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I remember with some fondness playing with Play Doh as a kid.  It wasn’t until middle school that I realized that you could actually make the stuff yourself.  Recently, as we look for more constructive activities for Tron, TacoMa’am decided to make a few batches of the homemade stuff for him.  It turned out great and he’s a big fan of it (indeed, it’s one of the few things I’ve ever seen keep his attention for over an hour).  So today, I bring you several recipes for your very own PlayDough.


One thing I learned from TacoMa’am in her project to produce playdough, is that the cooked playdough is superior to the no-cook stuff I remember from middle school.  Indeed, the recipe she uses is very close to the real thing (a little softer).  It also lasts longer and doesn’t dry out as quickly as the non-cook stuff.

The cool things about making it yourself are in the cost savings and variety of color.  For the same money you’ll spend on about a pound of Play Doh, you’ll be able to make several pounds of your own stuff.  Along with that, you can color your own stuff with a wide variety of colorants available, which include the standard iodine drips and color gels* as well as things like Kool Aid packets.  And, since it’s cheap, it doesn’t matter so much if some of it is ruined.  With normal Play Doh, I always felt bad about combining the colors because they don’t uncombine.  So, once you combine some, you either throw it out, or put it in your “combination” container of Play Doh that eventually turns a swirly brown color.   The homemade stuff is so inexpensive that losing a bunch of it to mushed combination isn’t a big deal, so using all the colors in combination is a guilt-free exercise.

As a bonus, all the Play Doh forms, presses, and other accessories still work with the stuff you make in your own lab.  For the yard sale champion, this is a great cost saving measure because you’ll see the accessories sold on the cheap without the Doh fairly often.  And if you’re really handy, you can make some accessories of your own (which I’ll cover some other days once I make the ones I’m thinking about a reality).

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

*If you’ve never played with food-grade color gels, I highly recommend giving them a try.  They are way, way better than iodine based colorant.


Monday’s Game #113: The Dig

Since last week I talked about the great and humorous point-and-click adventure (PACA), The Secret of Monkey Island, I figured that this week I’d hit on another LucasArts PACA: The Dig.

the dig lucasarts

The Dig is a more serious look at PACA games. While the vast majority of those made in the 80s and 90s featured a fair amount of humor, The Dig was more aimed at mystery, exploration, and storytelling. Interestingly, the Dig was inspired by Stephen Spielberg as a potential episode for his Amazing Stories series (something I didn’t learn about the game until about 15 minutes ago).

The premise of the game is that you’re Boston Low, the Commander of a mission to deflect an asteroid from a collision course with Earth in hopes of bringing it into orbit. After successfully completing this mission, you find that the asteroid is seemingly hollow, and decide to investigate. Your team is quickly trapped and then warped to an alien planet. From there, you have to try to get everyone back to Earth.

The Dig, while originally released in late 1995, was a game I didn’t actually play until about 2002, when I borrowed it from somebody I met in the dormitory I lived in. I found it an extremely solid addition to the PACA lineup of games. The art is very good, the soundtrack well thought-out and executed, the plot solid and interesting, and the characters fairly robust (compared to other games of the time, anyway).

Getting your hands on a copy of The Dig is pretty easy these days. LucasArts released an updated version of the game on Steam for $5, which features new content and a few bug fixes. Sadly there is no DRM Free version of the game, so if you want such, you’ll have to start looking for a used CD-rom of the original, which are fairly common and run about $5.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

This week’s geek craft is something for that friend of yours who really, really likes skulls: a crocheted skull scarf pattern by Wickedcrochet71.


The pattern is $8 at etsy; and is a cool looking scarf that’s well executed. However, the pattern maker does one of my pet peeves and says, “Items made with this pattern MAY NOT BE SOLD AT ANY TIME.”  If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know how I feel about people trying to exert their dominance over their customers in that way.  I would recommend not buying the pattern.

So, I’m gonna teach you how to make one for free. You can go ahead and sell these for thousands of dollars each. Feel free not to even credit me with the idea.  In fact, go out there and build your skull scarf empire!

Anyway, first you’ll need a skull motif pattern. I recommend kristinskrazyknits free Day of the Dead Skull Motif pattern.  Those skulls are a little small by themselves, but if you use a bigger hook, chunky yarn (or two stands of worsted) they’ll get plenty big.  You could also add another row of single crochet all around the skull to make it spread out a bit.   Make sure to leave a long tail at the bottom of the jaw.

Now, make a bunch of those skulls.  Once  you’ve got a nice pile of them, join them together by whip-stitching the long tail on the jaw to the top of the skull going below it.  You could also slip-stitch them together, but I don’t think it would look as nice.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

This week’s game is that old DOS classic, The Secret of Monkey Island by LucasArts.


The Secret of Monkey Island is a point and click adventure game released in 1990. It follows the story of Guybrush Threepwood as he strives to become a pirate. Like most adventure games of the era, such as Space Quest, Kings Quest, and Myst, it predominantly features puzzle solving and exploration. You have to find items in order to solve various contextual puzzles to progress through the game.

Like many of the Sierra titles of the time (which the Monkey Island unabashedly “apes”) the game features a light-hearted plot with more than a little humor. Unlike a lot of the Sierra titles, it’s impossible to actually die in Secret of Monkey Island. This was a specific design choice by the developer in order to make the game more accessible, and less “cheap.”

Secret of Monkey Island, and indeed the four titles that follow it to comprise the entire series, is a great game even by today’s standards. It’s fun and humorous, the UI is simple yet functional, the music is catchy, and the art (especially in the VGA revamp) is sharp. I highly recommend the whole series, but The Secret of Monkey Island is definitely the place to start. You can snag a digital download of the updated game from various places for about $10, which I think is money well spent. If you’re really into playing the originals, I’ll confirm that the game works flawlessly on DosBox.  So far as getting your hands on a copy of the original DOS release, well, that’s up to you.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

This week’s geek craft is for the sushi geek out there: a crocheted Sushi Scarf pattern by Cap’n Mermaiden.


While I’m not a fan of sushi myself, I know a few people who are. I’m debating whether this should go on my to do list.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

This week’s game is another NES classic: Duck Tales by Capcom.


Duck Tales is one of a modest collection of Disney Games made for the NES and is based on the popular cartoon series of the same name. Amazingly, most of the games released with the Disney license by Capcom were actually rather good, and Duck Tales was probably the best released.  This flies in the face of the conventional logic that games based on Movies/TV shows automatically suck.
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Over at the Library I got a question from Herr Wozzeck about this passage. Specifically, how utterly impossible it is.

The people in the chambers clapped so much that the noise echoed so much that the sound was still heard after a minute or so.

Yo, Taco! Would you be so kind as to give a scientific deconstruction of this claim?

*Rubs hands together*

Oh, this is gonna be fun.
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This week’s geek craft is a special entry for TacoMa’am, since it references his favorite episode of Angel: A Smile Time Hoop Embroidery by Whimsical Frippery.


The crafter here did a really good job at capturing muppet Angel in a minimalist style. I know at least one TacoMa’am who would enjoy one of these.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

This week’s game is Organ Trail, by The Men Who Wear Many Hats.


Organ Trail is a zombie re-boot of the old Oregon Trail some of you probably remember from the old Apple 2 days. It’s a very neat game in that it remains very faithful to the original Oregon Trail while still introducing new game-play elements. As such, it’s pretty fun. View full article »

This week’s geek craft is an amazing recycled Darth Vader Mask by Gabrieljunkart.


This thing is just awesome. Gabe has some other stuff in the etsy shop too, but this is probably my favorite.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?