The Jarbochov Stratagem

My blog has been under the moniker of the WyomingJarbo.blog for almost ten years now[1]. The name has early 2000s written all over it.

For those not in the know my nickname has evolved over the years. In high school it was Jarbo[2], which I then reconfigured into Wyoming Jarbo as an homage to Indiana Jones except with the completely rectangular and least populated state. I thought it was funny.

Later after answering many questions about the “Wyoming” part[3] of the name I adopted Jarbochov[4]. After the great Twitter username change of 2011[5] it has been my handle ever since. It’s unique and it was born out of serendipity rather than manufactured or forced.

Over the last year I’ve reflected on how much I miss creating things. I like writing but I also put so much thought into it without much action. The most common advice I see for people who want to write is to just write and not worry about the audience or the content. So that’s my new goal, or stratagem to approach myself and the world.

A stratagem is a plan to outwit an opponent or to achieve an end. My opponent is myself and the world. My goal is to write more, to show the awesome of the world, of technology, of video games, of life. My aim is to muddle up the system add some shades of gray[6] to everyone that reads this. The world is simple where we think it is complex, and it is complex where we think it is simple.

I hope you stay along and encourage me throughout this corporate rebranding of the online space of Jared Cherup, and I hope to contribute in a more regular fashion.


  1. WyomingJarbo.com has actually been around since 1999.  ↩
  2. “Jarbo” was a product of several misspelled checks I received from The Columbus Dispatch while I was a paperboy. I still cashed them.  ↩
  3. No I’ve never visited Wyoming, but I want to.  ↩
  4. Jarbochov was formally adopted during a game of 1000 blank white cards. It’s an reconstructing of “Mikhail Gorbachev” and “Jarbo”. Also some walls were involved.  ↩
  5. I joined Twitter in 2006, and for years my username was “jcherup” which found completely uninspired.  ↩
  6. No, not those ones.  ↩

Collecting Memories

I’ve been a Nintendo fan as long as I can remember.

My first memories of Nintendo were playing the NES at the barbershop my Dad took my brother and I when we were kids. The earliest games I remember are Duck Hunt, Gyromite, Top Gun, and of course Super Mario Bros.

My memories are inherently tied to video games, specifically Nintendo games. I don’t remember what my first kiss felt like but I can tell you what the first time playing Super Mario 64 in a local game store felt like: dreamy bliss. It’s confounding how my brain is wired.

When I started collecting video games, systems, and accessories a few years ago, it was spurred by finding my original Game Boy in a box of old items. That was the spark but I’m not certain what has kept that flame bright. Was it my sled named Rosebud? Was it to add to my geek cred? My precious antique cans? I think I am finally realizing what it is. It’s my link to the past (see what I did there? no?) Maybe that’s just my way of justifying material possessions. I understand people who want to eschew keeping all but the necessary physical objects. I just have never been able to do it myself. I like having things that other people have created, and things I can use to create.

Now I’ve moved into the realm of “collector” complete with a “collection.” It’s weird for me to think about. I don’t have items just to have them; they all mean something to me. They are part of me. Games differ from movies and books. Movies and books are easily rented or purchased regardless of publication date. Games on the other hand can often fade into the time they were created. Some will be remembered or even rereleased. But some will live on only on the system they were created for. Take Earthbound for example. It was a Nintendo game released for the Super Nintendo. It is actually fairly rare, and until 2013 never rereleased or available again for purchase. It’s a quirky RPG without a real equivalent. Maybe games like these will never fade and some library will exist for them to be played by anyone in the future, or maybe they will eventually die. Video games are a very young medium.

I don’t have anything in particular to achieve with my collection. I hope to share my memories with others, for them to share their memories with me. To share my experiences if I ever have a child. If I do I’ll raise them right.

Honestly I can’t imagine where this will end up. Maybe in ten years I’ll be selling everything for drugs and guns thanks to Armageddon (Thanks Armageddon!). I do know one thing that I keep coming back to: these games, toys, time wasters, playable stories, experiences, or whatever else to call them – they are a part of me. They are part of how my brain works. I’m collecting my own memories.

Happy 25th Anniversary Game Boy

The Game Boy turned 25 years old today. I thought I’d take some time to share some thoughts and memories about the best mobile gaming device.

I loved my Game Boy. I probably didn’t receive mine until maybe 1990 or 1991. When I was a child it seemed like everything took forever so it could have been the same year it came out. I received mine for Christmas, complete with an AC adapter and Tetris and the less than stellar Yoshi. I enjoyed Tetris to a degree, but since I wasn’t nearly as skilled as I am now it wasn’t fun to play. The first great game I remember playing for the Game Boy was Super Mario Land 2: The Golden Coins. It was a great Mario platformer that let you turn into a bunny with flapping ears! It also introduced Wario for the first time, and he wasn’t nearly as comical as he is today.

I remember before owning my Game Boy some boy in fourth grade had one, and I distinctly remember playing a game where you were a spaceship that had to form rectangles. It’s as exciting as it sounds. I would later discover the name of that game after years of search was Quarth.

The Game Boy was around all the way into High School. I remember lending my girlfriend at the time my Game Boy pocket which she promptly broke. But she replaced it. I was distraught until she did. I remember absolutely loving Wario Land, and Wario Land II for their shear oddity, and developing Wario into the weird (very weird) character he is today.

I remember getting Pokémon, and discovering that I wanted, no, I needed to “Catch ’Em All”.

The Game Boy was always there for those long band bus trips. I have a vivid memory of playing two player Tetris on a bus in Northeast Ohio during autumn. I always can remember where I was when playing certain games. It’s a uncannily tied to my memories.

The Game Boy Camera (and Printer) was my first foray into digital photography in all its 1-bit glory which planted the seeds for my other non-gaming hobby.

I have more wonderful memories about Game Boy games than I do for the NES. The thing was wherever I was. It was always a more intimate experience as I didn’t have to share the TV when I played Link’s Awakening discovering Koholint, or spending hours trying to find the legendary Pokémon.

Over the years I’ve heard people say they aren’t interested in handheld games, but today people play all kinds of crappy games on their phones (ripe with microtransactions). Nintendo is still creating great experiences on their handhelds that you can’t find on consoles (Luigi’s Mansion, Pushmo, Fire Emblem Awakening, etc.). There is something for everyone.

So here’s to the one, the only , the original Game Boy. Thanks for all the memories, and thanks for always being there for me.

Speech Jamming

Jared using headphones.

Today I discovered speech jamming.  Listen below.

Speech jamming works by delaying how you hear yourself talk. It can be broken but if you actively listen to your voice while talking it can make you stumble over your own words.

Make sure you have sound limiting headphones on, or make sure your volume is up.

There are a few apps you can try this with on the App Store. I used one named Speech Jammer.

Getting Things Done

I’ve been working hard on being productive. It ultimately comes down to just doing things. But organization and keeping track of things is incredibly important. Here are some things I do to help. I’ll also add while I’m not super productive (I can procrastinate like no other) I still feel good when I get things done.

Remember The Future

Often I think of something that I should do and immediately forget it. For example, I should text my friend to let them know I’m thinking about them, or I need to replace the air filter in the furnace. But after I have that thought it will immediately leave me as I move on to the next thing. Then ultimately I’ll remember again, then forget, and the cycle continues. It’s for this reason that I’m in love with Evernote. It’s perfect for short bursts of thought unloading. And now that Evernote has a reminder feature it’s almost priceless in the utility it brings.

I’ve heard that some have a difficult time using Evernote effectively. I think people confuse it with a service like Google Drive where you can store things and write things keep them in sync. They are similar in that aspect, but the difference lies in the amount of time you should spend in each. Evernote is for quick reference and quick jotting down ideas or tasks. I equate Google Drive for writing longer passages and more of a collaboration tool.

Nag Yourself Bro!

Another service that I use is called Remember The Milk. It’s a tasklist service that’s been around for a while. It can remind you when a task is due through mail, text, push notification, and even your calendar. Remember The Milk is good for tasks that need to be done with some sort of recurrence. It’s also good for keeping a more in-depth set of priority. RTM also ties in to almost every service imaginable like GMail, Evernote, Google Calendar, and more. The latest integration with Evernote allows me to set a reminder on Evernote and automatically show up in RTM as a task. You can do the same with GMail messages. I’ve been using RTM less lately, but I still find it useful for tasks I need to complete on a schedule.

Put It On The Calendar

Setting a date is important for me. As much as I say I’m spontaneous, I’m also forgetful. Dates can set a target to aim for, and when I meet those goals it can help me feel accomplished. When a friend suggests that we should do something together, I will almost immediately say “put it on the calendar”. Sometimes my life can go lazy to busy in moments, and before you know it I’ll forget about hanging out with friends, doing regular maintenance on the car, or other things that are just as important as big projects. When I block out time for a task or just casual time with a friend it will help other things fall together.

Go Easy On Yourself

The first thing I think a lot of people do when making a list is to write down all the big things they want to accomplish, then they take another look at it and get overwhelmed and exclaim, “NOPE!” The key is to break down big tasks into smaller ones, and to put things on list that are necessarily tasks such as watching a movie.

I’m also a big fan of the To-Done list. Occasionally I’ll complete something that wasn’t on my list at all, but I’ll write it down so it doesn’t seem as if I’m doing nothing. It can help me realize I’m being productive even though I haven’t felt like it.

 

All of these things help me get things done even if it’s something as simple as taking the trash out, but overall it also makes me feel better than a lazy slug.