The Blunder of the Solve

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 9:15 PM | Filed under

It's Teen Best Friends Week on Wheel of Fortune. The category of the first round puzzle was Slogan, and Pat explained before the round that the contestants who solve the puzzle could tell him what product or company the slogan was for to win a $3,000 bonus.

_AT FR_SH
(only vowels left)

I'm surprised and a little embarrassed that I thought the answer might be "Oat Fresh". The contestants apparently didn't know the answer; they asked to buy an E. There were two E's.

EAT FRESH

Pat asks them to solve it. So one of the girls on the team says, uncertainly, "Subway?" This is obviously not the correct solution to the puzzle. The other girl on the team gives a surprised gasp/laugh hybrid as the first girl continues, "Eat fresh?"

Pat's such a nice guy. He let them have it. I guess it could have been a little confusing for Pat to ask her to solve it when the correct solution is already on the board. It could be that she thought that Pat wanted the company with the given slogan.

I wonder if this is the first time this has happened.

Bonus Coins

Saturday, January 26, 2008 at 12:15 AM | Filed under

You know how for the past nine years, the government has been running a program to mint special commemorative quarters that feature each of the fifty states? It's been a huge success. This year was supposed to be the tenth and final year of the program, ending with the quarter for Hawaii, but the government passed a bill that will extend the program one more year. In 2009, six new special coins will be minted that feature Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. (source)

I'm not a coin collector (I lost interested after the Delaware quarter), but it is obvious to me that this is both wonderful and horrible news.

It's good news because, yay, more quarters. More quarters means more money! And people like to collect quarters. Especially coin collectors.

It's bad news because of those coin cases that everyone bought to display their quarters. Some of them are expensive, and some of them are cardboard, but all of them were built to house exactly 50 quarters. Now those cases are all totally worthless. They won't be able to hold all the commemorative coins! I predict that when 2009 rolls around, every coin collector in the U.S. will become enraged. We will see riots, murder, looting, suicide, rape, and everything else we associate with angry coin collectors.

Word Roots

Friday, January 25, 2008 at 6:06 PM | Filed under

Sometimes, you use a word without really thinking about where it came from. It's important to recognize the different morphemes that make up a word to ensure that you write the word in a meaningful way.

That probably didn't make a lot of sense, so I'll just throw a bunch of examples at you. The word "wonderful" doesn't simply mean that something is very good. It means that it evokes a sense of wonder. Hence, the "wonder" part of "wonderful". The word "fantastic" takes root from the word "fantasy", so the word might best be used to describe something imaginary (or magical, if you'd rather go with the literary genre definition; it's all imaginary anyway). "Horrible" comes from the word "horror", so it rightly means that something is terrifying. Use the word "incredible" to describe something so amazing or unlikely that it is not credible or believable.

Of course, you can use these words however you like, but using the words in the way I described them brings the most literal definition into plain sight.

(P.S. Tomorrow's my birthday!)

Shiver Stars

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 10:17 PM | Filed under ,

For the past few days, it's been bitingly cold outside, which sucks, because I hate the cold. It was 20 degrees this morning. Brrrr! I have to pack my backpack with gloves, a hat, and ear warmers. Also, I don't like wearing a big coat. I don't understand how some people can stand to wear shorts in this weather, but I've seen it several times at the university.

My birthday is this Saturday, and the last two times I threw a party, snow threatened to force my guests to stay home. Fortunately, none of my parties have ever been ruined by snow, but it kinda makes me wish that I had a summer birthday. I'd love to have a party at a park, but I know that in January, nobody at my party would be happy. A summer birthday would also mean better presents. People have been asking for a week what they should get me; I've been telling them that I don't know, and it's because I just already got a lot of great presents for Christmas.

I was just outside, carrying stuff out to the recycle bin, and I noticed that the stars are very visible. They are bright and sharp and pretty. Normally, when I try to look at the stars during summer nights, it's too hard to see them. But tonight, it's very clear outside. Why is it that the only time it's good to see the stars is when it's too cold to look?

I Love Popcorn!

Monday, January 21, 2008 at 4:10 PM | Filed under

One of my favorite snacks is popcorn. I like it because it's not unhealthy if it isn't coated in greasy butter, and also because it is fun to pop. The popcorn I like to eat has trace amounts of fat, so I feel good in knowing as I eat it that it won't instantly kill me.

Of course, plain, non-buttery popcorn can get a little boring after a while, which is why I like to add popcorn seasoning. I have several flavors of seasoning.

Dean Jacob's 4 Popcorn Butters
Dean Jacob's is the company that makes all those cylindrical shakers with partitions that hold 4 or more different spices, herbs, seasonings, etc. Their popcorn butter mix is visible in the back of the picture. It has four flavors:
Butter Salt
It's not too bad. It definitely has a buttery flavor to it, and it also has a touch of tangy salt. It's not bad, but not very interesting, either. It would be horribly boring to add to buttered popcorn.
Garlic Butter
Very tasty. Adds a very gourmet-like garlicky taste to popcorn. Adding just a little bit of this can really change the taste of popcorn. Adding too much overwhelms the popcorn's flavor.
Buttery Toffee
The sweetest flavor I have. At first, I was afraid I would hate it, but I don't. I'm not too familiar with eating toffee, but I think it tastes like caramel. But I can't have too much of it, or I get sick of it.
Buttery Herbs & Jalapeno
This is by far the spiciest flavor in my collection. (Did you know that spiciness is a combination of the sensations of heat and pain?) Spicy popcorn seems kinda weird at first, but it's good, as long as you have a nice cool drink to have with it.
Kernel Season's Popcorn Seasoning
These are really tasty! Their website says they have 14 different flavors, but I've only seen 5 in stores—and of those, I've only tried 3 (because salt is boring, and I don't like caramel too much). Other flavors I'd like to try are Parmesan & Garlic, Ranch, Sour Cream & Onion, and maybe Chocolate Marshmallow. Here are the flavors I have tried:
Nacho Cheddar
This is the first flavor I tried, and it's really good! I like cheese, and I like nachos, and the transition to popcorn is very good. The bright orange color is a little disconcerting, but it has a rich, strong flavor.
Butter
Like Butter Salt listed above, this flavor is fine to have every once in a while, but it isn't anything to get too excited about.
White Cheddar
This is my absolute favorite flavor! It's cheesy and tasty, and even a little tangy. I add a little more of this than I probably should to popcorn, but it's just too tasty. I can eat an entire bag sprinkled with this flavor without getting tired of it.

Fun With Garfield

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 7:20 PM | Filed under , ,

When I was searching my computer for pictures to put on my bulletin board, I came across a few Garfield comics.

People on the Internet have done some really crazy things to Garfield comics. The first weird thing is removing Garfield's thought bubbles. This changes it from being a comic about a geeky, losely man and his snarky, pissy cat into a comic about a deranged loser who talks to his cat.

It turns this:


into this:


A bunch of other messed-with Garfield comics are available at the Truth and Beauty Bombs Forum.

Something else that's funny to do with Garfield comics is to randomly select panels from different comics and combine them into one crazy, far-out strip. Sometimes, they don't make a lot of sense:


Sometimes, they do make sense, or at least create very surreal comics:






As you can see, I've had a lot of fun playing with the Garfield Randomizer. The only thing I didn't really like about the Randomizer is that it was apparently designed to only pick panels from comics between 2001 and 2004. I tweaked the code so that picks from nearly all of the comic strips (1979 through 2007). The only problem with this is that the artwork sometimes changes dramatically through a randomized strip, and you'll even sometimes see a panel that isn't colorized. But I suggest doing this if you dare to see the most absurd comics in your life. If you want to see the entire strip of one of the panels, right-click on one of the panels and click Save Background to save the entire strip to your computer.

While I'm at it, I think I'll mention the Garfield search engine. This is neat to use to find specific phrases in a Garfield comic. Search for "Irma" and you'll see all my favorite comics that take place in the diner.

Furniture Sale

Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 3:52 PM | Filed under ,

I'm at Cost Plus, where they have many signs boasting their furniture sale. They all say, "All furniture up to 50% off." However, most of the furniture isn't fully half off. The sofa I'm sitting on is only 20% off. Since "up to 50%" means that the discounts can be less than half off, why don't they just take the extra step and make the signs read, "up to 100% off"? It sounds much more impressive, and isn't any more misleading.

My Fun Bulletin Board

Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 10:45 PM | Filed under , ,

I found a bulletin board in the garage, and I had a little spare time today, so I decided to put a bunch of fun junk on it to snazz up my room. Mostly, it's Far Side comics from the daily calendar I had last year, but there's a few other comics up there, along with other stuff. When I find something funny, I'll just staple it onto the board, over the stuff that's already there.


You can click the picture for a closeup. I'm going to add a few keychains, too.

Blockbuster Gift Card

Friday, January 4, 2008 at 2:47 PM | Filed under

I got a Blockbuster gift card for Christmas, but the little paper folder it was inserted into didn't have the value of the card written in the appropriate spot—only a few question marks instead. I looked at the back of the card, and found a number I could call to inquire about my balance. When I called that number, however, I got a recording mentioning that the offices were closed and that I would have to call back some other time.

I assumed that the telephone card balance inquiry system had mistakingly been taken offline during the Christmas holiday, so I went to the Blockbuster website to see if there was a form online, but all the website had was the same phone number.

I finally got around to calling the phone number again a few minutes ago. After pushing through a few menu choices, I finally got to the gift card balance inquiry line, where a recording told me that all the agents were helping other customers, and that I should expect a hold time of at least 25 minutes. What?! I'm not going to wait that long! Why isn't this system automated? This is crazy!

Update (Jan. 15, 2008 at 7:32 p.m.): I just tried again, but their offices closed an hour and a half ago.

Update (Jan. 18, 2008 at 10:30 p.m.): I almost forgot! In case you're curious, I e-mailed Blockbuster with my card number, and someone replied yesterday to tell me that the card is worth $10.

Excuse Me

Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at 11:55 AM | Filed under

I had fun ringing in the new year, and I'm sure that the 20 other people at the party did too. What I didn't enjoy, however, was the fact that it was hard to navigate through the house because of so many people standing in the way. I noticed that I was uttering, "Excuse me," several times throughout the night. I also noticed that in and of itself, "excuse me" isn't a perfectly polite thing to say.

"Excuse me" is an imperative sentence, so in saying it to people, you are commanding that they excuse you. It's equivalent to saying, "Get me a glass of water," without adding "please". The polite thing to say would be, "Please excuse me."

I don't think people are going to be mad at you if you just stick to "excuse me", though. Everyone knows that it's something to say when you're trying to be polite, and it's much better than pushing through wordlessly.

Fortune Cookies

Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at 7:25 PM | Filed under ,

Happy 2008! Yet another revolution around the sun from this arbitrary point! Our family celebrated by playing several hours of Yahtzee at my aunt's house up north in Bellingham. To supplement the usual snack of Chex Mix, my sister and I made some fortune cookies, and we put specialized messages inside of them!

My sister was in charge of making the batter and putting it in the oven, and I was in charge of folding them. Folding the cookies isn't very hard—the only thing that makes it difficult is that it has to be folded at a temperature of 300 degrees. I had to wear some well insulated gloves, but I still burned my hand a little bit. Nothing serious, though.

I'm going to list a bunch of the fortune cookie messages here. Many of them were inside jokes; I removed those from this list.

  • You might not want to eat this cookie... I already licked it.
  • Everybody likes you. Yay!
  • This fortune has a crush on you.
  • You will find true love tonight.
  • You will excel at something you are good at.
  • You will find true love on Valentine's Day.
  • You will find a lucky penny! ☺
  • Turn that frown upside-down!
  • You will realize the secret to making delicious sandwiches at midnight.
  • One must be crazy to expect help from a cookie.
  • This fortune will self-destruct in 10 seconds.
  • The star of stupidity is shining on you.
  • You have misfortune stuck in your teeth.
  • This little slip of paper doesn't have any answers for you.
  • Keep this fortune in a safe place. You never know when it might come in handy.
  • Please don’t open this fortune cookie. Thank you.
  • Beware of advice.
  • All I really need to know I learned from scraps of paper.
  • Your stupidity is your greatest enemy.
  • You will soon be more aware of your growing awareness.
  • You are not not not not not not not not not going to die today.
  • Redeem this code for a shot at $5,000! 3HJ5SC6M2WSAH
  • This fortune will not come true.
  • Don't read this fortune or you will get bad luck.
  • Don't look under your bed this week.
  • Your luck just ran out.
  • Poof! Now you're a frog!
  • Don’t read this aloud.
  • This fortune no verb.
  • When fortune cookies are outlawed, only outlaws will have fortune cookies.
  • Congratulations! You have won!
  • Wise man sees no point in killing a dead horse.
  • When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out. It's what's inside that counts.