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|Wednesday, May 4th, 2016|
"I am tired of people not believing in me," he told me over some fresh cups of honey-mead, "so I got myself a mascot gig at one of those slightly cultish industrial psychology places. That's where the money's at. I'm moving out to New Jersey next week."
If you are in the area, please give a warm greeting to the Mythical Man-Month Moth-Man of Monmouth!
|Tuesday, April 26th, 2016|
|Are you a replican or a replican't?
"I feel like, you know, I'm not actually qualified for my job, and someday I'm going to get exposed and discovered," my friend told me over coffee today, "I know it's Impostor Syndrome
, but it just gets to me."
"Sure, but that's objectively true," I replied, "You're a Doppelgänger."
"Yeah, but a real
Doppelgänger would respond to that feeling by being sneakier and more devious, rather than experiencing further doubt. It's like the Doppelgänger saying goes: work more insidiously, not harder."
"Is it possible that, instead of a failure on your part, other Doppelgängers are undermining you with subtle cues, and you're internalizing that doubt because it's too perilous to confront their subtly rude behavior?"
"Oh, hey, that reminds me, I need to learn to cast micro-aggression
without verbal components so I can crush their minds to powder a tiny comment at a time!" she replied, "That'll probably help with this latest thing too."
My friend is very dedicated to her job! And also to subverting and destroying her job! This may be paradoxical to you, but if so, maybe you're not a very good Doppelgänger.
|Thursday, April 21st, 2016|
I asked the chef "What's in the salad?"
She examined the salad a little "Yuzu and the rest doesn't matter because once you hear that a salad has yuzu in it, you're either the kind of person who will want it no matter what other fancy ingredients it contains, or you're the kind of person who won't want it no matter what other weird ingredients it contains."
Please name another ingredient in the yuzu salad.
Would you eat this salad?
I am intentionally subverting the premise of this poll by choosing an option other than yes or no.
Also, why are these check boxes instead of radio buttons?
|Friday, March 11th, 2016|
|Real doppelgangers never get imposter syndrome
"There are two types of people in this world," he said, "People who will make me a sandwich, and reptoids in disguise."
I was mildly insulted. "Are you saying that anyone who doesn't make you a sandwich is a reptoid in disguise?"
"You said it, not me," he replied unhelpfully.
Just to mess with him, I'm going to ask a reptoid friend to make him a sandwich.
|Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016|
"Opinions are like onions," the farmer said.
"Well, they start with O and end with -nions," she replied, "And they are a thing that people cultivate and sometimes that make you cry."
"Okay, I guess that's technically accurate, but why are you telling me this?" I replied.
"I thought we were at a things-that-are-like-onions convention," she said, "and as a farmer, I thought I'd give my expert opinion."
Then another farmer walked up. "Opinions are like onions," she said, "Everyone has one and they all stink."
"Um, but that's not even technically accurate."
Then she handed each of us a rotting onion and proceeded around the convention distributing more of them.
Also it turns out we really were at a things-that-are-like-onions convention. I'm hoping they have gimlets at the cocktail bar.
|Sunday, January 17th, 2016|
|Funtime Culinary Poll!
Is there only one way to make a Chicago-style hot dog?
There is only one way to make a Chicago-style hot dog.
There are many ways to make a Chicago-style hot dog. All but one of them are unforgiably incorrect.
It is acceptable to vary a Chicago-style hot dog, and even to use a vegetarian meat substitute, so long as you use celery salt, neon green relish, mustard, sport peppers, NOT KETCHUP, NOT PORK. Anything else is unforgivably incorrect.
I do not understand the context of this post, or I do not wish to contribute to this poll, but I feel that I should be able to participate in this poll anyway.
Something something something 1893 World's Fair.
This is too sacrosanct a topic. Even discussing the matter as if there were controversy is unforgivable.
I believe that it's okay to have a Chicago-style hot dog with pork franks and ketchup. I understand and accept that my interpretation is unforgivably incorrect, and volunteer myself for the penalties listed below.
What happens if you request or create an unforgivably incorrect hot dog and then falsely assert that it is a Chicago-style hot dog?
Any Chicagoan you know will shun you forever.
You will be kicked out of the store and forbidden to return to Chicago again.
Any Chicagoan you know will hunt you down and feed you to a Sarlacc.
The hungry ghost of Richard J. Daley will be roused into furious anger and haunt you to the ends of the Earth.
The hungry living-ghost of Richard M. Daley will be roused into furious anger and haunt you to the ends of the Earth, which is a thing that can happen.
Organized crime or sea monsters or something like that.
Again, I will insist on filling out this form, though I have no investment in this discussion. I insist that my non-contribution be accommodated with a poll response.
Other (please reply in text.)
Okay, assume you're being haunted by the hungry ghost of Richard J. Daley. What could you do to, you know, appease him? Or dispel him? Or, um, defeat him or something? I'm, um, asking for a friend or hypothetically something. Please answer quickly. Thanks.
|Wednesday, November 11th, 2015|
So I was hanging out with a time traveler yesterday (well, "yesterday" -- you know how it is with those folks) and I mentioned the MIT 2005 Time Traveler Convention
. And how they only ever needed to have one such convention, since all the time travelers could attend it.
She gave a good-natured laugh and said, "Actually, we already did that in 1893 in Chicago. Sorry."
"How did you avoid wrecking history?" I asked.
She looked a little guilty. "We kind of wrecked history. We weren't supposed to introduce commemorative coins, cream of wheat, cream of what, Pabst Blue Ribbon, pancake mix, Braille printers, electric third rails, zippers, squashed pennies, the Ferris Wheel, dishwashers, phosphorescent lamps, spraypainting, hula dancing, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, switchboards, night football, modern Viking ships, the Parliament of World Religions, or the solar antelope spawnpoint, but we were clumsy with time travel and it kinda happened anyway."
"What about the waffle cone?" I added.
"That was the 1904 World Expo, actually, when we came back to clean up the solar antelope spawnpoint."
"So, what was the future going to be like before we got all that stuff by accident from the Chicago World's Fair?"
She punched me in the arm gently and laughed again. Okay, okay, fair enough.
|Friday, August 14th, 2015|
I have a conundrum! At first I was excited to have a conundrum, until I realized that it was a problem and not some kind of ice cream novelty treat. Now I'm looking for a solution instead.
My conundrum is this: Today is of course Take Your Country's Thirteenth President To Work Day. I'd like to participate.
But Millard Fillmore is very busy because everyone here has the same 13th president and also because he is dead.
What do I do?
What do I do?
Repopulate myself to France and bring Gaston Doumergue (who is also dead)
Repopulate myself to Brazil and bring Washington Luis (who is also also dead)
Repopulate myself to Mexico and bring Valentin Canalizo (who is very dead)
Bring Tony Blair and hope no one notices (he is busy and was never a president)
Repopulate myself to Sealand and shrug helplessly
Change jobs because something is wrong with this place
This is a stupid event and no one else is participating either
Oh, hey, the thirteenth president of the Phillippines (Joseph Estrada) is still alive
Other (in comments)
|Sunday, August 9th, 2015|
|Wednesday, August 5th, 2015|
"Those who think they can, and those who think they can't," my old coach used to tell me, "are both still thralls of the Infinite Triple Ghoul King."
To his credit, he kept us running pretty darn fast. But how do you even triple infinity?
|Saturday, May 30th, 2015|
"A poisonous breakfast is the most important meal of your last day," the asp told me with a menacing hiss.
My general rule is Always trust a talking snake
, so I'm sure this is legit, but I can't help but to feel skeptical about something there. Maybe it's just that asps aren't native to California?
|Saturday, March 28th, 2015|
"We've updated our slogan from REDUCE - REUSE - RECYCLE to add REVENANT at the end, to make our program more zombie-friendly."
"You do realize that zombies are fictional, right?" I replied.
"Oh yeah? Well, you're
No one has ever accused me of such a thing before.
|Tuesday, November 25th, 2014|
|The Quit-Once Problem Tower
It was a tower of clear plastic, or clear something like plastic, all in tubes, twisting and turning and intersecting, some ten stories high. The sun caught my eye uncomfortably as I looked up at the tower, but I saw billows, and twisting joints, and smoke or steam from a dozen vents. Inside those tubes were snakes of different sizes and breeds: some dozing in the sun, some coiled around a steaming vent, some crawling about seeking a new place to hide. Thousands of snakes, their movement and stillness forming a sort of machinery of its own.
I asked the inventor, “What the Sam Hill is this thing?”
He cleared his throat and thought a bit before he answered.
“The best thing a person can do in modern America to extend their lifespan is to stop smoking, right?” he asked me.
“Sure,” I said, “I guess.” I mean, technically the best thing you can do is to refrain from jumping off a bridge this instant or something, or maybe to get yourself a new robot body, but I was willing to go with the context of his premise for now.
“The only problem is,” he continued, “it’s not something that non-smokers can do. And if you start smoking again you lose all those benefits. So you can only do it once. This machine is designed to fix that.”
“To allow you to quit smoking multiple times and gain the same life extending benefits each time?”
“That’s the plan.”
“I don’t think statistics work that way,” I told him.
He crossed his arms defensively. “That’s just your opinion.”
“Why snakes?” I asked.
He kept his arms crossed. “Well, there are four kinds of problems in this world: problems you probably can’t solve using snakes, problems you can maybe solve using snakes, problems you can definitely solve using snakes, and problems that you can’t solve without snakes. The quit-once problem is definitely in the fourth category. So here we are.”
I don’t think problems work that way, either.
And neither does Sam Hill.
|Thursday, October 16th, 2014|
|Domestic Advice Needed!
I have decided, for the first time in my life, that I would prefer my clothes to be soft. How do I do this?
The best fabric softener is...
non-recursion-limited self-replicating nano-assembly bots.
not wearing glass.
the swift hammer of justice.
the worst fabric hardener.
the Carno Heat Engine.
the San Francisco Giants!!!
Other. (Please specify below.)
Thanks in advance!
|Saturday, October 4th, 2014|
|Got a response about my manuscript!
Dear Sir and/or Madam,
We have received and read your manuscript submission of Weaponized Venn Diagrams, and found that there was a great deal of good and original work within.
Nothing that was good was original, but somehow, some of what was original was also good. We do not know how you did that. We are worried that you are breaking set theory completely. This is a cease and desist notice - please stop destroying logic with your dangerous floating circles of inclusion, or we will be forced to take serious legal and ontological action.
You have thirty seconds to comply.
P.S. That Sir and/or Madam thing in the intro is probably your fault too. Current Mood: accomplished
|Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014|
"This ain't my first rodeo," he said with a confident swagger.
I shuffled awkwardly. "Actually, this is a wig factory, not a rodeo at all."
He hung his head sheepishly.
"This is actually my first non-rodeo," he admitted.
|Friday, September 12th, 2014|
|If text fonts were people...
As you might know, I have been spending the past few months making a concerted effort not to do anything story-worthy. My theory is that a happy life is one devoid of narrative value. I would tell you more about it, but that would ruin it.
But today, I was walking along the embarcadero and saw a person there, head in his hands, wallowing in despair.
"I used to be a font, you know," he said to me when I gave him a concerned look, "Now I'm a person. How did that happen? What does that even mean? I don't know. It's claustrophobic here, being in only a single body rather than a broad swath of text. I had a purpose then, clean and simple; now I'm plagued with a terrifying maze of needs and possibilities."
"What font were you?" I asked him. I was working under the assumption that the traits that the font had would in some way be reflected afterwards into parallel human traits, perhaps to humorous effect.
He told me what font he was, but I didn't recognize it.
"Of course you don't recognize it," he said, "If you did, I would still be out there. As a font. As I should be."
"Were you san serif
?" I asked, because that's about the only thing I could think to say.
He just shook his head sadly.
"I would like to go back to being a font," he said, slumping back down again. Current Mood: Courier
|Sunday, July 27th, 2014|
|Under the Shade of a Coolibah Tree
So I have been following Waltzing Mathilda
The general interpretation is that it's a story about a swagman (a migrant worker) who goes waltzing Mathilda (traveling with his bedroll) to a billabong (a deep pool), then drowns himself rather than getting arrested for poaching a jumbuck (a sheep) by the troopers (police) who were called by the squatter to the squatter (landowner).
When writing the song, Banjo Patterson used a combination of Australian hobo slang and native Wiradjuri terms, presumably to give a sense of national identity.
But there are plenty of different scholarly interpretations! There must be! Academics rarely make their name by publishing "I agree with the traditional interpretation!" And that's probably a good thing!
Some of these interpretations are to add historical context: that it was a socialist rallying song, or the death of Samuel "Frenchy" Hofstadter at Combo Lake, or maybe a tea commercial.
Some say that a swagman is a kind of giant goblin bogeymonster, and that it was stealing a jumbuck (a domestic hygeine robot) from the squatter (horse-mounted outhouse) by the billabong (giant glass sculpture). Others say that the swagman (a T-shirt and coffee mug distributor) was camped out by the billabong (sales convention) and grabbed a jumbuck (excellent merchanizing contract).
But why research these things when you can just make up your own facts and translations of words in other peoples' languages that you're not in any way qualified to discuss? It's time for the home game!
The song is about a "swagman" (which means:
) who goes waltzing Mathilda (which means
) and finds a jumbuck (which means
) by a billabong (which means
) but then he's accosted by a squatter (which means
) and jumps into the billabong. The whole thing is one big
national Australian anthem.
science fiction epic.
retro heist story.
socialist rallying cry.
encoded treasure map.
Scottish marching song.
abandoned blogging site.
ninja instruction manual.
punk rock predecessor.
Dutch sailing tune.
4/4 waltzing song.
unstoppable battle robot.
fat Greek wedding.
mosquito rallying cry.
Arduino configuration guide.
secret horror show.
|Monday, July 7th, 2014|
"SORRY WE'RE OPEN" the sign outside the gourmet panini place said, "FOLLOW YOURSELF ON INSTAGRAM."
This neighborhood am going all Htrae on me now that I'm new here.
|Tuesday, June 17th, 2014|
The First Law of Thermodynamics is you don't talk about Thermodynamics