Of course, it’s not as if I have much room to make fun of anyone for their superstitions about things like football. Last year on the eve of the big game, I was posting pictures of myself in my old Seahawks sweatshirt that I have been wearing sometimes while watching games for years, and had worn for every game that season, along with pictures of me in my three newer shirts/jerseys, and asking which I should wear for the game. Several friends pointed out that if I’d been wearing “Old Faithful” all season long, that I needed to wear it to the Superbowl, or I’d jinx the team. So I wore Old Faithful, and we won.
But Old Faithful was old, and getting frayed, and was a bit stained, so this year I’ve been wearing the newer 12th Man Jersey I got last year on game days. I rotated through my other shirts (one with the shiny silver ‘Hawks logo, the NFC Championship shirt, Old Faithful, an older grey t-shirt with the older logo) on Fridays before the game, but I wore the white jersey for each regular season game.
Then my husband gave me the #24 Marshawn Lynch t-shirt for Christmas. The next Sunday, I started the game wearing the new shirt. We had one of our worst first halves of a game the whole season. I realized my mistake, and retrieve the white jersey at halftime. We kicked butt and won in the second half.
So, even though my white 12th Man Jersey has two stains that have refused all efforts to remove, today I will be wearing it while watching the game.
I don’t want to jinx us!
It was nearly identical in shape to a set of sage green and brown mugs that matched grandma’s everyday plates. That particular shape of stackable coffee mug was very popular when I was a kid. My other grandparents had a set that was very similar in a dark blue—though the bottom, narrow section of the mug was a little taller. And my parents had a set that was a darker, brownish-yellow than grandpa’s, was a gradient of the dark yellow at the top of the mug, becoming dark chocolate brown by the bottom. I remember seeing similar mugs at the homes of many friends.But, as I said, Grandpa’s mug was different. It was only for Grandpa to use. No one got yelled at if you used Grandpa’s mug by mistake, it was just someone would say, “You can’t use Grandpa’s cup!” or something. Grandpa would laugh if someone else used it. He’d say something like, “Just tell me you didn’t put it in the dishwasher! Never wash my coffee cup, only rinse it!”
Much more amusing, there’s a musical group out there called the MarchFourth Marching Band (slogan: “A date. A command. A band!”) that appears to be a lot of fun.
However, last year, because of an article I read just before March 4 about homeless veterans, I decided to start my own March Forth tradition. So, I urge you all on this March Forth, to go please donate to The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.
March forth, and spread the word.
Because of a comment by a friend on Twitter, I wound up in a discussion about my Christmas music, and because the person I was talking with is also a friend of my husband, he had to chime in with some comments about the size of my Christmas music collection. Which got more friends involved as we debated the timeless question: is there such a thing as too much Christmas music?
Opening the Skies to Everyone “…I have long advocated that the best way to hook someone on astronomy is to get them outside, and get them to look up. People see the stars all the time, but they don’t see them…”
Time at your own pace You may be familiar with the web comic, xkcd. Months back they posted a single panel black and with image of two stick figures on a slope. Not caption, no word balloons. If you hovered your mouse over the image you saw the alt-text said “Wait for it.” It took a while for people to figure out, but it slowly changed. It is an animated story posting one frame an hour. The first link will take you to a page the has all 3000+ frames gathered together. You can press play and watch it go. It will pause automatically at the frames that have word balloons. Or you can use the controls on the right and go through at your own pace. It’s very cool, with an interesting story. And it hasn’t come to an end, yet!
Sea Otter endlessly mocks Australian Cattle Dog “A sea otter has some fun with an Australian Cattle Dog that seems less than amused, and a tad befuddled too.”
My half of the table was selling buttons, small My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic toys, some MLP:FIM coloring and sticker books, a couple of pony-themed bumper stickers, and a few of the most recent publications from the Tai-Pan Literary & Arts Project.
Edd’s half of the table was selling Disney Pins and one of MU Press’s graphic novel-type books.We drove down and checked into the hotel midday on Thursday the 4th. Our friends Jwyl, Sky, Anthony, RJ, Wendy, and several others (I don’t remember how much of the gang was actually there at that time) were hanging out in the lobby of the hotel so they could see people as they arrived.
The convention was happening at the Seatac Hilton, but several of us like the Marriott next door better. So a bunch of us took rooms there. It was like having our own convention within a convention. We discovered that there was a gaming convention going on at the same time in the Marriott, so both places there were lots of people walking around the hotel wearing badges on lanyards around their necks.When I had assembled our merchandise into a display the weekend before the convention, I’d put a super cute plushie pony I’d purchased from Equestria Rags on top.
Our friend, Joi, is the genius behind Equestria Rags, and she was sharing a table with Sky in the Dealer’s Den. I made up a little sign that identified the doll as Bedtime Derpy, made by Joi, and encouraging people to go see her table. I thought that 1) Bedtime Derpy is just too cute not to be seen, 2) it would be a way for me to direct people to Joi’s work, and 3) if someone with a kid expressed interest in the doll, I would be willing to part with her, because I really think she needs to be held and cuddled by a child.The only problem with my brilliant plan was that I had completely forgotten that Sky and I had both asked, on our Vendor Applications, to have our tables next to each other. So if anyone was at my table, they were likely already looking at the ponies on Joi’s table. Oh, well, I still had a lot of fun getting people to hug Bedtime Derpy and look more closely at the rag doll ponies.
We brought my large format printer in case Sky or some of our other friends needed to print more prints or buttons. I have an Epson color inkjet that will print sizes up to 13″ by 19″ posters. I didn’t realize until we were unloading the car that I have forgotten to pack the extra ink cartridges. But we’d come down a day early, and since it was a holiday traffic had been clear, so while Michael went off to work in Con Registration, I drove back home and grabbed a few other things we’d forgotten. And Sky did need to make some new buttons, so it was a good thing.The weather wasn’t really hot, which was a big improvement over last year. But it’s warm, sunny, and high pollen season. When you combine that with sleeping in a hotel room, which always make my sinuses either dry up and ache or clog up and ache (I always assume it’s the mostly closed-system air conditioning that does it), I often feel as if I’m coming down with a cold when I’m at a con. Other people get sick after they come home, but usually not me.
The coming down sick feeling was especially bad on Saturday. I was getting cranky. My head, sinuses, and throat hurt. My eyes were itchy. And I was dozing off at the table. I was convinced I was sick. Anthony was trying to organize a run to a restaurant he liked, but we didn’t have enough transportation for everyone, and I just wanted to go curl up in bed and die by that point. So, Michael got me up to the bar at the Marriott. We’d eaten a few meals at the Marriott restaurant, and I’d been disappointed that the burgers and sandwiches I liked from earlier stays weren’t on the menu. They were on the bar menu, now!
So, I ordered soup, the Oregon Bleu Burger, and a coffee nudge. People keep asking me what a coffee nudge is. I can never remember: it’s coffee, some kind of booze, and whipped cream. And it’s really nice to drink when you’re feeling sick. According to the interwebs, a coffee nudge usually has brandy and dark creme de cacao, and sometimes coffee liqueur. I essentially inhaled the soup and the nudge, and felt a lot better.Members of the gang that I thought were being ferried to the off-site restaurant started show up at the bar and joining us. I learned that our friend, Nami, had never had a coffee nudge, and since I was about to order my third by that time, talked her into trying one. She seemed to enjoy it. As usual, I’m always forgetting that I have a camera in my pocket all the time, so I didn’t take many pics. I’m especially irritated that I didn’t get pictures of several of our friends.
Jwyl spent most of the weekend down in Oregon visiting Katrina and Terry. Then Katrina and Jwyl drove up and joined us for the last few hours of the convention, and more importantly, the excursion to AFK Tavern. Even more people came up from the con for that this year. Which is cool, but made it difficult to actually enjoy any one’s company at the tavern.
I know several folks left early because it was just too crowded, too loud, and some folks had other problems related to those things. I’m not as much of an introvert as some of our friends, but the whole thing got to be a bit much for me, as well, so Michael and I left early, too.
It was a fun convention. We sold pretty well. Several of our friends sold a lot of stuff. A few of us have begun to more seriously conspire to have a book to sell next year. Yes, I’m planning on coming back. I hope a bunch of our friends are, too.
It is rare to find a t-shirt with a dictionary joke, so of course I ordered it. But I commented to one of the friends who had sent me the link that there was one problem. There is no way that the dictionary pictured is unabridged. Look at how easily the person is holding it with only one hand. It would need to be a fairly thin dictionary to be held that way.
Seriously, look at the picture on the t-shirt. He’s not even using all four fingers! The pinkie, at least, is curled under.I own four unabridged dictionaries. I got out the smallest of them, and tried to hold it as they are in the picture. I can hold it with one hand for a short time, but notice that I have to cup my hand under it, to support all the weight. Three fingers are on the front, but the pinkie is still helping, by stabilizing the dictionary’s weight. You can’t tell in the picture, but it was hard to hold it still, because it’s too heavy and awkward.
The friend thought I was being silly to point this out. And it is a silly t-shirt, which I was delighted to order. I’m going to wear it and let people laugh at the joke. And it’s true, it would be extremely painful to be literally thumped with a hardback book the size of one of these unabridged dictionaries.
Labeling myself a dictionary thumper is not inaccurate. I can be pedantic about the meanings and usage of words. I also get that way about syntax, which would make me more of a style guide thumper, but that joke wouldn’t work as well. People know what a dictionary is, but a style guide, not so much.
I’m nowhere near as pedantic about grammar as people expect. And I’m not pedantic about words in the way that people expect, either. Being a technical writer by profession for over two decades, I can’t begin to count how many times co-workers and other colleagues have come to me with questions about spelling and usage that fall on the fringes of what I think the heart of language is. See, folks think of grammar and usage in very stiff and absolute terms. They believe that there is always one and only one correct way to use a specific word. I’ve always assumed this comes from having been admonished in school for doing something incorrectly, so that they think of grammar as a long list of prohibitions: “Thou shalt not dangle thy participles” and so forth.But there are no official lists of rules handed down from on high. Language has rules that have evolved as we’ve used it. Word meanings change over time. New social, cultural, and technological situations require new ways of describing or discussing what’s going on. And the beauty of English is that there are thousands of correct ways to construct a sentence to convey a particular meaning. “The man walked down the road” means the same thing as “He walked down the road.” Structurally those things are nearly identical, so they barely count as two ways, but we could also say “He plodded along the street.” Or we can add more details, “The man, stoop-shouldered and sun-burned, trudged beside the highway.” We can turn the structure around, “The crumbling road guided his footsteps to his destination.”
All of those are correct ways of explaining the same basic situation. But they all evoke different moods and details. What makes a particular version of each of those right or wrong is the context, which is not a matter of grammar at all.
Besides saying “Certified Dictionary Thumper,” the t-shirt includes a slogan. “Have you been soteriologically extricated?” Soteriology is a synonym for salvation, deliverance, or liberation. Extricated means to be disentangled, rescued, or released. So the slogan literally means “Have you been rescued in a liberating way?” Or more simply, “Have you been saved saved?” Which is redundant. If I were feeling the need to use the multisyllabic soteriologically, I would have chosen the slogan, “Have you been soteriologically explicated?” Since to explicate is to define something to have had something defined or explained to you.
I strongly suspect that that was the original joke, probably told to the artist by someone else, and somewhere along the line someone misheard. Explicated and extricated sounding quite similar when spoken aloud.
Of course, that just gives me more to explain if someone asks what the shirt says. Which, for someone like me, makes it even more of a win-win.
Three of my best friends have been hosting a Halloween party for about 20 years. They always have a theme to the party, which guides their decorations, party games, and usually their own costumes.
Many of us who attend regularly create our costumes based on the theme. For example, the year the theme was Your Worst Nightmare, I came dressed as a gay republican. Not that a gay republican, per se, is my worst nightmare, but me BECOMING one comes pretty close. On the other hand, the year they set Egypt as the theme, Michael and I came dressed as a pair of aliens, carrying a clip board with a work order written in hieroglyphics. So while neither of us believe any of that ancient astronauts nonsense, we are not above using it for a silly costume joke.
This year’s theme was Shakespeare. There were several people there dressed as specific characters from Shakespearean plays, others were in Elizbethan dress, and a number of us were there as jokes.
Michael and I were each dressed in yellow-and-black striped shirts, black pants, silly antennae on our heads, and yellow wings. I wore a lapel button with a large, friendly-looking “2” on it. Michael wore a button with the same friendly-looking “2” except with a red circle and slash through it.
And we were both bees.
And it’s hard to get more Shakespearean than having a choice between the 2 Bee and the Not-2 Bee, right?
We were told we would be PUNished for our bad joke costume. We were told our Punishment would almost certainly involve hives. There were many other silly puns flung about, but I have forgotten most.
(If I manage to get pics from any of the people who took them, I’ll add them to the post.)
The only part of our costumes that didn’t come together is we didn’t recruit a third person for the silliness, because Michael would then have dressed him in blue suit, fedora, and a flesh-colored featureless face mask, just like the DC Comics character known as The Question.
Because then we would have the 2 Bee, or Not-2 Bee, and that is The Question.
When I posted Mr. Open-minded Seldom Is, it got me thinking about other ways people describe themselves, particularly online.
I’ve been reading online profiles, and getting to know the real people behind them, for about 27 years. That’s right, there was a ‘net back in 1985. The technology looked a lot different back then, but human nature changes much more slowly than technology. Over all of those years I’ve noticed certain patterns—instances of high correlations and tight covariants indicating a high probability of predictive success—which may serve as warning signs as one navigates the worlds of social networks, et al.
Gene’s Guide to Decoding Online Profiles
Open-minded: As explained in more detail earlier, when a person feels the need to mention their open-mindedness in their online profile, it frequently means that they have been accused often enough of being narrow-minded or intolerant that they are now trying to preempt more accusations. Some are genuinely trying to be open-minded, whether because they feel guilty about how some of their past behavior hurt someone, or because they don’t like other people to think them intolerant. Others think that open-minded means smiling condescendingly at people, ideas, or behaviors they disapprove of—sometimes even encouraging the behavior—only to ridicule and condemn it later when the person isn’t around.
Not everyone who mentions being open-minded falls into the above categories, of course. However, the more prominently it is mentioned in the profile (particularly in conjunction with near synonyms: tolerant, easygoing), the more likely it is to be a codeword for one of these other traits. There is a strong gender correlation, guys being extremely more likely to be the sort of person who is the exact opposite of what the word is supposed to mean. That goes triple if they put open-minded or a synonym into their user name.
Discreet: Discreet (rhymes with cheat) has slightly different meanings depending on where you find it. If it’s in guy’s profile in any social network where most of the users are heterosexual, it means, “I am involved in a relationship where my partner thinks we’re monogamous, but I am constantly looking for someone to fool around with.” This code meaning is usually only used by women on an explicit dating site.
If you find the word in a guy’s profile on any even vaguely gay site (not just hook-up or dating sites), it means, “I am a closet case who donates to anti-gay causes in my real life, and say horrible things about gay people whenever it comes up, but can’t get enough sex with men.” Usually married (to some unfortunate woman who has no idea) and scared to death that someone is going to guess he’s gay, so he represses any part of his personality that he thinks of as non-masculine and may overcompensate in gay-friendly settings. Doubly true if he also describes himself as masculine.
If he goes so far as to say, “you would never know if you met me” he’s extremely bad at the repression (as in, gayer than a clutch purse full of daffodils in a Glee finale), he pings the most oblivious person’s gaydar from miles away, and you will be astounded at how deeply in denial his wife must be not to have guessed.
Intense: when a person describes their personality as “intense” it means that they are a world-class jerk. Typically they want things their way, never have any sympathy or understanding of other viewpoints, and don’t think much of the social niceties.
Hint to anyone whose friends have ever told you that you have an intense personality: this is polite code for “you are extremely difficult to put up with, and we frequently have to apologize to our other friends for your rude behavior.”
Tired of drama: When someone says they are tired of drama or games it means either they are holding on to a lot of resentment about past relationships, or they are the justified cause of the resentment in all their exes. In the latter case, the person is living under the delusion that drama is when other people object to their rude, obnoxious, and self-centered behavior. Often the person seems incapable of talking about anything but those past dramas.
I work hard and play hard: Half-true at best. This often means, “my schedule and plans will always come first, and if we become friends or more, you will be lucky if I even think to tell you before I make plans that impact you.” Sometimes it is code for, “I am an extremely heavy drinker/partier, but if challenged I will rationalize it by talking about the stress of my job.”
Honesty is important to me: Usually this means the person is a controlling jerk with a habit of biting the heads off of people who express opinions they dislike. This has caused their previous friends and relationships to develop habits of keeping unpleasant information from them which, when it finally comes to light, causes them to become angry at said friends or significant other for “lying” to them.
If they aren’t controlling, they’re refusing to let go of resentment about some past problems with their exes. See “Tired of drama” above.
Fun-loving: On the face of it, this is simply a meaningless statement. Who doesn’t love fun? Since there are millions of things that people find fun (and for every fun activity you can name there are millions of people who don’t enjoy it) this could mean anything.
But depending on the context, “fun-loving” can tell you some things.
If you’re on a dating site, it most probably means the person has no clue how to describe themself and have resorted to clichés. It can mean that they are afraid to say anything that might scare off a potential date. This latter is most likely if they also list a lot of generic activities that they like.
If they are a guy, and if none of the photos of themselves show them smiling, grinning, or having even a twinkle in their eye, it often means that all of their ideas of fun have to do with inflicting pain or ridicule on others. Look for other key phrases such as “easygoing” and “friends say I have a wicked sense of humor” to confirm that they are angry, bitter, verbally abusive guys who don’t realize that often people laugh around them in hopes of not becoming the next target of abuse and ridicule.
“, actually” When used to qualify any positive trait, means they are tired of people calling them on the opposite trait.
I don’t own a TV/I loathe mainstream TV: This means, “I am a judgmental snob.” Often also means that they have a disturbingly large collection of some specific type of television series/movies series/sports series/games which they spend far more time watching on their computer or other device than the average channel-surfing couch potato, and will become outraged when you point out that really isn’t all that different than watching “mainstream TV.”
And since it isn’t the 1990s any more, it also means they have no clue that pop culture has moved far beyond the point where there are any single networks getting enough of an audience for the word “mainstream” to have any relevance to the television medium—a bit over half the shows on the big networks get fewer viewers per week than many viral YouTube videos. Time to update your snobbery!
I hate writing these/I don’t know what to say: Means either the person has been called out in the past for a grossly inaccurate or misleading profile, or the person spent an ungodly number of hours trying to craft a profile that appears spontaneous and simple, or the person is really insecure and bad at expressing themself.