December 3rd, 2006

Programmer

HOW TO MAKE A SUCCESSFUL QUIZ MEME

1. Determine what personal aspect hasn't already been exploited by previous memes -- or just rip one off from another quiz anyway. Regardless of the originality, the aspect you select should be one that some people like to yammer on and on about; you're merely making this yammering easier and standardized.

2. Write a bunch of questions that must be answered with one of two responses. These responses will be at the opposite ends of their contextual spectrum and transparent enough so that the savvy quiz-taker can easily tell which answer to choose in order to get the results they want.

3. Set up the quiz so it's spread over as many different pages as possible, so that you get as many Google ads hits as possible. (What's that? You didn't put Google ads on your quiz pages? Then what's the point? Go back to Step 1 and start over, or find something else to do. I hear there's some pretty funny lipsync videos on YouTube.)

4. Write up all the possible results that could come from this quiz. Make sure that most of the results are very complimentary, as more people are bound to gleefully share with their friends list that some computer-generated quiz said they were super-duper S-E-X-X-Y sex machines than the people who were told they're cold fish with even less sex appeal than Ann Coulter.

5. Congratulations! You are: Almost Finished! For your final step, present your results with large tables, a horrible color scheme, and self-hosted images that will refuse to load and hang everybody's browser when your meme becomes too popular. Bonus points if you can mess up the poster's layout and/or style with some crappy HTML (hint: closing tables and table elements is for sissies!) Extra bonus points and a special place in hell if you sneak in an </lj-cut> tag at the top to foil those pesky meme-hiders.

6. Sit back and watch the results take over LiveJournal and vicinity. Then remember how much extra you have to pay for bandwidth overages each month. Eh, don't worry, another meme will come down the pike in three weeks or so and yours will be forgotten.




You're welcome!
Tom Lehrer is Smug

Noaaaah is my naaaaaame...

I'm always glad to give a shout-out to Laff In The Dark, without a doubt the best-designed and most comprehensive website devoted to dark rides ("dock rides" if you're from New England) out there. Each update is a real treat to read, for the LitD gang not only tell of the history of famous dark rides and funhouses, but also often give you photo tours of the interior and other such goodies.

Their latest is an article on Blackpool's Noah's Ark attraction, one of only two left in the entire world (the second one resides at Kennywood in Pittsburgh and is a lot of fun, I can tell you.) This Biblical concept for a walk-through funhouse may sound odd nowadays, but these used to be a tried-and-true amusement park staple, and mostly secular to boot. The typical Noah's Ark walk-through involved a multi-level path winding in and around a large boat what rocks back and forth, festooned with all kinds of animals, Noah, his wife, the movie star, the Professor and Mary Ann, all that good stuff.

There were always silly obstacles to navigate (a set of "lily pads", which slightly rock under your weight, suspended over a basin of water) and stunts triggered as you stepped on a pressure plate. The Blackpool Ark, for instance, features a cow who lifts her tail and farts at you as you go by. A little blast of compressed air from the right spot really makes the effect.

Laff In The Dark's article has some superb historical pictures, including the first-ever Noah's Ark built in Venice, California, the original patent for the boat-rocking mechanism, and some old photos of the Blackpool ark from the 1930s when they replaced all the animals and figures with ones done up in a mad crazy Cubist style. (You really have to see the figures; they're incredible. We shall not see the likes of them ever again.) Then there's the photo tour of the ark itself. Some of the stuff inside is just terrific.

The last ark to be built was Kennywood's, all the way back in 1936. In 1998, Laff In The Dark ran an article on Kennywood's ark after its 1997 restoration, including great pictures of the interior, blueprints for the "new" ark, and the original boat rocking mechanism. Note that, as was the case with all Noah's Ark attractions, most of the action occurs in show buildings around the ark itself (which is really on the second story of the ride.)

Awesome stuff.