2010-08-10 20:14:25.000 – Ryan Knapp, Staff Meteorologist
Back in 1992, I had saved up my money for three years with one goal in mind: to buy a Nintendo Game Boy. To kids these days it might not be anything special; it was the size of brick and weighed about the same, had a “tiny” monochromatic screen (green) that had to be played in sufficient light, the pixels were blocky (8-bit), it had only two buttons and a directional pad, and the sound was mono. But, at the time, it was THE portable system to have and something we all strived to get to make our classmates jealous. So after numerous dog sitting adventures, birthdays, Christmases and such, I finally saved enough and bought it from Costco for about $90. Once I got it home, I threw open the box and to this day can still remember its polished look, its feel and even its smell surprisingly. And after popping in some AA, I slid the included game in its back side and so began my odyssey that was Game Boy and my addiction to a game known as Tetris.
Tetris is a puzzle video game in which a series of shapes, one of seven tetrominoes, fall from the top of the screen and it is the objective of the player to manipulate these shapes with the goal of creating a solid line at the bottom of the well. If a line is achieved, it makes a noise and then disappears. If you achieve a “Tetris” which is clearing four lines all at once, the screen flashes and a unique noise is made. With each line created, Tetris or not, you achieve points and after a certain amount of lines, you move up a level and the speed of the falling bricks gradually picks up. I’m sure there is more I could talk about Tetris but that is not the focus of this comment. So if you want to find out more you can check out this Wikipedia link or check this link to try it out for yourself online.
So why am I mentioning Game Boy and Tetris? Well, I am mentioning Game Boy to explain how I started playing Tetris. I mentioned Tetris because it is a metaphor for a work week up here. Let me explain what I mean: As we come up on Wednesday, it is like a new game, an empty well without any pieces in place. As we start gathering at the base, it is like aiming for the first line of the game. Once we all arrive, the pieces fall in place, we create our first line and up we go. We unload the vans, another line. We load the vans with the down going shifts bags, another line. We carry things down stairs, get a snack, and then head to the meeting; three lines at once. Then at the meeting, we put the game on pause and start looking at the pieces that will soon be in play for the upcoming week.
After the meeting, the game (work week) resumes and the pieces (tasks) start falling again. We work with most of these pieces (tasks) and get them to line up so we can eliminate them (scratch them off the list) from the well (work week). We start off doing great, knocking off lines (tasks) left and right but then we are thrown a shape (task) that just doesn’t fit anywhere. Then another shape (task) comes down from above that doesn’t fit and things begin to stack up. Every once in a while, we are able to eliminate a line or two but the stacks on the peripheries of the well begin to stack up. Wednesday morning arrives and the game will go one of two ways: All the pieces line up and you clear the well or the pieces reach the top of the well and its game over til the following work week.
Most of us have ongoing tasks, so most of us have become accustomed to hearing the “game over” noise in our heads at the end of the week. This being the case, our next work week is like choosing version two of the game when you start a well with some pieces in play and you have to work around them to clear them out. But every once in a while, everything lines up towards the end of the week and we get to hear the joyous “Tetris” sound as we head down. And as my shift comes to a close tomorrow, I am getting that feeling like you get just before achieving a “Tetris” as all of my tasks will have been achieved. But I still have about 18 hours left up here and a lot can happen in that amount of time. So I will bide my time and hope for the best.
Ryan Knapp, Staff Meteorologist