Monthly Archives: April 2007

putting baby to work

We just had a breakthrough moment. I’m sitting on one couch in the living room (doing work, believe it or not) and John is sitting across the room on the other couch. Phoebe was over playing with John. John realized he needed a tissue. The tissues were over next to me. What on earth could we do? Certainly, standing up seemed like too much effort, and it’s very hard to throw a single tissue across the room. So I held out a tissue, and asked Phoebe to come get it. She crawled over and then brought the tissue to John. Yes! (Of course, there were moments when it seemed she would opt to shred the tissue, or wander off in another direction. So the whole process was not terribly expedient.) It’s only a matter of time before we can get her to start mowing the lawn and changing the oil in our cars.

another high school movie?

I’m trying to do actual work here (I have a big assigment due on Monday), but John just sent me a link to this trailer (which he saw on Pharyngula). What with my recent attention to high school movies and associated terminology, I felt I should share.

10 Things I Hate About Commandments:

6 weird things about me

In exchange for getting YTSL of Webs of Significance to subject herself to the 5 questions meme, which she has graciously already posted about, I have offered myself up to be tagged by her for the 6 weird things meme. (Yes, I realize these are not your traditional meming behaviors. However, I don’t expect we’ll be fined by the International Meme Police. I do sometimes worry about being persecuted by the International Mime Police though. My “walking against the wind” is appallingly bad.*)

Anyhow, here is a list of 6 weird things about me.

  1. I was a weird kid, and had a variety of colorful fantasies. I’m sure most kids did, but somehow, I think mine may have been a bit weirder than normal. For example, when I was around 9 or 10 years old, I used to imagine that as an adult, I’d choose to regularly wear full blown Victorian-style gone-with-the-windian hoop-skirted dresses. Because as an adult I’d have full choice over what I’d wear.
  2. artichokes.jpg

  3. My favorite food is a vegetable. I love artichokes. Not to say that I don’t have other food loves. But artichokes are tops. I’m talking fresh, steamed, prickly, spiky, alien-looking thistle buds. My deep, abiding love for artichokes dates back to my youth, and was considered to have been no_pizza1.jpg
  4. decidedly odd by other kids. When other American kids were asked for favorite foods, they’d almost universally answer “pizza.” But me, I’d answer “artichokes.” I actually didn’t even like pizza as a kid. (Yes, another weirdness. I got over it.) I remember a school project once where the kids of my 5th or 6th grade class had to put together a newspaper. As a new kid at the school, I was interviewed. The “editors” chose to put the headline for the resulting article on the front page: “Girl Likes Artichokes”. It almost could have been a Weekly World News article.

  5. I once lost my sense of smell. I don’t remember for how long. Might have been a couple of weeks. It came back gradually. When it first came back, I could smell only one thing: cherry scones. (I’ve been meaning to write this story, but I think I’ll save the details for later.)
  6. I can sing a bunch of TV theme songs for shows that I’ve never watched. For example, “77 Sunset Strip” and “Flipper”, or one of my favorites to sing, “Surfside 6“. (Keep in mind that the indented parts are sung in my best bimbo voice.):

    Surfside 6
           What’s that?
    Surfside 6
           an address?
    Surfside 6
           for a houseboat?
    Surfside 6
           and where is it?
    In Miami Beach
    da da da, da da da
    cha cha cha

  7. My name is spelled in Esperanto. (In a way that speaks more to the weirdness eccentricity of my parents than of myself…) In case you haven’t heard of Esperanto, it’s an artificially created international language. Much like the dodo, it is most frequently referenced in jokes about obsolescence, obscurity and extinction.

    Esperanto is a joke. It’s for cranks. You can tell it’s for cranks because, on the few occasions you hear about it, you hear that it is “not just for cranks”.


    cynics have mocked it as an idealistic cult for linguistic weirdos.

  8. I can get quite compulsive about my hobbies. And I have a weird sense of humor. This is a combination that some people have found disturbing. For example, consider this incident from a recent visit to the in-laws. John and my mother-in-law and I were sitting at the kitchen table late at night, talking. I noticed a “Clipper magazine”, a hideous thing made up entirely of ads, with coupons to clip. When I saw the magazine sitting there, with me sitting around with my hands unoccupied, I had this overwhelming urge to clip the letters. I thought I could make a banner for the blog. When I asked my mother-in-law if I could cut up her magazine, she asked why. As I have felt it best to hide the existence of my blog from her, I had to come up with a plausible reason: “I need to write a ransom note.”


Okay, them’s my 6 weird things. Others might claim that there are additional weird things about me. John says my little toes are weird. So I suppose they could have been items 5 and 6.

Now I believe I’m supposed to tag 6 other people, according to the rules:

People who are tagged should write a blog post of 6 weird things about them as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

Okay, this is definitely the hard part. Maybe I should just go around to random blogs and leave the “you are tagged” bit. Or maybe I’ll just go around leaving comments telling random people to read my blog. That would be oh-so-smooth. Or I could send notes with cut up letters telling people to read my blog…or else.

So, I think I’ll go with some people I haven’t attempted to tag before, but believe to have some weirdness to them. (And I mean that as a compliment.):

  • jeanerz of Jean Crawford, Starr Linguist
  • KC of Where’s My Cape?
  • NotSoSage of NotSoSage
  • Jaŋari of Matjjin-nehen
  • and

  • Lori of Celebrating the Absurd
  • And since she’s seemed moderately amenable to this sort of thing in the past,

  • jenny of baggage carousel 4.
  • If any of you don’t want to play, I can untag you. Or you can just ignore the tag (which is what often happens). If someone out there does want to play (either this game or some future one) please let me know.

    *I’m trying to figure out a way to throw in this quote about miming by Paula Poundstone, who said:

    The saddest thing about me talking all the time is that I am a gifted mime. I could have had a brilliant career. I just couldn’t shut up!


    Look at me, I’m in a box!

    breaking research from the geekology laboratories

    I mentioned yesterday that there are tests out there to help you determine how you fit into the geek/nerd/dork paradigm. There are many, many tests out there. I may explore these more, but here are a few (with my own results, when available).

    Geek, nerd or dork tests

    1. The “original geek test
    I like this one. And I actually like that you get bonus points for being a female geek. (Ha!)
    I scored 23.07692%, which puts me at the (unmodified) “Geek” level. (There are, of course, higher levels of geek. You also get to have, should you choose, a button with your test results. Behold mine!
    i am a geek

    2. The Geek Test: How geeky are you?
    This one is a shorter test, and may be derivative of the preceding test. (Or maybe they both are derivative of some previous source. Scientists at the North American Geekology Laboratories are furiously researching this question as we speak.)
    Here are my results:

    Geek Test Results
    You are 47.5% geeky.
    OK, not that geeky at all, are you? I’ll bet you even have a girlfriend (or boyfriend).
    The current average score is: 31.55%
    Fact: 35.45% of people who took this test admit to wearing a costume “just for fun”.

    3. A nerd test, called the “nerd purity test“:
    Here are a few sample questions:

    Do you have a Rubik’s Cube?
    Can you solve it?
    Without the book?
    Without looking?
    Do you have acne?
    Do you have greasy hair?
    Are you unaware of it?

    And here are my results:

    Your Nerd Purity Test Results
    You answered “yes” to 26 of 100 questions, making you 74.0% nerd pure; that is, you are 74.0% pure in the nerd domain (you have 26.0% nerd in you).
    Your Weirdness Factor (AKA Uniqueness Factor) is 11%, based on a comparison of your test results with 576688 other submissions for this test.
    The average purity for this test is 73.8%.
    The first submission for this test was received June 16, 1994.

    4. Another nerd test, this one called The Nerdity Test:

    10 December, 1993
    HTML-Version: 7 May, 1996
    CGI-Enabled: 13 March, 1998
    JavaScript-Enabled: 25 October, 2000

    This one looks pretty good, and gets extra points for the version number. However, I didn’t finish taking the test due to time constraints. (Also, when I clicked on the “credits” link for one of the questions, I accidentally cleared out my answers for the test at the point, and didn’t want to go back.)

    5. Blogthings had a pretty lame one. I’m not convinced by my results, even though the “nerd” percentage is somewhat similar to the previous test score. But come on. “no one would ever call you a nerd”? Oh, how wrong can they be:

    You Are 24% Nerdy

    You’re a little nerdy, but no one would ever call you a nerd.
    You sometimes get into nerdy things, but only after they’ve become a part of mainstream culture.

    6. To balance things out, we have a dork quiz:
    This one is not interactive, but the questions do look fun, like:

    9. Who do you most closely identify with?
    a) Kermit.
    b) Gonzo.
    c) Scooter.

    7. I’m actually most partial to the OKcupid Nerd? Geek? or Dork? test
    I like it that this considers nerd, geek and dork to be dimensions, and helps you to place yourself on those axes. This one has some pretty funny questions, like:

    When you encounter something you don’t know, do you often try to find out what it is? (Like an unknown word in a dictionary or event in an encyclopedia.)

    Wait a second-there are people who would answer “no” to this question? I’ve often wished I had access to imdb while watching movies in a theater…

    Do you enjoy quoting books/movies/tv shows, etc. in your conversations/letters/emails?


    This test also claims to give a score about how you ranked on the three variable (nerdiness, geekosity and dork points) compared to others of your age and gender. Note that my score shows higher than 99% for all three. Which I thought was interesting. So I was curious about how I’d score if I were a male. Still got the same. So I actually tried retaking the test from a nearly totally different persona, a sort of suave but kinda dumb athletic type. And still, I get over 99% on the three variables. This suggests to me that a) this feature is probably broken, and these levels are probably not actually a reflection of the test-taker demographics b) I am really a nerd, geek and dork to follow up on this and c) I really should be getting back to the work I need to be doing and stop taking these damn tests.

    , you’re now logged in!

    Below you’ll find your test result. After, continue on to your
    homescreen to discover what we’re about.

    Modern, Cool Nerd

    78 % Nerd, 65% Geek, 47% Dork

    For The Record:

    A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

    A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

    A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

    You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

    Nerds didn’t use to be cool, but in the 90’s that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn’t quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and “geek is chic.” The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!


    Thanks Again! — THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

    My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 99% on nerdiness
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 99% on geekosity
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 99% on dork points

    Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

    geek, nerd or dork?

    I wrote a bit a couple of weeks ago about clique taxonomies, especially as they pertain to the high school movie genre. In my research, I came across some interesting tidbits, which I thought I’d share.

    Most high school clique taxonomies make some reference to individuals who are not considered popular: the “outcasts” or “outsiders.” Most commonly, these “others” are labelled geeks, nerds or dorks. (Though the terms dweeb and spaz or spazz are not uncommon.) The use of these terms has usually been extended past the high school age, when clique membership becomes less clear. Interestingly, the taxonomies for these groups have become hotly debated.

    For example Militant Geek (“Militant Geek Custom Shirts: Propaganda for a Geek Friendly Future”) offers these words of concern:

    An alarming trend that we’ve noticed at the Militant Geek HQ is the sloppy usage of the terms ‘geek’, ‘nerd’, and ‘dork’. It was almost as if certain individuals assumed that they meant the same thing! For the record Geeks are those that have technical aptitude, nerds are bright but socially awkward, and dorks are just inept excuses for protoplasm.

    This site has even offered up a “handy comparison chart” to help people understand the differences in the classifications.

    Coyote of Not funny…ever offers these words of wisdom in a post called Geek Dweeb or Spaz?

    Dork – (Pronounced “Door’k” From the Latin “Murdockious”) A Dork, like the Spaz has all the knowledge and ability of a Geek or a Nerd, but has NO clue

    Buckethead of The Ministry of Minor Perfidy offers definitions and discussions in the similarly-titled though differently-punctuated post Geek, Dweeb, or Spaz?

    Nerd: the nerd is base type, from which all the others are derived. Nerds are bright, and lacking in social skills. They have odd interests. They are dilettantes, and usually end up consumed by counterproductive pursuits like the SCA, Star Wars collectables, and Star Trek conventions. Some nerds can achieve purpose in life translating the arcane thoughts of the geeks to the mundane normal people. Nerds are hapless, though they often have a goofy charm.


    And this is just the tip of the iceberg! Whether it’s the Wikipedia entry for geek an “ask yahoo” response to the fundamental question “What’s the difference between a nerd, a geek, and a dork?” or a discussion board topic on a site called Geek Culture. You can even get t-shirts that help you with the terms, like the cafépress “geek hierarchy” shirt:

    Geek Hierarchy: Geek > Nerd > Dork. Geeks design it, Nerds buy it, Dorks break it.

    Do you wonder where you fit into the picture? Do you have leanings of geekery, or hints of nerdiness? Or are you just a total dork? There are tests to help! (Well, to help you figure out if you are a nerd or a dork. Finding help with being a dork is another question.)

    Okay, I’ll have to post about the tests later. I’d better get to work.

    last-minute Earth Day gift ideas

    Here it is, already Earth Day, and you’ve forgotten to pick out a gift for the planet. What could the Earth want that it doesn’t have already? Before you rush out to buy it a commemorative figurine, remember that there are lot of things you can do for the Earth without even leaving the house. (Or at least without making a special trip.) earth.jpg

    When making your Earth Day gift-giving plans, remember “reduce, reuse, recycle.” We all know that slogan, but I think many of us associate it most strongly with “recycle.” But reduce and reuse can have the biggest impact.

    During the past 35 years, the amount of waste each person creates has almost doubled from 2.7 to 4.4 pounds per day. The most effective way to stop this trend is by preventing waste in the first place.

    So think about some of these gift ideas:

    1. Screw in a lightbulb. The Earth loves lightbulb jokes, like:

      Q: How many flies does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
      A: Two, but how do you get them in there?

      Actually, what I’m saying is change your lightbulbs. Replace your incandescents with compact fluorescent bulbs. says:

      If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR, we would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of nearly 800,000 cars.

    2. B.Y.O.B. Party at Earth’s place! (The Earth loves a party.) But the Earth thinks you should bring your own bag next time you go shopping. The Earth would love it if you’d stop getting so many plastic bags. They add up. Reuse some old bags, or bring string, or other fashionable fabric bags.
    3. Have you thought about sending the Earth a greeting card? The Earth says please don’t bother. The Earth gets too much mail anyhow. And the Earth thinks you get too much crap in your mailbox. Consider opting out of all those damn credit card offers, either online or by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT. You can get off mailing lists for lots of places by filling out a form from DMA. For catalogs from businesses “with whom you have had a relationship,” you can call those directly. This site has more hints about reducing your junk mail.

    Plus there are lots of other little waste-reducing gifts you can choose for Earth. Like avoiding disposable paper products, or using fewer of them. Opting not to print out papers, or to reprint on the backs of old documents. Or even just turning off the lights. And what’s really nice is that the Earth doesn’t mind if you’re late with the gift, or you can’t give that much. The Earth appreciates even the little gestures. The Earth is swell that way.

    my favorite movie quotes

    I like movies. And I like to quote things. I like to make lists. (I also like to enter //engtech group writing projects, and this latest one asks for posts about movies.) So here’s a list of movies I like to quote, and quotes from those movies.

    My favorite movies to quote (and quotes from those movies)

  • Best in Show (2000)
    A movie about dogs and dog owners. Well, really more about the people than the dogs. But there is a dog show. And you do see dogs in the movie. But the dogs don’t have so much to say, so I haven’t quoted them.

    • “We met at Starbucks. Not at the same Starbucks but we saw each other at different Starbucks across the street from each other.”
    • I’ve been know to confuse people by stating “we both like soup.” Here’s a bit more of the quotation, from an interview with a character describing her relationship with her husband:
      “We have so much in common, we both love soup and snow peas, we love the outdoors, and talking and not talking. We could not talk or talk forever and still find things to not talk about.”
  • Cold Comfort Farm (1995)
    One of my favorite movies. It’s got quite a few quotable bits, most of which involve a bit of performance.

    • “Everybody loves poetry” (Or, “evereh-bodeh loves poetreh”)
    • “I saw something nasty in the woodshed. Something nasty.”
    • “There’ll be no butter in hell!”
    • I also try to throw the word “scrattling” into conversations on occasion.
  • This is Spinal Tap (1984)
    The groundbreaking rock mockumentary, or mock rockumentary. Who hasn’t taken the opportunity to point out when something “goes up to eleven“? (Because, obviously, that’s one higher than ten.)

    Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and…
    Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?
    Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.
    Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it’s louder? Is it any louder?
    Nigel Tufnel: Well, it’s one louder, isn’t it? It’s not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You’re on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you’re on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?
    Marty DiBergi: I don’t know.
    Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
    Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.
    Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.
    Marty DiBergi: Why don’t you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?
    Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.

  • “A Fistful of Yen” from Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)
    An Enter the Dragon parody of extraodinary magnitude.

    • “But it would be wrong(This is from a scene when Loo is visited in his quarters by a scientist he has been sent to rescue. As he starts to explain his plans, she indicates that his room has been bugged, and points out a series of larger and larger “hidden” microphones. After he explains how their escape plans would be feasible, he says loudly into a nearby microphone “but it would be wrong.”)
    • “tough and ruthless” vs “rough and toothless” (From this line: “This is Buttkiss, Klahn’s bodyguard – he is tough and ruthless. This is Kwong, Klahn’s chauffeur – he is rough and toothless.”)

    (In case you’ve never seen “Fistful of Yen,” here’s a small taste that’s available on YouTube: the alarm scene.

  • The Princess Bride (1987)
    This is, without a doubt, my favorite movie to quote. (Also a great book to movie adaptation.) At one point, I could practically quote the whole thing. But I will spare you that, and just offer up a few choice bits. (If you’re itching for more, try the quotes listed on imdb. Or better yet, watch the movie.)

    • “Inconceivable.”
      “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
    • “Am I going mad, or did the word “think” escape your lips? You were not hired for your brains, you hippopotamic land mass.”
    • Here’s another handy insult to offer up: “you warthog-faced buffoon”
    • Then there’s the incomprehensible quote by Billy Crystal as Miracle Max, as he express excitement over his opportunity to exact revenge: “I’m gonna xxx”. Some have suggested “I’m gonna [lick the dalmatian]”
    • “Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don’t think they exist.”
    • “Mawwiage. Mawwiage if what bwingv uf togevuh today… That bweffed awwangement, a dweam wifim a dweam.”
    • “liar! liar!”
      “Get back, witch.”
      “I’m not a witch, I’m your wife. But after what you just said, I’m not even sure I want to be that any more.”
    • And last, but not least, probably everybody’s favorite:
      “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
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