tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
I'm not a fan of April Fools' Day. Perhaps it's because, hello, I spend all year making stuff up, and once a year a bunch of amateurs are going to try it? Please. But what really fails to impress me on April Fools' Day is...a bad puzzle.

By the time anyone reads this, they'll presumably already have gotten the news about Google Treasure Maps. It's kind of clever, though "street view" is certainly the best part of it. Anyway: The rest is after the jump, lest someone not want this 'puzzle' 'spoiled' for them )

And I think that's why I hate April Fools' Day. Yeah, I make stuff up, but they're one-off little jokes, and they aren't anything that anyone's going to spend time worrying about or otherwise engaged in. Pranks that waste people's time? That's just stupid.

tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
Last night's odd dream involved the usual disconnected plotlines, including what I'm pretty sure was Otherworld, and also some sort of corpse-reanimating ritual. I distinctly recall someone being reanimated and having to shove his jaw back into place before being able to say "Do you know what you have done!?".

That's par for the course, for dreams, or at least for mine. The standout odd part was the group, in the dream, who realized that "Death Before Zombification!" was less defiant and more merely descriptive than they intended.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
I spent today at work making terrible decisions about how to implement (and test and debug) code. Also about how long to stay at work, since I left at 10:15. (Also about when to get to work, since I arrived at 2:15.)

I thought the day might have been starting kind of OK, though, based on the bus ride to work. Admittedly, it was spent with three teenagers who were judging people on their looks, including taking pictures with their phones, which seemed pretty ballsy given that one of them had a Justin Bieber haircut. But it was pretty well balanced out by having a driver who made sure that people getting on waited until other people got off; and who didn't start driving after a man with a walker got on until someone gave him a seat; and who paused to check on a man who stumbled and fell while getting off the bus. Even the teenagers started to get up to check on the man who fell. And there were two different women with babies in strollers (at two different times), and people made room for them, and the man sitting next to one of them made happy faces at the baby. It was kind of going to be OK.

And then at the mall, waiting in line to get lunch, I was joined by a woman and her ten year old boy (her son, or nephew, or legal guardian ward, or who knows), and he was wearing this T-shirt. Warning: not appropriate for work, or ever.

A ten year old. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people?
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
MIT's Technology Review cites crowdfunding as a major emerging technology. It mostly discusses Kickstarter, but also mentions a number of similar websites.

It makes me want to start my own crowdfunding business. I just have no idea how I'd go about finding investors.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
I don't have any idea what [personal profile] jadelennox means when she says to me, of this Wondermark strip, "It's like they know you!"

No, really.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
There are two signs that I pass periodically which count among the simple joys in my life. One belongs to Sav-Mor Liquors, whose sign currently reads BEER CAN'T HELP WITH TAXES / YOU'LL NEED SOMETHING STRONGER. (Past signs include the December classic HOLIDAYS MEAN FAMILY / WE SELL LIQUOR, the St. Patrick's Day IF YOU SEE LEPRECHAUNS / STOP DRINKING, and their recent COME SEE OUR WORLD FAMOUS SIGN. And while they seem to coordinate their signs across stores, I have no idea what this one means.)

But far and away my favorite sign is the one for the movie theatre at the Fresh Pond Mall in Alewife, because while they are not necessarily the worst spellers in the world, they're some of the worst spellers at that size. In the past, for instance, they've proudly proclaimed that they're showing DIARY OF A MIMPY KID—and understand that they're consistently having to substitute for letters they don't have enough of, so this sign required turning two Ws upside down to use as Ms. Or, in fact, four, because it was misspelled the same way on both sides.

Today, one side of the sign let us know that they were showing MIRORR MIRORR; alas, the other side had it spelled correctly. However, both sides of the sign did display, at the top of the sign in theatre 1, the title WRATH OF THE TITIANS 3D.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
If you don't know what kerning is, you should. If you don't know what keming is, and it's not obvious, you probably should.

And thus, I give to you an insanely geeky Google Easter egg. And an even geekier one.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
Has Will Shortz just kind of given up on his job...?

Spoilers, of course )
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
As is the case every year, I totally forget about the Interactive Fiction competition until it's long since over and judged. (You'd think that having friends who submit things to it would help me remember. Nope.)

Anyway, I've been dipping into it here and there; I rather enjoyed "Beet the Devil", mostly for its strong narrative voice, and "Six" for similar reasons. But easily my favorite so far is "The Play" by Deirdra Kiai, playable online on her website. It's short, in the sense that it doesn't take long to reach the end, though you're very likely going to want to play it more than once. And it's not very strenuous—if you're used to IF being "pick up everything that isn't nailed down, try applying everything in your inventory to a puzzle, guess which verb the author had in mind", well, this isn't that. Go, play, enjoy, ponder. (Warning: contains theatre.)
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
I've never really felt compelled to poke around on Kickstarter before—well, OK, being unemployed was a notable part of that, and now I feel like I have actual money to actually spend on actual things. Or, I suppose, in the case of Kickstarter, potential things. At any rate, I've thrown in my two cents for Matchbox Girls by Chrysoula Tzavelas. Because, you know, book. (Long-awaited, in my case, since I believe I told the author something like sixteen years ago, "You should write a novel." She was going to anyway, I have no doubt, but that makes it no less awaited.)

(Also, speaking of kicking things until they start again, I'm going to try resuming my posting at my old work journal, now that I have new work. Follow it to see the details of everything I do that isn't covered by a non-disclosure agreement!)
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
At work, listening to music while coding, and the Indigo Girls's "Prince of Darkness" came up on iTunes (apparently, per the "last played" attribute, for the first time in two and a half years). To my surprise, my first and primary association with the song is still the fact that the Carleton Knightingales sang it, not that I would have seen them in some sixteen years.

So: Thinking of you, Angie.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
Turkey undercooked (even though the meat thermometer read fine!). Second attempt at rolls also failed to rise. Sous-chef nauseous, has been unable to help out, will likely not eat. Personal Christmas joy: fading.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
Turkey went in without a problem. Stuffing prepared to be baked (using rendered turkey fat and turkey giblets). Potatoes boiling. Rolls, however, possibly going to have to be written off; dough seems not to be rising, and proofing a second package of yeast suggests that it, too, is dead.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
Last year, I was with my brother-in-law's family in Minnesota, and the culture shock was pretty severe. This year, I'm with my parents-in-law in Alabama, where, surprisingly perhaps, the culture shock is not so extreme—Boston-to-Alabama is, perhaps, but in terms of the church service, Methodists are a lot more familiar than evangelicals. (I did have to get up and walk around outside the sanctuary during communion, because it felt too awkward to just sit there. It gave me a chance to look at some lovely, and only slightly homoerotic, portraits of Jesus and the apostles.)

On the other hand, my mother-in-law and I have...somewhat different ideas about cooking. I offered to cook Christmas dinner—in part, I feel like it's a nice gesture to relieve her of having to cook on the holiday, and in part, last year's turkey was kind of a little awful. (This was as much my wife's opinion as mine; she was the one who asked me if I wanted to cook the turkey this year.) So we sent along a shopping list, and tonight I started a little bit of preparation: mixing the spice rub for the turkey, and cubing the several-day-old French bread for the bread pudding.

Now, of course, that bread was going to be for both the bread pudding and the stuffing. But my mother-in-law had bought a bag of Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing mix, and it seemed wrong not to use it.

Culture shock does come in many guises.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
My times continue to be interesting, all around. So instead of commenting on them at all, I link you this image.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
Today's spam:
Your Mailbox Is Almost Full "CLICK HERE <[unlikely link].ua>" To Update Your Mailbox And Receive New Massage.
On the one hand, who do they think is going to fall for that? No one who's responsible for my mailbox is going to write something that incoherent and ungrammatical, or send me to a website in Ukraine.

On the other hand, I could use New Massage....

(Speaking of tenseness, the previous post in which I said my NDA prevents me from saying how my day is going is of course a complete exaggeration. All the same, I wouldn't expect any genuine work-related news here, if I were you. Heck, document analysis is what my company does; even this very sentence is probably enough for them to find this entry, figure out it's about them, and analyze it for positive/negative content.)
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
Due to a non-disclosure agreement, I can't talk all that much about the new job. That apparently includes how well it's going, because that information would be useful to competitors. But I can safely tell you that yesterday was a day at work, and it looks as if today will be another one.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
I mentioned to a few people, last night, an interview that Keith Olbermann did with 84-year-old Dorli Rainey, who was pepper-sprayed in Seattle. (That link goes to a photo that the Guardian calls "a powerful image of martyrdom".)

I therefore link it for y'all here, because it's so very much worth watching:


If you can't stand Keith Olbermann (and, hey, I totally understand that; I view him with a grain of salt and frequent eye-rolling), watch the video anyway, because it's ten minutes long and he only manages to get in three questions, one of which is "how are you feeling today?". (Her answer: "I am feeling great. I feel so energized. It's amazing what a little pepper spray will do for you.") And if you can't watch or listen to the video for whatever reason, there's a transcript posted at that link as well, though I think it's more powerful to hear Rainey tell the story herself.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
This column in the Ann Arbor Chronicle offers a really nice insight into people vs. corporations at a personal level, its point very much being that the personal level is all there is. Worth reading.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
So my wife and I have been watching Once Upon a Time, a new ABC show. I pretty much never watch anything on the networks (if you're following a show on a basic cable network, and you miss an episode, it'll be back repeatedly over the next week; with the networks, you have to actually remember to watch), but I have to admit I'm getting pretty caught up in this.

The premise, if you're not familiar with the show, is that the Evil Queen of fairy-tale-land (I'm not sure if it actually has a name) cast a curse which wiped away everyone's happily-ever-afters by transforming the land into the worst possible world, i.e., ours. Which, when you put it that way, kind of makes the show into a really depressing commentary—the whole premise, really, is kind of that things like true love and happy endings can't exist in our world. But, well, anyway, Snow White is now schoolteacher Mary Blanchard; Jiminy Cricket is a therapist; and the queen herself is the monarch-like mayor, Regina Mills. (You can see they had fun with the names; Cinderella becomes Ashley.) There are lots of nice little touches—in the first episode, as they're leaving the classroom, one of Blanchard's students hands her...a pear.

But there is one point on which the show failed me rather badly in this past episode. The danger of unthinkingly casting fairy-tale-land is that you run the risk of your cast being, well, snow-white. Which this cast is, other than the Magic Mirror/editor of the Daily Mirror, Giancarlo Esposito. (Excellent bit of casting, but then, casting Esposito in pretty much anything is excellent casting.) In the most recent episode, spoiler for the first few minutes of Once Upon a Time episode 1.4,  )

I'm certainly going to keep watching; I mostly like what they're doing with the show so far. But seriously, a plea to the creative force behind the show (i.e., the guys from Lost who aren't J.J. Abrams, and Buffy's Jane Espenson): think about what you're doing, OK?

(Also, personal note to Jane: I had no idea you went to graduate school in linguistics! Call me! I've got a screenplay I've been working on....)