Happy Anniversary!

(Personal)

2010-12-26 10:24
Comment

Traditional form:

My spouse and I have been married for 16 years.

Modern form:

My spouse and I have been married to each other for 16 consecutive years.

Peter Seebach

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HAH AHAH AHAHAH AHAH NOW I HAVE A PRESENT

(Personal)

2010-12-23 20:32
Comment

So, one of the problems I face, pretty much every year, is that I have no clue how to shop for Jesse. Jesse strikes me as basically self-contained and correct to begin with. Also, if I know Jesse wants something, I generally get it… Meaning that come late December, I’m stumped.

Well, I was stumped until I wandered around Target for about half an hour, and then I saw Something I Am Sure Jesse Would Like. Now all I have to do is figure out how to sneak it into the house and get it wrapped. I’m thinking of relying on an old standby; I have a very hard time distinguishing some kinds of smells, so I often have Jesse tell me whether milk is okay or whatever. So I’ll go with “Hey, does this smell like chloroform to you?”

Peter Seebach

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My first app, now available!

(Personal, GeekStuff)

2010-12-22 16:59
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SeebsFrac is now available in the iTunes app store. This is an early version, and there will be, I expect, fixes and updates. There’s stuff that doesn’t work the way I want it to, there’s features I want to add, and so on. For more information, you could see the SeebsFrac support page.

Peter Seebach

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Yay thumpy music!

(Personal)

2010-12-22 12:15
Comment [1]

One of the forums I’m on has a Secret Santa thing every year, and my secret santa sent me a bunch of thumpy music.

I love thumpy music. When it’s working (especially if it’s sort of new to me), it’s a lot like ADHD meds; it somehow cuts through the constant buzzing and static of my brain’s normal addled haze and makes it possible for me to think. And, perhaps more impressively, sometimes it makes it possible for me to [b]not[/b] think. I’m not good at that. Like a lot of ADHD people, I can’t sleep until I’m utterly exhausted. As long as there are things I haven’t fully thought through, my brain’s running full speed. All the time. I’m sorta used to it, but I really do wonder what it’s like to be “relaxed”.

Odd historical trivia: There was a 3DO game called [i]Starfighter 3000[/i], which was pretty fun (amazing for the time, too), which I liked particularly for its thumpy sound track. I still have a copy of that sound track in my music collection (the PC version of the game used standard CD audio for the music tracks, so I could just rip them). I sometimes wonder whether the person/people who did it are still doing music, and if so, where I’d find them.

Peter Seebach

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I finally fixed honey roasted peanuts!

(Personal)

2010-12-21 19:26
Comment

I almost-like honey roasted peanuts. I like honey, I like peanuts, they ought to go together, but there’s always been Something Missing. Never could figure out what.

Until today. Cinnamon. Powdered cinnamon, add to jar, shake around, until peanuts are lightly coated. MMMM! It’s like the same thing that makes cinnamon toast work.

Peter Seebach

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Christmas Music: What you need to know to understand it.

(Personal)

2010-12-19 02:09
Comment

At a gas station the other day I heard a version of “Jingle Bells” which left me wondering whether meth is really illegal everywhere, or just everywhere but where they record Christmas music. I recently heard some horrible carol carefully redone to the tune of Ruby Tuesday, followed not half an hour later by something that had the same melody and arrangement as She’s So Heavy.

I finaly get it. I am no longer annoyed by the utter incompetence of the people who record Christmas Music. I am no longer unable to understand why they do this.

They are doing it to fuck with you.

Think about it. Imagine that you really love music, so much that you’re willing to take the hours/pay/consistency deal that performing music for a living offers most people. And that means that, if you’re going to be doing music, you’re going to be singing advertising jingles, and you’re going to be really emoting while you tell people that this sale is only available once a year. Think how frustrating this would be. No one wants to see you being creative. No one cares that you and your friends are recording better music than anything that’s gonna get put out on a major record label this year.

The only thing left is Christmas music. Because people get so burned out on it, there’s a huge demand for new interpretations of existing Christmas songs. Things that will be different enough to markedly reduce the number of retail workers who spend Christmas in the lockup after killing a number of customers, even though everyone knows no jury in the world would convict them.

So, what do you do? You get creative. You pour your frustrated dreams into making something that’s so laughably awful that getting paid for it almost makes up for not being able to do something you’d actually like to do. You steal tunes from songs that everyone in the world except the people who are buying Christmas music will recognize. (Come, now. If they listened to music the rest of the time, would they release the crap we get subjected to?) You try to polish up your Frank Zappa impression, you see how much you can sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks without actually using hardware to do it. And you laugh about how utterly implausible it is that the idiots buying this stuff haven’t caught on.

This is, I think, the only explanation that makes any sense.

Peter Seebach

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Holiday season retail secrets

(Personal)

2010-12-12 00:46
Comment [1]

I see no reason why WikiLeaks should have a monopoly on revealing carefully-guarded secrets. What I’m about to reveal to you are secrets more closely guarded than the formula for Coca Cola. Most people would not believe these things even if you told them. They are outlandish, they are implausible, and most people would never imagine them. And yet, I tell you: They are true.

  • The person who decided not to order enough of something you wanted to buy is not, in fact, working at the cash register.
  • Most retail workers are not licensed therapists with adequate training to resolve domestic disputes. Their unwillingness to pick sides in your dispute with your spouse reflects this lack of training, not a general unwillingness to help.
  • Many retail workers are, in fact, people. They may have friends or family. Typically, they need to eat at least a couple of times a day and sleep occasionally in order to stay healthy.
  • The person who did not hire enough cashiers is also, most likely, not one of the people working the registers.
  • Despite their impressive accomplishments, the reality is that most retail workers are not psychic. They cannot read your mind, and they cannot foretell the future. They did not have any way of knowing what you would want to buy today.
  • The vast majority of retail workers have never met your niece, and cannot reliably tell you what she likes.
  • The clerk you’re asking for advice about cameras did not sneak into your garage and siphon gas out of your car, causing you to run late because you had to stop at the gas station.
  • With rare exceptions, the people working at the shopping mall did not contribute in any way to your decision to postpone some of your shopping until now.
  • Yes, actually. That is too much to ask. Show some sense.
  • No, the 16-year-old whose first job ever is seasonal help at Target did not “ruin Christmas” for your kid. The idiot who decided to buy a really popular toy on the 23rd of December did. Buy a mirror.
  • While you may be under stress, the retail workers you’re dealing with are under the accumulated stress of hundreds of people all of whom are just as stressed as you are.

I dunno what it is about Christmas shopping that makes people be assholes to retail workers. But, you know. Knock it off. They have homes to go back to, for the most part. They have families to be with. They have friends. They have, in short, just as much right to a peaceful or relaxing holiday season as you do.

And, here’s the other secret: If you treat them decently, you’ll get better service. Works way, way, better than yelling at them. So even if you’re completely free of genuine concern for fellow human beings, and all you want is to get good service, you’ll still be better off being nice.

Peter Seebach

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Making the impractical practical

(Personal)

2010-12-09 00:06
Comment [5]

There was some cyberpunk novel I read some years back involving a character who had the phrase “poor impulse control” tattooed on his forehead, as a warning to people who encountered him. This strikes me as a great idea, but there would be serious problems with trying to impose such a thing as a penalty through the court system.

However, this is the sort of thing where, with a little nudge from the government, the free market could take care of it:

Subsidize facial tattoos which read “POOR IMPULSE CONTROL”. Subsidize them to the point where, in fact, they are absolutely free to the recipient.

Problem solved.

Peter Seebach

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The better mousetrap

(Personal)

2010-12-08 11:43
Comment

They say if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.

Okay, let’s think about it. In practice, a “no-kill” trap doesn’t change things much; either you get the mouse back or it dies, most likely. So screw that. The better mousetrap should cause mice to transition from this life to the next. Ideally, it should dispose of the bodies. It should self-place; you shouldn’t have to guess where mice are likely to go. It shouldn’t need you to refresh or replace bait.

Now, let’s go out and add some wild wishlist ideas. In the event of a serious mouse glut, the better mousetrap ought to be able to construct additional mousetraps in order to keep up with the supply of mice. In the absence of mice, the better mousetrap should be in some other way beneficial; say, pleasant to look at.

Ideally, when there are no mice that need hunting, it should curl up in a ball and purr.

Anyone got any ideas? Sounds like something that there could be some serious demand for.

Peter Seebach

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More thoughts about autism...

(Personal, Autism)

2010-12-01 14:17
Comment [2]

My friend Dave commented on my post about autism, using his own blog… madness!

He said something interesting:

He’s also absolutely, completely non-judgmental, which makes it easy to be yourself around him. He’ll never consider you a bad person; there’s no such thing in his world. Though he’s discovered the hard way that there are people who shouldn’t be trusted to not steal, or who can’t be expected to be honest, or who otherwise aren’t good to have around for a particular activity for whatever reason.

This is an interesting description. It’s pretty fair, I think. There’s a second side to it, mind; I don’t consider people “good” either, in the sense that apparently other people do. I may like them, or consider them quite reliable, or whatever, but the idea of them being “good people” is incoherent. People are much too real to be good or bad.

This helps me understand something that’s long mystified me. I have, essentially by definition, a notable lack of social skills. I’m not exactly a sympathetic listener. And yet, complete strangers pour their hearts out to me. They tell me what they are struggling with, what they wish they could be, and so on. And I’ve never been able to understand why. I like it, I think. It is a neverending delight to me to see all the ways in which people can exist, and the things they can value or love. But it seems awfully odd. Why do people do this? What makes them do it?

But it occurs to me… The lack of judgement is probably something that, by and large, comes through. I have certainly seen people carefully refraining from expressing their contempt, and I suspect people can see that, and distinguish between that and simply lacking any contempt. There are exceptions; I’ve met a very small number of people who are firmly convinced that I think I’m “better than” other people. Whatever that means. I think this comes from my lack of status cues; I always treat people as though they are separate from me, and thus fully independent of me, just as I’m independent of them.

People who expect deference see this as arrogance, and people who expect to be bullied see it as kindness, but they’re both wrong. I just think they’re people, neither “better” nor “worse” than me, or anyone else.

So I’ve got that sorta figured out. Now if we could just figure out why even cats who don’t like people allow me to pick them up and treat them like kittens.

This reminds me of a story I heard, I don’t remember where, in which some people were discussing the Gospel stories of Jesus associating with sinners, and one of them claimed that Jesus never saw a prostitute. Well, of course, people were quick to point out that prostitutes were among the people Jesus interacted with. The point being made, though, was that the speaker thought that Jesus never saw “a prostitute”, but rather, a person who at some times engaged in prostitution. This struck me as an eminently sensible realization, and one I wish more people would have about the world. No one is really just a clerk, or just a waiter, or just a mother; they are people, full of multiple roles and identities, and you ignore the others at your peril.

I think there’s a bit of irony here; lacking the ability to see others as fully human means that I see them all as human, even when other people tend to filter them into functional roles. I don’t see a waiter, or a cashier; I just see a person who happens to be waiting or running a cash register. (This, I think, ties back into that identity/attribute distinction.) This, too, seems to be something people pick up on; either that, or the world is chock full of people who inexplicably give me preferential treatment for some other reason.

Peter Seebach

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