Sometimes I suddenly remember I have a nonfiction blog

I tend to cite Occam’s Razor in arguments at the slightest excuse, but it wasn’t until this weekend that I encountered Crabtree’s Bludgeon. It fits in nicely with my current working hypothesis that what we call “sentience” reduces to the intersection of apophenia and confabulation. I know that doesn’t actually explain anything, but it’s fun to say.

I have a lot of ideas about how that all fits together, and how the Bludgeon and the Razor aren’t really in opposition (look at me conceiving coherence!), and what they mean when set against the Theravada-Buddhist concept of the nature of suffering. Lucky for you I haven’t managed to jam them into 101 words yet.

Speaking of arguments, yes, I was, go back to the beginning, I updated my personal slang dictionary for the first time in like a year–this time with a phrase I actually use sometimes. I would use the other ones if anyone would understand them, which they wouldn’t, because they haven’t read my damn personal slang dictionary.

How I spent my summer abroad

So some of you may remember that I like Hackers. I like it a lot. I realized some time ago that while I am not into Rocky Horror, if Rocky Horror was Hackers, I would be a full on costume-wearing hot-dog-throwing line-reciting fanboy. GET A JOB, I would shriek. YOU ARE IN THE BUTTER ZONE.

I recently moved to London and into a house where the function of the residents is, essentially, to egg each other on about goofy ideas. Catriona provided the idea of doing read-throughs of plays or movie scripts as a form of participatory recreation, and Holly asked if there was anything I’d like to toss in the prospective-script pile. Could it be really bad, I asked? Because there was one that could be funny.

Later, we were passing around emails about said read-throughs and a possible visit to a museum full of automata. Somehow Holly came up with the joke of steampunk “hackers” as “clockers,” constructing automata instead of programs. I laughed at it. Then I said “clock the Bigben!” Then I said “oh no,” because I really had more important things to do.

Instead, Holly and I spent a few weeks interpolating the movie script into 1860s London, replacing the absurd computer-feats with absurd clockwork and technobabble with Victorian slang. Then we revised and got it printed and got some friends to come over and wear funny hats, and this was the result: Clockers.

Of the people who did the read-through, only Holly and I had read the script or indeed seen the original movie beforehand, and they all did a fantastic job picking up multiple parts and figuring out what was going on. And putting up with my Matthew Lillard impression. Thanks again, guys, and let me know if you want a link under your name on that page.

About three years after I started compiling it, I finally have a personal slang dictionary. Not as funny as Sumana’s or Leonard’s, but useful, maybe.

It’s been a while since I did any layout with pure CSS, so let me know if it stabs your browser or anything.

I just described (in my last post) a state of consumer gluttony as “getting all American,” which is really inaccurate because most of America is not, in fact, part of the United States. I mean, I’m sure there are poor-yet-rich fat people in Canadia too, but you see the point.

There is no good word in English for “of / from / relating to the United States,” which is why we use “American,” and that’s dumb. I seem to remember that Spanish has “Estadounidense,” which is great but comes from a whole other language, and English-speakers should be able to do better than that.

Here’s a list of alternatives I’ve come up with. Tell me which one is your favorite, or I’ll fuck your cat.

  • United State-ian
  • United Station
  • United Static (currently my favorite, and the most accurate)
  • Unish
  • State-Uniter
  • New! State-Unit
  • New! Statoid
  • Ämerïkaans
  • USch

I’m serious about the cat.

You know what nobody ever says anymore? “It was highway robbery!” I seem to remember people used to say that all the time.

Nobody’s been robbed on a highway in a few hundred years or so, but I’m just saying.

I say “you gotta believe” a lot, because… well, I believe it, philosophically and biologically. It’s a motto and a mantra. I don’t think I’ll ever know if I picked it up subconsciously somewhere, or whether it’s just one of those examples of convergent phrase evolution.

Turns out there is a specific person to whom it’s ascribed, though, and his name was Tug McGraw, and he died yesterday. His obituary is sad, but it’s also good reading. He lived what he said.

As Sumana inadvertently pointed out to me the other day, because I run NewsBruiser, my use of the verb “to blog” to mean “to publish in my interweb journal” is actually deprecated. “To bruise” is just more specific, not to mention way more not-bleeding-yet-edge. I need to start using that instead.

Tangentially, how far do you think the logical extension of “cutting edge”-style slang can actually go? “Virgin material, untouched by an edge?” “Substance unaware of the edge’s existence?” “Prehistoric stuff existing in a world where edges have not yet been invented?” It kind of loops eventually, I guess. “So far beyond the cutting edge that it’s actually on the other edge, the one not doing the cutting.” I wonder what Anthony Burgess would say.

I got to see Yale and Richard in their final improv-class performance / exam tonight. My life is filled with improv!

Speaking of that, Project Improv themselves showed up for the second half of the aforementioned show, to watch the long-form part. Upon seeing me there, they proceeded to literally bend me over a table and soundly roger me in twos and threes. Now, three things:

  1. In case you don’t hail from the world of theater, be advised that being forcibly humped on your bottom in public is just a casual gesture of affection, the way, say, plumbers would smack hands and hug after a long time away.
  2. I was a little surprised by said show of affection, actually. I wasn’t sure most of PI knew who I was. I’m kind of being drawn into this whole Louisville improv / Bellarmine scene now, and being surprised at how many connections there are between people I know for completely different reasons. It’s… kind of like Centre, actually. But I like it.
  3. Back to the subject of having painful things occur where I can’t see them: apparently I just don’t have any finals at all, assuming I get something decent on the Object-Oriented Design test I took today. In that class, an A average right now means you don’t have to take the final, and in my other two classes, Dr. Graham decided to have both final exams this Thursday instead of during the finals period. I guess he just disagrees with the notion of mercy and justice in general, I don’t know, it makes me really unhappy and frustrated to think about it. I’d end up with much better grades in Algorithms and AI if I had any time to prepare–I can’t even spend tomorrow cramming, because I have to work.

So this post started off happy and ended up sad. In further Schrodinger Point form, I’ve noticed that I’m rapidly approaching that magical, effervescent day when I never have to mention anybody without a hyperlink behind his or her name. Unmagically, that day will never come, because some people REFUSE TO GET BLOGS. MARIA. Oh, I meant “cough.”

And just because I can’t stop myself from cramming in one more segue, speaking of Schrodinger Point, I really have to start running again. I’m almost well again, and I know I write better posts than this one when I’ve exercised, and if I don’t break them out again soon, my official Captain Spacedork tights are going to rust.

sudden anxiety

Am I the only person actually still using the phrase “jump the shark?”

So here I am, sitting prissy, picking over MSN articles, and meanwhile Lisa is out making the world safer by investigating ferocious parasite alien dachsunds! (Maria, don’t read that, there’s bugs.) I need to start making real posts; MSN is too easy a target.

So what’s new? I already talked about moving in on Friday, and I can’t talk about the long and very funny conversation I had with Ian on Thursday night because it’s still top secret. Sunday I bought a TV. Monday I mostly just waited for the cable guy (who, mysteriously, has yet to tell me how to turn on the interweb).

Okay, so Saturday! Kim and I went to the GSP Grand Reunion, which was predictably disappointing. There was absolutely nobody there from Centre ’98 except me, and only three people from Northern (one of whom, happily, was Buddah). I did get to see a lot of people who worked with me at EKU, including Eve, Henry and Meg C. Henry seemed mildly miffed that they only started giving out a Comp Sci award the year after he left; he would have been the undisputed winner, and I promised I’d try to get Dr. Shannon to rename it the Henry McEuen Barefoot Memorial Prize. He seemed mollified, but then I think Henry is kind of on a permanent molly-setting.

Afterwards me and the dish took a taxi (it was the night of taxis; I could write an entry just on Louisville taxis) to Evan’s swanky digs for Christopher’s goodbye party. I think it was intended to be Thanksgiving-themed, but (seriously) I forgot the cornucopia. Christopher and I never exactly drank out of the same bottle, but I was sorry to see him go, and I was pleased as punch to see a couple of dolls who go by “Alison” and “Emily Tate.” Emily Tate apparently can’t stand it when there are entries in this journal that are not about her, but then again, I can’t stand it when Emily Tate has pants on. The gams! I’m dizzy with that dame. We all got troubles. Tough luck, toots!

Deb has read Shopgirl, so I’m not alone. Novocaine was her only other Steve Martin recommendation, and I’d heard it panned but will snag it with interest now that it’s Deb-endorsed. Deb takes endorsement to an art form. Get a blog, Deb!

(And that’s the crop.)

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