Never too late to have a happy childhood

Live action Pac-Man
Photo courtesy Chris Eng

It seems I’m falling into a pattern where at least one day a week, I will end up posting for two days worth of material. This is one of those days. At least I have a good excuse for not posting. It was Veracode’s Hackathon IX this week, and that means craziness.

Monday’s activity? Live-action Pac-Man. What you can’t see from the photos is that there is actually a player. Pac-Man was wearing an iPhone on his chest, connected to Webex, with the camera turned on and headphones in his ears. Someone connected to a WebEx gave instructions to Pac-Man on how to move through the maze.

The ghosts all had simple rules of how to move just like in a real video game. So the whole effect was very much like feeding quarters to Pac-Man machines as a 12-year-old. But it gave me a new appreciation for the life of the ghost—all left turns and no free will. It got, frankly, boring after a while… until random turns brought me in contact with Pac-Man.

It all reminded me of this:

naw…it's not that

“Has a Bacon number of 3”

I added a line to my Twitter bio recently that probably bears some explanation. Here’s my current bio:

Grammy Award winning product guy for Veracode, building the most powerful application security platform in the world. Has a Bacon Number of 3.

Most of this is self explanatory, as I’ve written about the Grammy and my employer before. But what the heck is a Bacon number?

Turns out, it’s an established measurement of celebrity that even has a (portion of) a Wikipedia article about it. The “Bacon number” of an individual is the number of degrees of separation he or she has from Kevin Bacon, where a degree of separation is usually understood as “has worked with.” You can use the Oracle of Bacon, online at the University of Virginia since the mid-1990s, to determine an individual’s Bacon number.

As for mine: I can justify it two ways. One is via former Boston Symphony Orchestra music director James Levine, with whom I share a few recording credits (including the Grammy), and who has a Bacon number of 2.

The second, and funnier, one is via the Soup Nazi, the Seinfeld character created by Larry Thomas. Larry Thomas has a Bacon number of 2, also, and he and I shared billing in Veracode’s trade show booth at RSA in 2013, when I spoke in the booth about application security. So there you go.

The author with Larry Thomas, Seinfeld's Soup Nazi, in 2013.
The author with Larry Thomas, Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, in 2013.