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Monday, January 25, 2010

Ruminations of an Old Goat

Time for some random thoughts.

Why is it that so many geeks look down on spectator sports? Other than "fine arts" types, geeks are the people I've found most likely to think spectator sports are stupid, as are the people who play them and enjoy them. I suspect it has something to do with geeks having been at the bottom of the high school "food chain" with the jocks at the top (and, in my experience, generally more than willing to lord that over the geeks). The one thing I can readily say is that most of my geek friends couldn't care less about sports. Maybe they just didn't grow up in a small, college town where, as a kid, part of your identity was wrapped up in how well the college's sports teams were doing.

By the way, having used the phrase "couldn't care less," why is this phrase so rarely used correctly? In speech and in writing, most people will use, "I could care less." Since they really mean they simply don't care about something, they should use "couldn't." This is one of my major pet peeves.

Another is hearing someone say, "It's a mute point." What the heck is a mute point? Is it a point that doesn't talk? What they actually want is "moot," as in, "It's a moot point." I realize this is primarily an issue of not picking up the minor difference in pronunciation between "moot" and "mute," but it still irks me when I hear the incorrect word used.

Oh, and I know most of us here know how to spell, but what is it about the word "lose" that makes it so tough to spell correctly? Yeah, I know, "lose" is one of those many exceptions in the English language, but it's a word I learned how to spell correctly when I was eight. Surely it's not asking too much of the kids of today that they manage to learn how to spell it correctly by the time they get out of high school? Or do they even teach kids to spell in school any more?

The web page for ReConStruction -- aka the North American Science Fiction Convention -- has been changed. The new look is much nicer, though there isn't any more information than there was before. The only actual change I could find was that attending memberships have gone up $15 to $110. Youth memberships (ages 13 - 24) are still $95. Children (ages 7 - 12) are $30. Children six and younger get in for free. The site doesn't list when prices will go up next but I'm sure they will go up as the convention draws nearer.

I was looking through the science fiction section at the local Barnes & Noble today. What's with all the fantasy these days? I know fantasy has been gaining in popularity since the '70s, but the sheer volume of fantasy and urban fantasy showing up on the shelves is daunting. It seems the only new science fiction coming out these days is military science fiction. I like military science fiction, but I'd be interested in reading something else, too. But back to fantasy; is it so much more popular because so few people care about or even seem to understand science? That's my best guess...

I just finished reading the latest collection for the online comic The Order of the Stick. If you've never played D&D, you'll probably miss a fair bit of the humor, but if you have any interest in creating comics, give the strip a look. The reason you should give it a look is for the artwork. The entire strip is done with stick figure art. Yes, it's fancy for stick figure art, but it is still pretty simple. The thing is, the artist conveys a wide range of emotions using that simple artwork. I just mention this in case those of you with actual artistic talent want to try the same approach. I don't have even that much artistic talent...

I've been watching the Vikings-Saints game while writing this. One thing through out the broadcast is just how bad cell phone commercials are. You'd think someone could come up with something better than the stupid "coverage" war between AT&T and Verizon. The other providers barely do better. Surely someone besides me should be able to think of mixing cell phones and the old Star Trek communicators in a commercial. Come on, guys, Shatner's still alive. Put him in a uniform, give him one of those communicators used in the original show and then have some young ensign show Captain Kirk up by using his iPhone or Android or something. Off hand, I can think of several different "plots," especially if they could sign Nimoy, too.

Next week I promise a single topic column.
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