Saturday, May 28, 2005

10,000 thrice, and a movie seen (scene?)

   My journals's hit counter has just passed the 10,000 mark for the third time this week. Truly a momentous occurence. Thank you, AOL, for your stability. Now on to more important matters.

   I have just returned from the theater, whence I journeyed to view the final installment of the Saga that is Star Wars. Revenge of the Sith deserves both better, and worse from those who have reviewed it. To those fans who are still wiping the drool from their chins after their seventeenth viewing since last Thursday I say, "grow up, it wasn't that good." To those who have dismissed it as dreck without even really thinking about it for fifteen minutes I say, "get over yourselves, it wasn't that bad."
   I must say that I find myself somewhat at odds with most of what I have read out here in the blogiverse. The parts everyone hated, I didn't think were so bad, and the parts everybody loved, I could have done without. In short form, here are some of my thoughts.
  • Yes, the dialogue was pretty bad, but no worse than the dialogue in any of the previous films, including all of the original trilogy. Even the "Anakin, you're breaking my heart" line didn't really bother me.

  • In their efforts to make the lightsabre battles in each movie faster and more intricate than the one before, they have reached the point where the audience cannot even follow what the heck is going on. I am reminded of the director of the old Green Hornet television show telling Bruce Lee to slow down, or the audience would miss all the cool moves. Sage advice that George appears to have forgotten.

  • Did anyone else notice that right after Anakin pledges allegiance to Palpatine/Sidious, the latter admits that he doesn't really know how to do all that lifesaving stuff after all? Wasn't that supposed to be Anakin's motivation for going to the dark side?

  • OK, that "Noooooo!!!" scene was horrible, and should have been left on the cutting room floor. I'll go with you there.

  • The final fifteen minutes did absolutely nothing for me. It was so obviously just housekeeping that I lost interest long before the end credits rolled

   I agree with everyone that asingle viewing is not enough to cover the film in depth, but further analysis will have to wait until it comes out on DVD. I can't see myself paying the money to see it in the theater again.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

An apology

   I owe someone named Debra an apology.

   Earlier today, Debra commented here. She referred to a comment I had made at Scalzi's journal about the pronunciation of English words. I attempted to e-mail Debra back to clarify my position on the pronunciation of the letter 'a,' but when I clicked send, it told me there was no AOL member with that screen name. I tried again, thinking I had copied and pasted the screen name incorrectly, with the same result. I tired clicking on the link to the screen name, and sending mail that way with the same result. No AOL member with that name.
   I quickly came to the conclusion that somebody had created a screen name for the express purpose of commenting in my journal, and then immediately deleted the screen name afterwards. I've seen it done before, but usually for nasty comments, and this one did not fall into that category. I couldn't figure out why they would have gone to those lengths to leave such an innocuous comment here. I deleted the comment, with the rationale that I only accept comments from real people. 
   It wasn't until much later someone pointed out to me that AIM users can comment on AOL journals, and that AIM screen names do not have e-mail associated with them. D'oh! I knew that. I have regular readers who are not AOL members and use AIM to comment. Somehow, I completely overlooked that fact when reading Debra's comment. Can you say paranoid?
   So, to Debra, if you ever drop in here again and notice that your comment is gone, I am sorry. I am a stupid head. Please forgive me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Two things

   For those of you with an interest in the tale of what happened during our geeky get together in Niagara-on-the-Lake, my acount can be found here. It is the post beginning "this was the way of it," authored by a really clever guy by the name of Robin of Lox. If you go back to the beginning, and read the entire thread, you'll get a bit of insight into the community that is Bright Weavings.

   Also, sometime in the last twenty four hours, my counter quietly passed 10,000 hits. I would like to offer a sincere thank you to those of you who regularly read, and comment on my journal. Your support is appreciated.

edit: OK, so that might be a little premature. I swear, it said 10017, and then, suddenly, inexplicably, it said 9963. Whatever. It will eventually pass 10,000, and I still thank you for your patronage.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Have geek, will travel

   As I sit writing this, it is just after 12:30am Sunday. In about nine hours I have to make a couple hours drive to Niagara Falls, where the wife and I are meeting several friends for the day. I call them friends with a great degree of confidence, although I have never actually met any of them. Not a one. And this is not the first time I have done such a thing.
   About two years ago my wife and I spent a weekend in downtown Toronto where we met up with a group of people who had flown in from all over the world for the occasion. Perhaps I should restate that. They didn't fly in from all over the world to meet me. They were attending the World Science Fiction Convention that was being held in Toronto that summer, and we took the opportunity to meet up. Most of us for the first time.
   Let's see, there was Deborah, from Israel; Nicola, from England; Alex, from maritime Canada; Francois, and his wife Tasha, from Montreal. Terry was there from Australia, as was Miriam, who lives in Toronto, and Elizabeth and her husband, from Chicago; and I don't really know where Kristin was from. Am I missing anyone? Probably.
   This diverse group of people was brought together by the miracle that is The Internet. <~~Over there, in the sidebar, you will see a link to, a website devoted to the writing of one Guy Gavriel Kay. That website hosts an active discussion forum that is one of the best communities I have ever been a part of. Topics of conversation stem from discussions of the Guy Kay books we all love, and spread to other works of literature, current events, and the inevitible silliness that a group of above average intelligence can easily devolve into. Limericks have been know to happen. We have even held a gift exchange the last two Christmases.
   The gathering we attended two years ago was approached with some trepidation. I had no idea what any of these people would be like. Everyone we told what we were doing looked at us like we had just said we were joining a cult in Guyana. It turned out to be a thoroughly pleasant afternoon, and we all got along as if we were old friends.
   No one who was in Toronto two years ago will be in Niagara Falls this weekend, but my enthusiasm has not been blunted by that in theslightest. I fully expect to have the same quality experience tomorrow... um, later today... that I had two years ago. We will be meeting in a olde style inn (funny, that) for lunch, tooling around Niagara-on-the-Lake for a few hours, going back to the inn for an afternoon toast, then heading down to the Falls for dinner. I suspect there may be limericks brewing.
   Have a good weekend. I'll see you on Monday.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I would be a cunning linguist

   First of all, sorry about the title. I couldn't resist.
   It seems I've been 'tagged' by Lissa of
stuffandjunk to participate in one of those despised Internet 'meme' thingies called, "if I could be..." It goes like so: pick five things off the attached list and write about them. Then, tag three other bloggers to participate next. I shall do my best to contribute to the further proliferation of this game in a manner befitting my peers who have participated, or are currently participating. I'll do better than the title, I promise. Here is the list of options:
If I could be a musician...
If I could be a farmer...
If I could be a psychologist...
If I could be a lawyer...
If I could be a missionary...
If I could be a gardener...
If I could be a painter...
If I could be an architect...
If I could be a doctor...
If I could be a linguist...
If I could be a writer...
If I could be a professor...
If I could be an athlete...
If I could be a justice on any court in the world...
If I could be a world famous blogger...
If I could be married to any current world politician...
If I could be a scientist...
If I could be an actor...
If I could be a chef...
If I could be an innkeeper...
If I could be an agent...
   If I could be an innkeeper... This is a neat thought. I like the idea of running an inn much like is commonly found in fantasy literature. The main floor would have a common room, one or two private dining rooms, and a kitchen and storeroom. The second floor would have several rooms available for overnight guests. Paid guests, that is. I guess the Bed and Breakfast is the mordern descendant of the traditional inn. Same concept with shorter hours, and only one meal to serve. It seems to me that in order to run one of those old inns (I'm thinking of those like the one described in The Highwayman), a man would have to be willing to work somewhere in the order of twenty hours a day, seven days a week. Maybe I'd want to rethink this one. Besides, I don't have a black-eyed daughter.

   If I could bea scientist... I would want to work toward the future survival of our species. Power generation is an area that needs a lot of study. Alternate energy sources, like solar power, and wind power are currently being exploited only at the most basic level. We are slowly (some would say not so slowly), and surely exhausting the natural resources of mother earth. If we want to continue to consume power the way we are doing now, we desperately need the ability to generate it in more efficient, and less consumptive ways.
   Also important are the earth sciences and space sciences areas of study. Eventually, we are going to outgrow this planet. The world population is already
almost six and one half billion people, and growing at an exponential rate. According to some scientists, we have already passed the maximum population that our planet can sustain long term. We are only maintaining our current rate of population growth by consuming non-renewable natural resources far too fast. Science tells us that when a population of any organism over consumes, and depletes its resource base, a devastating population crash ensues. The most dramatic example is that of the reindeer population of St. Matthew Island, in Alaska:
Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), introduced to St.  Matthew Island in 1944, increased from 29 animals at that time to 6,000 in  the summer of 1963 and underwent a crash die-off the following winter to less  than 50 animals.
The St. Matthew Island reindeer herd experienced a 99% die off in a single winter due to the fact that they had completely depleted the resources necessary to their continued survival. Translate this to the world population, which estimates say could exceed twelve billion before the end of this century. How would we deal with the death of over ten billion people due to starvation and disease over the course of a very short period of time? We must either dramatically reduce our per capita environmentalimpact, or we must find new resources somewhere else.

   If I could be a psychologist... I would be involved in the same area of study. I'm sure the person who originally created this meme intended for that to be taken as a practicing clinical psychologist, or a psychiatrist, but I (as I am wont to do) am going to twist it to my own devices. I touched upon the problem of rapid population growth in my previous answer. One of the things that is going to have to eventually change is our sprawling, suburban lifestyle. In the Suburban Greater Toronto Area, my neck of the woods, new homes are eating up farmland at an astonishing pace. If we don't stop, we are going to run out of land on which to grow crops. You know, food. What are we going to eat when we no longer have land to grow grains and vegetables? At some point we are going to have to stop growing out, and start growing in, and up. I can foresee a time when major cities have grown up into a series of extremely large buildings in which we will all live and work. No one will have a 'yard,' as all available arable land will be intensively farmed in order to provide for us. Picture Toronto as one big apartment building. Can you imagine the psychological pressures involved? The scientific community needs to be studying the dynamics of that situation now, so we can be ready to deal with it when it comes.

   If I could be a farmer... Last one on this topic, I swear. If I were a farmer, I would be studying ways to maximise crop yields while minimising acreage used. I would be learning all I could about hydroponics. I don't need to explain why. Just read the last two answers.

   If I could be an agent... I would be a Man In Black. Protecting the earth from the scum of the universe. Yeah, I would love that. Here's a short job description:
There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Korilian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable planet. The only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they do not know about it!

  I so want to be a Man In Black. Here, let me try out my stuff on you. "The flash of light you saw in the sky was not a UFO. Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the lightfrom Venus. Would look right here for a moment?" There, now, when you read this entry again, stop after the part about farmers, OK?

Jaquandor, Dornbrau, and Olddog299 have now been tagged to participate. So there!

edited to add: D'oh! Olddog299 has communicated to me his previous participation in this silly game. I am embarrassed, I tell you, embarrassed to have missed that fact. As an alternate, let's see if our friend artloner is interested in playing along.

Weekend assignment

Yes, yes, the world is going overboard with the whole Star Wars thing today -- so why not join them for the Weekend Assignment?

Weekend Assignment #60: Recount an interesting moment in your life that somehow involves Star Wars.
It can be deeply tangential -- it doesn't have to have happened at a Star Wars movie, for example. But let's face it -- for the last 28 years Star Wars has been part of the common culture. Surely there's an interesting moment in your life in that time, in which Star Wars, its characters or its merchandise has been a part of it.

Extra Credit:
Ewoks: Cute or Evil? Explain.

   I remember so clearly the first time I saw Star Wars. It was in the theatres, on its first run in 1977, so I would have been about twelve, or so. The title crawl was cool, and the music was cool, and then the Rebel Blockade Runner came screaming over my head, and I suddenly understood that I was in for an ride like nothing I had ever before experienced. I watched, slack jawed, as the pursuing Imperial Battle Cruiser flowed past, and flowed past, and continued to flow past. I remember turning to the friend I was with (I no longer even remember who that was) and saying, "did you see that. That was huge!" No movie I had ever seen had portrayed something that large before. I must have breathed at some point during that showing, but I do not recall doing so.
   I saw Star Wars in the theatre five times in total. I know, that sounds lame compared to today. Heck, some people have already seen Revenge of the Sith that many times and it has not even been out for twenty-four hours yet. For me in 1977, however, seeing a movie was a treat. Seeing a movie more than once was very unlikely. Five times? Unheard of!
Preview   For Halloween that year, I wanted to be a Jawa. Other kids wanted to be Luke Skywalker, or Han Solo, or if their mothers were really adventurous, a Storm Trooper. I liked the Jawas. I was funny that way. My favourite comic book character was The Atom. I just had to choose somethingthat was not already everyone else's favourite.
   First, I had to explain to my mother what a Jawa was, and what it looked like. She had not been to see the movie. She made me a long, brown, hooded robe, and we pinned the hood up around my face so I was only looking out of a small oval opening. Other than being about eighteen inches too tall, I looked just like one of the diminutive Tatooine scavengers. I will tell you, if I had a nickel for every time I heard the phrase, "and what are you supposed to be?" that Halloween, given the passage of twenty-eight years, and the miracle of compound interest, I would have a tidy little sum today.
   It's all good. The next year, I threw the hood back, and I was Obi-Wan Kenobi. The year after, I used a rope for a belt, and I was a monk. I got a lot of mileage out that brown robe.
   Fast forward twenty-two years, and The Phantom Menace was the first movie I ever took my son to see. He was only four at the time, and in retrospect, he was too young. Somewhere about the pod race, it got too loud and too scary for him. He crawled into his mother's lap, and cowered until the race ended. Then he promptly fell asleep. Next weekend, however, after all the becostumed fanbois have dissipated, he and I will be going to see The Revenge of the Sith, and neither of us will be falling asleep. We may even let Mom tag along.

Extra Credit: Ewoks=evil. They are the only thing that kept Return of the Jedi from being a better sequel to a sequel than the sequel was to the first movie. That didn't make any sense, did it? If you need more proof, simply consider the Ewok song. It was so evil, even George had to have it taken out of the Special Edition DVD release. Listen, my younger sister and her friends memorised all the words, and used to sing it around the house. That's evil!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Another Star Wars test

Via Pharyngula

Score! I'm likin' these tests tonight.

Which Jedi are you?

via Accordion Guy


I am Luke Skywalker. Rawk!

On community

  What exactly is a community? Here is a definition from

A group of people living in the same locality and under the same government or the district or locality in which such a group lives.
   That is one definition, but is the community no more than the group of houses which surround me? Or even the occupants of said houses? I have lived in my house for about 12 years. In that time I have got to know the neighbours on either side of me, and that is it. Twelve years, and I do not know a single other person on the whole street. Oh sure, I smile and say hello when I pass one of them walking the dog, but that is the extent of it. Is that community?
  Another definition reported by is:
a group viewed as forming a distinct segment of society. For example, the gay community or the community of color.
   Viewed by whom? Can community be imposed from without? Bob is a black man in New York. He plays tennis on Saturdays, and takes his children to the Knicks game using comp tickets he gets from one of his company's suppliers. Linda is a black woman in Tennessee. She works two jobs and depends on the Salvation Army to help clothe her children. They have never met each other, and never will. Are they part of a common community?
  Gary is gay. He is a middle aged attorney living in a suburban community near Phoenix with his significant other, Andrew. Gary and Andrew have been in a loving, monogamous relationship together for 14 years. Tranquility is gay. He is a 24 year old drag queen who lives in downtown Toronto. He goes out clubbing every night of the week, and brings home a different guy every time. Tranquility has been arrested 12 times for disturbing the peace, indecent exposure, and possession of narcotics, among other things. Tranquility has aids. He has never informed one of his sexual partners of the fact, and has unprotected sex whenever he can get away with it. Are Gary and Tranquility a part of the same community? I don't know what Tranquility would say, but I am pretty sure what Gary would.
  The definition of community I prefer is:
an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location.
   The key word here is interacting. An Internet message board is probably the twenty-first century's best new example of community. It is a common location, at least conceptually, where people come to interact. Interaction is its purpose, itsreason for being.
  It is not immune to the problems that plague real world communities. It can be cliquey. Newcomers can find it hard to gain acknowledgement and acceptance. There are always those who actively work to destroy the community. Some amount of self policing is necessary. Successful message boards all usually have the same things in common. There is a core of regular posters who tend to stay at least somewhat on topic. They are friendly and open to newcomers, and not condescending to those who ask an honest question. They are truly interested in the subject matter under discussion. On most successful message boards the moderators are virtually invisible, using just a touch here and there to keep things on course.
  Is it possible to translate that successful message board experience to our other, real life communities? Certainly, to specialised clubs and groups it is, but to the communities we live in there are difficulties. The most obvious one is the factor of unwilling residents. On an Internet message board, if a reader does not like the topic, or the company, another forum is just a click away. In our communities, there are residents who did not choose to be there, for example, the dependant family members in any given home. These are usually the children, and occasionally the spouse. As well, the reasons for one family choosing a specific community may be very different from the reasons of another.  How many people move just because they don't get along with the guy who lives across the street?
   No, in the communities 'in which we're living' (to quote Sir Paul McCartney), we must learn to get along with our neighbours; even those we don't really like. That usually means learning to bite our tongues from time to time. Sometimes, it is necessary to flat out ignore the minor transgressions of a neighbour for the sake of the general peace. This axiom also translates into the cyberspace community.
   On every message board, there will be at least one person who is a disruptive influence; who very few people like, but who just won't go away. These people are generally belligerent, protesting their right to be there, all the while being oblivious to, or uncaring of, the fact that no one likes them. It is for these people that the 'ignore' feature of message boards was created. Don't argue with them, because you can never win. Don't try to reason with them, because they will not see reason. Simply ignore them. It really is the best way.
   On the other hand, if you look at the list of people you are ignoring, and it is longer than the list of people you are talking to you should consider the possibility that they are not the problem...


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Bombastic adoxography

   This is an entry in the Judith Heartsong May Artsy Essay Contest. This month's contest involves composing an essay making use of at least three uncommon or obscure words selected from a list of thirty-three provided at Judi's journal. I managed to incorporate all but one of those thirty-three words. Can you determine which one I left out?

Blogging: The reading and the writing.

   The Internet neophyte, engaged in the arduous process of exploring the expansive blogging, or journaling community on the world wide web, will come across a wide spectrum of writing. One can find anything from bombastic adoxography to informed, incisive commentary. The morass of malapropism can be very deep, as can the incidence of outright fallacious material. (Typing that sentence, rather than saying it out loud, greatly reduced my fear of mytacism
   As an example of the former, I recently had cause to
titter when I came across a blog in which the writer was expounding upon an event which he said had 'tested his metal.' His mastication of the English language continued when he confided to his audience that he might belong in a 'stray jacket.' I hope he is able to track one down. In his closing, he referred to 'rose peddles.' He never did say what it was she was selling. Although his readers probably understood his connotation
, I prefer to see the English language wielded with more precision.
   In the latter case, one need look no farther that those who advocate the addition of the theory of 'Intelligent Design' to the high school science curriculum in the United States. If the Christian right wants to lobby for the inclusion of religious dogma in the nation's public school programs, then they should be calling it what it is. The position that Creationism or Intelligent Design are valid areas of scientific study is
farcical. I tend to avoid the subject, as it leads me to an overuse of alka-seltzer
   So, how does one find reading material that might contribute to the
fertilization of the intellect in the abyss that is 'the blogosphere?' Rushing pell-mell through the blogrolls of those journals one currently reads might lead to some fortuitous discoveries, but this mousal tarantism is as likely to leave one feeling like a gongoozler
, with nothing to show for the seemingly sudden passage of several hours of time that might better have been spent doing yard work.
   Patience is by far the better course of action. There is no Internet
oracle to guide one in the quest for the ascendant. It is best to continue reading those journals with which one is already familiar, while leaving the door open to the serendipitous discovery of a new link on occasion. It is also a good idea to perform a thorough runcation of one's own blogroll on a regular basis, as a farctate
reading list may lead to a reluctance to attempt further addition.
   Another area of concern to some, is the maintenance of their own journal. The act of blogging is an almost overt invitation to
apodyopsis, and on occasion, those who comment can be quite barbarous. You should not allow these mental aardvarks to dig a hole in your emotional defences. It does not matter if you are writing about the decline of fine haberdashery in western society, your favourite rutabaga, kumquat and pineapple recipes, or your love of the bassoon. Someone will always find reason to criticise. It may be feasible to adopt an online friend to act as a dompteur or dompteuse, and guide your early efforts until you gain sufficient confidence in your own writing. The main consideration is your own enjoyment. If it feels good, do it. If it doesn't, stop.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Bug repaired

   After AOL recently modified the archives system for AOL journals, I discovered a fly in the ointment. On my journals (I have no idea why, but it seemed to be related to the addresses) my archived entries didn't start until the end of the archive sidebar. That meant someone visiting one of my archived entries saw a large expanse of white at the top of the page, and had to scroll down (a substantial way if I had been prolific that month) to reach the begining of the entry.
   Today, I notice that issue has been fixed. My archived entry pages now cascade properly, and can be more easily read. Thank you, AOL.
   Oh, the link on my front page still reads 'older entries.' No biggie.

edit: (May 18, 12:33am) Well, it was fixed...

Writer's block

   Funny that John should talk about writer's block at the same time as I am experiencing it. Or maybe it is not such an odd coincidence. Writer's block is not something with which I struggle only rarely.
   There are times when the words seem to tumble out of my fingers unbidden, and other times when I sit and stare at the computer screen blankly, engulfed in feelings of helplessness and frustration. Recently, I have been opening any one of those
unfinished pieces I told you about, reading over it, pausing momentarily, and closing it unaltered.
   So much of writing seems to involve momentum. Someone on the AOL journals message board expressed a similar sentiment yesterday. Regularly, I will be in the middle of an essay, words flowing like water, and I will be interrupted. The phone will ring, or the dog will need to be let outside. It will only take a moment or two to deal with the interruption, but when I sit back down at the keyboard, the momentum will be lost. I will reread what I have set down so far, and be completely unable to pick up the thread of my thoughts.
   Some have said that the solution is to just muscle through. Keep typing. Even if the words you type have no relevance to the piece as it started, keep going. You can always go back and edit. If you stop, there will be nothing to edit.

   You see, I stopped. Now I'm a bit lost. I don't know where to take this next. But I'm still typing words. The idea, is to get over the hump, and gain the momentum back.
   Another commonly espoused strategy to overcome writer's block is to do an end run around it. The idea is to have several writing projects on the go at once. If you get stuck on one, you can simply slide sideways to the next, and keep going. As has been discussed, that does not seem to work for me. When I am blocked, I am completely blocked. Your mileage may vary.
   A third common suggestion is one that John mentioned in his piece yesterday: a writer's prompt. A writer's prompt is a suggestion from elsewhere that can act as a beginning. John's weekend assignment is one.
Promiseluv has begun a group project using something called a journal jar, in which there are 365 questions written on slips of paper. One question is removed each day, and you write an answer to it. In a year, you will have a very full, and probably very personal journal; and 365 days of writing practice under your belt. In a less personal vein, Writer's offers a weekly writer's prompt on their website.
   A contributing factor to writer's block, one of which I am guilty, is beginning a writing project without a plan. If you do not know exactly where you want to go with a piece, how can you expect to finish it without getting lost along the way. It is a good practice to begin by making as point form list of where you want to start, where you want to conclude, and specific points you want to touch on as you go.
   As you can see, muscling through has worked for me in this case. I should go back and edit out the clumsy sentences in the middle of the piece, but I think I will leave them in as an illustration. Now, let's see if I can sustain this momentum into something else...

Saturday, May 7, 2005

Apparently, I am a...

Haughty Intellectual
You are 71% Rational, 14% Extroverted, 28% Brutal, and 57% Arrogant. You are the Haughty Intellectual. You are a very rational person, emphasizing logic over emotion, and you are also rather arrogant and self-aggrandizing. You probably think of yourself as an intellectual, and you would like everyone to know it. Not only that, but you also tend to look down on others, thinking yourself better than them. You could possibly have an unhealthy obsession with yourself as well, thus causing everyone to hate you for being such an elitist twat. On top of all that, you are also introverted and gentle. This means that you are just a quiet thinker who wants fame and recognition, in all likelihood. Rather lacking in emotion, introspective, gentle, and arrogant, you are most certainly a Haughty Intellectual! And, most likely, you will never achieve the recognition or fame you so desire! Sweet!

To put it less negatively:

1. You are more RATIONAL than intuitive.

2. You are more INTROVERTED than extroverted.

3. You are more GENTLE than brutal.

4. You are more ARROGANT than humble.


Your exact opposite is the Schoolyard Bully. (Bullies like to beat up nerds, after all.)

Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Braggart, the Hand-Raiser, and the Robot.



If you scored near fifty percent for a certain trait (42%-58%), you could very well go either way. For example, someone with 42% Extroversion is slightly leaning towards being an introvert, but is close enough to being an extrovert to be classified that way as well. Below is a list of the other personality types so that you can determine which other possible categories you may fill if you scored near fifty percent for certain traits.

The other personality types:

The Emo Kid: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Starving Artist: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Bitch-Slap: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Brute: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hippie: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Televangelist: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Schoolyard Bully: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Class Clown: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Robot: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Haughty Intellectual: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Spiteful Loner: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Sociopath: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hand-Raiser: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Braggart: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Capitalist Pig: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Smartass: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online dating free online dating You scored higher than 61% on Rationality free online dating free online dating You scored higher than 19% on Extroversion free online dating free online dating You scored higher than 33% on Brutality free online dating free online dating You scored higher than 61% on Arrogance
Link: The Personality Defect Test written by saint_gasoline on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Friday, May 6, 2005

Weekend Assignment

Weekend Assignment #58: Post one of your favorite mother/child pictures. This could be a picture of you and your mother (at any age), or a picture of you with your children (again, at any age), or even one of your spouse and kids. But it should be a mother who is important to you personally.

Extra Credit (this is an optional part of the assignment): Share a piece of fun trivia about your mom.

Preview    Welcome to Mother's Day weekend. John seemed a bit upset that he had possibly led some readers on by stating earlier that this weekend's assignment would be about teachers. He claims to have forgotten it was Mother's Day this weekend. I think he's in the clear, though, because who, really, was the most important teacher in your life? Gotta be Mom, right?
   Here are a couple of pictures that might just fit in with the Mother's Day theme. In the first one, you may recognise Matthew, being precocious as he is wont to do. At first glance, I thought he was giving a 'you da man!' kinda point, but upon further inspection, I suspect it is closer to a 'don't you dare take that picture' kinda point. He lost.
   He is sitting with his grandmother, my mother, at a friend's place on Christmas eve, and everybody seems to be in good spirits. I think it's a great shot.

Preview   The next one is another bit of fun. It was my birthday. You'd be able to tell if I hadn't cropped the cake out of the bottom of the frame. This is the obligatory 'Mom and Matt having fun tickling Dad Sears pose.' Sears poses are fun, we even did one for our wedding pictures. The photographer thought we were crazy when we ended up selecting it to put into our official wedding album. The next time you are taking family photos, throw in a Sears pose or two. You won't regret it.

Extra Credit: My mother once backed into a parked truck. Her excuse: it was the same colour as the sky. I kid you not.

   Oh, yeah. Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 5, 2005


   John Scalzi was almost hit by lightning a few weeks ago. Apparently, it made a sound like Batman punching a bad guy. His experience reminded me of a similar one I had several years ago.
   The area I live in is somewhat a thunderstorm alley. During July and August every year we will have several spectacular lightning displays that my parents, only a twenty minute drive south, will see nothing of. I used to work for an electronics store, where one of my responsibilities was dealing with the insurance companies on claims for lost or damaged electronics. During July and August every year, my file for lightning damaged TVs and VCRs would be several inches thick.
   The story I am about to recount happened almost ten years ago. I remember that my son was a baby at the time. It was mid summer, and my wife and I were in the midst of decorating the living room. We were painting.
   The paint was giving us problems. We could not get any reasonable amount of coverage out of it, and it was clumping, and getting stringy. I ended up taking a gallon back to the store, where they replaced it for me. It is somewhat of a mark against the store in question that they did not tell me what I later found out from someone else: you cannot use latex paint in extreme heat and humidity.
   That is high summer in southern Ontario, ninety degrees, and about ninety-eight per cent humidity. Like trying to breathe in cream soup. This particular day just kept getting increasingly humid as the afternoon wore on. Any good paint store would have just told me, "put the paint away. You can't use it in this weather." Instead, they replaced the gallon, and I set off home.
   Now, the store was only about a three minute drive from my house. When I got into the car, it was sunny out. By the time I pulled into my driveway, the rain had started to fall. Drops the size of shotglasses hit the windshield with the explosiveness of stones dropped into still water from a mile high. I ran into the house just in time to avoid being drenched by a deluge that came down like a tidal wave.
   We could hear the thunder grumbling disconcertingly from miles behind the house. Every few seconds, the windows of the school across the street flickered with approaching lightning. The paint was not co-operating. The new gallon was no different than the old. I think it was at this point that we decided the weather might have something to do with that, so we gave up on the painting.
   Though it was still only early afternoon, it was dark enough outside for the streetlights to come on. My wife and I finished putting away the paint, and sat in the living room listening to the approaching storm. We started counting the seconds between the lightning and the thunder, like we used to as kids, gauging how far away the storm was from us.
   It went something like this:
   Flash, one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, four one-thousand, Boom!
   Flash, one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, BOOM!
   Flash, one one-thousand, two-BOOM!
   Flash, One-BOOM!
   The very next instant, there was the brightest flash of light I have ever seen, and the loudest boom I have ever heard, and there was no space of time in between them. The center of the storm had arrived.
   I looked out the front window. The street was a raging river. I ran to the side door of the house and looked out and into the backyard, but I could not see anything. The backyard was full of smoke.
   My wife was more concerned about the smoke inside the house. She had been heading to the back of the house to check on Matthew, who was sleeping in his crib at the time, when there was an explosion in our bedroom. There was no actual fire, and the smoke cleared quickly. When she had checked on Matthew (he slept soundly through the whole thing) she tentatively stuck her head into our bedroom. The light fixture in the ceiling was gone. Just gone, with no indication of where it had gone until she noticed the thousands of minuscule shards of glass embedded in the bedspread.
   Not taking any chances, we immediately called the fire department, who responded within seconds, it seemed. Five big guys in big boots tramped their way through the house, up into the attic, and back down, and declared the place fire free, and safe to stay in. The next call was to an electrician.
   Luckily, I knew someone. He was a regular customer of mine at the electronics store I worked in, and he came right over. He examined the wiring in the attic, and the electrical panel, and declared everything in order, flipped the main breaker, and we had light again. Except in the bedroom.
   The bedroom was a mess. After vacuuming up the glass shards on the floor, we ventured in for a closer look, and discovered some amazing things. In addition to there no longer being a light fixture on the ceiling, there was no longer a light switch on the wall. It, too, seemed to be just gone. My wife eventually found it on the floor across the room. It had blown out of its electrical box, and flown through the air with enough force to leave a dent in the wall across from it, twelve feet away. Another discovery was the nail heads sticking out through the drywall. The lightning had hit the house with enough force to drive the nails almost a half inch out of the framing studs in the exterior wall.
   An expedition to the back yard resulted in the discovery of another missing item. We had a clothesline strung between the house, and a big tree in the back yard. You know the type, with two reels, and a line running in a continuous loop so you can run the clothes out and later pull them back. Yeah. It was gone too.
   Later examination of the lawn would reveal its whereabouts. We are talking about a 3/8 inch twisted steel cable, sheathed in plastic, or some kind of poly material. What I found were several hundred half inch long sections of cable scattered in the grass. The steel was burned to a crisp. There was no sign of any sheathing. I also found that one of the lag bolts fastening the reel to the wall was completely black.
   This is what appeared to have happened. The lightning hit the tree. Normally, it would just go to ground there, and there would be no problem. Except it found the metal eyelet I had screwed into the tree to hold the clothesline. Metal has significantly less resistance to electrical current than green wood, so it followed the clothesline, hit the house with enough force to move nails out of the two-by-fours, and then went back across the clothesline to the tree. At some point, the superheated clothesline gave way, and the charge arced across empty space. My neighbour told me it looked like the sun was in the middle of my backyard. It then went to ground via the tree. To this day, you can see the black spot at the base of the tree where it finally found earth.
  To give you some idea of the voltage involved, consider this. The lightning never got inside the house. Just the residual static charge in the air around the bolt leaped from the wall outside to the wiring inside the attic, causing the fixture and switch in the bedroom to violently expire. Luckily, the main breaker tripped at that time, because next in line was my son's room, where he continued to sleep through even the fire department's visit.
   Luckily, no one was hurt, and there was no serious damage to the house. Unluckily, I had to add my own list of electronic equipment to that several inch thick file. But that is another story.

Monday, May 2, 2005

Improved usability

   AOL has improved the way they display journal archives. When you click above on the link called 'older entries' you are taken to the current month's archive. In addition to the familiar list of entries from the current month, there is now a calendar showing which days of the month have entries, a list of previous month's archives, and a handy link to each journal's very first entry. The only thing that is not necessarily obvious right off the bat is the ability to click on the set of arrows to navigate forward and backward through the calendar months, and below that, through the various different years, if the journal is that old.
   This is a much appreciated upgrade here in AOL journal land, as navigating the archives used to be one of the clumsiest things about the service. Hopefully there are more positive changes to come.

   An interesting side note: My journals have a address, and the main page link to the archives is still labelled 'older entries.' On journals with addresses, that link now reads 'archives.' I have no idea why, but I presume that change is coming for me as well. In the meantime, have fun exploring my archives.

Sunday, May 1, 2005

Weekend assignment

Weekend Assigment #57: Share some of your favorite Journals, Blogs and Web sites not on AOL Journals. Come on, we know you go off the school grounds from time to time. Tell us where you go. 'Cause we want to go, too. Even just one pick is fine (no more than five, though. Pick the best to share). Also, just in case this was a temptation, my site off AOL should not be one of your selections.

Extra credit: Find a link you think your mother might like. What is it?

   Oh, boy! What to use, what to use? My list of bookmarks is extensive, and most of them are from outside of the AOL environment. If you want to read a blog and be really entertained, read stuffandjunk. Lissa has a way with expression that always catches my imagination. A couple of other blogs that have a common topicality are Pharyngula, and Respectful Insolence; both written by very intelligent, and very learned men.
   This is my most recent addition to my favourites folder called blog entries worth saving. It is very funny. Accordion Guy: Sacredelicious.
   On the non-blog front, A Brief History of the Apocalypse is fun. It is a list of all the end-of-the-world prophecies and predictions that the authors could find, and how they turned out. is a fairly new endeavour. It is a small, but growing experiment in online collaborative writing. Check it out. Also, for the home theater fans in the group, here is The Largest Subwoofer of the World. You have to scroll down a bit to get past the propoganda for their new amplifier to find the subwoofer. That big hole in the floor? Yep, you found it.
   And last, and almost certainly least, I think no world wide web user should be allowed to miss out on Gene Ray's Time Cube site, or Ted Jesus Christ God.

Extra Credit: A website my mother would like? How about The World Wide Quilting Page?

   I know. That's way more than five. Deal with it.

   Also, I added one thing to my list of (almost) 100 things about me.