Saturday, June 5, 2010

FYI for the latest.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The "at" Is Silent

Leif has brought up a mechanical concern with Twitter style that has so far gone unresolved by anyone in any sort of position of power. I call that a power vacuum, and I'm here to step in.

Leif wrings his hands:
My head almost went all Scanners while typing the “a @gowalla.” Strunk and White, where are you when I need you the most? Is it “a @” or “an @”?
The correct way to do this is to keep the "@" silent, and I'll tell you why.

Let's take Erica Mayer's tweet
My buddy @jonberrydesign is at the #Olympics working in graphic design! You should follow him, he's a swell dude <3
Do you pronounce this, "My buddy at-jonberrydesign is at the hash-Olympics"*? I don't. When I sign up for Twitter, I pick user names that don't involve "at" being said at the start. My Twitter handle is Punsultant. I am not the at-Punsultant; nor am I running the at-MNBeardOff.

The "@" indicates that the string of letters immediately following it is a user name. Similar symbols include the apostrophe, which indicates possession or acts as a replacement for letters within a word; the period, which indicates the end of a sentence; and the quotation mark, which indicates speech from someone other than the narrator. These symbols are called punctuation and are not pronounced.**

My point is this: "@" is punctuation that Twitter has invented. Find me a reputable style guide that says punctuation should be pronounced and I will start saying "at-username." Until then, the "at" should remain silent.

*I would like to compete in the hash Olympics.

**Sometimes quotation marks are pronounced when reading aloud. I don't care.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Winter 1, Winter 2

Do you ever notice how winter before New Year's looks different from winter after New Year's? True, the Christmas decorations are taken down sometime in January, but that's not exactly it. I could never really place it until a few days ago, when I saw a man in a stylish coat and scarf.

After the first of the year, we stop giving a shit about how we dress, because it's just too damn cold.

Before the first of the year, people are still excited about wearing their nice pea coat, a stylish scarf, and some sort of jaunty hat. But once January gets at full tilt, and all the way until March, it's like a race to see who can wear the most layers. This results in lumpy, waddling, sad-looking Minnesotans.

I don't think the fact that spring is just out of reach helps things much, either.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 Volume I

What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow? European.

According to Wikipedia the Barn Swallow,
It is not a particularly fast flier, with a speed estimated at about 11 m/s, up to 20 m/s and a wing beat rate of approximately 5, up to 7–9 times each second
(Side note: let's try to keep the questions actual, and not clumsy references to 35 year old movies.)

How is it that you prefer Nutty Bars over Pearson's Nut Rolls? Isn't that kind of anti-Minnesotan of you?

OH MY GOD. They are totally not the same thing. Not even close. I love a Pearson's Nut Roll. I think you reveal your ignorance of delicious snacktime solutions by confusing these two delicious yet TOTALLY DISTINCT items.

Which beard/mustache/facial-hair style is your favorite?

This question was asked by Brianne, and is quite excellent. For wearing, my favorite facial hair style is currently a standard full beard, trimmed to Emily's specifications. In the past I have enjoyed pre-war German-style mutton chops (before it was cool) and the Abe Lincoln chin strap. In the future, I would like to go as Martin Van Buren for Halloween, and the Chester A Arthur beard is also hilarious and wonderful (which means I might try it for a day).

What is the best calculator pound for pound?

I would turn to one of these British calculators for calculating pounds.

what day is it?

Today is Wednesday, January 27. Today is the birthday of William Randolph Hearst, Zephram Cochran himself James Cromwell, Kieth Olbermann, and the death day of William Nolde, the last man to die in the Vietnam War. It is also Hump Day, six days after my anniversary with Emily, and 267 days until my birthday.

War elephant or tactical rhinoceros?

Rhinos are built for war: they are heavily armored, they have those massive horns and a strong neck. They're also fast: they can run at 25 miles per hour, which apparently elephants can do too. But honestly, a rhino is going to be able to turn much faster. In battle, I'll take the rhino any day.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

False Hope

Today it's supposed to be 42 degrees in Minneapolis. It's January 16.

"Awesome!" you might think. Nope, not awesome. This sucks. This is so damn stupid. I hate the January Thaw.

See, in Minnesota, our winters are brutal and last from November to April. That's pretty close to half the year. When you put spring and fall in there, that doesn't leave much room for 85 and sunny. So when it gets close to springtime, when things start melting a bit, I get really excited. Winter is exhausting, and by the middle of January I'm ready for it to be over.

Enter the January Thaw.

Every year around this time, the temperature spikes by 30 degrees, things start melting, and my springtime reflexes activate. The woooooshhhhhhhh of cars driving through puddles, the sparkling of water droplets from snow melting, the thinning of snow in places. All of these are indicators of spring. But actually, spring is fifteen weeks away. Fifteen weeks! That's 105 days. That's nearly a third of a year.

So, give me 25 below, please. No more of this 40 and sunny. I need 25 below zero right now, so every bit of hope in me is securely frozen in place, not ready to move for... ugh... 105 days.

MaBeGroMo: The End

I realize that it's half way through the month of January by now, but I would be remiss if I did not finish out my MaBeGroMo updates.

For the month of December, I did not trim my beard. It started like this, moved in this direction, and this was the final product:

Look at how manly that is! It's so manly that Hercules crapped right in his pants and had to put on a dress so all residual crapping due to the extreme manliness of this photo would just fall to the floor--because it was inevitable for months.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Young Santa

When Emily and I go to restaurants, children will often stare at me. My best guess is because they see me as a young Santa.

So, to fulfill my promise of a mid-month MaBeGroMo photo update (which is to say, this is 16 days of growth), I will let you be the judge. Young Santa:

But this picture is shadowy. It does not do real justice to the fullness of my beard. As a favor to you, I have highlighted where my beard ends and the shadow begins. I think you will be impressed: