English is English. No IMglish, please.

I found this userpic on LiveJournal some time ago, and it immediately struck a chord.

Go. Click. I'll wait.


Back so soon? Oh, well. I guess I can't force you. There are seventeen useful mnemonic devices for remembering (and thereby avoiding) common mistakes in the English language. For the benefit of — well, everyone, basically, since it took me three or four times through to read all of them, and quite a few more before I gave up and used GIMP to copy each saying out at my own pace — I've copied them out here. Some are humorous, some are pet peeves of mine, some are both, and a couple are neither.

  • "Your stupid"? My stupid what?
  • Your throws of ecstasy send me into throes of amusement.
  • Never enter your PIN number on an ATM machine. You could get the HIV virus.
  • You can defuse a bomb. But diffusing it might be a bad idea.
  • If you really did have baited breath, you would smell rather fishy.
  • I before E except after C or when sounding like A as in neighbor and weigh. Unless it's weird.
  • Your is not mine. You're means you are.
  • Thru is only a word if you're referring to getting a hamburger in your car.
  • Rouge is a color. A rogue isn't.
  • Per se means of itself. Per say is only how you pronounce it.
  • A horde is a large group, often unruly. To hoard is to gather, and often references dragons.
  • Fire is fiery. Burn all misspellings.
  • Et cetera does not abbreviate to ect., ecc., or et. etc.
  • e.g. means for example, and i.e. means that is. i.e., always be correct.
  • You should definitely spell definitely definitely.
  • If you had a D, you wouldn't deserve congratulations.
  • A lot is two words. Allot means to distribute.

When you've memorized all these, Paul Brians has an absurdly long list of other common errors. He also has lists of common non-errors, commonly misspelled words, and other interesting things.

The plumber, in the laundry room, with the pipe wrench

I'm doing some home improvement work in my laundry room. This required removing both my washing machine and drier. I just put them back and started a load of laundry.

Now, the rest of this may not make sense to some of you until I explain that you do things differently on your side of the pond. I realize that your washing machine only has one water input, and an internal heater that heats the water to the correct temperature, but that's not the way we do things here. On this side of the pond, washing machines have two water inputs. A red one for hot water and a blue one for cold.
Also, laundry rooms have two water faucets. A red one that supplies hot water and a blue one that supplies cold water. (If anything in that last sentence surprised you, please don't tell me. I do NOT want to know. My brane hurts enough already.)

There are also two water supply hoses. Although often identical, my set has a visual (but not functional) difference: one has blue bands on the ends and the other has red bands on the ends.

OK, so now you know what is supposed to happen.
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On installing XP

I've got this 5-year-old hunk-a-junk piece of hardware that I finally got around fixing up into a vaguely useful computer. Mostly, by purchasing more memory and a larger disk drive for my real computer, and moving the old hardware to the old computer, which had neither.

Then, because I'm donating it to a place that "needs" Windows, I went to install Windows XP on the thing. This is where the story gets a little interesting.

I figured I'd install XP, the wireless drivers, then Firefox and AVG Free while running Windows Update. The first two went as planned. Mostly. However, the XP CD had apparently only one video driver. 640x480x16. That's 16 colors, not 16 bits. It also had no drivers for the built-in ethernet port, and had difficulty realizing that the drivers for the wireless card actually went with the wireless card that had just been installed. So, I had:
A 640x480x16 display
No ethernet port
No wireless card
I did not check for the presence or absence of a modem. (But driver updates downloaded from Windows Update lead me to believe that it was not present either.)

Once I convinced Windows to actually use the wireless drivers I had installed, I decided that Windows Update was a slightly higher priority operation than I had thought. 83 (yes eight-three) high-priority updates, one hardware update for the video card, about two hours, and no reboot, later, I now have a sensible 1280x1024x32-bit display, and am happily installing Firefox and AVG. I still have no ethernet or audio though. I will, surprise, surprise, need a reboot to activate at least one of those high-priority updates.

Post-reboot, I still seem to have no audio or ethernet drivers. This is a bit of an issue, especially the no-audio part.

On Saki IM

I recently, for not particularly good reasons, decided to install the Facebook IM app, which is powered by Saki. Not too long after that, I discovered that (1) There was apparently no Ga^H^HPidgin[0] plugin for Saki, and (2) there is a standalone IM app.

Since I'm pretty strict about not using Firefox as an IM client[1], I grudgingly[2] downloaded and installed the IM app. This went fine, although I had to click several times on "Thanks, but I've already registered", both before downloading and after completing the install.
Yeah. About that. The "completing the install" bit. It asked for my login, which I provided, and then it asked (I'm paraphrasing here) "Do you want to install the Saki IM client for your PC?"

Do I want to *what*? Didn't I just do that? OK, fine. Go ahead. At which point it downloads[3] and runs yet another .msi file. The install completes. Maybe. Now it wants permission to download and install Adobe Flash Player. ... Um ... Noooo. It's already installed, thank you. Which it evidently was, since nothing broke when I clicked no. Then it asks for the login info. Again. Which I provide. Again. Now it starts asking me more questions: "Do you want to install and run 'owl'?" "Do you want to install and run 'friends'?"[4] "Do you want to install and run 'weather'?" "Do you want...?" Every time I click on anything at all, I have to specify whether I want to install and run it, or just run it. And, of course, after I select one of those, I have to compile whatever it is I just downloaded before I can use it.

You might say I am somewhat less than impressed. You might also say that Antarctica has been known to be slightly chilly in winter.

[0] One of these days I'll remember what that program is called. But for something like three years, I think, I knew it as Gaim.
[1] "For the right job, use the right tool."[5]
[2] The right tool for IM is Pidgin.
[3] Using IE, of course, because everyone always uses IE! I don't[1], just in case that wasn't obvious, and forcing it down my throat is an excellent way to make me ... unhappy. To put it mildly. I'm not quite sure why IE is still allowed to speak to the Internet, period.
[4] This is an IM client, mind you. An IM client where you can only talk to your friends.
[5] Of course, if it's not the right job, you can use anything you want. No one ever mentions that little detail, though.
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed


I've been trying to catch up in ASR[0] recently, and some bright spark links to these wonderful pictures. Not that I think Zimmlock[1] particularly needs any more ideas, but they just look like something he'd draw, just for the fun of it.

[0] 300+ day retentions are either wonderful or the bane of my existence. I haven't decided which.
[1] Non-TT-F folks: A very talented artist who usually draws buildings.

On visiting Europe

(Portions of this only apply to those of you who are (un)fortunate (take your pick) enough to live in the USA.)

Item the first: Tell the nice people at the US Department of State that you are leaving at least a month before you actually are.
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Item the second: It's often a good idea to get your flight rescheduled in person. Social engineering and all.
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Item the third: If you failed at item the first, expect to spend a full day at your nearest passport processing center. In my case, that was Chicago, a ~2 hour drive away.
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Item the fourth: Determine the train schedule *before* deciding how long you're willing to wait for your lost luggage.
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Item the fifth: When in the Netherlands, don't plan on renting bikes on Pentecost Monday. There won't be any available.
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Item the sixth: When visiting someone you've never met before, make sure you have a phone number for them, and they have a phone number for you, and everyone knows the plans.
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On spinning one's wheels

Or, as some more concisely refer to it, "biking".

(Yes, there's a reason some of you are having déjà-vu.)

Winter has broken, finally. I'm not sure if spring has sprung; there are still patches of snow, but it's 55°F (13°C) out. I'd forgotten how much pure, unadulterated *JOY* there was in biking without having to be bundled up like the Michelin man. Never mind that I've probably already spent an hour on my bike today; I don't have to be in bed until 22:20 at the earliest[0], so I think I'll be getting a little bit more exercise tonight. Just as soon as I re-attach my water bottle holders.
Besides, exercise makes shifting my bedtime earlier by almost three hours much less of a challenge.

[0] 05:20 is not my idea of a decent time to be leaving for anywhere[1]. It's not a decent time to be doing anything except sleeping, in fact, but I don't get much choice in the matter. Not when coordinating spring break schedules with about fifty people.
[1] Louisiana. I'll be back in just over a week.
  • Current Mood
    chipper chipper

On alcohol

Yesterday, a few of us were hanging out, and I managed to display my copious (read: "non-existent") knowledge of alcoholic beverages. In an attempt to educate me, one of the other fellows there informs me "Let me know when you turn 21, and I'll take you out and get you a shot of Everclear."
This is not a surprising sentence to hear around here (What can I say? It's a college campus.), except for one minor detail. It's not usually said to people who turned turned 21 just over fifteen months ago.

On sprains

How many times have I been told that I'm going to hurt myself the way I play Ultimate Frisbee?
Personally, I haven't the slightest, but after something in the vicinity of two and a half years, I have finally succeeded. On Sunday, I landed hard, and wrong, on my left hand, and sprained both my thumb knuckles.

Not that I let that stop me from playing today; before playing, I finally went out, got a splint (finding one long enough to protect my entire thumb was interesting), and first-aid tape to apply the splint. When I'm wearing my biking gloves (which I do when playing Ultimate), the splint does its job quite well (tape to immobilize the top knuckle, and the glove holds the splint in place to immobilize the other two joints), but I'm still trying to figure out if it's possible to immobilize both knuckles with just tape; the proximal phalanx is entirely too well surrounded by flesh (mostly muscle) to get a good tape job. Fortunately, I don't need to immobilize the joint at the base of the thumb (right next to the wrist) too, or there'd be no solution other than the gloves; tape around the palm is a non-option, due to the shape of the splint. And the fact that it's notoriously impossible to apply tape to a palm.

On my craziest moment this summer.

Yesterday, I was in a group that was sharing our craziest moments this summer. Not to imply that my summer was anything that vaguely resembles sane, but that was a pretty easy one for me.

The moment in question is closely related to that image over -------> there. For part of the summer, we drove the van on the right. Then, in Savannah, Georgia, we saw the van on the left, and noticed it was for sale. Now, there are three of us, of which exactly one drives a stick-shift, and the new-to-us one was ... you guessed it. A stick-shift. Does that stop my cousin from purchasing it? No. Of course not. Does this mean that either of the other two learn how to drive a stick-shift. No. Of course not.
All this means is that Dale gets to drive a 1993 Volkswagen van (overweight and underpowered, here we come) from Savannah to West Lafayette, by way of Elkton, Maryland, which is, if anything, further from West Lafayette than Savannah is.