Growing Up

I was thinking of getting a couch or something for my room, somewhere for guests to lounge around.

Fuck new couches. I now have a ball pit in my room.

I talked a little bit to Mike Machenry, who built a ball pit last year after reading my comic about it. The big problem with ball pits is that they’re expensive. Filling a room costs on the order of $4000, give or take. You can use this calculator (set up by relsqui of #xkcd) to find the cost for a given room. I’d use 64% for the packing efficiency — that’s about what I’ve found.

So given the expense, I didn’t fill my whole room — just an area the size of the bed, to a depth of a couple feet — and even that cost as much as a reasonable couch. The cost was as high as it was largely because Mike strongly recommended crush-proof balls, which allows for a lot more roughhousing but cost about twice as much as regular ones on eBay.

But it was totally worth it. After seeing how much fun it is to lounge around in it, we’ve decided to get together and build a larger one in the living room and throw parties there (though we want to solve the cleaning problem first in a scalable way). The day we put it up, we spent probably twelve hours, on and off, lounging around throwing plastic balls at each other. It’s totally worth it, and everyone’s excited about expanding it. It’s wonderful to be able to wake up and roll sideways, blanket and all, into a ball pit, and sink slowly down to the bottom. I’ve padded it with pillows and blankets to make it more fun to, uhh, wallow, or whatever the appropriate verb is for ball pits.

And before you jump to comment — over the last 24 hours we’ve completely exhausted all the balls-related innuendo, so you needn’t bother.

Here are some more pictures:

Abby, on the left, descends slowly into the balls. We never did find her again.

As Mike discovered, you can sort the balls pretty quickly by throwing only certain colors away from yourself.

Everyone I know seems to use Fujitsu Lifebooks. ❤ ultraportables.

To the above situation, we can only say:

586 replies on “Growing Up”

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  9. This is BS, Randall. First you work on robots for NASA, but that job wasn’t cool enough. So you become a successful cartoonist who happens to answer weird and interesting physics questions from random strangers (which then leads to a book!!!) instead. Now you get a ball pit in your living room too?!?

    I’m surprised more kids aren’t saying they want to be Randall Munroe when they grow up.


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