Sunday, September 30, 2007


Of my own initiative, I started using the word upgefukt about 10 years ago. However, I'm not the only person in the universe who has come up with this revolutionary linguistic innovation, and it seems the prevailing spelling is upgefuckt (1380 google hits, compared with 58 for upgefukt).

The advantage of upgefuckt is it uses the actual root of the verb, and more strictly follow German past participle formation rules. The disadvantage is that if you pronounce it in German, it comes out "upgefutskt".

So should I go with prevailing usage and start spelling it with a C?

Breast self-exams

They recently did a study that found that breast cancer survival rates are the same for women who do self-exams and women who don't.

I found it really weird that they were focusing solely on survival rates. What about quality of life issues? Lumpectomy vs. masectomy? Need for chemotherapy? Duration of treatment and recovery period? Ability to resume one's normal lifestyle vs. not ever being able to get back to the exact same quality of life?

I don't know much about cancer treatment, so I can't even begin to guess at the answers. But if, for example, doing a self-exam means catching a lump early enough that you can get a lump early enough that you can get a lumpectomy and don't need chemo rather than a masectomy with chemo, I'd say it's still worthwhile, even if there is a higher risk of false alarms. All survival is not created equal.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


I've noticed two things lately:

1. I keep being innundated with referendum ads. There are large ads in every newspaper I look at, those clever "Make sure you understand the question" ads are on whenever I watch TV, I'm getting mailings like every other day, my MP is talking about it - the referendum is everywhere!

2. In the newspaper and the blogosphere, I keep hearing "OMG, NO ONE knows ANYTHING about this referendum! We need more public awareness!"

I think I've become completely incapable of judging what the average person does or does not know.

Friday, September 28, 2007

This Is My Country, What's Yours? A Literary Atlas of Canada by Noah Richler

This is one of those "read this to feel smart" books. It's a literary psychogeography of Canada, which is kind of WHOOSH ***/me swishes hand about a foot over head*** but I managed to follow it well enough anyway. It was easier to follow when the author was talking about works of literature or places that I was familiar with, but I didn't get lost in other parts of the book. Interestingly, people kept striking up conversations with me when I was reading this book in public, which has only ever happened with Harry Potter and Life of Pi.

The author starts with the idea of Canada as Nowhere. It's an old-fashioned idea from back when we were still functionally a colony - the wilds of Canada were the kind of place that people would be banished to - but it does appeal to me. Our leaders are so obsessed with making Canada a significant global power and making Toronto a world-class city, but I like the idea of being nowhere and being globally irrelevant, being thought of as just a few million people in this vast wild wasteland. (Well, I like the idea as long as it doesn't affect our performing arts scene so badly that it's no longer reasonable to say "Oh, I'll just wait for that play/opera/tour/whatever to come to Toronto.") I like the idea that people might sometimes forget about our existence, only to be reminded with things like "Well, you could always go to Canada to marry your same-sex partner." Like the kid in high school who would never be part of the cool crowd, but it doesn't matter because they've got their own life and hobbies and friends outside of school.

The other interesting idea the author raised is The City (as in all cities, I'm not getting all San Francisco on you) as a distinct society.

In the city, [borders] lose significance. The city, as it develops, becomes bigger and more complex than any of its parts. Consensus falls away and difference becomes the lifeblood of a place where a multitude of stories compete for recongition and dispute and build on what has been said before. The City is a "distinct society" because communities live on top of and in between one another and no person is any one thing for all of the time. borders do not matter any more because the living is diffuse. The city has its own rules, its own accords. It is a generic place but also multiplicitous.

I like this because it articulated something I've had in mind but haven't been able to articulate. When you live in a city, where you're from (both geographically and socially) can be allowed to become as irrelevant as you want it to be. Which is something I find appealing. In media/literature you sometimes come across the idea that a young person is abandoning "who they are" when they decide to live in a way that's different from their family. (I've seen this most recently seen this as a criticism of Didi in The Riches, which doesn't make sense as something to criticize her about but that's a whole nother post.) Whenever I encounter this idea, I always think it's unfair, because you, not your background, should get to define "who you are". The distinct society that is urban life allows us to do that.

The real problem with Britney Spears at the MTV awards

I know this is old news, but I'm just really surprised that no one has mentioned it yet, so I'm bringing it up myself.

A bunch of people got all judgey on Britney Spears for her how she looked at the MTV awards. (I'm not talking about her performance here, just her appearance.) Then a bunch of other people jumped down their throats for criticizing a woman who has had two babies in the past 2-3 (?) years for having a less than perfectly flat tummy. I once again saw this mentioned in passing, and I still haven't seen anyone bring up the real problem.

The real problem is that her costume was poorly designed and unflattering. Any decent costume designer/stylist should have been able to make her look better.

If the top of her bottoms was about halfway between where it was on that costume and her navel, and the legs were more high-cut rather than straight across, she would have looked far better. If she were dressed the same as her backup dancers, she would have looked great. But the costume she was wearing was not flattering to her body, which is a failure on the part of whomever was dressing her. I can look far better than that using what's in my own closet, and I've probably got 20 lbs. on her and no aesthetic talent. Professionals should be able to do even better than I can.

The real reason why Burma changed its name to Myanmar

There's some serious shit going down in Burma/Myanmar right now (it's a whole political thing about which name to use and different media sources use different names and I haven't decided yet what I should do personally). Human rights struggle, oppressive regimes, social and political upheaval, oppression, rebellion, people being killed - it's very hardcore and serious and important and complex and I should be reading and learning everything about it I can in order to be a fully-informed citizen of the world.

But all I can think of is Graham Chapman, dressed as a frumpy housewife, corpsing himself ("I panicked").

I think that's why they changed their name. It's hard to be taken seriously with that image in mind.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A crappy joke

Two flies are having a fight. One says "EAT SHIT!" The other says "Why, thank you, don't mind if I do!"

Blasts from the past

If you used to read Baby-Sitters Club, you might enjoy BSC Headquarters.

If you used to read Sweet Valley High, you might enjoy The Dairi Burger.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Question for anyone watching the Simpsons right now

What's tha music playing when Homer's in the fast food restaurant?

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Having a connectivity scare always makes me think about the place of the internet in my life, and I realized that I feel absolutely entitled to any information I might possibly need being at my fingertips.

Who's that actor and what else have I seen him in? What's up with that 0.1g of trans fat in my cheese? At what time will it start getting humid today? What's up with those cranes at or near Sunnybrook? What is salsa americana and how does it differ from what these Spanish-speaking people on TV define as regular salsa? And is anyone having the same problem with their computer that I'm having? I fully expect to be able to find out all of these things within seconds, in one google and on the first page of results. And if I can't, something's wrong.

Fifteen years ago, this would have been a ridiculous expectation. Now, I can't imagine living any other way.

I wonder if 15 years from now I'll be looking back on today and marvelling at how on earth I managed to get by with so little information.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Pissed off at Rogers

I got a voicemail from Rogers today alleging that my computer was launching a DOS attack, so they disabled my internet connection. I'm very pissed off at how this was handled though. First, I had to wait half an hour just to speak with a human being - while constantly being told by a recording that I should go online to their technical support website (Gee, I'd love to!)

Then I talked to a guy and he escalated me to a security guy, who told me that I had a virus. But he couldn't give me any information on what kind of virus it apparently was, or what IP address it was apparently attacking (he gave me the last three octets, which is meaningless), or what port it was apparently attacking, or even agree on what time this alleged attack occurred. So how am I supposed to fix it? His only suggestions, after a very condescending lecture on what exatly constitutes a DOS attack, were to format the drive and reinstall windows, or to call a technican (by which he meant a futureshop-type technician, which is on par with my own technical skills if I'm allowed to have Google) In the meantime I'd run a full virus scan and ad-aware, and they both found nothing. Which is unsurprising because I run a full virus scan (and update defs) on a daily basis and do the same for ad-aware on a weekly basis. So I told the guy I'd bet him $10,000 that there was no virus on my computer, and he said he'd reconnect my connection, but if the DOS attack happened again my account would be suspended for a week. Without any warning or further information. So I said fine. This was at 7:30.

By 9:00, my account still hadn't been reactivated. So I called again, waited again, got another tech who went through the EXACT SAME SCRIPT! And then told me that the previou tech hadn't said he's reconnect me when he did say so explicitly! And then lectured me extensively about having malware on my computer! So dude FINALLY agreed to reconnecct, reread me the whole disclaimer thing again, and told me to unplug my modem for 10-15 minutes(!) and then I'd be reconnected.

Which I was. And now I'm running TrendMicro Housecall just to double check things. But I really resent how there is no leeway in this process for an honest mistake. The whole thing is based on the assumption that I'm either malicious or incompetent. If I could have specific information about the IP address being attacked or the port or the exact time of the attack, I could track what my computer was doing at the time. But no, instead they don't even give me the leeway to make a reasonable diagnosis and talk to me condescendingly. I have impeccable technological hygiene, I have the tech knowledge to fix whatever the problem is, but I just don't know offhand. But these security guys are working from a script and can't help me diagnose. And meanwhile, every test I know how to run, all my logs, everything I can google up, shows that my computer is not doing anything wrong. It's behaving the same as it has for the past 2 years, I can identify every single process that's currently running, and I have no sign whatsoever of what this alleged problem is. But if this alleged incident reoccurs again, they'll cut me off for a week without even telling me. I'm not happy.

Edited to add an analogy:

If I had some problem that was on Roger's end and they couldn't resolve it on the first try, it would be unreasonable for me to demand a week's free service. The most reasonable way to troubleshoot an unknown problem does involve some trial and error, and as a user I have to accept that. Now, if my computer does start launching a DOS attack, I'm perfectly fine with them cutting me off mid-attack. But the most reasonable way for me to troubleshoot an unknown problem would be to eliminate all processes and then reconnect them one by one. So, to successfully identify and resolve the problem, the attack would have to be relaunched. What should happen then is they disconnect me and call me automatically to inform me of the attack, then I say "Okay, I've just identified what's causing it, I'll eliminate that." Then they reconnect me and everything's fine. To arbitrarily disconnect me for a week if the attack reoccurs just once is completely counter to good troubleshooting principles. A three strikes rule, with notification (including specific time and duration) of each offence would be far more appropriate.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Post examples of invisible letters here!

A convergence of recent thoughts:

We do, in fact, have invisible letters in the English language.

The F in lieutenant (non-US pronunciation).
The R in colonel.
The F in draught. Or cough.

I've also noticed that the Pythons sometimes pronounce "idea" as "idear", which would be an invisible R. But I don't know whether this is a legitimate dialect or a failed attempt at an accent.

Can you think of any more examples of invisible letters?


In recent years, both young men and women have delayed many transitions. For example, in 2001, half of all 22-year-olds were still in school. Only one in five had a partner (usually common-law), and one in 11 had children.

I've already discussed the problems with using relationships and children as markers of adulthood so we won't get into that again. Today my point is the problem with using the age of 22.

Here in Ontario (which, like it or not, constitutes a statistically influential chunk of the Canadian population), in 1971 and in 2001, if you started kindergarten at the normal age (in September of the calendar year in which you turn 5), then proceed through elementary school, high school (including OAC, which still affected 22-year-olds in 2001), and university at the standard rate of one grade level per year, at the age of 22 you will be in fourth-year university. If you were born in the first half of the calendar year, the entire time you were 22 years old will have been spent in university. If you were born in the second half of the calendar year, you will still be 22 for a few months after graduation.

So still being in school at the age of 22 is not a sign of lack of adulthood. It is simply a sign of being in university. Even if absolutely everyone finished university in four years, graduated, got a job, and married in quick succession, and then promptly got themselves knocked up, half of 22-year-olds would still be in school, and the vast majority would not be married yet (because some people are going to want to have a wedding that involves some planning) or have children yet.

If they want to make these kinds of value judgements, they should really pick a slightly older age.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I think I've been thinking about Ontario politics too much

I thought I wasn't paying enough attention to the Ontario election, but then last night I had a dream.

I dreamed that McGuinty, Hampton, and Tory were having a debate about the value of MMP. (No, I don't know why De Jong wasn't invited to my dream.) They all kept using the word consensus to mean something different, and couldn't agree on what it actually meant. (Yeah, I know...) So I offered to look it up in the dictionary for them, but I had trouble because I didn't know about the invisible U between the N and the first S. (Yes, the invisible letters schtick is an Eddie thing.) So then I remembered about the invisible U and looked it up and found the definition. So I raised my hand and said that I'd found the definition. But John Tory wouldn't shut up for long enough for me to tell them the definition. He just kept talking and talking and wouldn't shut up. So I punched him in the teeth.

Seriously, that was my dream. Maybe I need to back off politics for a while.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Performance art, free for the taking

Today I saw a rather loud group of people celebrating the fact that one of their number was cancer-free.

It would be good performance art to loudly celebrate the fact that your friend is cancer-free, casually neglecting to mention that they've never had cancer yet in the first place.

Bath tissue?

I just saw a commercial for toilet paper that described it as "bath tissue". I've heard "bathroom tissue" before, but "bath tissue" sounds just a tad too bath-related, and not enough toilet-related.

Alos, I saw a commercial with someone complaining that the dishes come out of her dishwasher less than completely dry. I think perhaps that's a sign you don't have enough problems.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Military funerals

If a member of the military dies, do they have to have a military funeral? What if they want something else?

Thursday, September 13, 2007


A government committee is jumping down the Chief Electoral Officer's throat because he won't forbid people from wearing veils while voting. The Chief Electoral Officer's position is that he has no authority to do so, because the law clearly states that photo ID is not required.

Which it does:

2) If the poll clerk determines that the elector’s name and address appear on the list of electors or that the elector is allowed to vote under section 146, 147, 148 or 149, then, subject to subsection (3), the elector shall provide to the deputy returning officer and the poll clerk the following proof of his or her identity and residence:
(a) one piece of identification issued by a Canadian government, whether federal, provincial or local, or an agency of that government, that contains a photograph of the elector and his or her name and address; or

(b) two pieces of identification authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer each of which establish the elector’s name and at least one of which establishes the elector’s address.

Public servants do not have the authority to do anything but implement the law as written. This is the cornerstone of public service ethics. Only elected officials can change the law by passing legislation through the normal channels.

The Chief Electoral Officer is a public servant. The committee that's haranguing him consists entirely of MPs. In other words, the committee members are the ones with the authority to change the law, and the Chief Electoral Officer is morally and professionally obligated to NOT take any initiative in changing the law, but instead of changing the law the MPs instead jump down his throat.

This reminds me of the bullies on the Simpsons who keep going "Stop punching yourself!" while using the victim's own fist against him.


Also, I've been really surprised lately by the tenor and quality of the reader comments on the Globe & Mail website. The G&M has always come across as rather an intellectual newspaper, but so many of the readers leaving comments are just stupid! They aren't googling, they're basing their positions on premises that are blatently false, and they're just generally being loudmouth assholes. I'm surprised that people like that would read the Globe and Mail in the first place! Frankly, it's a dull and dry-looking newspaper, and there are plenty of other newspapers that would be more appealing (visually, content-wise, and editorially) to these kinds of people.

Ping Globe and Mail editorial writers

"To applaud diversity for diversity's sake is to evade responsibility for the effects of that diversity on children."

And what about if those children grow up to be people who would benefit from a society that's accepting of a variety of family structure?

(Aside: Only 8% of Canadians are divorced. I thought it would be more.)

Handshake logistics

If I'm noticing that the other person's handshake is weak, does that mean that my handshake is sufficiently firm? I know I can give good handshake, but I always forget to pay attention to it. Then when I notice someone else's hand is limp, I start fretting about whether mine is too.

The relevant Eddie:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Breastfeeding pictures

Apparently Facebook banned breastfeeding pictures and now there's a big fuss.

Now I have nothing against breastfeeding and am no way bothered by it. I was breastfed myself. However, I honestly do not understand why a person would a) take a picture of their baby nursing, and b) post it on the internet. "Hey, this would make a good picture! Get the camera! Now we must share it with everyone!"

In a nursing picture, you can't see much of the baby's face because it's obscured by the breast. In addition, there are a lot of people on the internet who you probably wouldn't want thinking about your breasts. So if you wanted to post a picture of your baby, why wouldn't you post one where you can actually see the face and that doesn't involve your breasts? Or, if you do want people thinking about your breasts, why not post a picture that's actually sexy rather than one with a great big baby head in the way? I just cannot grok the mindset.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Whose Line moment of the day

I'm just posting this because it made me laugh far more than I would have thought US Whose Line could.

My latest conspiracy theory

I think the idea of teaching creationism in schools was brought up so that government funding for Catholic schools will ultimately be eliminated.

First they mentioned funding other religious schools, which does make sense - it's got to be everyone or no one, not just the catholics. Then they mention creationism to make the idea of universal religious funding scary. But the public has already processed the idea that it's no fair that only the catholics get funding, so in the long run they're not going to continue to accept the status quo.

It is inevitable that government funding must go to either all or no religious schools. This was obvious to me back when I was a Catholic preteen. (Yes, I am aware of the British North America Act, but it didn't anticipate and is not applicable to today's more pluralistic society.) And obviously it would be far easier to organize one secular public school system than any number of religious school systems. I think Tory's current approach is a nefarious scheme to make that happen. I'm surprised to see it from the Conservative party, and it's not enough to affect my vote, but I am glad to see that seed was planted.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Zit poll

Please answer in the comments:

Are you getting more acne than usual lately? If so, please post your geographical location in the comments.

I'm asking because I've been getting more acne than usual the last couple of weeks, and so have two friends in Hamilton (one male, one female).

Won't someone please think of the virgins?

Okay, we've all heard the thing where apparently Islamic terrorist martyrs think that they'll get 72 virgins in the afterlife.

And if you google this you'll find people debunking it and saying it's not really Islam or whatever.

But let's just take this belief as a given. There are people who believe this, so for the purpose of this post let's call it a religious belief.

So theological question: how did those virgins end up being sentenced to be someone's sex slave?

Is it punishment? Could it be avoided? Or is demands for virgins so high that everyone is pressed into service? And what does the afterlife have in store for an unmarried non-virgin? Maybe it's better to just jump in bed with the first willing person to avoid condemning yourself to a lifetime of being some asshole's sex toy?

People think I'm joking when I ask questions like this, but I'm quite serious, I want to know. Unfortunately, I don't know what to google to find the answers.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Test The Nation: Language

I got 62/70, which is only 88%. I'd hoped to do better.

Spelling, Eh: 4/5
Modern English: 4/4
Everyday Mistakes: 10/10
Made in Canada: 11/12
Nursery Rhymes: 3/4
Euphemisms: 5/5
Word Origins: 3/8
Language Terms: 4/4
Txt Talk: 5/5
Plurals: 4/4
The Arts: 3/3
What The...?: 2/2
Expressions: 4/4

The interesting thing about the spelling category is that I'm not necessarily that good at spotting common misspellings. I tend to double-check things with spell-check and google rather than knowing every spelling off-hand. Thing is, my fingers know how to spell more words than my brain does. If I attempt to type something, I will type it properly (barring typoes), but I can't necessarily rattle it off spelling-bee style.

I'm surprised I got so many right in the Made In Canada category, because I was guessing at everything. I don't actually know that many regionalisms.

The problem with the nursery rhyme category was that I didn't know what a tuffet is. That category is questionable though, because it was more about common conceptions of what the nursery rhymes are about rather than what they're actually about. For example, Snopes says the idea that Ring Around the Rosie is about the plague is false. If it actually is false, I don't think a person should be faulted for not knowing it's allegedly about the plague.

The word origins were almost entirely Aboriginal, and almost entirely place names. I see their point and I'm not saying there's no place for Aboriginal word origins or place name origins in this test, but I think to truly test people's in-depth knowledge of English, you'd have to test their understanding of more common etymology, from French and German and Greek and Latin, and of everyday words, especially words for which the etymology is significant. I did find it strange that they asked at the beginning how many languages you speak when knowledge of other languages had so little influence on so many of the questions.

It would be interesting to see a bilingual version of this quiz. It would also be interesting to see how people could do if they were allowed to research. My translation training focused more on teaching me how to quickly and reliably find out stuff I don't know rather than on knowing absolutely everything, and I am absolutely certain I could have gotten every question correct if I'd had, say, one minute or 90 seconds to research each question. So I'd be interested in knowing how this compares with other people who don't have this training and experience.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Things They Should Invent: Phonetymology

Given that phonetics is pronunciation and etymology is word origins, we need a field of linguistics called Phonetymology, which will study pronunciation origins.

Why do we need this? Because of the word lieutenant.

In the States, they pronounce lieutenant reasonably. But everywhere else, it's pronounced in English as "leftenant."

BUT WHY?????

The only way I could see getting from the letter U to the F sound is if you considered a U and a V to be the same thing (like carved letters on old architecture from I forget what that architectural era is called but I'm inclined to say Romantic), and then pronounced the V in German. Despite the fact that the word origin is clearly French. But that would be weird, because the preceding vowel sound isn't German (if it were, it would be a long EEEEEE). And the "leftenant" also disregards the I for some reason.

So how did they establish this? "Okay, pronounce the first letter normally, ignore the second letter, pronounce the third letter as though the surrounding vowels weren't there, disingenuously misread the fourth letter as though it were carved into a historic stone sign and then pronounce it in German, and then pronounce the rest of this word as written."

Another related (is this mere coincidence) word for which we need phonetymology is colonel, which is pronounced kernel. So not only is the L changed to an R, but the strong vowels become weakened or completely ignored, without influencing the surrounding consonants! Usually if you have the letter C before a weak E sound it's a soft C (pronounced S), but this one retains its hard C qualities. And the only way I've ever heard of for confusing L and R is that mock Chinese accent that Monty Python did in that one bit with the court of Elizabeth I on scooters, but I think that's racist.

"Okay, pronounce the first letter as written, belligerently forbidding it to be influenced by the pronunciation of the neighbouring vowel. Then turn the second letter into a weak vowel, despite the fact that it's the location of the stress in the word. Pronounce the third letter in as racist a manner as humanly possible, then ignore the fourth letter and pronounce the rest of the word as written."

WTF is up with this? We need an explanation!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Why was Larry Craig a senator in the first place?

There's one thing that I don't get about this whole Larry Craig scandal in the states: why did he run for public office in the first place, especially as a republican?

I can, unfortunately, understand why a person, especially a person his age, might believe it's impossible to live an authentic and transparent life that includes having sex with people of the same sex. And I am aware that closeted gay people sometimes feel the need to put on a public appearance of being anti-gay. But why pick a career path that would require you to repeatedly publically assert your position on gay issues? Why not do something where you aren't in the public eye? Be an actuary or something? That way, when you're outed, instead of being someone who actively worked to make life more difficult for gay people, you're just some random guy who, worst case, turns into a bit of a loudmouth homophobic asshole when he's had a few drinks. I'm sure there wouldn't be nearly as much scandal about the bathroom sex thing if he hadn't been so loudly anti-gay.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Birth order theory

Suppose a family has a child, acquired through whatever means. Then they adopt a second child who happens to be older than the first child. Who is (i.e. takes on the traits of/is treated as) the firstborn?


My compact fluroescent bulbs become hot to the touch if left on for a bit. I thought that wasn't supposed to happen?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Wherein my inner child plays with a cellphone

The other day I had to use the word fuck in a text message. (Yes, my choice of modal there was deliberate.) However, T9 didn't know the word fuck. Its guesses were: dual, duck, eval, and dubl. I'm not sure where it's going with dubl except perhaps Dublin. Curiously, since I taught it the word fuck, fuck has become the second choice for that key combination, ahead of duck.

Of course, this made me wonder what T9 would make of other swear words.

Shit: shiv. And that's it. Isn't a shiv a makeshift prison knife? Why on earth would I need to say that?

Damn: econ, famo, fann, dann, damo, ebon. None of these are whole words.

Ass: Turns out it knows the word ass. But it guessed app, bps, and apr first, and then arr, asp, ars, and bsq. I don't know what bsq is supposed to be.

Hell: Is hell even a swear word for grownups? I don't know. But it was on the list of words I learned in Grade 1 from the big Grade 2 kids in the line next to us (except for the mythical C word, which I thought was "crap" until the age of 17) so I'll try it. And T9 gets it right on the first try.

Now onto the letter C...

Cunt: aunt, cumu. Aunt is a joke involving the pope, isn't it?

And just because of my childish confusion over C words...

Crap: I know it isn't really a swear word, but I'll try anyways. ASAP, bras, arcs, apar, cras, ascr.

Bitch: Not entirely a swear (and, in fact, a perfectly cromulent word in the context of dog breeding) but we'll see what happens anyway. Citag, chubi. I don't know where citag is going. And I guess T9 didn't anticipate talking about dog breeding.

And since I tried bitch, I'll have to try...

Bastard: Even though it isn't really a swear word. And T9 doesn't know it at all and doesn't have any guesses.

Slut: Again, not a swear, but a good ugly dirty-looking word. Plut, and that's it. I guess it's going for Pluto.

Whore: whose, and that's it. And now we need some more male-gendered insults to balance things out.

Dick: dial, fick, egal. I like fick! I think I'll start using that as faux-profanity! Then I added some more letters, but T9 can't even guess at the word dickhead.

Asshole: T9 can't guess at this either. I think it has trouble with longer words.

Speaking of longer words, let's round this out with the rest of the seven words you can't say on television.

Piss: sips, rips, ripp, sipp. I'm not sure where sipp is going.

Cocksucker: coastaler. I didn't know that was a word! It knows the word cock, but it guesses coal and anal first. Which gives me ideas for more words...

Motherfucker: It doesn't know this one. Before I entered the R, it was going for " mothereuale", which I don't know what that's supposed to mean.

Tits: thus, thur, vitr. I guess, in addition to dog breeding, T9 didn't anticipate ornithology.

Now for the idea I had before - the technical names of sex acts.

Sodomy: Right on the first guess!

Cunnilingus: Right on the first guess! (Aside: while checking my spelling, I found the wikipedia has an article on cunnilingus. Complete with illustrations from classic works of art. And a typical wikipedia discussion on whether it should be merged with the article on oral sex.

Fellatio: Fellathm. I have no idea where that's going.

Masturbation: Right on the first guess.

This post makes me wish I had Google Ads just so I could see what they'd come up with.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

How to confuse people

If you're ever on a TV show that beeps profanity, use profanity in the middle of your sentences in a way that doesn't make sense. Use swear words as key nouns or verbs in the sentence (as opposed to as interjections that can easily be glossed over) but structure the sentence so that no swear word could possibly make sense in that place in the sentence. Then people at home receiving the beeped version will be scratching their heads trying to figure out what you said.

It's also an interesting intellectual exercise to try to create a sentence where no swear word can possibly fit in.

So what's the problem here?

Neither the two of three blocked or illegal exits aided our sortie, nor the half-dozen unhelpful people who had no clue how to reach Highway 400...In Ottawa on a separate trip, two citizens and a police officer were more than happy to offer their time.

Sounds to me like in Toronto six people were happy to offer their time, they just didn't know how to get to the 400. That's not unhelpful, that's just...carfree.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

End of summer

Labour Day weekend is commonly considered the end of summer, and with this end I'm feeling a sort of dread. I don't know why. There was nothing particularly special about this summer - life just went on as usual. But as I've been waking up to darkness rather than a view of the sunrise these past few days, I'm feeling like the fall and upcoming long winter months portend nothing but gloom.

Part of this is sartoral. I'm going through an "OMG, I have NO CLOTHES!" phase, which is unfortunately coinciding with my weight being at its peak and my bank account being at its nadir. Both go through cyclical phases. I lose weight until my body starts screaming "FAT!!!! FEED ME FAT!!!!" Then I give into my cravings until I gain a dress size and my body bloats in protest at the slightest indulgence. This is where I am right now. And my bank account is going to be a bit low until I get a three-pay month in October (I think), so I'd best do without new clothes until then. Shallow as it is, it always makes me feel frumpy and unpleasant to go about life in clothes that don't make me feel good. I do have damn good boots though, as soon as it gets cool enough to wear boots.

Part of this is guilt. I've been feeling kind of guilty for not continually taking classes after I finished university, and back-to-school time just reminds me of that But frankly, I can't imagine how I managed to fit it into my schedule. I feel full now! Also, what time I do spend goofing off is generally spent with something that makes me laugh. An hour of goofing off means an hour of laughter, and that can only be healthy.

But beyond this, there's still a feeling of dread. Like something bad is going to happen as it gets cold and dark, because it's getting cold and dark. I can't imagine why though. I am now in the lightest surroundings, both physically and spirit-ly (I don't quite mean spiritually, but the best noun I can find to form this adjective is spirit), that I've ever been in. This will be the first winter when I can drink my morning coffee in a pool of sunlight. This will be my first winter with the complete works of Monty Python, Eddie Izzard (despite Poodle's best efforts to get me onto him earlier), and Whose Line at my fingertips. This is the first year when my brain has been able to handle listening to music while doing draft translation (on familiar topics that don't require in-depth research), which does ease the mental effort of working all day. (What would be awesome is if I ever develop the ability to listen to stand-up comedy while translating. This sounds impossible now, but a year ago listening to music with lyrics was impossible, and two years ago working on a post-insomnia day or through strep throat was impossible.) So I have more tools than ever before to get through any impending psychological darkness, and yet I still have this lurking premonition that it's going to be a difficult winter. I have no idea why.

Signs I'm too much of a geek

I'm watching an episode of the old Batman TV series (which may be a sign I'm too much of a geek in and of itself). The bad guy has a Robin Hood theme, and in his villaneous lair he has a guillotine. My reaction: "But that's historically inaccurate!"