Monday, May 31, 2004

Grappling Hooks or Dynamite?

Slow Trucks.

Driving down the road, there're lots of signs alongside the road. The Slow Trucks sign makes me think every time, though. I always wonder where the trucks are that I'm supposed to be slowing down. I never see the trucks when I see the sign, maybe they're somewhere in front of me. Or maybe I need to slow down too, as they're somewhere behind. Or maybe they're in the oncoming traffic. Wherever they are, though, it's apparently my job to slow them down.

So while I'm not sure which trucks need slowing, it's still somewhat important to figure out how to slow them down. My first thought was that I needed to install some grappling hooks in my car so I could grab the trucks and apply my brakes. But then the trucks would probably just drag me along. Mass is important in the momentum equations.

Other choices include caltrips or dynamite, or maybe carrying around a trailer full of sand. Although after thinking about it I decided that they probably just intended for me to get in front of the trucks and slow down myself, because even though the truck /could/ run me down, they tend not to.

Of course, I could be reading the signs incorrectly, they might be similar to the falling rocks or wildlife crossing signs. So whomever put up the sign might be saying, "yes, we know there are lots of slow trucks in the area, we've done everything we possibly could to get rid of them, but they're still around. Please watch out for them. Don't make eye contact, and please, please don't feed the trucks."

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Upside Down, Inside Out, Turned Around, and Backwards

Years ago, my grandfather found a recipe that he used for all special occasions since. Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, whatever, the couple of times he didn't make it, we were fairly and noticeably upset. So I was rather surprised when I asked my aunt, "Do you want a piece of Upside-down Banana Split Cake?"

"What's that?"

Now, he'd been making this cake for years, my cousins, siblings, distant relatives, random friends, anyone that had been by and had a piece loved it. I knew she'd eaten some and enjoyed it. Just a couple of months prior, even.

And then, I remember.

We hadn't always called it Upside-down Banana Split Cake. It started out as just regular, plain ol' Banana Split Cake. But then, one such occasion, the cooler managed to tip over. The cake didn't land on the floor, but it was a huge mess of cake. Still tasted yummy, though. And, most importantly, my aunt /wasn't/ /there/. So I realize, she's apparently never heard us call it that since.

Which I found impressive--it had to have been a good half-dozen years. Plenty of time that I didn't really remember why it was Upside-down and not just plain Banana Split Cake. Long enough that once I did remember, I just remember why, and don't even remember the event itself. And long enough that its name had gained the Upside-down part, not out of laughing at my grandpa anymore, but rather out of habit.

So apparently my aunt just needs to eat more cake. Preferably with us, so she knows what it's called.

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Built to Stand the Test of Time

Today, I went to the beach. I waded in the water, I threw around a frisbee, but most importantly, I built a sandcastle. It's been a while since last I built one, and I was reminded again of how much engineering and thought goes into building a good, "lasting" sandcastle.

Lasting until the tide rises too far, anyway. A proper sandcastle must be built somewhere just a few feet above where the waves can reach at the time of construction, and should be built in such a way that the first dozen or so waves won't tear it down. For my castle today, I did that via the dual-moat method.

As for why the sandcastle must be built at such a location, there are two reasons. First, that is where the best sand for building can be found. If it were built any further inland, sand would have to be hauled up from this part of the beach. That's a lot of work for a structure that, between the dogs, frisbees and marauding feet, ignoring the waves themselves, a structure that won't last for more than a little while anyway. It's best to build it at this location and resign your castle to oblivion in the sea.

The second reason for building at this location is that it makes it a much more interesting and fun structural challenge. It's fairly interesting, in my mind, to try to build a castle that will withstand as many waves as I can. The dual-moat method is decent for the initial breaking waves and for the building phase, but there are other methods to keep the castle standing, even when the tide again begins to rise. Drain holes (or lack thereof), sticks and shells, and appropriate placement and direction are all very important to consider.

My castle today wasn't overly impressive. A walled structure containing a large building, several towers and a couple smaller buildings, mostly interconnected. But as people walked by, even a couple hours after construction was complete, they'd stop and look at it, hoping to see that first wave break over the outer wall.

I was pleased by the family that stood by for quite a while before finally giving up and heading on home. Even if the kid decided he'd try helping waves through the outer moat.

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What Goes Up... (Part 2)

One sunny spring day, my family went on a drive and visited my grandparents. A two-hour drive, it was a long way for a young kid to sit in a car, but I made it without being too annoying. I lived at least.

At my grandparents' house, though, my grandfather was doing fairly poorly. He had always had health problems, and had spent most of the last week in bed. But once we got there, he called my sister in to talk to him. She crept into his bedroom, and as he saw her enter, he pulled out an old, deflated balloon.

One day several weeks prior, my mother brought home some balloons. There was a balloon each for me and my siblings, and upon each was one of our names and our address, a way to get ahold of us so we could try to find a pen-pal or something. I guess mom just thought that we were all too antisocial.

So we released the balloons, and I didn't even really think about them again, until we visited my grandparents. My grandfather had been laying in bed when he hear something rustling outside his window. He couldn't tell what it was, but saw light shining off of something, so he sent grandma out to get it. How my sister's balloon managed the 100+ mile journey, just to get caught by a tree right outside my grandfather's window, I'll never know.

I do, however, know that while sometimes it takes a lot of work to get things to come down at the right place, other times you don't even know where the right place is until it's landed.

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Lower Rent

Any time someone mentions aliens, the thought that pops into my, and probably many other peoples' heads, is "Little Green Men." There have been other types of aliens proposed (and reportedly seen) since, but it is no mistake that the most popular version is little green.

Photosynthesis is one of the highest changes on the evolutionary scale. Somewhere after telekinesis and the ability to not watch wrecks in the other lanes of traffic, we as a race will finally be able to refrain from eating, instead just having to sun-bathe. Something that many people do already, preparing themselves for this inevitable future.

Sadly, we as a race are too intelligent for our own good, we have cause evolution to become stagnant, we've stopped the need for change. We've begun changing our environment instead of letting our environment change us. And if we don't learn, it could make the next few changes planned for us take ten-fold the time.

Yes, it might be uncomfortable in the meantime, while we adjust, while we let evolution take its course. But for progress to occur, two generations must agree. We and our children must refrain from eating, must allow evolution to supply us with our energy through the sun.

And when, finally, we have gained this skill, when we must eat no longer, we'll have more time free for the better things in life. Us, our children, or our children's children, however long it takes.

And we'll need a handful fewer square feet in our apartments, so it should lower the cost of rent. If we no longer need to eat, who's going to need a toilet?

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Sunday, May 30, 2004

Language Woes

Words are wonderful (full of wonder), and a ton of fun to play with. Suffixes and prefixes and infixes and any other kinds of fixes add so much extra meaning to words, they allow so much extra depth that could by added via a myriad of other words. Instead of having to memorize a ton of definitions, we instead can just remember a few, and combine them in new and interesting ways.

Of course, taken to the extreme, this will lead to a 1984-type language, in which words can be removed from the language, words which do have extra depth or shades of meaning, because they aren't politically appropriate. But as long as we can retain the extra words, with different meanings and shadings, we can manage to not only keep our freedom, but also converse intelligently with a variety of people. So getting rid of the extra words would be double-plus-un-good. But having the ability to extend the meaning of a word is even better.

Of course, with our complex language (as with many a complex language since the dawn of time), our language has the capability of being both ambiguous and also a lot of fun to play with. Not as much fun as the Romans, maybe, with their oracles that could say pretty much anything and make no sense, but be taken as incredible wisdom and a great prophecy.

And then, even better, when the prophecy was fulfilled (filled to fullness?) they could look back and see that, well, yeah, the oracle's nonsense could have meant things to work out that way.

No, English is much harder to do that with. It can still be played with, the things that you can do with it are pretty amazing. But it still makes me feel aweful.

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An Exclusive Restaurant

I went out to eat yesterday, and was amused at the menu. The children's section was for "children under 12 years old and over 120," so I wondered, how often do they actually manage to get someone ordering from the children's menu?

If they'd worded it differently, it could have been for children under 12 and for children over 120, children under 12 _or_ over 120. But not both. The way their wording reads, though, the requirement was that the child had to be both under 12 and older than 120.

I was tempted to ask the waitress if she knew how often people ordered from the children's menu, just to satisfy my curiosity as to how often people fall into that category. It obviously happens often enough for them to use up menu space advertising for it, but how often. And why? Was the restaurant located in freak-central, or are there many of these people wandering around that I'm just not noticing?

I thought that they should have at least made it into an "or". But then, I'd have the problem of wondering is the or exclusive or not. Would it be for children under 12 or over 120, but not both under 12 and over 120? I'd guess, no, that if they ever had a child in the restaurant that fit both criteria, they'd allow that child to eat from the children's menu.

And in that case, I think they should get a double-discount. And maybe quarter-portions. Or maybe a double-discount and full portions, I'm not sure which. It does make me fairly happy I don't own an eating establishment, though, for then I'd have to actually think.


Friday, May 28, 2004

A Cruising Altitude

I like airplanes. And trains and automobiles, too, but I haven't seen as many of them flying through the air. With Memorial Day weekend approaching, there's going to be an airshow in the area. I can't say that I've actually gone to an airshow before, though. While the idea of flying through the air is nice, watching someone else fly through the air never really seemed all that appealing.

For the last couple of days, however, I have had the joy of my work being repeatedly interrupted by loud noises outside. One of the problems with pilots practicing for an airshow is that once you hear the loud noise, it's too late to actually see the plane, it's already on the other side of the building. So you get distracted and watch out the window instead of doing your work. You give up, get back to work, and there's that noise again.

But I did manage to see them flying by a few times. Very close, nice formation, it was actually pretty fun. So mayhaps I should have attended an airshow before. (Not that I'll probably actually attend one now, either, I suppose.) Of course this is just slightly after my last ride in an airplane, after which I knew I never wanted to ride in an airplane ever again. But I've revised that thought.

I'd be happy to ride in an airplane if it was doing fun stuff. If there wasn't a baby in a seat across the aisle. If the person in front of me didn't think banging their chair into my knees was a fun way to pass the time. If I had a view, if it wasn't too loud that I couldn't think, if I didn't have to pay for the in-flight meal, if the meal carts didn't bump into my knee as it passed, if I weren't treated like livestock.

So I do love airplanes, the technology that we posses, the knowledge we've gained, the things we can do. But as a way to get somewhere, they leave much to be desired.

Maybe I'll just go for a nice cruise.

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Thursday, May 27, 2004

Sweet Goodness Week

April 29th-36th this year was Sweet Goodness Week. For all that is sweet, for all that is good, for all that is sweet and good, it's a time to celebrate and enjoy.

I, of course, spent the week celebrating. I wished many people a happy Sweet Goodness Week, baked fresh cinnamon rolls (from scratch!), made ice cream, and just in general had a lot of sweet goodness.

Of course, one of the best aspects of Sweet Goodness Week is inviting other people to join in on the festivities. Asking what they've got planned for the week, inviting them to Sweet Goodness parties, wearing the t-shirt.

Sadly it would appear that most people still have yet to learn of Sweet Goodness Week, leaving a huge responsibility to bring the joys to the world. But I tried this year, being in a new area with noone that knew of the holiday, I still managed to help get a BBQ together to celebrate.

And the odd looks people give when informed of a week-long holiday that lasts the 8 days from April 29th-36th makes any amount of work worthwhile.

Good Ol' Rock

Some people, to make easy decisions and settle arguments, will play a swift game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. I, however, tend to prefer the game Rock, Rock, Rock.

Very few people actually play Rock, Rock, Rock well. But one of the best characteristics of this game is it's possible for both people to win. In fact, both people almost always do. One of them just may not realize it.

There are two ways to win at a game of Rock, Rock, Rock. First, and most obvious, is to be the person that can pick rock more times than the other person. The one that is more persistent, that can outlast. If you're the last person to pick rock, you win. The decision goes in your favor. You don't have to order the pizza tonight, even if you still have to pay for your share of it.

The other way of winning is by being the person that quits playing. If you're willing to admit that the other person is more annoyingly persistent for no good reason than you are, then while you may not have won the game, you have the moral victory. Which is often the better choice. Wouldn't the real loser by the couple that spends eighteen hours, both refusing to quit? So the true winner would be choosing nothing, letting the other person "win".

Which just shows that it's true. Nothing beats rock.

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The Gumption to Git

When I was a young, young kid, like preschool-age, maybe, my parents decided they wanted to move to a new house. They bought a few acres of land outside town, hired an architect to design the place, and put their house on the market. Other than hiring a construction crew and packing up all our stuff, they were ready to move into their dream house.

That last little bit of oomph required, though, was missing.

A few years passed, a pond had been added, but the land was just sitting there, and we still lived in town. Not that there was much of a difference, as living by the park in town doesn't allow for too many neighbors. But mom and dad still wanted to move to their dream house.

A few more years passed, a bunch of Christmas trees got planted, but other than being useful for the month of December, the land still just sat there. But they still had been unable to find a buyer for their house in town, and owning both an in-town and out-of-town house in a place as small as that would have been worse than silly. So we still didn't get to move.

But at least the Christmas trees helped pay for college. Theoretically.

Finally, once my siblings and I were all out, off to school, even graduated from school, my parents finally decided it was time to do it. Go ahead and build the house. Now or never. And it wasn't going to be never, so it was now.

They went back to the plans from twenty-ish years before, decided that they were mostly still good. A few minor changes (no more disco balls, didn't need the dinosaur feeding trough anymore, etc), but the layout mostly stayed the same. So once my siblings and I were all gone, my parents finally got around to building their house, as designed when they had children living in it.

But at least they got around to it, if a few years late. And they did manage to sell their old house, too. But if they'd had the gumption to get going a couple decades before, I coulda' actually grown up in that house.

Of course, then I wouldn't've lived in town across from the park, so I guess it all worked.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Field of Dreams

Having semi-recently moved from Illinois to California, I still meet people that are amazed that one could move so far by themselves. They're in awe of the fact that I'd be willing to leave everything I've known to go somewhere completely new. And there are two questions that get asked when anyone finds out I've semi-recently moved from Illinois.

1) So, Illinois. Chicago, right?

That's like going up to someone and saying, "Oh, Washington. D.C., right?" Or, "Oh, America. New York, right?" Right. Ok, maybe not exactly, at least in the Illinois/Chicago case, you've got like a 95% chance of being within at thirty mile radius or something. And it's a lot of fun explaining to people that, no, Illinois is not just Chicago. Illinois is actually a fairly tall state with lots and lots of various little hovels in which people live. At least they don't ask if I know their friend George.

2) So, how do you like California, compared to Illinois?

This is my favorite of the two questions. No matter how much fun it is to tell people that they are in fact wrong, it's even more fun to completely boggle their minds with the simple statement, "I miss the cornfields."

They'll pause, blink a few times, maybe even open and shut their mouth before they're finally able to get it out. "Really?" Why is it that people don't see the appeal of cornfields? I am forced to admit, though, that even if I didn't miss the cornfields, I'd probably have to use the same answer, so I guess their confusion is understandable.

But really, where are they expecting me to keep my crop circles? In a field of artichokes?

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The Mystical Mole

Shortly after the invention of wheels, back when dinosaurs still roamed free and disco was the dance of choice, there was a tribe of pre-computer humanoid-types. This tribe, like most tribes at the time, had odd worship habits. Some worshiped the sun, others various types of plantlife. This tribe, though, worshiped the mole.

Out of love for the mole, across the footpath into their village, they created a mound of dirt, as if a path had been dug displacing dirt underneath the road. This mound caused them to pause upon entering or leaving the village, remembering their chosen deity. They were amazed at the magnificent power of the mole when later that summer, a "cart" from a distant land came through, and slowed upon entering the village. They knew that the mole must be known to others in distant lands!

Because of that, the decided to go forth into the world, to find their lost brethren. They departed, and went to join other tribes across the world. Yet, they also knew that non-believers would ridicule them for their faith in the all-mighty mole, and so they should keep their beliefs secret. So the followers of the mole infiltrated the other groups, keeping their origins and purposes secret.. but yet, they remain, to this day. Many modern establishments even retain the memory of this long-lost deity, building altars that must be passed before entering.

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Cat Capacitor

I like kittens. Fuzzy bundles of joy, they're so much fun to watch and play with. But there's one problem with them, that I see. Now most people probably don't think that it's a problem, and actually think it's good. But that's because most people aren't me.

Kittens have way too much energy.

It's not possible that something that small and fuzzy can possibly have that much energy on its own. It can't be storing it up, otherwise one would expect to see kittens walking around with their hair sticking straight up. So I think that kittens are master thieves, stealing energy from their unsuspecting victims. When it starts purring, that's just the sound of it sucking energy from the nearest available source..generally me. This is why I'm so tired.

But I don't blame them, they can't help it. They learn, as they get older, to control themselves. To pull energy from more specific sources. Their purr gets more mellow. And they do /try/ to generate energy. Why else would they spend so long licking themselves, building up huge reserves of static electricity, unless they had some way to convert it into a more usable form?

So even though kittens constantly drain my energy, I still love them. They're so much fun to watch, and make much better use of the energy than I. And it's nice to know I'm good for something, even if it's just a cat's capacitor.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

One if by Land, Two if by Air

During high school, I had to take the bus through IL several times a year. A six-hour car ride, by bus it took much, much longer. But doing the bus ride several times a year, at least once had to be interesting, right?

Well, if I were my brother, I suppose. I'm not sure how, after having to catch the late-morning bus several times a year, three years in a row, on his last-ever northern Illinois to southern Illinois bus ride he could possibly oversleep and miss the bus. How the passenger list is known, and checked before leaving, he could get left behind. But manage it he did.

Of course, it's entirely possible this was on purpose. While the ride is eight-plus hours by bus, and six-ish by car, it's certainly much shorter by airplane, even if it has to make a stop halfway. And being the last time he'd have to ride the bus, he couldn't get in too much trouble for doing so, he wouldn't have to have help catching it the next time or anything. And he was pretty much guaranteed to get the short ride home.

So it could have been a brilliant move.

But that might be giving him too much credit. It's much more likely that instead, he spent too much time the night before partying with friends, and simply overslept. Pure accident. At least that's what the parents were led to believe.

Either way, it's certainly fairly obvious, if the backup plan is far preferable to the primary plan, there's little reason to strive to make the bus on time. Party all night, airplanes were made for a reason.

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A Vase is Like Flowing Water

Trying to introduce children to physics, you can get some pretty odd questions. Some insightful, others..less so. But all of them are fun, and help you think on your toes.

For my favorite demo, Newton's first law, I often will tell them that the vase, just sitting there, _wants_ to keep on just sitting there. And had used pretty much the same line for a couple of years before one kid finally asks me, "How can the vase want to just sit there? It can't think, can it?"

Pause. Think.

Err, well, no, it doesn't think. But still, that's what the vase is going to do is just sit there. It has the possibility of randomly moving, similar to how things have the possibility of spontaneous combustion. Or bananas being able to quantum tunnel. But it's so unlikely, it's simply not going to happen. But how do you explain all of this to a six-year old kid? Probabilities and fun math and all sorts of stuff, when I'm not exactly sure of a really good answer, or even "why" myself. I just know, well, that's what it wants to do, don't ask me what it means for a vase to want something!

"Well, it wants to just sit there, like how water wants to flow downhill."

"Oh, okay."

Content, and apparently confident that he now understood the secrets of the universe, he took his father by the hand and moved on to watch someone else shatter a racquet ball.

And I was content that my view of the universe is capable of satisfying the curiosity of a six-year-old.

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Take My Goose! Please!

Of all the birds in the world, all the species that have become or are rapidly approaching extinction, why do there remain so many geese? Can we please get rid of them and bring back the dodo, or maybe exchange a few for bald eagles, or even getting some more stupid sea-gulls would be fine. Just please, get rid of the geese.

Most birds have something going for them. Hawks are wonderful hungers, amazing to watch. Humming birds are cute, and really confuse my mother's cat. You can't beat chicken for food, and dodo's have such a great name. But there's nothing worthwhile about having a goose. If you have one, about a billion more follow, to the extent that standing on your porch you can't see any of your hundred-acre yard, and instead just have a mass of grey honking annoyances. Finally they decide it's time to migrate, about three months after everything else was smart enough to leave, and they've left a mess all over the lawn.

But at least it's decently-well fertilized.

Which itself might almost make the goose a worthwhile creature, renting out all the geese that take up residence in your yard to farmers across the world. But you'd have to catch them, and getting that close would give them the chance to bite. I don't trust _no_ goose!

Nor is it worthwhile to try biting back. These critters are not only ugly, loud, messy, and generally annoying, but they also taste horrible, and unless cooked just right, each bite has to be chewed for a century, it's so rubbery. Why someone would want to leave something that nasty in their mouth for that long is beyond me.

So every year I hope that someone will find a use for all the geese flocking around the lakes, all the geese in the fields. Every year I hope someone will do something about this nuisance, find something that makes this waste of perfectly good air worthwhile. And every year I'm disappointed.

They've finally driven me away, I have to hear them no longer. But still I hope that someone will take my geese. Please!


Monday, May 24, 2004

Painful Undertow

Most of my childhood, my sister and cousin both kept trying to convince grandpa to take them to Hawaii. Finally they succeeded. But grandpa didn't want to have to go more than once, so one summer he took all five of his grandchildren to Hawaii for a week.

Most of the week was planned out, busy siteseeing, going places, doing things. Pearl Harbor, a Polynesian village, volcanoes and waterfalls, near the end of the week people were finally getting really tired. But I'd yet to get to actually swim in the ocean.

How one can be on an island and not have the chance to really swim, I don't know. I love water though, and simply adore the ocean, so I had to make sure I made it to swim in a Real Ocean at least once. Everyone else ended up having something they wanted to do one evening (mostly being sleeping, I believe), so I got grandpa, and he took me swimming. He, of course, didn't go swimming himself, but that's another story. Or three.

So I got in the water, and start playing around. I knew I wasn't used to the current, so I tested it out a bit, staying near the shore, where I could touch bottom, until I got used to the feel. Finally, I got brave enough and headed out a bit further.

Of course, that's the same time that the huge wave decides to come along. So right there in the middle-ground, between where the wave starts cresting and where I can be fairly certain of touching ground, I was caught. The wave crashing above my head, I knew I was going under, so the best choice was obviously to go right through.

I obviously still wasn't used to the current.

With the wave crashing over my head, I got turned upside down, but the water churning and the current pulling and everything, I couldn't tell which way was up. Swimming as hard as I could, I finally reached out..and grabbed a fist full of sand. To make matters worse, the current was pulling me in two different directions, and my knee didn't much care for that. I've had some knee problems, but it doesn't get much more frightening than upside down in the ocean, rapidly running out of breath, and now unable to use a leg.

Of course, being out in the middle of the Pacific, the waves in general were fairly huge. So the wave quickly passed, and a valley came, putting me in about knee-depth water. Knowing which way is up helps get rid of a ton of panic. Even if there's another wave coming.

Even though I knew what I wanted, it sure hurt a lot to get my swim in the ocean. A fairly terrifying experience, not something that I'd like to relive.

Yet, I still love the ocean.

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Attack of the 50' Radioactive Lobster

It has been brought to my attention that there are things out there, carrying the label of "sea monster", but which obviously are not. If it's less fearsome than I, it cannot be considered a monster! Several times now, I've seen on menus food claiming to contain "sea monster" but when the food itself is looked at, instead of something from Loch Ness, it's got lobster.

Unless it's radioactive and grown to an enormous height, lobster cannot be considered a sea monster. It's just too wimpy and small, and not nearly tasty enough. Now, if the lobster's grown to be 50' tall, then I'll admit that as long as it still lives in the sea it can be considered to be an actual, honest-to-goodness sea monster. And as a bonus, it's able to feed an army, instead of needing three to feed one person.

I'd guess, though, that the lobster used in these dishes aren't 50' tall, that they weren't even radioactive, that they were just ordinary, run-of-the-mill lobster. I'm rather upset by the lack of consideration given to people that actually were expecting to have real sea monster. How would I know if I were ordering some leviathan or Nessie if plain ol' lobster can be carrying the title of sea monster?

As, however, most eating establishments don't actually have room for even a baby leviathan, much less one that actually has some meat on its bones, I'm not really expecting good, fresh food when I go out expecting sea monster. So I suppose fresh lobster's a half-decent choice, given the options. I just wish it were actually 50' and radioactive.

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Sunday, May 23, 2004

Give Me a Hand!

Eons ago, or at least while I was attending grade school, I loved the Choose Your Own Adventure series of books. Didn't own them all--that was way too expensive for my allowance (plus pay for mowing lawns), but I did have a pretty good number. Between one of my other friends and I we were able to cover most of them.

It was always nice, the idea that you could go back and try again if you made a mistake. Or that you could re-live the same choices over and over again if you really liked finding the buried treasure on page 54. There was surprisingly little actual adventure, given the title, but the stories were generally fun, and didn't take too long to read through a single try.

Of course, to read the entire book, I often ran out of fingers.

I'd keep track of the choices I'd made in the last pass through the book, holding a finger in each of the choices made along the path. I'd get to the end, die a horrible, gruesome death (almost invariably, the first time through), and then back up to the most convenient finger, and keep going. Keeping track of where I was in the book was the most I ever had to make use of short-term memory, holding a half-dozen or ten different plot-points in my mind at once.

But armed with a fistful of fingers and an often-flaky memory, I was able to live through one life, over and over. Making choices, for good or bad, until I saw what all the possible outcomes were. Alas, while life tends to come with at least a fistful of fingers and the often-flaky memory, once a choice has been made, a finger can't be used to give us somewhere to return.

Which I suppose is probably a good thing. Given the difficult choices I'm faced with, I'd run out of fingers sometime by the middle of breakfast.

And I don't eat breakfast!

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Gliting Glastries

I love randomness. Although I suppose I'm still debating whether or not there's such a thing as true randomness, the concept that Things Happen without rhyme or reason, some days it just makes me feel better.

Sometimes I'm able to convince myself that true randomness exists. Those are generally the days that I'm having a bad day. The days that I convince myself my car isn't working because a butterfly in Walla-walla Washington sneezed. No true randomness so far. But /why/ did the butterfly sneeze? No real reason, it just did so.

Of course, other days, I convince myself that it did sneeze for some real, if unmeasurable, reason. And that happened for some other, but also unmeasurable, reason. Etc. Etc. Etc.

So basically, my definition of randomness is based entirely on if there /exists/ a reason, or if the reason can be measured, I suppose. But nonetheless, I love randomness.

But ignoring the difference in random- and pseudo-random- things, a long discussion in itself, one of my favorite uses of randomness is randomly selecting words. It's fun to supply random answers when people ask questions. Especially for the questions that people don't really care about the answer to ("how've you been?") or the questions that you obviously wouldn't know the answer to.

Some people don't even notice. They know what they were expecting to hear, so that's what they listen to, and anything you said doesn't matter. Some people give incredibly odd looks. Some people play along and continue the conversation, using that as a valid answer. The latter group is a lot of fun (as is the first--but only for you, not for both parties), but things can get more interesting if you stop using random words, and instead use a random word.

Which probably needs some explanation. Using random words (former) means using a randomly selected word from your personal dictionary. Kumquat, dodo, antidisestablishmentarianism, a word that means _something_ at least. Using a random word (latter), however, means using a random collection of letters which when put together make a pronounceable sequence that does not have a preexisting meaning. The latter is not recommended if you're wanting to have a meaningful conversation, unless you're both really good at playing.

Or if you're wanting to come up with a good name for a band.

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Hills... Of... Doom!

In one of my intro physics classes, I learned that "there's no such thing as a sucking force." However, around the same time, I also learned that gravity is a myth, the earth just sucks. I tend to believe the latter theory. Regardless if which is true, though, one thing is certain--things generally prefer to go downhill.

I however, think that most things are silly. Sure, it's much easier to go downhill. Fall, and then you get to roll all the way to the bottom. However, getting there in one piece is much, much more difficult. Given the choice of walking uphill or downhill, I'd say that it's much nicer to go uphill. Walking uphill, you have to work against the full effect of gravity, overcoming it so you end up with no downward acceleration.

Walking downhill, however, you still have to work against gravity. But you also have to work with it, to the point that gravity pulls you downhill just as fast as you're wanting to go. Yes, this does mean that you have to apply less of an uphill force. However, you still have to apply the uphill force, while walking downhill. In essence, to walk downhill, one has to apply a backward force, while still moving forward.

Unless, of course, you're wanting to get downhill really, really fast. Which is painful, and often not the preferred solution.

As such, I continue to find the people that complain about walking uphill amusing. I'd much rather walk uphill through the snow both ways than get horribly bruised falling flat on my face and rolling to my doom.

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Friday, May 21, 2004

Let's Make A Deal

Recently I was reminded of the (in)famous Monty Hall problem. Most people that have had a probability class have heard the problem and understand the answer, but it still manages to hurt my brain.

So on "Let's Make a Deal", Monty Hall would give the player a choice of three doors, one of which had a good prize, the other two having junk. Well, the player picks one, then Monty shows a bad prize from one of the two remaining doors and asks if the player wants to switch to the last door. (This isn't exactly how the show worked, but makes the problem a _lot_ more interesting).

The question, then, is should you switch?

Now, it seems like there should be a 50/50 chance of getting a winner if you switch, because there are two doors and one winner, right? Except it's actually much more likely that the other door is the one with the prize. Bizarre.

I could go into great detail explaining how and why this works. But I won't. I'll just say that once you've seen a losing door, the door not selected has a 2/3 chance of being a winner, the door picked only a 1/3. Even though it was already known that one of the two doors (at least) was a losing door.

Now, I love math. Thinking about theoretical possibilities, ignoring real world applications, I /enjoy/ spending time that way. But that doesn't mean that Monty doesn't hurt my brain. The really important point of this problem, though, is that Monty does know which door is the winner, and doesn't reveal that one. If he just revealed a random door, it wouldn't make much of a difference. But it's hard to accept that he'd be willing or able to give /any/ help in being a winner.

While some things may seem inconsequential, you already know that one of the doors is a loser, the simple knowledge may make a huge difference.


Thursday, May 20, 2004

The One Squirrel

Driving down the road, many people have had the experience of hitting a squirrel. Several years ago, however, I learned that there's actually only been one squirrel that's ever had the experience of being hit by a car.

There is, in fact, only one squirrel.

The squirrel is a very special animal--most people think he's rather stupid, especially after having just run one down. He'll run back and forth in front of a car, seemingly unable to determine which way to best avoid the behemoth bearing down on him. Seemingly indecisive, he ends up getting hit. However, the squirrel isn't actually being indecisive, he's trying to figure out where best to stand that the car is unable to avoid making roadkill. For you see, there's only one squirrel, but he's very special.

He travels through time.

Most of us do travel through time. Born on the 72nd of Checkuary in 2164, we travel forward, live our lives, and then are done. That's how most creatures tend to work. But not the one squirrel, he can travel both forward _and_ backward in time. He can't push a button to switch his direction. He does need help to switch which direction he's traveling, though.

He looks for a car.

He'll wait by the side of a road whenever he's needing to switch directions again. Minutes, hours, days, he's got all the time he needs. But when he finally sees one coming, he prepares himself. He jumps. He runs around, trying to get hit, trying to stay in the path. And finally it comes. He gets hit. He switches directions.

He's roadkill.

Or he was roadkill.. depending on which way he's going now.

(I'm not really sure where I first heard this theory, or even if I assisted in its design. But I still favor it whenever I see squirrels running on the road.)

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All Roads

What's the big appeal of Rome? So many Roman history classes are offered, but I've yet to see one history class on my hometown. I say that Rome is overrated, and people should stop worrying about it. How many American history classes do you think the Romans had? Sure, they've finally come around and have some now, but it's a little too late for them to make up for it. They just finally realized that noone's studying this current group of Romans and had to try to do something to guilt people into studying them too. But if the ancient Romans didn't bother thinking about us, why should we waste our time thinking about ancient Romans?

Sure, there's probably the occasional mistake that they made that we could learn from. Forgetting about the number 0, running around in dresses, letting the empire fall, but I say we're all smart people, we're capable of making those mistakes on our own, without any help from a bunch of people that couldn't care less about us anyway!

I suppose if you're planning on having an ancient Roman exchange student, you might want to brush up on your history. But more likely, you're going to want to catch up on your ancient Latin. And even then, you're only going to be able to write large missives, and have not a word to say. You might be able to muddle by with a really, horribly thick American accent. But if you've sat in a large lecture with a professor that has a horribly thick accent from some random country closer to Rome than America, you likely know that it's pointless to try understanding and a much better use of your time to trim your fingernails and talk to your neighbor and catch up on your sleep and just about anything else, anything other than listening..or studying Roman history.

But honestly, what have the Romans done for us recently? Name one modern inventions that the ancient Romans designed, and I'll be willing to concede that they're worth studying in such detail. I can't think of one.

I do have to admit though that I'm sure that there are some aspects of Roman history that are fun and interesting to study. Not useful, but interesting. Rare, but they are there. I'm sure. There can't be /that/ much material, and _all_ of it boring, can there? So sure, I can understand the occasional class or two on Roman history, but once you get through the fun stuff, what're all the rest of them for?

All roads lead to Rome, but please just visit. Once you're spent your money, do remember the road'll lead you right back home again.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

More Than Just Rest

For eight summers, I spent a few weeks each year working as a camp counselor. Of course, when I started, I so didn't expect it.

To graduate high school, I was required to do some number of community-service hours. I worked at the library for a while and helped out at church, but still had way too many hours left to do, when working at camp was suggested. I figured, not really my cup of tea, but getting my hours taken care of while sleeping seems like a really good idea. So I agreed, packed my bags, and off to camp I went.

And I was right. It wasn't my cup of tea..for the first week or so. But I started to enjoy it. Playing with the kids, having minimal responsibilities, actually *gasp* getting sunshine, they were nice, and I had fun. Didn't really mind leaving, but was glad I'd come. Of course, the next year rolled around, and given a choice between staying home all summer or going back to camp for a few weeks, back to camp I went.

Several years I returned, each year me thinking it's my last, just to manage to make time to return the year after. Once the kids started expecting me to be there, though, I knew I found something I truly enjoyed. Even if they did call me the Door Nazi and half of them did whatever they could to try to annoy me, I was so much meaner to them than the other way around.

Leading to working at CTY's summer program and being a member of the Physics Van, a variety of experiences have all sprung from the one "I may as well get my hours done by sleeping" thought. So now I know, sleep gives you much more than just rest... Sleep gives you a new way of life!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Ba Bum Bum Bum Ba-*BOOOOOM*

During my years of high school, I ended up meeting several people. One of them gladly was an incredible GM, and started up a game of (no-Jedi allowed) Star Wars RPG. Fun mechanic for picking your starting race, where it was either random chance..or human. My random chance happened to be a huge lizard that naturally did fairly well fighting (best blaster skill in the bunch). Someone else ended up being a large sentient plant--thankfully the lizard wasn't a herbivore.

So there we are, a group of rebel spies running around a starbase looking for information on some Imperial general or such. I don't recall for sure. It may have actually been Papa Smurf, but with this GM, I tend to doubt it. So store after store we poke our heads in, buy a few trinkets, and try to weasel some information out of the owners. By the end of the row, not only do the Imperials know that they're being looked for (and consequently send a squad of stormtroopers to find us) but we've got a _ton_ of junk onhand. Backpacks are marvelous things.

Talk to the last shopkeeper, and what happens but the squadron of stormtroopers marches into the other end of the way, all of the patrons discreetly making their way into the nearest establishment to buy..something. Anything. The 'troopers know we're rebels, we know they're not, everyone should've seen enough Star Wars to know the logical next step is a firefight.

Several rounds go by without anyone hitting anyone else, or even come close. Not much time game-time I suppose, but with all the die rolling and talking and planning and everything, it's been a while in real life, and I get tired of it. Not only that, but the blaster charges are starting to run low. I hand my gun to the plant and start pulling this junk out of my backpack...

Me: I throw the little black box down the corridor.
GM: Ok...
*rolls die*
*rolls another die*
*rolls another die*
*rolls yet another die*
GM: The black box hits the ground in the middle of the stormtroopers and rolls over onto one of its faces. You hear.. click--ba bum bum bum bum bu-bu-bu-bum, ba bum bum bum ba-*BOOOOOM* All of the stormtroopers get blown against the wall and crumble to the ground.
Me: What /was/ that thing?
GM: Let's just was a defective jack-in-the-box

Now, he didn't /mean/ for it to be defective. He meant for it to just be a regular boring ol' jack-in-the-box. But I got _really_ lucky with his die rolling. When one situation seems completely hopeless, don't just keep shooting at the stormtroopers. Start throwing jack-in-the-boxes. You never know, one of them may just be defective.

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Monday, May 17, 2004

The Great *fizzle*

A topic of discussion that came up a while ago was that of superpowers. Every person should have a superpower. Reading minds, flying, running really really fast, sleeping through anything, these are the common powers.

The less common powers include things such as the power of guessing correctly (incredibly powerful, the one I want), and the "Field of Dean", a field which nullifies all logic within its radius. Also incredibly powerful, but way too common, it would seem.

I'm still working on how to go about gaining a superpower of my own choice--if I had the superpower I desire, this obviously wouldn't be much of a problem. Sadly, my current superpower isn't the one I desire, and I've yet to figure out how it actually works.

Imagine a dark stormy night, clouds covering the sky. All along the street, the only light comes from the streetlights dotting the path. One by one, they turn off as someone passes underneath, only to turn back on once they're again free.

Imagine a computer that works..occasionally. When they're not busy rebooting themselves or randomly turning off. Hard drives that occasionally randomly lose their data.

Imagine a life of constantly confused electronics. That's me. Generally a pain, there's got to be a good use for it. But if you can't pick your own superpower, I suppose I'd rather be a walking EMP generator than be able to bend spoons.

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A Lesson from a Vase

For several years, I was a member of the Physics Van at UIUC, a group that goes around to area grade schools and does physics demos. Supposedly to get children interested in science, but mainly, I think, so the Van workers can have fun. Playing with liquid nitrogen and electricity and other fun physics demos, and skipping classes to do so, what more could one want?

There are a variety of fun demos, but the best one, my most favorite demo ever, is showing Newton's first law of motion, the law of inertia. The short version of this law is basically that "things keep doin' whatever they're doin'." So a set of dishes on the table is going to just sit on the table, even if the tablecloth is pulled out from beneath them (unless the tablecloth pulls on them enough to make a mess of broken dishware on the floor). So the second half of this demo is pulling the tablecloth out from under the dishes. But the _first_ half is the best part.

Take a vase, and set it on the table. Stare at it. Keep staring. Anything happen? No? Look closer. Anything happen yet? Of course not! It's a vase, it's just going to sit there. Now, imagine doing this demonstration in front of a couple hundred grade-schoolers. They're expecting something to be happening, they _know_ something interesting is going to happen, and they're waiting breathless for..anything. Yet, somehow they don't realize that the lack of anything, the fact that the vase just sits there, is pretty important itself. A vase can go through its entire existence, and not once have to lift a finger. Even if it had one to lift!

As people, we do so many things to try to improve our lives, spend so much time working, rushing around, thinking, all sorts of things that take so much effort. I'm going to take a lesson from a vase, though, and try to just keep doing whatever I'm doing. Tomorrow, I plan on spending all day in bed.

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Sunday, May 16, 2004

What Goes Up...

Ages ago, must have been when I was in grade school or /maybe/ middle school, it was a wonderfully-windy day at my grandparents' house, and I managed to have a kite. I'm still not sure what the appeal of flying a kite is (in the general case anyway.. the trick kite I later got was an incredible challenge, and flying a kite in the rain is _always_ a blast), but somehow that doesn't make it any /less/ fun, just makes the fun more confusing.

The wind that day was good enough that no running was required to get the kite up and flying. Nice and constant, and I was able to keep letting out "just a little more" string. I've played with rolls of kite string before, but never before had I actually realized just how far "just a little more" will stretch.

So, some rather lengthy period of time after getting the kite aloft, it's time to go home. Apparently, "just a little more" stretches far enough that my (at least then) rather good eyesight had problems seeing the little speck in the sky. Not only is a lot of winding required to get that much string back on the spool, but the wind at that altitude is apparently much stronger than the wind some twenty feet above the ground, so it takes /work/ for every inch of string that has to get pulled back in.

My parents should have known that it takes me a while to do anything, so I'd guess that they allotted time for me to get ready to go. But as they'd been inside talking (on such a lovely day!), I doubt they had any clue what I was really up to, or how long it was going to take before we could leave.

Of course, if I were doing the same today, it'd probably be cheaper to just let the kite fly away. In today's wages, it's one expensive job, rolling in a high-flying kite. However, in that case, it'd probably end up landing in some endangered species of bird's nest, killing off the last remaining incredibly rare purple-spotted green-bird. So while maybe cheaper for me to just let the kite free, the nicer option for everyone involved is to pull the kite in. Which just goes to show that while what goes up must come down, it sure can take a lot of work to be any more specific about where.

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Saturday, May 15, 2004

Fashionably Late

I want to be the Doctor when I grow up. Not "a doctor", but "_the_ Doctor". As that position's taken, I'd be willing to settle for just being a generic time lord, as long as I can go gallivanting around space and time in a police call box and a colorful scarf.

Admittedly, the Doctor had several regenerations, and most of them did not have the colorful scarf, but it's one of the things he's most remembered for. I'll be talking to people that haven't seen the show, but they'll still be able to make the connection between the scarf and a large blue time-traveling box. Although I suppose that may have just come from talking to me for so long, but that doesn't make having a lengthy colorful scarf any less useful.

Not only would it keep your neck and the lower half of your face warm, given the length the top half of your face and likely most of the rest of your body can be kept comfortable on even the coldest day. When you're traveling with your companions and one of them accidentally falls into quicksand, you don't have to search for something to throw to them. When little Billy falls down a well, you can lower Lassie after him to get the dog to stop barking. And if your love gets trapped by a minotaur in a huge maze, you'll have no worries about finding your way out. (Throw in the sonic screwdriver, and you might live long enough to do so!)

Sadly, even though I've been told that I can be anything I want to be, becoming a time lord with a police call box and a long colorful scarf is beyond my abilities. I'm still working on integrating time travel into the call box, but at least I can get myself a nice long colorful scarf.

Until I finish up with that time travel thing, I'm going to persist in being late. But once I get my scarf, at least I can be fashionably so.

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Spilt Milk

During my last year of high school, the cafeteria workers decided that the students were having problems carrying their food from the line to their tables without spilling. At least that's the theory--personally I never noticed much of an issue, and didn't drop things myself, but I guess that not having to clean up after peoples' messes (after my Sophomore year, anyway), I may have simply not noticed.

Thus, to prevent extra-spillage in the future, the cafeteria started having a rule, any time you went through the line, you had to get a tray. Which itself is a really dumb rule to try to prevent people from spilling, as I know that I'm much more likely to spill something if it's on a tray than if I'm holding directly onto the plate.

I not being the only person to think this was stupid, organization began. I'm not truly sure how many people joined in, but I do know that at least for the Blue Table, all 20 or 30 people that were by for food helped out and did retrieve a tray any time they went back for anything. That, and conveniently "forgot" several important parts of their meals, to allow for more trips. ("Doh! I forgot my fork.. ah well, new tray. Oops, now where was that spoon? Shrug, guess I've gotta get another tray..)

Now, I'm not really sure what the cafeteria workers thought about this (mostly because they only spoke Spanish), but as the entire stack of trays, plates, glasses, and other sundries made its way down the conveyor belt, some choice Spanish phrases were being fairly loudly exclaimed.

The rule was removed the next day.

There's no use crying over spilt milk. And while it may be preventable, spilt milk may be preferable to the alternatives.

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Friday, May 14, 2004

Rocks in My Bed

If you could be anything, anything at all, what would you be? There're so many choices out there! I'd have to rule out anything inanimate--even assuming you were able to continue thinking (and given the option of being /anything/ I have to allow the possibility), once you notice that a big truck is going to run over you and break you into a billion trillion pieces, there's nothing you can do about it.

Of course, if you still exist as all billion trillion pieces and are able to think across the billion trillion pieces, that would be kinda' cool. 'cause then you could be in Paris and Rome and Massachusetts (the entire state) all at the same time, and that would just be a ton of fun.

And then, I suppose if inanimate objects are allowed to have abilities they wouldn't normally have, it could be an inanimate object with telekinesis. If the telekinesis could move the object itself around, could it really be considered inanimate anymore? I'd say no, and think that moving is pretty useful, so we get back to my ruling against being an inanimate object.

There is a certain appeal to being something such as a rock, though. I mean, you belong pretty much anywhere--in a garden (a rock garden, anyway), on the road (yay, gravel roads!), at the bottom of the ocean, on the moon, or even as someone's pet. And if you're the latter, you never have to worry about working a single day in your life. You can just sit there on a shelf, and get all you'll ever need. Also, there are many things rocks don't have to worry about--food, clothing, air, the opposite sex. So many worries removed, such a carefree existence. And, you never have to worry about gaining weight! You're pretty much guaranteed that the longer you're around (and that can be a long, long time), the less mass you'll have. Unless you're a stalactite or such, but I'm thinking just a normal ol' limestone.

So I think that the ideal existence would be a telekinetic distributed-thinking rock. So much fun, so few worries. Given the option of being anything, anything at all, that's what I'd be.

..for today anyway. Tomorrow I want to be a giant three-toed sloth.

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Thursday, May 13, 2004


Unlike many people, it would seem, I always thought that finals week was the best week of the entire semester. Sure, you often have less work to do the first week (although that's not true too many times), but you also have an entire semester of more and more work coming up.

Once you get to finals week, you're through with the entire class. You've got one more test to take, and there's no way you're cramming all of that information into your head in that little time, so if you didn't work on it all semester long (I didn't), it's too late to start then, so why bother?

You also know, come finals week, that in 7 or so days, you will be _done_, you'll never have to think about any of this stuff again, unless of course you're taking the next course in the sequence. Or need it in the "real world", but who really uses anything they learn in school in the real world?

Now the week /before/ finals week, that's always the painful one. Not only do 3/4 of the classes decide that projects are supposed to be due then, but 3/4 of the classes /also/ have a test that week. Of course, there was the semester that I /assumed/ my huge project was due the week before finals week, and was wrong. Thankfully it was actually due finals week, making my entire finals week just that much more enjoyable.

Once those final projects are in, once the next-to-last batch of tests are taken, finals really don't matter that much anymore. It's really not worth all the effort people put into worrying about doing well and making sure everything is known. So why bother?

However. Since so many people are so incredibly stressed out throughout finals week, I propose the following. All schools should move finals week to the first week of class, allowing all the stress to get done with right away. So few people really start studying until right before their tests anyway, so it can't make that much of a difference on grades, and it would allow students the opportunity to spend the entire semester actually learning, without worrying about that test looming at the end of the semester.

Furthermore, they could use the "final" to show them that they, in fact, have learned many things throughout the session, instilling a great deal of confidence in the many people that are filled instead with worry and fear.

Of course, at that point, I suppose we could start just handing out grades randomly, but then again, I'm not so sure it doesn't happen that way anyway.

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Early Edition

So I was watching Early Edition the other night (you know, the show that has the guy that has the cat that has the newspaper that has tomorrow's, and I remember how much fun it can be. Although this episode didn't have much of that tomorrow's news today going on, and mostly had Gary in politics, I found myself wondering, what would I do with tomorrow's newspaper?

I admit, having played Anomaly, I've done a bit of thinking about ways to use tomorrow's information, although most of my thinking there was more directed a bit further to the future, and less dependent on the information. And I suppose was directed toward making money--a nearly homeless assistant janitor's assistant (in training) can't do much traveling without money, and when the time cops kick you out of San Francisco, you've got to do some traveling. But really, would it be a Good Idea to try to make money off of the newspaper like that?

Should one worry about being noticed, investigated, found out? Would the free money be worth all the trouble you'd have to go through to get and keep it? Am I just being too paranoid for my own good? I don't know, but it's fun to ponder. Even in the show, a few people think it's somewhat suspicious that Gary is able to help so many people out, but between episodes they, for the most part, seem to forget. What would happen in real life if someone was able to do this? I somehow doubt that anyone would be able to go around rescuing people for more than a week before they were noticed, investigated, and the paper confiscated, them being requisitioned by the government, or some other unpleasantness happening. If you can't use tomorrow's information for more than a few days, be really selective in the days you do use it.

Of course, then I realized.. The cat brings the paper, its reason and probably the best use of the paper has got to be kitty-litter lining.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Blame it on the Tuna

As I ponder what to initiate my blog with, I realize there's only one obvious topic. War, famine, computers, the sky, cute little bunnies, none of them are as important as the tuna. One of my favorite words (somewhere after queue, but before cat), it also makes a rather tasty sandwich. Often when asked a question, my answer will be "tuna," if only to confuse the person I'm talking to. Many things have been blamed on the tuna in my time and conversations. Of course, I do enjoy confusing people, and could use a myriad of other words to accomplish the same task. I'll stick with tuna.

But for most of my life, I didn't really realize just how impressive tuna could be.

After moving out to California, one of the first things I did was go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. (Ok, so I went to go to the aquarium, but my sister decided the line was too long, so we didn't actually go in--didn't manage to actually make it /into/ the aquarium until a few months later.) And among all the amazing exhibits they've got there, they have a fish tank that has some tuna. Now, I always thought that tuna were a small fish like sardines and such, and maybe some varities are, but not these.. these tuna were huge. Not as colorful as tropical fish, but a single tuna's as large as or larger than a tropical fish tank, so it'd be a bit hard to keep as a pet anyway.

Ok, so the tuna really isn't my favorite fish, there're these little fish that dig homes for themselves by picking up rocks with their mouths to move them out of their way, and then spit them out. While also not as colorful as many other fish, the industry those fish exhibit is more fun to watch than ants. When's the last time you ever saw an /ant/ spit things at you? But even though the tuna isn't my favorite, they now, in addition to their previous properties, remind me that the world is a vast confusing place, and I don't know anywhere near everything.

Of course, I'll still continue to blame it on the tuna.

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