicle monkey being scolded like a 7th grader caught passing a note in class.
“Hey, can you come over after work?” he asked.
“I was going to anyway,” she replied, “I always do. You had to risk calling me at work to ask if I was going to do something I always do?”
He didn’t answer right away. He seemed distracted. “Sorry, I was just making sure. See if you can cut out early. There’s something I really want to show you.” He hung up, and she stared at her phone in confusion.
After lunch, she trudged back to her desk and got back to work. The mindlessness of it allowed her plenty of time to think about what exactly she was doing there. She hated her job, and her job hated her. She’d much rather have accepted that position at the museum that her favorite professor had offered her the week before, but Anthropology wasn’t going to pay her bills, no matter how much she loved it. One thing was for sure: eventually, she was going to waste away in a desert of endless cubicles.
She kicked the snow off of her boots as she rang the doorbell at his house that evening. The doorbell was just a formality, since she immediately let herself in and started tossing her stuff on the end table where she usually put it. He wasn’t anywhere to be seen, so she made herself a cup of tea, peeked into the bedroom, and then started to wonder if he was actually home. The lights were on, the computer looked like it had been used recently.
Finally, she yelled, “Hello?” When there was no answer, she added, “I hope this isn’t another of your creepy surprise parties that you throw when you remember that you’ve forgotten when my birthday is!”
She heard a voice in the basement, so she opened the door to the stairs, and heard him say, “Surprise!”
“It’s not my birthday for another four months,” she called.
“This isn’t a birthday surprise,” he replied, “it’s a career surprise. Get down here.”
She tossed out the used tea bag and added some milk and sugar to her drink before she braved the rickety stairs. The sight that greeted her at the bottom was merely the small unfinished basement, containing only a card table with a laptop and some assorted electronic parts and tangles of wire, a bald light bulb which was hanging from the ceiling and swinging slightly back and forth, his triumphant smile, and two rough-looking people she had never seen before who were huddled in the corner, trembling.
“Ta-da!” he said. “Remember when I told you that I was building a time machine? Look! I managed to get it to work!” He gestured at the two people in the corner. “Quick! I don’t know how long it’ll hold out.”
The information was having a hard time making it to her brain. “Wait,” she told it. “What?”
“I brought some cavemen here from the past! Anthropologize them before my machine breaks and they go back to their own time!”
“You… built a time machine.”
He nodded.
“And you used it to inflict psychological damage on some unsuspecting people from the past.”
He nodded.
“So that I could study them?”
He nodded, smiling his “I’m such a great friend!” smile.
“You’re a horrible person.”
This did not deter his smile in the least, but he did look over at his guests. “They look more scared than I thought they would.”
“How terrified would you be if you were randomly zapped into the future against your will?”
“That would be awesome!”
She answered with a glare, and then looked with pity on the poor souls cowering against the far wall. “I think they’re afraid of the light bulb,” she said.
“How do you explain a light bulb to a caveman?” he asked.
“You can’t; to them it’s indistinguishable from magic. Besides, it’s not like I can communicate with them, anyway.” Her tone said clearly that she wished she could, and his smile returned, along with his surety that he had done a nice thing for his poor bored friend. “I would love to know how to apologize to them for you yanking them out of their own time,” she said. “There’s no way for me to know how any of my actions would be interpreted.”
“That’s no reason not to try,” he volunteered.
She glared at him again, but moved closer, but not too close, and kneeled on the floor. “I’m sorry that this idiot kidnapped you,” she told them. “You can be sure that as soon as he gets you home safe that I’m going to kick his ass.”
Her words didn’t seem to reassure them, but she could tell that they were listening. One of them made eye contact with her and said something. Just two syllables of unrecognizable speech, but it was communication meant for her. From the past.
Not too long after that, there was a huge spark which started a small fire on the card table, and the frightened people disappeared. While her friend doused the conflagration with her unconsumed tea, she sat where she was and looked into the now empty corner.
She sat still for long enough that her friend began to worry.
“Look, I’m sorry for the psychological damage and all, but I just wanted to help. You come over every night and all you do is talk about how much you hate your job. I was hoping to remind you how much you loved studying and researching when you were still in school. You’re so busy trying to make ends meet that I wanted you to remember what you were striving for in getting your degree.”
“Sure,” she said quietly after a small pause. “Thanks.” She stood and went back upstairs, leaving him to decide how he was going to dry his newly soggy and mint-flavored laptop.
Before she reached the top of the stairs, he heard her voice again. “Dr. Walters?” she was saying. “Hi, I’m calling to see if I’m too late to accept that post you asked me about last week…”

Writing Prompt #615

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Review: Papers, Please

A video game doesn’t have to have gorgeous eye-catching visuals to be interesting. It just has to be engaging and fun! It’s nice when all of those things come together, but I’d prefer engaging and fun to gorgeous and boring. And moments of intense excitement separated by super boring segments of riding a horse across the countryside falls into the latter category (sorry, Assassin’s Creed and Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess). Sometimes, games that sound like they would be super-boring and totally ugly are not. I mean, how fun does checking for paperwork discrepancies as a border official in a fictional former Soviet Republic sound?
Papers, Please might not be pretty, and definitely doesn’t sound exciting, but fifteen minutes in, when your heart rate is accelerating because you need to get through two more people in line to make sure you can feed your family, you’ll change your mind.
As the Inspector, you have to double check passports to see if they are genuine, make sure that foreigners have the correct documents in order to enter the country, verify that diplomats are who they really say they are, accept those seeking asylum (as long as their paperwork is correct), and detain smugglers. The rules for entrance change almost daily, not to mention the added duties of watching for criminals and preventing terrorist attacks!
There are twenty different possible endings to this fast fact checking game, and your ending depends on the choices you make. Do you strictly adhere to the rules, refusing to take bribes? Do you unite the lovers? Do you aid the secret society? Do you help a heartbroken father find his own justice in revenge? The decision to allow someone into the country even when it validates the rules has consequences: you are fined, and these fines cut into your earnings, which could have serious repercussions on your family’s well being. They could be cold, go hungry, get sick (requiring expensive medicine), or vanish from existence.
If I haven’t convinced you to try this awesome game yet, then I guess you’re going to have to ask someone else, or just take my word for it; I’ve got to get back to playing it.
Glory to Arstotzka!