Monday, February 28, 2005

Paid By the Letter

Sometimes I find myself at a loss things that are strings of letters which convey some sort of meaning. Err... Words! And I have recently learned that I'm not the only one. Although I still believe that I'm worse off than most other people are.

But more fun than being unable to recall even the simplest of words is knowing exactly what word you're wanting to use, but being unable to convince yourself that that word really means what you think it means. I will sit and ponder for hours (or at least a dozen seconds) if a 'house' really is that place with four walls, a door, and a chimney with a wisp of smoke, that place in which people live. More than that, then, I ponder why that place is actually called a house. Probably from the Greek or Latin or something, like 95% of the rest of the English language. But where did the Romans pull their words from?

Sadly, you can't seem to open a dictionary and find the actual origin of words. "875 BC, on what would have been October 19th, if the calendar had been around then in its current form of course, Billy Bob was the first person to utter the expression 'Ow!'" But why did he opt to use the 'word' "Ow". Why not "Oh!" or "Whee!" or some other four-letter word I'd rather not mention as I may have young readers today.

And why did his best friend, when he fell over from laughing too hard, why when he hit his head did he use the same word? Why didn't their children, as a form of rebellion, refuse to scream "Ow" and instead shout "Humuhumunukunukuapua'a"?

And how can I get a job making new words? I can flambigate asprogious mellicumunsus with ease!

Friday, February 25, 2005

On Existence and Being

I find myself pondering, today, what it would be like to spend my life as a cloud. It's not that I have a choice in the matter..well, not a very good one, anyway. As if I were to become a cloud, I think it would probably be the end of my life, but that likely depends on your definition of several things.

So ignoring all of that, which I am good at doing, I ponder existence as a cloud. Well, an intelligent cloud, for otherwise I wouldn't really think it's much worth pondering. For if I were to become a cloud and then not know what I was, could be, or had been, it would be pretty much the same as if I ceased to be.

So ignoring that too, I find myself pondering existence as an intelligent cloud. Not that such things truly exist, or if they do they're good at keeping their intelligence secret. And they're good at not minding when they cease to be, for such happens to them fairly frequently. But yet, I think I could be an improbabilitiy, and even if not, I can pretend.

So ignoring those, ignoring the fact that I could never be, I find myself pondering my existence as an extant intelligent cloud. The places I'd go, the things I'd see. But never quite as bizzare as just being me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

It's a Tough Job...

Sometimes, swimming around all day just gets to you. Sometimes you need a break. Sometimes you've just got to stare at all those people pointing and laughing and then you realize it's much easier to just be a part of the crowd.

But those guys get much less recognition.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Lessons From New Orleans (#2)

I did learn many things on the first day of my trip. But I also learned things on day 0. And yet again, for the first time, it didn't hurt (much) to be in New Orleans.

See, I now know that attacking someone on a street-corner populated by cops is a Bad Idea. Not meerly a bad idea, but a truly Bad Idea. It doesn't matter that that girl was really his friend. It doesn't matter that it was just a joke on his part. Once she starts to scream because she's been assaulted, the cops aren't going to sit around and ask how you're feeling. But really, this isn't all I learned that day. This isn't even the most important lesson.

Attacking someone on a street corner populated by cops is dumb. But then proceeding to call one of the cops completely inappropriate names, well, it's pretty hard to beat. Especially as the street corner is still being populated by him and his dozen-or-so very large and badge-weilding friends.

No, if you really want to try to fight the law, don't do so in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. And please, don't do so while drunk.

Unless, of course, you don't mind everyone around laughing at you. And quite possibly a place to stay the night!

A New Tree

Like a dragon guarding its hoarde of gold, this tree was keeping watch. Unlike the dragon, however, the tree didn't collect its own pile of rocks. Instead it inherited them, taking them from a people long gone. It may have been more fun, for the tree, to have collected the rocks itself (himself?). It may have been nicer to the peoples long gone to have simply stayed away.

Yet, they don't build things anymore like they used to. The Mayans may have left us a pile of rocks, but what are people going to see when they look back at us? We probably won't even have a tree left to keep guard, for the land will be poisoned and dead.

Of course, that would make it easier for tourists to get around. Instead of ducking their way through the jungle, they'll just have to watch out for mile-high piles of refuse.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Trolley of Knowledge

While traveling, one learns many things. On my last trip, many of the things I learned were discovered on the first day. (Not day 0, the day of travel, although I learned things then too.) Many things were just waiting to be found, all I had to do was keep my eyes open.

It didn't hurt that I was in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Or at least it assisted my learning.

That morning, upon awaking, it was decided that we were going for a trolley ride. Not really to see anything, but we had a couple of hours to waste, and it was something to do. So do it we did. Bundled up (jeans and a light jacket; it was cold!) and headed out.

Lesson #1, don't take a trolley 3 blocks. Just walk. It's faster. For we boarded a trolley to make our way to the connection which we were planning on riding to the end of the line. We waited a good quarter-hour at the stop, only to ride for about ten minutes and pay an extra quarter a head for a transfer. At least we didn't just miss our connection.

Lesson #2, beads are not manufactured. This is apparently a common misconception, but by being in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, one can see how beads actually form. Instead of being manufactured, they apparently are grown in strands on trees. For lining the entire street are these trees devoid of anything but strands of all sorts of beads. Thankfully this means you can get all sorts of beads from a single tree, and thus bead-trees are much nicer than fruit-trees for people with a tiny back yard.

Lesson #3, people are dumb. Which I really knew before, but it's always good to be reminded that the world still works the way that we're all expecting it to. As the trolley made its way down the road, we ground to a halt. The driver opened her window and yelled onto the track in front of her.

"Lady, get your kid off the track!" The lady glares at the trolley but reluctantly collects her meandering offspring allowing the trolley to proceed past. And as we go by, you can just hear her muttering.."You /could/ have gone around."

The Moat

Some people protect their moat with crocodiles or piranah. I prefer to protect mine with the ever-deadly orange

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

It's a Jungle, It's a Wall

Sunday, February 13, 2005

One Of These Things...

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?
Sesame Street

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Letter of the Law

Some people are smert. It's a lot like being smart, but not quite there. Like the guy I saw as I was driving down the road today.

He apparently didn't know where he was going, and so he missed his turn. He wanted to turn right to get onto the northbound freeway, but must have missed that lane, so he ended up at the /next/ intersection. Now, that next intersection would put him on the freeway with a left turn, but it also had a fairly obvious "No Left Turns" sign. So here is where this guy is able to demostrate the depths of his intelligence.

The "No Left Turn" sign is posted, of course, over the left lane. Since it's only the left lane that can turn left. One assumes, anyway. But one obviously assumes incorrectly.

This guy did _not_ turn left in the "No Left Turn" lane. Nope, he took a left turn from the /right/ lane of traffic, thereby obeying all posted traffic signs. And thereby making it onto the freeway, and hopefully safely to work.

But if anyone is stopped by a traffic accident today, at least you know why.