Thursday, February 23, 2012

People don't even live for 80 terabytes

At 60 minutes an hour, 24 hours a day, 356 days a year (roughly) and assuming we live 100 years (unlikely:)

60x24x356x100=51,264,000 minutes in a person's life.

An average song is 3-4 minutes long (I'll use 3) and is recorded in 128 kBps (or sometimes 256, but I'm using 128) at roughly 1 MB per minute.

1,000 MB = 1 GB : 1000 GB=1 TB

51,264,000 minutes (roughly) = 51 TB
51,264,000/3 minutes = 17,088,000 songs


So if you ever discover you have 17.1 million songs, or roughly 51 terabytes of music, and you have not just been born, then remember, you have more music than you can listen to.  And probably are the reason the US government wanted to do the whole SOPA thing.  (Oh no?)

At roughly 10-14 songs per album (seems generous)

17,088,000 /14 =  1,220,571 albums.  Even assuming these were bought at Amazon's $5 per album price (and they do not have 1 million+ albums at that price) you would pay roughly $6 million dollars.


edit: fixed 2 typos


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Apophenia Batch 1

I see faces!  On things!  Click the links to see if you see what I see.
Because I don't have anything better to do.

Here's an easy one.  If you don't see it, I don't know what to tell you.
(Hint: It's a lion)

This angry man has been staring at me for weeks.


I left the corner in for size reference.
This has been colored edited, because it's very faint.
And slightly creepy.


I moved my keys four times and they refused to stop grinning at me.


It's a bird, it's a plane, it's some dust in your eyes! (Apophenia)


Apopheniathe experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data. (Multiple sources gave the same or very similar definition.)

I see faces everywhere; not just on things with faces.

I drop my keys on the desk, only to see two key rings making googly eyes and a pair of keys making a mouth.

Eating dinner, dust on the floor looks like "The Scream" -is it odd that I trust Wikipedia's linked image more than others?- and try to ignore it.

I see them in restrooms, dust on cars, cobwebs, pieces of paper, and letters in oddly arranged sentences.  At least ten or twelve times a day my brain tries to decipher a face.  I can tell when it tries and fails, because I'll just see a nose, or a chin.

So I'm going to share the ones I remember to photograph.

Mind you, I'm not much of a photographer and often don't carry my camera, so sometimes my phone will do the picture-taking.  (I apologize to those whom the grainy quality will bother.)

I think the frequency will impress people more than the quality.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Story 1-3


(Disclaimer: I wrote these "stories" in high school, during study hall, when I should have been doing my homework. Meaning, they are not representative of my current writing.
I've edited them so they embarrass me less, but only the grammar and punctuation. They're still embarrassing, but are a little funny. Or something.)


(Edit: 2-18-12: This post contained some serious formatting and display errors which I could not consistently recreate.  I think I fixed it, but if anyone sees lots of empty lines or odd bars of color, let me know.)

Note: For this story, I have managed to get, umm, myself, to agree not to interrupt the text with meaningless comments. For once we'll have a sensible story that anyone can understand. You're welcome. – Oh, this is sure to be an absolute mess. –

After many long adventures, I decided to take a long break at my indoor pool. Oddly, I have always kept my pool full of cornstarch and water, which is a rather strange mixture at the best of times. (Go ahead, mix some together and see what happens.) After only a few minutes of what I loosely call swimming, but was more like slowly sinking into muck, I got stuck in it very fast and fast stuck was I.

Being stuck, I was unable to get free for quite some time and I thought to myself, hmm, maybe if I shook myself a ton I might be able to shake free by some work of greatness that I cannot comprehend. So I started to shake my arms, legs and upper torso really hard, but alas it was to no avail. All I managed to do was make a small hole in the bottom of my pool, out of which the entire mix went eventually. (Where it went I have never discovered.)

After this furious shaking and the agonizing wait for all the goo to sink out of the pool, I was quite rested and ready to go adventure again. And somewhere is exactly where I went. As soon as I got out of the pool I realized that my hat was missing! Then I hurried to the Rino Cave, pushed the secret switch, and ran in. I ducked under the blade-deal-thing, (like that one in the movie, where they copied the trap I use to protect my cave. The one where that guy loses his head) and grabbed my gear. I decided to take my highly advanced, very gadget-posessing, Rino Mobile ©®™ and I drove away super fast. I had no choice but to drive this speed, because the Rino Mobile ©®™ goes SUPER FAST and only super fast!

I parked to get gas and popped the trunk to check the storage locker there (always best to check.) After which I opened the locker and crawled in, when suddenly I found myself in a large ventilation chamber, which spanned the entire inside of a hollowed out mountain. Somehow. I then began to crawl. Eventually I came to the end of this long pipe-like tubule, but boy did it take a long time.
As I came to the end of this long tunnel I hopped out and began to fall. After a few minutes, I noticed that I was several miles in the air. When my downward motion became apparent I began to contemplate how I should save myself. Should I turn some item of mine into a life saving device? A parachute coat? Shock absorbing shoes? Or perhaps shins? I had always wanted shock absorbing shins. How would I go about saving my life? Well as I was falling I decided that the telescopic neck on my UTENSITRON was my best option.

I activated the rapid deployment function on the telescopic neck, which extended it up with great speed. The highly durable fork/spoon face attached to some point on the mountain, allowing me to swing toward the mountain. I repelled most of the way down, but after a while, could go no further. The neck had telescoped to its maximum range at just over a mile and a half. A nearby ledge allowed me to retract the neck before going on. I activated the catapult option and launched myself into a nearby bay and swam to shore, thankfully, right next to where I had parked to fill up my tank. The gas station was nowhere to be seen.
I got back into my car and drove around in a random manner, not different to the townie practice of cruising. As I was cruising, I decided to do stuff – not things? What about things? Couldn’t I do things? Well things would work. Either or, take your pick.– I found myself doing stuff and THINGS are happening to me while I am doing this stuff and it’s pretty cool. Thus I was cruising around when I came upon another Giant Field Mouse, one of those HUGE ones, and I knew how to take care of him.

I pushed a button on my Rino Mobile ©®™ and it transformed into a large fighting mechanical robot. Very gadget posessing, that Rino Mobile. I started to bash that field mouse good. In doing so I bashed that field mouse on the nose with the little finger of my robot, which has fingers, because it works like that. Well this little stunt scared that mouse off in a jiffy and so I decided to hop around on just one foot for a while, until I got really tired and fell down, apparently still in the fighting robot machine, into a dreamy, hazy, dream-like, haze-like sleep-like dream-haze.

So I’m dreaming and I'm dreaming and all that what not, when I see this weird Hippo-looking critter with pink horns and 4 arms. Well this pink horned creature came running up to me and began kicking me in the shins a whole lot. My shins were, even in a dream, sadly lacking in their shock absorbing power. Still, since I was dreaming, this didn’t hurt much, but I thought that I was hurt and I didn’t like that at all. So I kicked the thing back in the shins. Alas I was a fighting robot even in my dreams. I kicked it very hard, where upon it flew into a building.

I hurried over to it, made sure that it wasn't badly hurt, and then kicked it again so that it went flying away into yonder field. When it landed there was a massive poof of stuff that floated up and it made a neat clump of floaty gunk. So I looked around, and seeing no one I decided to hop skip and jump around for a while before investigating further. Eventually I slammed face first into a wall of solid gelatin, but alas this was not the normal gelatin that common people eat, nay it was mystical white gelatin! Knowing all about Mystical White Gelatin as I do I knew that it does neat things and splits at random, possibly eating things if it thinks no one is looking.

So when it saw that large pink hippo sitting over in that field BOY HOWDY, did it go a jiggling all over until it came to that hippo. At about that point I woke up, deactivated my robot, and packed my Rino Mobile into my suitcase. (It works on a principle similar to that of the Jetson’s car.) So I took this suitcase and ran around town madly flailing a large flaming stick, and waving my arms, while riding on a little scooter and carrying my suitcase. Then suddenly I realized that my zany super water gun was out of water! Well I filled and pumped that sucker up and started spraying stuff all over the place. Neat-o I say, yes Neat-o indeed.

I yawned, realized I had adventured enough for the day, and wanted to go home. So off I went. Merry Rino skipping to safety. Skip Rino skip, lets go off to home!

OH NO! A hole opened right in front of me as I was skipping, so I get eaten right? Well what else is new? I decided that home or a hole in the ground, it’s all the same; just a place to live right?

At this point Something Other Than George or Bob stuck his head through the ground and said “See? What did I tell you? Peril Eh?"


Combine combined!

I'm hoping readers imagine a piece of machinery.

I combined my two blogs into one blog, and while it was the blog I liked less, it was the domain I liked more.  I'll delete the other before too long, so there will be only one.

Then, this blog will win The Prize.

To abandon decades

I've seen old people in the park, just sitting around, and can't help wonder "Do they sit there because they're just too bored to try anything?  Or do they know some secret about the park?"


Lately, growing bored with all games, I debate my motivations.  I worry about my doubts.  But fear wouldn't stop me.

Activities will.

I want to write, work out, study my religion, work, have friends, save my wrists, discover music, enjoy shows, and and and and and...there's more.  A normal game can eat six hours a day without trouble.  A bad one will take up thirty hours before I give it up.  A good one can devastate a hundreds over a few weeks.

But like an old friend, not just familiar, but dedicated, beneficial, loyal; games draw me onward.  I can skip them for a while.  Days.  Weeks.  I go back.  Ask an addict.  It isn't the addiction, it's the time.  What do I do with it, and how do I manage being productive?  If I'm not incinerating three hours a day, should I create something?  Or find a new addiction?  Which is easier, and which costs less, given decades of debilitating habit?


I often debate abandoning computer games.  This is more life changing than it sounds.

In 1987, when I was three, my father bought an 8088 computer, mostly to learn how to use computers for work.  My mother and I have a story we tell about this computer, where we played a game called Castle Adventure, though we remember it as Castle.

Since hard drives were mostly reel-driven tapes at the time, booting this monstrosity required a precise ballet of disks and commands.  DOS into slot 1, BASIC into slot 2, BASIC B into slot 1, DOS into slot 2, CASTLE into slot 1.  I knew the system at three, including what to type with each disk, even though I could not spell or type.

I insisted on playing Castle, but being three, could not type or spell.  I believe my father remembers hearing me give instructions on the order to my mother.

Castle taught me letters at before I learned them in school.  Fast forward to 1991 when we discovered Civilization while at my mother's parents' house in Rapid City, SD.  Playing this game, I learned about things such as Feudalism, The Republic, and (I feel,) founded a deep interest in strategy, which resulted in my reading many odd books, including The Art of War so many times I regularly quote pieces.

In 1994, my father, still driven to unravel this computer mess, installed modems in the home computer (not the 8088, but likely a 386 DX, with a whopping 25 megabyte hard drive.)  I learned to dial a modem, interpret the various noises and tech-speak the computers would give me.  At 10, I had memorized as much computer information as anyone who did not hold a degree in it.  (Ok, maybe not.  Give me a break, I was 10.)

Over the next ten years, I played dozens of games.  Once online, I met people in several countries, including Britain, Australia, Russia, and Chile, as well as across the USA.

My wrists have paid the price for poor habits, but even if I went back and corrected my posture, I somehow think 12 year old me would ignore my advice.  I kept going for years.

During high school (1998-2002,) I played several games which I still consider to be the best I have ever played.  Maybe it was me, maybe it was the times, but somehow I've never had as much fun playing as I did then.  MMO's carried me into 2005, but since then...meh.

I thought "Maybe I've just grown up.  Maybe games were never that much fun."  But recently having picked up a few games from 1999, ones I never played before, I'm suddenly in high school again.  I'm enjoying a game.  My wrists are killing me.  I'm not afraid of addiction (or whatever it "really" is,) I'm just interested in what it means about me.


I attribute something akin to addiction to at least two of my failures in college, though psychologists seem to rate computer addiction as a function of depression instead of its own disease.  (No, I can't cite that, it's from personal experience; conversations with professionals.)

Whatever the cause, the results stand for themselves.  I played games instead of studying and paid for it with loans.


This is not the greatest of my mistakes, but it has slowed my "progress" a bit.  If I stop playing games, then what?  Do something?  Ask a retiree what they do.  Talk to an addict.  I have hobbies, but I can't write 12 hours a day.

Even having fun requires a new concept when I'm not having fun the good old way.

Periwinkle Equipment Tax


The magazine buttons a spare world above the threat.


Your regarding deed crowds a rhyme.  The magazine buttons a spare world above the threat.  The wide holder tries the bull.  How can a cooked work strain?  Before the traditional brother pops the widest rumor, the assuming aunt hates the flesh across this painful vintage.

Non Sequitur Motivity


I hesitate to acknowledge Non Sequitur Motivity.  I imagine some sort of passive acceptance, like I'm pretending I don't notice what's going on.  As if it might go away should I never talk about it.

But it won't.  I had a blog for it, but that was mostly a joke.  (Who needs 3 blogs?)

So I'm posting them here.

Story 1-2


(Disclaimer: I wrote these "stories" in high school, during study hall, when I should have been doing my homework. Meaning, they are not representative of my current writing.
I've edited them so they embarrass me less, but only the grammar and punctuation. They're still embarrassing, but are a little funny. Or something.)



Ok then, so, one bright sunny Monday (or maybe Tuesday if you like, see some people don’t like Monday at all, so it could be Tuesday, but I’m saying it’s Monday OK? Good!) I decided to go on a bike ride over to my buddy's house, my buddy being the one called Freddie the Sloth, otherwise known as Something Other Then George or Bob, or on infrequent occasion, Not George or Bob, which is horribly confusing, as there is another gnome named Not George or Bob whom I also know.


On my ride to Not George or Bob’s house I noticed that a large flock of ducks –Well no I think that they were grouse, my good man. Geese you say? No G-R-O-U-S-E. Oh, grouse you say? Oh! Right, ducks. Yes. Ducks. Right.– So this large flock of swans flies over head and one falls dead right in front of me. That is, I, the teller of this tale, or narrator.


Anyway as I was biking this swan flops dead right in front of me, but that’s not the weird part, for you see there was a little copper knife, maybe about oh yea (imagine me holding me arms about 4 feet apart) long and about 7 inches wide. So I take the “knife” and put it in the scabbard that I found sitting in the grass nearby, coincidentally it fit the “knife” perfectly. So I did a short rain dance and got back on my bike to continue on my merry way, because I knew the old saying. “When one finds a small copper knife and a perfectly fitting scabbard near by one does a dance and gets back on one's bike and rides off.” Such a thing is only proper. Not long after I noticed that it was raining quite hard. (A not surprising result of a rain dance in some countries) So I takes out my umbrella and opens it and rides around in many small circles there in the rain with my umbrella and my “4 foot long sheathed copper knife.”


So now I rode all over and I noticed that this rain wasn’t normal rain at all, it was the evil PUFFY RAIN. Maybe they don't have puffy rain at your home, so let me explain. The diabolical stuff turns whatever it touches into a lime green colored gooey mess within a matter of minutes and thoroughly baffles both students of fluid dynamics (how can rain be puffy?) as well as those of weather systems. Imagine this scene, me riding around on my bike in circles, umbrella over head, knife over back, two arms, two legs, and quite the gangle-flop of hair atop a weighted ball of brain and organs, but now everything around me was a lime green mess. Fortunately gelatin, from which my umbrella was made (I've mentioned this in the past, I'm sure,) absorbs all sorts of evil rain so I went on unscathed.


So I rode along in the puffy rain when my tire went flat. When the tire went flat I tried to ride only rims (it seemed like a good idea at the time) for a while, before they fell right off, and right before I smacked face first into the ground, one of those mysterious holes in the ground opened and ate me whole. As I was falling I closed my umbrella, because, and I'm sure this is no surprise to you, it was not raining underground, at least not at the place where I was at for the time being. So I grabbed a nearby floating sandwich and ate it whole. That’s the way that I eat sandwiches. I could have cut it with my UTENSITRON 3000 2.0+ Special Edition! The UTENSITRON is the superior utensil of the future, which includes an ergonomic gel handle, retractable knife razor, warmer for the spork front, and a catapult option to minimize shoulder stress when using it. So of course I gleefully would have used that to quite handily slice the sandwich in half if I did not just eat my sandwiches whole. Which I do. So I did a little dance (neither the first nor the last dance of the day,) as I fell, and continued my fall until I landed in a pile of very sharp diamonds.


Some odd things happened just then. First this large purple monster came by, laughed something about long distance relationships being evil, and ran off. Then I realized that diamonds can be sharp and that I had not been cut by any of the ones that I fell into. More impressively, these diamonds were the sharpest diamonds that ever existed. True fact. Not only that, but these diamonds were all shaped like giant pears, you know the fruit?, well I grabbed a handfull of these and put them in a nearby bag that was labeled “Rino, put the Pear Shaped Diamonds in here!” I don’t know about you, but I know obvious signs when I see them and I knew this was a sign – A road sign? No, not a road sign! Oh. Well excuse me, mister smelly rotten potato pants.– So I took these diamond things, (I call them “things” because they are not “its,” (plural it things, not its as in posessive. Whew. A narrow escape.)) and I put them in the sack.


I scurried on my way down this tunnel that led away from the place where I had landed, until I came upon a large jar of marmalade. I didn’t know what marmalade was, but I didn’t trust it so I bashed that jar good and went on my merry way.


Minutes later, I came upon a scene reminiscent of “Alice in wonderland“ and I began to discuss this out loud.


So I says to myself, “Well self,” I says.


And then, “Yes?” I says.


“What should I do now?” I says.


If you didn't know (and I'm sure you did, but I'll say it anyway,) let me be the first to tell you that I’m sort of an airhead sometimes and I sure as heck didn’t know what to do. So I grabbed the key right off that glass table, figuring it had caused enough trouble already, took all those messed up muffins, cookies, strange size changing drinks and stuffed them in my coat pocket. Then I took those mushrooms out of her pockets.
“Hey,” I said to her. “Come with me, you don’t want to go into that door anyway. Trust me, I know the story there’s only a bunch of strange cats and drunken old ladies.” Well she didn’t believe me so I took her and tossed, not lobed mind you, her into that large jar of marmalade that I had found a ways back.
Alice screamed and screamed, but I says to myself “Self,” I says. “Don’t listen to her. That old girl, she loves marmalade anyway.” Not that I knew what marmalade was.


Having resolved the major plot crises in the book, I scampered right along. I was walking along again and I came to that crazy caterpillar doing whatever he does with that pipe thing of his that he calls a “hooka” whatever that is, so I booted him off his crazy mushroom and bashed him good. I even thought about throwing him into the jar of marmalade too, when –You maniac! That didn't happen. The part about the caterpillar, you know you just made that up. Oh yeah I guess that I did. That’s what I would have done if I had been in “Alice in wonderland.” Ooooookay. Right.–


So I’m walking along after bashing Alice and that jar good, and I come to this cave. Well I went inside and I found myself inside the mystical white pool of gelatin's chamber (the mystical white pool of gelatin has always looked suspiciously like corn starch and water to me, leading to some of my earlier confusion,) and there I found Something Other Than George or Bob taking a swim.


We ate a small lunch and I told him of that crazy marmalade gag and he just looked at me like I was come sort of crazy weirdo. (As you can tell Something Other than George or Bob knows me pretty well.) Eventually we got around to talking about the diamond things and he offered to buy them from me, or maybe trade because he didn’t have any money. He did have quite a collection of odds and ends, which included, but was not limited to a fancy remote control golf ball, a pair of boots that danced, and I mean dancing boots by that. As in boots that one puts on and then they look like they make you dance, but really it is you doing the dancing, another umbrella, a toaster, a fine button collection, a defective transmogrifier ray, and THE LARGEST WATER GUN THAT EVER EXISTED! Well those dancing boots were pretty tempting, but I decided to go with the world’s largest water pistol instead. To this day, I regret the choice. Boots that make it look like you're dancing when you actually are dancing are a rare find.


At this point imagine Something Other than George or Bob sticking his head through the ground and saying “See? What did I tell you? Peril, Eh?”

Stories!

Sometime in my high school career, around the turn of the millennium, I had study hall. Or halls. Variously, there was studying doing, but also, I did a good deal of writing.

During study hall I discovered that, lacking any direction, delight, and lacking hobbies beyond origami (and seeing no future in the then collapsing paper-folding market) or confusing banter (and not wanting to take up a career in politics,) I decided to peruse writing as a career, or at least a passable degree.

The following are the...stories... (I call them this for lack of a better term. I hesitate to call them stories, but you'll see why when you read them,) that I wrote during these study halls.

When creating them, I would impose odd rules on the writing of any one story. Maybe I could only write it with my left hand, maybe I could only use a pen that was nearly dry and when it ran out of ink, the story ended, maybe I had to keep the entire story under two pages, printed, (or perhaps over 12 pages,) or some such random nonsense.

They're not “good.” They're nonsensical, they're hardly interesting, they're funny, obnoxious, pretentious (though not because of any deliberate pretense on my part other than that you have some vague knowledge of the workings of my mind, in all its glory...er...insanity,) short, hard to read, hard to understand, non-linear, not plot based, not character based, poorly written...the list goes on.

I found them fun to write, and sometimes to read. I still find them fun, or at least agree with the idea of possibly fun related to their existence.

I've done some significant editing to make them something less of an embarrassment to their writer (me.) The editing is not significant to the plot (or lack thereof,) but is large in quantity, thereby allowing the use of “significant.”
The plot (or what passes for a plot,) is unchanged, or generally non-existent, so therefore, still unchanged. The humor has been enhanced slightly, often explaining a joke that was a bit too vague. The grammar has been added. The punctuation has been added. The formatting, structure, paragraphs, quotation marks, and general “edit” editing has been added.

All this for the sake of your sanity, which I'm not sure I value in the first place, but which seems to do no greater harm to you than you do to it, so I'll leave it be. Like an ant carrying a Volkswagen made of antimatter.

Prepare yourself, brave fool. You descend into my madness.

Had Dante conceived of these stories, he would have saved his warning (“Abandon hope (all) ye who enter here”...but in 14th century Italian,) for you who are about to read them. Ok, that's hyperbole, but it's what came to mind when I was writing this, and that is what this is all about. It's stream of consciousness. And I'm both of the nouns (discounting the pronoun, which is hardly a noun,) in the sentence before this.

3...2...1..FIGHT (That's “Go” in fighting games. You're welcome.)

Story 1-1

(Disclaimer: I wrote these "stories" in high school, during study hall, when I should have been doing my homework. Meaning, they are not representative of my current writing.
I've edited them so they embarrass me less, but only the grammar and punctuation. They're still embarrassing, but are a little funny. Or something.)


So one day I was walking down a street –No a path– yes a path. Anyway I was walking down this street –Path– right a path. So I was walking on this path and I came to this little Gremlin friend of mine whose name happens to be Something Other than George or Bob. Something Other than George or Bob, whom I call Freddie the Sloth, jumped into the air raising his feet several yards off the ground, nearly removing the skin from the front of my nose, which I happen to want to stay where it is, and he yelled, while madly flailing his arms about,

“Rino as you walk down this street” –ok, let me do thisTHIS IS THE LAST TIME I’M GONNA     TELL YA IT’S A STREET, NOT A PATH, I MEAN A PATH. Oh it is a path isn’t it. Ok, on with it then– “you will find great peril and you will be crushed beneath it’s feet.”


Well at this point I says, “Great peril??!! PERIL, you say? Are you sure??!!”

“Why YES!!” was his frantic response.

Well I wasn’t sure what Not Bob or George meant by this, so I pondered it a while and I asked Not George or Bob if he had anything to drink and in response he handed me a small flask of a murky brown slightly frozen material which he called “FroZen I¿cEº tÑEAñ” –Hey you, err, me, err, look, stop messing with my typing– as I had no idea what this was I drank it really fast and let me tell you it was really bad. (Imagine a new font color now maybe red. Something you find exciting.)

So I got up and looked around and noticed that the mystical forest had mysteriously disappeared. As I went back to sit down on a nearby rock, a giant Mouse, and I mean huge, scampered up and sat down next to me. Well let me tell ya I sure wasn’t about to find out what he wanted so I lobbed, not threw mind you, a small stick his way. As I ran away I heard him whimpering, but I knew that “when one meets a giant, and I mean huge, field mouse, one lobs a small object at it and runs away.” So thus was done henceforth. Forthwith. Heretofore. Scalawag.
Me, that is I, the writer, and subject of the writer's story, walked a little further and noticed that my hat, shirt, sleeves, shoes, socks, and belt had disappeared. This steamed my stack, which was nice, because my stack was badly wrinkled, so I walked back to that mouse and said –Excuse me I believe that I said it not you okay? Yes fine then– So I said “Hey mouse boy I want my stuff back right now.”

In response he blinked a couple of times and swallowed me whole. Well I took my socks, which     were conveniently located on my feet, despite apparently having lost them, and wrapped them around my head, even though it was pitch black, as I was in the giant field mouse’s stomach and there were no torches there. I karate chopped this huge mouse in the spleen, carefully avoiding the pancreas as I did so (they're awfully prone to fits and I had no time for that,) and he immediately began to pummel himself in the stomach (to hit me you see,) and in time I managed to make him disappear. Entirely. With no questions asked. And I was apparently outside of the mouse when it happened.

I then picked up my stuff put it back on and a neato gelatin umbrella that I found sitting nearby. (It was labeled with the jello brand name mind you, they don't make umbrellas out of jello anymore, so they're awfully rare and one doesn't leave them sitting in fields.) I opened the umbrella and floated up to the fluffy land of neato marshmallow pillows. I walked right to the neato marshmallow pillow land governor’s house –No, cabin. House. Cabin. House. Cabin. House! Cabin!!– Err...right. Cabin then. So I walked to the governor’s house and climbed down his chimney. This was sort of hard because the umbrella kept getting stuck in it. When I got to the bottom of this place and stepped out into the fireplace I noticed that I was once again in the neato gelatin forest. Only this time I had the neato gelatin umbrella too, which is worth bonus points in that particular zone. So I attached a chain to the kitchen sink and dragged it across the forest so as that I might be delivering it to its owner. From whom, might I add, I received a UTENSITRON 3000 2.0+ Special Edition! (Yes, not the latest edition, but I'd been using a spork up to that point. It's certainly no limited, special, gold, platinum, silver, ultimate, collector's edition, but one makes do with whatever portable catapult one might find lying around the forest.)

Well I now returned to the forest to make a building of some sort on the spot where I had left a pair of my socks. I put these socks on over my shoes, because everyone who owns a UTENSITRON, the superior tool of the future, wears them so, and built a neat house thing with it. With the UTENSITRON that is. Not that I used the UTENSITRON, but I built it with the UTENSITRON, like, we built it together. As friends. Equals perhaps.

I obviously completed the castle in a matter of hours. (Yes the UTENSITRON is that kind of tool.) So then I clicked my heels together and ran away again, when suddenly the ground opened below me and swallowed me whole. I opened up the umbrella and tied my overcoat into a parachute fashion with my socks and my belt. This slowed my fall enough that I could activate the catapult option in my UTENSITRON that is attached to the telescopic neck hinge part and launched myself back to the top of the hole. When I got to the top of the hole I found it closed off.

At this point imagine something other than George or Bob sticking his head through the ground and saying “See? What did I tell you? Peril Eh?”

LAST ONE EVER

So I don't think the world will end in 2012 any more than it ended in 2011.

That is no reason not to play along.

Every holiday from now (or from Dec 21, 2011,) be sure to holler (all the time) that "This is the last [INSERT HOLIDAY] ever!  Party hard and enjoy it, because you won't get another one!

In the future, any time there's an end of the world prediction, be sure to do the same.  Because people like being told to party hard.

Ok, that's pretty much it, but remember, enjoy your new years, because IT'S THE LAST ONE EVER!

Writings, Ramblings, or Garbage?

Edit 2-17-12: I combined my blogs, so there's only the one, making this rather redundant.


Will it write?  (And if it does, will anyone care?)
The second question is probably more important, but the first is shorter.  Besides, I can't answer the second one.

Ok, so someone asked me why I have two blogs.  I dunno, because I like two better than one.  It's a prime number, so that's pretty good.



More importantly, I want to separate the huge loogies of nonsense from the small doses of mostly nonsense.


You'll have to guess which is which.


These days, writers are expected to help publicize their work which means I have to know or be able to contact tons of people who want to read what I do.

Why write? (Follow the link.)  
 I see no reason not to share my writing with others.  People like to read and I like to write.  Perfect match. 

Ok, but that doesn't explain why I have two blogs.

Essentially, one blog is "practical" and one is "personal."  In one I have a goal, in the other I have words.  I separate these two because I write a lot and don't want to bury people in floods of less "professional" material.


Maybe people will even find it funny (or at least fun.)  Like skiing with the potential of watching a person fall down (hopefully not ruining themselves in doing so....)

Additionally, some of what I post on this blog qualifies as "repost," which mostly have been posted elsewhere in the past.  Some of the reposts are several years old.  I do not edit repost material very much, so it may not meet my (relatively) high standards.  I still want people to read and enjoy these pieces, but want to make it easy to avoid them.

Solution?  Multiple blogs.

That being said, I also want to know which one people like more.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Nerd, Geek, or Dork? (repost 7 7 2009)

(Edit 12 15 2011: I had several versions of this document.  This is my rough rehash of the version I liked most, though that was not the version I originally posted on the Internet.  The Links are new as well.)


7 7 2009


I'm a nerd, but not a super nerd.  Also, a little bit of a geek.  I'm not a dork at all.  (The difference in terminology cam be found below.)  I say this because I talk about some very strange things, either in person or out loud.
If any reader ever ever became confused by my ramblings, terms, abbreviation, or whatever, I would hope they would either ask or try to look up the answer.  In the age of smart phones and net-books  people can look up almost anything.

I obviously learned this nonsense somewhere, and a good quarter of that "somewhere" has probably been through Google.  Also, most of my nonsense is almost useless, so don't be intimidated, you probably know a lot about something useful.  Which is a plus.


Definitions
Here are some terms for you.  For the first two, use the second definition, but not for dork.  I'm giving my own version here, which is similar, but not quite what the links say.


Nerd - someone with focused knowledge or skills, often technical or academic in nature.
Geek - someone with an intense interest in something abnormal, including comics, games, electronics, or even science.
Dork - someone with social skills far enough below average as to be awkward and obvious.


The difficulty is that the three are highly related.  A Geek easily becomes a Nerd if they study their interest.  However, a Nerd might have little to no interest in something they know a great deal about.  In many cases, the focused attention of these individuals on their interest or practice gives them little to no time for socializing, leaving them as potential Dorks.
So go search the Internet.  I'll give you time.  See if you find alternate definitions.  I would love to hear them.

Humans Amuse Me (repost 6 18 2009)



6-18-2009 (Reposted)
Humans provide me with a never ending supply of amusement.  But also horror.  But also amusement.
I go to a Dunn Brothers coffee shop to write and drink coffee.  I get plain boring coffee because it’s good enough and it’s cheap.   Anyway, I’m sitting there writing and a couple comes in.  The following is basically their dialogue:

Guy “I’d like a large caramel frappuccino.”
Server “Our iced blended drinks are called Iced Cremas.”
Guy “Oh.  I’d like a large caramel Iced Crema.”
Server “And you mam?”
Lady (to the man she came in with) “I don't want to get the same thing as you, and I don’t want caramel." (to the server)  "Do you have other blended drinks?”
Server “The only blended drink we have is Iced Crema, but we do have other flavors than caramel.  They’re over there,” (she points to the menu where it has the flavors.)
Lady “I’ll have an iced latte.”
Server “Ok.  That’s not blended though.”
Lady “It’s not? What blended drinks do you have?”
Server “Our blended coffee drink is called an Iced Crema.”
Guy “See, it’s on the menu there, under Iced Crema.”
Lady “Oh, yes, I see.  I’ll have an iced mocha.”
Server “Ok.  That’s not blended though.”
Lady (now very confused) “Oh.  What are your blended drinks?”
Server (managing to remain very polite) “Iced Crema.  They come in Vanilla, Chocolate, and Caramel.”
Lady “Oh, I’ll have a large caramel Iced Crema.”

I was thoroughly amused.
Later on, some other guy comes in and is looking at teas. 

Tea Guy “What’s the difference between Mango and Vanilla?”
Server “Mango has caffeine.”
Tea Guy “That’s it?”
Server “Well they’re different flavors too.”
Tea Guy, genuinely surprised “Oh.  Really?”

I had to retreat into the bathroom to avoid bursting into laughter.



Monday, February 13, 2012

The possession gambit: his, hers, and its


Quick note: for real grammar help, I usually check grammar girl or my copy of The Elements of Style because I'm a grammar putz most of the time.

Why, I couldn't tell the difference between "Do you mind me asking a question?" and "Do you mind my asking a question?" until it was explained to me.

(This was an example in The Elements of Style as previously linked.  You'll need to hunt it down on your (check way near the bottom for your/you're) own.)  Whew.


His, hers, its.

They're (see below*) all posessive, none have an apostrophe.  Whew, solved that for the world.  Most people should no longer have trouble with its vs it's.

"He's" only works for a contraction, and "Her's" is insultingly bad.

Since the only Its' would be in the Adams Family, where It is a cousin (and therefore a proper noun,) I expect to never again see people use its or it's incorrectly.

Note for later: "theirs" and "yours" follow this rule too.  Odd what these gender neutral pronouns do.

EXAMPLE:
The name is its.
The car is his.
The coat is hers.

vs

It's raining.
It is raining.
He is raining.

Ok, the last isn't contextually right, but grammatically it works.

Also, I opted out of "she is raining," because I was afraid of certain implications.  (Sorry.)



They're, there, their


I know lots of people have trouble with these.  Some very intelligent and grammatically savvy people I've known have still struggled with there/their.  Most I've talked to say "they're" is not so troubling.  It's (see above*) a contraction and can, at the very worse, be solved by breaking it into "they are" and deciding if the verb was intended.

This was my method in grade school: his and her is theirs.

I use the "H" twice, but if you are describing something which could have been his or hers, but the there/their word doesn't have the letters to spell both (not at the same time) His and Hers, you're (gasp, more; see below below, but not way below --the asterix is too far down--) using the wrong one.

EXAMPLE:
For They're, I can insert people and still have decent sentences.

They're driving to Texas.  For some reason.  Not the driving, but going to Texas.
He is driving to Alaska.
She is driving me crazy.

vs

For There, I could use a place as an example, or just generically list "there" as a location or description (though the latter is discouraged.  By me.)

There are six cows.
or
He lives there.
He lives on the moon.

vs

Their house burned down.
His house exploded.
Her house is a moldy box.

Your and you're

I didn't think I knew many people who struggled with this one until today, when three people told me they had to stop and think to get it right.  To quote one person, "It's because they both have an R in them."

I did not know how to respond.  I don't have much help with this one.  If separating the contraction does not clarify for you (or yous, depending on the region,) then I recommend avoiding either form.


The Legendary Asterix
*I thought about doing internal anchor links, but Blogger hates them.  Besides, it's a short document and they're (the audience) won't mind.  For the non html savvy, you're to ignore this comment.

Get it? I used it's, they're, and you're in my comment?

Awkward pause.

Never mind.