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For this I break my LJ silence?

The soup in the cafeteria today was "Vegetarian Spring Asparagus Leek."

I left. I did not want to be there when that happened.

Twitter cleaner

First, a preface to those of you who use LoudTwitter: it's not you in particular, it's the cumulative effect.

For everyone else, if you are using a LJ style based on "Expressive" by Ideacodes, this Greasemonkey script will remove all LoudTwitter entries from your LJ friends page. If you use a filtered page, you may have to change the "Included Pages" from "http://*.livejournal.com/friends/*" to "http://*.livejournal.com/friends*".

If you aren't using Expressive, the script can't remove the LoudTwitter posts entirely, but there are instructions for using it to remove the bulleted list, so that's something.

Hope this helps some people out.


yay terror

I'm not one to post whiny messages because I had a bad day, but I think that deciding to make an appearance at work (instead of working remotely from my nice comfy bed) an hour and a half before some jackass with 42 cents, a magic marker, and a packet of sugar shuts 800 people in the building for four hours is a decent excuse.

(edit) I have some thoughts about how the political atmosphere in this country have contributed to this very personal intrusion on my life, how I feel about the 9/11 attack that nearly got my brother (he was late for work), how this just happened to happen on election day, and lots of other stuff, but right now I'm not capable of anything more coherent than a big grump. Grump. Seriously, I could write a screed right now but it would come out as "and those damn--oh I could just--rraargh!"

Seventeen things I hate about haiku

So the department has decided that they're going to have some sort of haiku contest.

There's a certain type of person who jumps at this. That type of person is creative, enthusiastic, moderately intelligent, and fundamentally irritating. We have a lot of those in our department, especially since it's full of technical writers, probably 75% of whom are frustrated "real" writers. So participation is enthusiastic, and I can't go ten minutes without another one popping up in email.

I don't mind a little creative outbreak now and then, but come on -- haiku? There are a ton of reasons that haiku should not be allowed in English. Here are a few:

1) Haiku is too easy. If you can speak English and count to seventeen you can call it haiku. If you want to be half-assedly authentic, refer to the season or a flower in the first line, and most people think it's good haiku.

2) No one knows how to judge haiku, because they've seen too much bad haiku.

3) The English language gives a writer far too many ways to cheat and maneuver syllables into or out of a line. In Japanese, it's harder to do that, so there's some challenge to it. This is one of the reasons that many choose to revoke the 5-7-5 rule and simply try to make something meaningful in a few brief lines.

4) Because bad haiku is so accessible to write and everyone can do it, everyone does. Every aggregate blog I've ever participated in has broken down into haiku contests at some point. Nobody ever has an office villanelle contest. Too hard? How about a sonnet? That's easier. Or at least a limerick? You can even start with "there once was a man". I won't tell.

Eventually I responded to the list as follows:

Like flower petals
Haiku emails gently rain.
Please stop spamming me.

We'll see how that one goes over.

Now, just to hammer the point home:Collapse )

Not so above it all, no, not at all


Ok, see, here's why this makes me say "fuck." First, read the link, please.

See, a few months ago, it was revealed that Dromiceiomimus was dating someone else. And now she's saying that she dumped him.

And when I read that, I felt relieved.

Which implies that I have emotional investment in the hinted maybe relationship between T-Rex and Dromiceiomimus.

I am a goddamned shipper.

I am a goddamned Dinosaur Comics shipper.



Fire and no rain

So it turns out that there's a downside to ignoring the TV news, because there's one thing that even Fox manages to do better than carefully filtered internet: mention that there's a giant freaking fire happening by your mom's house. I've just gotten off of the phone with her, and apparently some of my family has been evacuated. My mother and grandmother are currently at home, but are stocked up with supplies and ready for a long campout on the beach, if necessary. She says they're fine, but the sun is blotted out and it's raining ash.

I'm not worried for Mom, because if anybody in my family knows how to survive stuff, it's her, and I'm pretty sure that even in the direst possible situation, she's within walking distance of the ocean, and unless the pollution is a lot worse than anybody expected, that won't light on fire. Some welcome for Grandma, though -- she's been out there less than four months, and the city decides to burn down on her.

Iron Chef: Wretched Squalor

I've been accused of being an anti-foodie in response to the extremely lazy recipes I posted previously. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm very interested in amazing food, I'm just not interested in spending hours on it. Rather, either I let other people spend hours on it and pay them for their trouble, or I experiment with things that don't take so much effort (my feijoada experiments notwithstanding -- ask any chili or luau enthusiast, it doesn't count as cooking if it's really freakin' huge).

Specifically, I'm fascinated by the idea of making good food out of bad food, which is why I was playing with ramen noodles and Kraft Dinner. Even before I heard of Iron Chef, I always wanted to have a throwdown between master chefs -- in the kitchen of a bachelor pad. No foie gras, no lobster, no asparagus, not a single luxury. If they need flour, they can settle for Bisquick, or try to grind the half-box of Wheaties into its component parts. Strain the SpaghettiOs for tomato sauce, make the Béchamel out of trans-fatty margarine from a tub and leftover Coffee-Mate. Stuff shells made of reconstituted Wheat Thins with pieces of chicken painstakingly separated and cleaned from their original Hot Pockets -- with a six-shilling bottle of Mule du Pape, a feast fit for a king. Now that would be quality television.

I'm also interested in taking flavors in directions outside the very limited mainstream. Peanut butter is a high flier here: it's wasted on the idea that it has to be sweet. This is why I like the peanut curry idea, as well as good old-fashioned peanut butter and bacon, and salt and peanut butter in oatmeal in place of sugar. Now, I grant that this way lies a certain amount of madness; I was questioning my own sanity when I decided to see if breakfast cereal would be good with garlic powder and Italian seasoning. But it was, in fact, pretty good, so long as you use Grape Nuts rather than, say, Lucky Charms. Even I draw the line at garlic marshmallows.

Quickie kitchen discovery

Curry powder and allspice added to macaroni and cheese is shockingly good.

Also, curry powder and cumin and a blob of peanut butter in cheap ramen (with the packet) makes a great poor man's Thai peanut curry noodles. Add a can of chicken chunks and it's practically food.

Political flamebait

It has long been a cynical belief of mine that political conservatism and actual thought were mutually exclusive. Even to me, though, it hurts to find out that this is actually true.

This explains everything. How can you hold self-contradictory beliefs? Especially if they work to your own detriment? How can you believe the lies that conservative leaders constantly feed you? There is only one explanation, and it's that you're not thinking. You've never even considered thinking about your own beliefs. And now science comes in with proof: you don't even have that ability.

One can hardly even blame the people in charge for taking advantage of them. The people in charge get there because they are the people that do the things that make these people believe them. A lot of people try to get power, but the ones who succeed are the ones who act in such a way that these demonstrably mentally impaired people vote for them. The people are the lock, and our current leaders are the ones who showed up holding the key that happened to be right. It's incontrovertible proof that humans are not capable of handling democracy. It's almost too depressing to bear.

Can we put a test like this in front of the voting booth? And maybe in front of vaginas as well? Thanks.

On Misdirected Creativity

Recently on Metafilter, someone posted a link to Automated Mario: video of user-created Super Mario World levels that are designed to play themselves. And this was cool and nifty and entertaining.

I got to thinking, though, about the people who were posting and saying that it was nifty but a waste of time. So I scribbled down some disorganized thoughts about why I don't think that that's the case. They may say more about me than they do about my subject, but still I record them here for my own reference:

This is yet another highlight of what seems to me the great triumph of human nature: that, given any system with set boundaries, humans will eventually discover and exploit everything that can be done within that system. I do not consider this person's work a waste of time in any way. Rather, I am delighted that there is an army of people like this person, and that each of them is manically digging into something different. It doesn't matter if it's hacking video games, playing with Lego, playing music, documenting pop culture, or anything else -- because it follows that there are people doing the same thing with getting to space, curing cancer, or even getting around to making those flying cars already.

I tend to call this sort of thing "misdirected creativity," mostly when I do it myself, but in truth there's no such thing as a wrong way to be creative. Every whimsical obsession is a tiny bulge in the aluminum boundary of the Jiffy-Pop pan of the human experience. There have to be vectors in every direction for the whole thing to expand.

Maybe I'm just restating "art is good", but it seems to me that there's more to it than that -- that on a larger scale, this is more a symptom of something good about humanity than it is anything in itself. And personally, I'm quite happy to find something good about humanity for once.

Of course, I may just be saying that I'm a nerd.

NerdTests.com says I'm an Uber-Dorky Nerd God.  What are you?  Click here!

Nom nom nom

My hobby: fixing broken rhymes in popular songs.

So slide over here
And give me a moment
Your moves are so raw
I've got to let you gnaw
I've got to let you gnaw
You're one of my kind

Oh, and:

Poor cook, he caught the fits
Threw away all my grits
Then he took and he ate up all of my corn
Let me go home
I wanna go home
This is the worst trip I've ever seen, Björn.

Literal Labor Day

I just found out that they're going to be holding that Labor Day thing again, and that it's this weekend. This is most upsetting. Besides the obvious problem that I have to stop wearing white shoes again, they picked a weekend during my biggest work crunch of the last few years. I wasn't planning on being able to have a weekend, much less a three-day one. And of course I'm exempt from overtime. All this holiday means for me is that there will be one more day when nobody will be around to give me the answers I'm desperately going to need.

This is probably karmic retribution for all the times I've asked, "Well, if this is Labor Day, why isn't anybody working?"


Ok, I didn't mean to do this again, but this is too beautiful not to share.

Are my dreams to come true?Collapse )
Every now and then it's nice to know that, while computers do and henceforth always will own your soul, they don't yet know quite what to do with it.

Trust the computerCollapse )

Chore Wars

ladybanchee, this is for you. Or rather, for your roommates.

I know no better way to get gamers to do anything than by dangling precious experience points in front of them.

What goes around

The last time tonyfox was here, I ended up posting an entry about watching seals in Coos Bay, which prompted kinkyturtle to comment that "ooo! Seals are Coosbaynians!"

Now tonyfox is here again, and, in a completely unrelated incident, taper happened to bring up the fact that Jim Henson named the planet Koozebane after Coos Bay, Oregon.

Odd. Just...odd.


Poll: Sense and sensibility

So I've just come to work for the first full day since Friday, having been out Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with the worst sickness I've had since mononucleosis laid me low for three weeks in college. Nausea, vomiting, all kinds of bad news from the bowels. The stomach pain became so intolerable on Tuesday that I had to "borrow" a Percoset to make it through the night--an illegal act that I do not condone but cannot make myself regret. Not sure how to feel about that.

Anyway, today I managed to have half a bowl of oatmeal and a piece of toast for breakfast. I started to have more but something inside just said "no." I felt it wise to listen.

And so just now, at work, I shyly approached the cafeteria to see if there was anything I thought I could stomach. And what did I come away with? A giant hunk of prime rib au jus with horseradish, broccoli, and a baked potato slathered in butter and sour cream. The last few bites of prime rib were eaten in a hurry because I was worried that I might decide it wasn't a good idea.

And now, as I await the aftermath, here's where I need your help. It seems that once again a phrase I want to use does not have a definitive conclusion. So please tell me, what is it that I don't have the sense God gave?

darksasami don't have the sense God gave a

goat (or billy goat)
other (do tell)

Honky mofo

The worst thing about a near miss in the roundabout is thinking back on the honk you honked at the idiot who swerved across lanes and nearly creamed you, realizing it sounded too much like a beep, and coming up with all the really cutting honks you could have honked if only you had thought of them at the time.

Quick tasteless thing

This is one of the most beautifully offensive things I've ever seen.

Quickie spelling angst

Okay, every literate English-speaking gamer on earth is now familiar with the heartbreak of "rouge" for "rogue," right? Right. I don't have to remind anyone how much it grates, over and over, on your last little pedantic nerve, no matter how often you try to educate the masses.

So please share with me the pain of seeing the following question posted in a Disgaea forum:

"How does the Rogue's ability to fill the bonus gague faster work?"

Information wants to be anthropomorphized

They don't believe me when I say she talks to me.

Wii-tanCollapse )


Unrelated things

I have purchased for my brother this tree, with irony in mind. I'm not sure exactly which irony, though. There's the retro-nostalgio-irony of it, which isn't really irony at all but is always referred to as such by hipsters. Then there's the fact that it's an artificial version of a tree whose point is that it is real, and the fact that it's a successful attempt to cash in on a symbol of anticommercialism. On top of that, I just watched the show and cried a little, so I'm afraid there might even be a little bit of sincerity creeping in. Am I just getting old?

❀ ❀ ❀
A poet once said "The whole universe is in a glass of wine." We will probably never know in what sense he meant that, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look at a glass closely enough we see the entire universe. There are the things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and weather, the reflections in the glass, and our imagination adds the atoms. The glass is a distillation of the Earth's rocks, and in its composition we see the secret of the universe's age, and the evolution of the stars. What strange array of chemicals are there in the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalization: all life is fermentation. Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering, as did Louis Pasteur, the cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts — physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on — remember that Nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure: drink it and forget it all!

—Richard P. Feynman, The Feynman Lectures on Physics
❀ ❀ ❀

I was just chatting with a friend about the state of books and media in our house, and realized upon doing a mental inventory that it is out of control. Well, I knew that it was out of control, but I hadn't quite quantified it:

<darksasami>: We currently have...um...let's see.
<darksasami>: Well, the living room is completely lined with 3" high media racks with 6 shelves each...Most are 3 feet wide, and we have...let's see...7.
<darksasami>: Beth and taper's room has 4.5 six-foot bookshelves, there's 1.5 in my room, there's 10 feet of 4 foot high shelves in the parlor, and a 6 foot shelf that's double-stacked with paperbacks and other books, there's another 4 foot shelf in the hall, and there's a 5 foot shelf in the garage.
<darksasami>: We are out of shelf space, and books are piling up on the couches.
<gracie>: You are a fire hazard.

For some time I've had, on our list of things to get from the store, the items "bookshelves" and "place to put bookshelves." Last night the thought finally occurred to wbwolf and me that it's finally time to box up the VHS tapes, what with not owning a working VCR and all. That should clear out enough to get rid of two short media shelves and put in something bigger — preferably this monstrosity, if I can afford it. The extent to which I'm drooling over a bookshelf is honestly beginning to worry me. But then, is there anything I've ever gotten excited about that hasn't disturbed me on some level?


drinks, lonely, barfly
Logical Girl Pretty Smarmy

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