Old Grandma Hardcore

This blog is the chronicle of my experiences with Grandma, the video-game playing queen of her age-bracket and weight class. She will beat any PS2, XBox, GameCube, etc., console game put in front of her, just like she always has. These are her stories. She is absolutely real. She lives in Cleveland.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Farewell, Twenty Dollars; We Hardly Knew Ye

The XBox 360 has become an addiction for us all. Microsoft has established a new sphere of influence within this house, and that damnable system is the opiate that will bring our little castle to its knees. Shall we fight back? No. They are too great a force; and the sweet taste of the XBox Live Arcade keeps the morale of our troops distracted and unready for battle.

Normally, such things would go unnoticed. Grandma has an impressive console that not only compliments all of her years of gaming, it applauds it by glimpsing into the future. Usually we would not care about the consequences.

But I lost twenty dollars, goddammit.


That's one less than blackjack and one more than nineteen, for those of you keeping track. A seemingly small amount of legal tender; petty even, when contrasted to far larger sums such as the remaining balance of my student loans, or the total spent in my lifetime on Gobstoppers (God DAMN you Willy Wonka!!) ...but that twenty dollars was mine, and mine alone. It's gone now. It will never come back.

For those of you unfamiliar with a twenty dollar bill, preferring electronic means to pay for goods and services, it comes in the form of a green shaded parchment adorned with the likeness of Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of The United States. Andrew Jackson once said: "No one need think that the world can be ruled without blood. The civil sword shall and must be red and bloody." By god he was right. I know that now. I was naive and innocent several hours ago; O how I long to go back to that time of primitive childish ignorance. I was happier then.

XBox Live Arcade is filled with addictive titles, many of which you recommended to us; such as Geometry Wars, Zuma, and Bejeweled 2. The demos are never enough. They give you just a hint of the drug you once knew; just enough to taste the memory of bliss you once had playing the older, perhaps PC versions. It was easy to see Grandma's delight with Geometry Wars even though the sparkled firework graphics of the mayhem on screen was reflected so vividly upon her bifocals, obscuring her eyes. "Now THAT is fucking BEAUTIFUL" she cooed. "We've GOT to get this thing, man."

"Alright, cool!" I managed to say, for even I was transfixed upon the screen; the loud whirring of the 360 silenced by the pounding techno resonating throughout the house.

It would have to be ours.

But how?

Microsoft Points can be purchased at GameStop, Walmart and Best Buy by obtaining tiny plastic cards with any number of letters, symbols or numerals that will magically transform a demo into the preferred "full version;" truly- a kiss to the frog prince of gaming.

But the kiss was not to be.

The trip to GameStop was joyful; there were four of us then, I'm not certain how many are alive now. We all talked about what Bobby would buy with his ill begotten $14 store credit from two traded games. We discussed strategies to alternate gaming schedules, so that no one would miss the opportunity to play one of the many titles we would have in our possession by nights-end. We listened to the radio; we laughed and joked... GOD how stupid we were! Why didn't anyone tell us? Were we so uninformed?!

The card was behind the glass case above the counter guarded by a surly looking gentleman of considerable height, who would inevitably ask us about our intentions. We knew the score. We calmly buy the artifact, politely deny his request that we reserve a copy of the upcoming releases, leave quickly but safely- and transverse the dangerous roads between Aurora and Mantua with the constant reminder that we carry precious cargo.


Yes, the Card that would provide us, all of us, with hours of entertainment and friendly competition. Grandma eyed the man suspiciously, the decapitated Donky Kong and Legend of Zelda suckers on the counter tempted her- but she obeyed her well trained instincts and went to BATTLE.

Grandma - "Um... Hi, do you have that Microsoft Points card ...thing for the 360?"

The Man - "Yup. Here ya go."

Grandma - "Cool, how much?"

The Man - "Ummm...... $19.99 exactly."

Grandma - "Great!"

Me - "I got this one; here's a twenty."

The Man - "Okay.... would you like to reserve a copy of Elder Scrolls IV?"

Me - "Not just yet."

The Man - "Great! Here's your receipt, have a nice day!"

Me/Grandma - "You too, dude!"

And it was over.

We drove, BY THE HEAVENS we drove; the sharp plastic encasing the card stuck ever so slightly out of the bag, taunting us and yet comforting us; for it was ours. Nothing would come between us and XBox Live Arcade anymore. We were safe, it seemed. There was only one thing left to do. One FINAL task: Scratch off the back bottom left section of the card to reveal the number that would enable the magic to run its course, FEEDING us with Geometry Wars and Zuma.

I cut around the edge of the package, then used brute force to rip the layers in twain; revealing the card- the card, O THE CARD was so vulnerable now- NOTHING COULD STOP ME!!! I brandished my scissor blade and came down; DOWN upon the surface of the scratch card! The scratching continued, full force; the shavings of plastic and soft, malleable card-flesh flew into the air, creating a snow; a cascade of falling pieces that fell upon my arms as I raised the card closer to inspect my work, checking for anything I might have missed that would require more SCRATCHING.

Everyone was standing around, watching me. No doubt they noticed the grave look that changed my visage from the cheerful card-scratcher into the horrified and depressed person you see today. Their expressions changed too- first from glee to worry; then from worry to panic.

Only two words escaped my mouth:

"Mother FUCKER."

Grandma glanced at the card and then looked back up at me. "Use a penny next time, asshole. Pff! He used SCISSORS!"

My Pride. It is dead.

Game on!!!


  • At 10:48 PM, Blogger Leci said…

    AUGH. Tim. xDDD That is so terrible. ;_; Sorry to hear that...

  • At 11:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wow $20 seems a little remnicent on the amount i sent for one of those kick ass tshirts. any chance on shipping one?

    cmon now... if you send one i may be more apt to donating a card for u.

  • At 11:16 PM, Blogger CtrlAltDelete said…


    All shipped out today ;) Priority mail too, shouldn't be too long now!! I wanted to go yesterday but Sunday MEANS something or ...something... to the Post Office anyway.

    You don't have to donate a card, it was my own stupid fault :)

  • At 11:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh my lord dude, that totally sucks....although i have to agree with grandma on this one, that certainly is a dumbass thing to do. Maybe you will be one of the people who go down in history as adding warnings to stuff, like the lady who microwaved her cat...better luck next time bro

  • At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hmm, I could kick you a few hundred unused points. Is that possible?

  • At 12:18 AM, Blogger CtrlAltDelete said…


    Don't remind me about my cat, dude! ...Tails was a good cat. He just wanted popcorn.


    Nah, don't worry about it. I don't think it can be done and it was my own dumbass fault; hence my self given internet humiliation.

  • At 12:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    *hugs Timmay!*

  • At 1:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I did the same thing to an XBox Live Subscription card. Only it WAS a penny. Don't feel too bad about it, mate.

  • At 2:05 AM, Blogger Art Green said…

    Gamestop wouldn't allow you to return that? They'd probably say it was your error, but hey, worth a shot.

  • At 7:29 AM, Blogger ivorynetsuke said…

    Er, I've scratched cards before with scissors ... veerrryyyy carefully, mind you, but it can be done =)

    Damn, I'm sorry about that, Tim.

    I just hope you don't wake up and find you now have the scissors in your head ;)

  • At 9:12 AM, Blogger JenThePrincess said…

    I Love Gobstoppers!!!! Did Grandma ever decide on a name for the game room? You guys rock!
    Game On!!

  • At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Ignore ye the heathens. I've scratched cards with scissors before, and things have turned out OK. I fear that your excitement was too much for the wee card to handle, and where gentle pressure was needed, joy make you heedless and brought ruin. I don't think ANY of us here can claim that we haven't been guilty of a similar transgression in some way or another.

    For example... I should have a murloc pet in WoW: but alas, at Blizzcon I was too bewildered by all the pictures and requests for hugs that I neglected to take the card (allowing me to get the pet) out of my badge holder and someplace safe... and when the Costume Contest time FINALLY came around, I quickly tossed my badge over one shoulder to give a better view of the costume. Alas, in my enthusiasm I either left the card unprotected from surreptitious card-snatchers, or (more likely) it slipped out and tumbled, unnoticed, to the floor, where it was quickly lost. I mourn my lack of murloc pet, but it is a lesson learned, indeed.

    Here to no more points nor murloc pets lost to the both of us! ::clinks glasses::

    Take care, be well, and GAME ON!


  • At 1:52 PM, Blogger Collin said…

    You shipped the shirts? I didn't see an email from you about size. Oh well. I'll cross my fingers.

    Yes, a penny or at most a dime. Not scissors. An X-acto would have been worse though.

  • At 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Man, I feel for you. I hate those scratcher things.

    I am jealous as hell that you got that XBox 360!

  • At 2:21 PM, Blogger CtrlAltDelete said…

    Collin- e-mail me again, man. I know I shipped you a shirt, but I thought I responded about your Conan idea as well!

    Okay everybody,
    YES. Yes I know I am a dumbass. That's why I posted. Dumbass honesty ;) People have to know who they're dealing with. When you talk to me, you're actually speaking to a dumbass. Just thought you should know.

    I deserve the pain.

  • At 3:04 PM, Blogger DY357LX said…

    Oh dear Tim.

    On the uk cards (probably the same as the U.S cards) it actually says to be ultra careful when scratching off the panel to reveal the code.
    When i opened my card and read that I decided to layout a variety of coins and go for a trusty British 10p Piece because thats what I used to, religiously, use to reveal the top-up codes for my mobile phone.

    Next time you get the chance, exchange some $$$ for some British 10p Pieces. It's like they're designed for scratch card addicts or something.

  • At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    your $20 is now but a dusty memory of the dim and cloudy past...

    i gives you sympathy, but i have to say i laughed at this. i laughed hard.

  • At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've usually used nickles. Bigger, rounder and edges not as sharp as a penny.

    Ah well. You can buy points through Xbox Live with a credit card. Screw the scratch cards!

  • At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    haha "use a penny", classic grandma :)

  • At 6:29 PM, Blogger Leci said…

    Got my shirt. :D LOVE IT! Thanks again, guys.

  • At 7:35 AM, Blogger SweetHatred said…

    Ewww, sounds like something I would do. Not out of stupidity, just my bad bad karma.

  • At 10:41 AM, Blogger Ayla said…

    Hi Tim and Grandma!

    Well I can't believe no one has pointed this out yet. You gave the guy a $20, the card cost $19.99. You had a penny on you!!

    Oh well, I love you guys. Keep up the great work Grandma and Tim, don't be too hard on yourself, everyone has an off day.


  • At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah I was thinking that, you had a penny huh?

    And I am sure the clerk guy would help you out by giving you a new one huh?

  • At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    its ok, we all fall prey to premature escratchulation once in awhile. game on.


  • At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    For all the haters in the crowd. I have scratched things off in the past with:
    * Butter Knife
    * Steak Knife
    * Kitchen Shears (like scisors, but sharper)
    * Xacto Knife
    * A wide variety of US Coinage
    * A TONGA Dollar coin (they were rectangular)
    * Finger Nails

    All with success... its all in the technique... Scisors are not that unusuall for scratching... The problem I fear (having gotten the exact same card, but with more success... using scisors no less) is in the method they used to put the numbers on and the covering. It was /really/ thin film and the numbers were not solidly printed in the first place... Definitely a card you have to take care with :)

    But I hate to say it....
    You loose.... Fatality.

  • At 4:03 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    hey man... they don't make paper money anymore....do they?

    dude, HOW could you use scisors??? lmao your grams is too funny. i laughed my ass off just now. i think you can still hear it echoing down the halls.

    good one!!!

    hey, maybe you can take the card back and tell them what happened... or try calling xbox to see if theres anything they can do. i mean maybe they'll actually help....can't you see a tiny bit of it?

    next time deposit the 20 into your bank and use your debit/visa card!!! you must have one! if you don't...get one. DO IT NOW!!!

  • At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just did that exact thing three days ago!!! (minus the scissors, i used a quarter) After trying to return it and being deinied i called the xbox service #. After 3 calls they directed me to 1800fixxbox. They had me fax them the card with a case # they gave me. No call back yet but its only been a day.

  • At 2:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh my lord person, that will entirely soaks up.Buy Diablo 3 items...although i need to believe grandmother within this one, that will certainly is the dumbass thing to do. Perhaps you is going to be one of many people who decrease of all time because adding alerts to be able to material, such as the female exactly whoGuild Wars 2 Gold kaufen microwaved the girl kitty...superior luck next occasion brother


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