Friday, December 29, 2017


Teaching my kids to pronounce Satyr correctly. They keep saying "Satire."

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

Boss had me make Christmas cards for him to give to workers. Everyone got Die Hard Christmas cards. Inside message: "Yippie Ki-Yay Merry Christmas!"

Friday, December 22, 2017


Favorite library so far: the Stacks at Yale. I could set up camp there and retire. 17 stories of books, with some things you can check out casually that come from before 1900. And it's bigger than that since floors are often cut in half to increase the space. Just...amazing. I miss that library.

Friday, December 15, 2017


"No one owes you anything just because you exist and have potential." - George Donnelly

Friday, December 8, 2017


Me: So why do a negative and positive cancel out?

Student: Because God did it.

Me: No resorting to first cause!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Friday, November 24, 2017


"How many Superbowls have the Spurs been to?" - A friend


Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017


Two apps that are never going on my phone: Snapchat and Instagram. Not just "no" but "HELL no."

Monday, November 6, 2017

Once Upon a Time Reactions Part 9

And here are my reactions for the rest of season 5 and season 6. Spoilers.


Season 5 Ending:

I was getting worried the Underworld Arc was turning into another Peter Pan, in terms of having Rumple sit around and do nothing. Glad they thought of something. And HOW.

(Loving the irony there.)

Frozen was a huge hit and became part of OUaT Season 4. Zootopia was a huge hit. OUaT season 6?


Season 6:

The OUAT writers really REALLY hate Belle-Rumple shippers. In the season premiere, they give us an insanely touching scene between the two - complete with Beauty and the Beast theme! - and then just tear it all apart. And meanwhile all the other relationships still around are royally lame. Yeesh.

Frankenstein, Jekyll, and DOC working together on a mad science project? One of the high points of the series.

I'm glad Jekyll and Hyde didn't overstay their visit.

I hope they're going somewhere with evil Regina.

They REALLY hate Belle-Rumple shippers. Graaaah.

Okay. Nice setup to the second half. I like the twist about the son.

And once again the show can't seem to properly demonstrate a character's power without everyone talking about it rather than through actual feats.

Rumple was the Savior?! That is a good twist. It also explains a lot.

The build up to this final battle is kind of meh.

AND ANOTHER CURSE WITH AMNESIA... (It's a drinking game.)

I do like how it's the Nothing from Neverending Story threatening to destroy them all. I hope that was on purpose.

Rumple does something! Go you! Kudos to him for doing to his mom in this arc what he should have done to his dad in season 3. (At least they made that up in season 5.)

The scene with sort of evil Regina facing down the Nothing was pretty awesome.

And it's over!

Yay! Belle and Rumple live happily ever after! About damn time.

So what does season 7 have...OH COME ON, MORE AMNESIA?

Friday, November 3, 2017


In Chinese and Japanese, four is a homonym for death. I'm surprised there aren't more Death Note jokes out there for the Note 4.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Testing

I once gave a quiz with 13 questions in honor of the holiday.

The bonus was about famous horror movie franchises. I was disappointed no one knew who Michael Myers was or what series he was in (Halloween).

Friday, October 27, 2017


In the live action adaptation, Kamina is played by Psy.

They're calling it "Gangnam Lagann."

Friday, October 20, 2017


What I love is that while there are plenty of people named "John Baird," our fundamental POV of the world is often very similar.

Friday, October 13, 2017


What was the person's reaction when they got the tropical disease?

They were ebola-ient.

Friday, October 6, 2017


Student: "Mister, why do you talk to yourself?"

Me: "Because I'm a serial killer."

Celebrating Halloween a little early.

Friday, September 29, 2017


"I've never inspired true love, but I have caused a few cases of Stockholm Syndrome."

Monday, September 25, 2017

Banned Books

There are four new authors to add to the Banned Book Week celebration: Larry Correia, Michael Z. Williamson, Brad Torgersen and John C. Wright. All four are having their books protested and removed at indie book stores in Toronto by a politically motivated smear campaign. They dared to challenge the white supremacy of Scalzi and others and now their minions are hitting back through whatever means they can.

(The stores that kowtow to such customer outrage should be ashamed of themselves - it's not just anti-intellectual, but bad business!)

Friday, September 22, 2017


Show me a school that brags about its students GPA's and I'll show you an administration that mandates grade inflation.

Friday, September 15, 2017


In a good mood? Then remember: Peanuts ends with Snoopy dying and Charlie Brown ending up utterly alone and unloved. No red hair girl, no Marcy, no Peppermint Patty. Even his own sister would be off with Linus. Alone.

Friday, September 8, 2017


"I'm not the guy who gets the girl. I'm just the guy who's with the girl for a little bit until she find someone she likes better."

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Phyllis Schafly

“My opponent says a woman’s place is in the home. But my husband replies, a woman’s place is in the House — the U.S. House of Representatives.” - Phyllis Schafly, 1970

Phyllis Schafly is where the "A woman's place is in the House" slogan comes from. She used the quip when running as a Republican for Congress against her male Democrat opponent who had told her, essentially, to get back in the kitchen. She passed away 9/5/16 at the age of 92.

When she began political commentary, there were few if any female voices. Hers would emerge as one of the biggest of the 20th century, including brilliant take downs of Rockefeller Republicans and a wonderful critique of Kissinger's foreign policies. While some debated the merits of lipstick, she wrote of ICBM's and the Cold War. She helped defeat the poorly worded and hastily designed ERA, which, among other flaws, would have ended the female exemption to the draft during Vietnam. Who knows how many mothers, sisters, and daughters would have been lost if that had passed?

She was a powerful female voice of the 60's and 70's that paved the way for later generations of women in political commentary on both sides of the aisle. A brilliant mind and gifted writer, even if you didn't agree with what she said.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Gene Wilder

Willy Wonka was arguably Gene Wilder's greatest role. But Producers, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and Silver Streak will stay with me as other cinema classics he made great.

On the plus side, he and Pryor are now having wacky hijinks elsewhere.

Friday, August 25, 2017


Every now and then reality will remind me I can't have nice things.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017


Post-lunch periods are where good lesson plans go to die.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday, August 4, 2017


"I cannot imagine any way this could have happened other than how it actually happened, so your platform is invalid."

Sorry, but just because you're a boring person with no creative ability does not make that a valid response in an argument.

Friday, July 28, 2017

God Speed, Mr. Garibaldi

One year ago we lost Jerry Doyle, who portrayed Mr. Garibaldi on Babylon 5, one of my favorite SF television shows.

Here's a reflection on Jerry Doyle by it's creator, JMS, on how he was behind the scenes.


Phrase not to use as your introduction to a comic artist at a con:

"Oh, yeah. Strip for me, baby."

Friday, July 21, 2017


Yale was taking name suggestions for its 2 new residential colleges.

My suggestions? Hogwarts and Ohtori.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hypocrisy Watch 2017 Part 3

2017 continues to be a banner year for finding hypocrites.


McCarthy's Spicer makes me wish the real Spicer treated the press like that.


"Rule breaking is only bad when someone I disagree with does it!"

"Acting like a decent human being and not a grandstanding jerkface is just letting the oppressors win."

The devolution of American thought proceeds at full speed.


Yes, Democrats. Keep screaming "Scandal, scandal, scandal." That is clearly how the GOP beat Obama in 2012. No, wait...

(I'm not saying there were no scandals then or now, but it has not proven historically effective to harp on them.)


The Wallstreet Journal picking a fight with Pewdiepie reflects that:

1. WSJ is no longer a reputable news source.

2. The reach of the 5th Estate dwarfs the 4th estate by tens of millions.

3. The mainstream media has been back handed into irrelevance by a comedian.

It's so bizarre that a newspaper I used to like and read would fall down into the crapper like that.


The message from the attacks on Milo and Pewdiepie is rather clear: if you refuse to play by the rules of the establishment media corporations, they will ruin you.


When did the Deep State go from conspiracy theory fringe to something even the mainstream media discusses casually like, "Oh, of course that's a real thing. We knew it all along. Didn't you?" Did I miss a sudden shift in the Overton Window?


New therapy for dealing with the overwhelming stupid flooding 2017: listening to various YouTube commentators who are very gifted at being sarcastic, mocking, and incredulous. I don't necessarily have to agree with them, but I am enjoying hearing perspectives from an attitude of, "You are all morons. We are all going to hell. Good lord, this sucks."

On the plus side, it's expanding my insult vocabulary and giving me some new phrases I can use in my writing.


"I know I'm right so I win this argument because you're a bigot!"

This is, intellectually, like a football team walking onto the field declaring themselves the victor, and then refusing to play. I run into it so much and it annoys me. It's an abdication of thought itself.


Listening to some classic Carlin again. I realize my issue with Trump's speaking style isn't that he's "too direct." It's that he's inconsistently direct and euphemistic. He's direct enough to tick off those addicted to euphemisms (which is good - they should be defied), but he still layers on the BS on the really important matters. And it's that second part that annoys me so much.


If someone's peeing on you, you shouldn't let their titles or ideological labels convince you they're not.


Remember kids: speaking out against folks who attack the elderly is the same as defending white supremacy.

The lunatics are running the asylum, as well as running their mouths.


There's a lot of people desperately trying to justify their love of brutality and violent oppression. They WANT to hold a gun to your head and order you around. But they can't admit that. They have to label you, dehumanize you, so they can feel better about unleashing their inner demons.


The fault of the 2016 election? Dworin from Amber.

Everyone knows he invented Trumps.


Given the sheer vehemence of how some folks defend physical assault on the elderly, it makes me wonder how many of those same people abuse their elderly family members? The two behaviors should be highly correlated, since they stem from a fundamental devaluation of human life (a form of sociopathy).

Maybe we should establish a rule that if someone argues that there's nothing wrong with hitting grandparents for disagreeing with you, people should check in on their relatives. Make sure that same person isn't abusing them (emotionally or physically).


There are still people out there arguing that freedom of speech comes attached with a right to a platform. Didn't we settle this matter with the shows that were canceled when their stars said things people didn't like? You have the right to say stupid, obscene, and evil things without threat of physical violence. But that doesn't come with a free mic.

It's why Shia Lebouf can shout down a Nazi and why the bikers for vets can silence the Westboro Baptists with their motorcycles. You're allowed your protest unmolested. But so are the people who disagree with you.

I don't know how people forgot about that so quickly. Seems like only a few years ago this was established pretty well.

Friday, July 14, 2017


Student: "But, sir, what if I get ebola, die, and come back as a zombie?"

Me: "I imagine your grades would improve."

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pajamas and Government

Listened to an interesting NPR story about pajamas.

Decades ago, some pajamas caught on fire. Kids died. So, the government required kids PJ'S to be fire resistant.

Manufacturers did so - by adding hazardous chemicals that soak into the skin. They didn't know this, however. It was only after studies that the problem was realized. So, the government banned those chemicals that they had encouraged.

Manufacturers switched to synthetics and other chemicals. However, children with sensitive skin can't wear them. They need untreated 100% cotton PJ's.

Which the government made illegal at the start of it.

A good anecdote for how regulations do not promote actual safety or higher quality of living.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Staying Chaotic Good

Me: My enemies just gave me a wonderful opening to utterly crush them and take everything they love away.

Friend: No, no. Stay good.

Me: But they've played into a plan that wasn't even intended as a plan. They've thrown a clear endgame victory move into my lap when I wasn't even attempting to make one.

Friend: Just let them rot and die on their own.

Me: glasses! They're glowing so hard!

Sometimes staying Chaotic Good is a lot harder than other days.

Friday, July 7, 2017


I once had an entire class who didn't know who Daft Punk was.


Problem solved.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Hypocrisy Watch 2017 Part 2

More observations of the hypocrisy running rampant in 2017.


"I'm boycotting this company for supporting Trump! Booyah! Watch my activism!"

"This other guy is a sensitive snowflake for boycotting a company for no good reason! Ha ha!"

If you support boycotting companies to make a political point, understand it works both ways and is an equally valid choice between consumers where they want their money to go. That's part of capitalism.


"Since Nazis abuse freedom of speech, we should revoke it and start banning them from speaking!"

"Yeah, and since ISIS could abuse immigration, we should revoke it and start banning immigrants."

That's the kind of retort I wish would cause people to pause and reflect. But it really just makes them even more intent on being dim.


New trend: "Bias Response Teams" on college campuses. Students can report anything they find offensive and said teams will act to censor it. Sometimes they dispatch police to warn offenders.


Casey Anthony has re-emerged into the public spotlight.

As part of the Women's March. Protesting Trump.

Uh oh. I think 2017 got infected with 2016's weirdness.


Just got unfriended for sharing a news article clarifying and dispelling rumors. Apparently linking to news over hearsay makes me a fascist, too.


Of all the Monkey's Paw wishes out there, the wish to silence one's enemies is perhaps the most common and the most mutually destructive.


"We should make it illegal for people to say you ought to take their freedoms away!"

"So, make it a crime to do what you're doing right now?"

Banning types of speech is such a nasty double edged sword. We seem to have forgotten George Carlin on the matter.


Anyone who advocates restricting free speech is a fascist. Maybe not a Nazi type, but definitely a fascist. Authoritarians always target speech first because it's the marketplace of ideas that threatens their rule the most. Resist the nonsense to "ban certain speech" as soon as you see it.


Dog whistle terms that mean supporting censorship and restricting your free speech rights:

1. Punching down - Implies some types of humor should be outlawed.

2. Hate speech - Implies some thoughts warrant special punishment for having been thought.

3. Yelling fire in a theater - False equivalency to imply that an idea is somehow an agent that will cause violence, rather than people's choices.

This is some of the vocabulary of fascism right now.


Our society today has people who argue that supporting free speech makes you a fascist. Let that stunning bit of horrible sink in.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Hypocrisy Watch 2017 Part 1

They say you should keep notes on the way the world changes around you so you can look back. I've decided to start doing that now, as the seething anger on the left threatens to give us the very dictator they're screaming over now.


Under Obama: "People who stress the tenth amendment are racists who want to own slaves!"

Under Trump: "We need the tenth amendment to check and balance his power!"


Hillary Clinton demands Matt Lauer be fired for asking her questions not provided ahead of time and no-one minds. But Conway is suddenly a villain for lambasting the media in much milder terms.


"The 'Muslim ban' unfairly paints all Muslims as the same because of a few bad ones."

"The guy who shot the mosque in Quebec is just like everyone who supports Trump!"

I have literally seen these two things right after each other from the same person.


Unintended consequences: you have segments of the 20-30 something crowd spending money on post cards and travel for protests. Cool, political activity. However, companies that cater to those demographics (Etsy stores, for example) are taking hits. Many of those stores are also owned by the 20-30 something crowd.

An interesting example of the economics of protest. (Not saying good or bad, just that it is.)


Cats are now Nazi symbols, according to anti-Trump protesters. (Per a journalist in the DC area on Twitter.) No one knows why cats are being called Nazi symbols.

Best I can figure is Maus? There's levels of stupid I refuse to try and puzzle out.


Some guy said I knew nothing of ANTIFA because I described them as self-righteous thugs prone to beating anyone they didn't like. Well, at Berkley (2/1/17), a bunch of ANTIFA folks went on a rampage beating up anyone they didn't like and starting fires. I feel good for having my point proven, but bad that people suffered.


In Trump's America, news fakes you.


If someone expresses wrongthink, punching them in the face is double plus good.

ANTIFAS has always been at war with Eurasia.


If ANTIFA brown shirt goons punch you in the face, do what Captain Mal would do:

Kick them into an engine turbine and ask their friend if they'd like to be next.

(Pretty floral bonnet optional.)

Friday, June 30, 2017


Asking someone if they believe Bernie Sanders functions as a test of intellectual capacity in the same vein as asking them if they believe in astrology. If they take either seriously, you can safely assume they have very little capacity indeed.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Giving GM's a Badge

This is a post about convention logistics. Why give GM badges at a con? Man hours.

I typically requires 8 hours of game running for 1 badge (2 four hour sessions). Typical game has an 8 person limit. So 16 people, each getting 4 hours, for 64 man hours of content provided for 1 badge.

A typical panelist will do 1 hour panel. They would need 64 people there to do the equivalent of a GM. Some panelists do more (I've run 3 hour workshops for 100+), some do less.

So GM'S provide the same level of man hour entertainment for a con as a panelist. And that's why you compensate them similarly.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Anime Community Drama

The degree of highly charged emotional hate I see for some folks in the anime community - such as store owners, con chairs, and panelists - is one of the warning signs that it's not to be wholly believed. I can understand the usual "this person said mean things" and "this could be done better" (everyone is subject to those criticisms, self included). This is geekdom: people are going to make mistakes at interpersonal communications. I've certainly done some whoppers in my time.

But when people use lines like, "Anyone who defends this person is delusional," you know they've gone straight to an irrational zone and what they say needs a grain (or shaker full) of salt. Use personal experience rather than rumors or suspicions.

And remember: "Be excellent to each another."

Friday, June 23, 2017


Jeopardy had a "What Women Want" category. I think they need to avoid taking ideas from the SNL parody. Besides, every answer was, "Who is Mel Gibson?"

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Minimum Wage Laws

"The middle class didn't exist until federal minimum wage laws!"

False. Federal minimum wage started in 1938. America had a burgeoning middle class for at least 50 years prior to this. There was some state minimum wage laws, but mainly for women and children. Minimum wage laws have no causal connection to the beginning of America's middle class.

The more you know!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Most Folks

If you use the phrase "most folks," make sure you mean a majority and can back it up with numbers. For example, Independent voters plus the centrist elements of the two main parties. That's "most folks." You can also use it anecdotally to mean your personal experience without trouble.

It's a useful and inoffensive phrase, but use it responsibly. See also "many people."

Friday, June 16, 2017


Those days when my brain says, "Oh, you want to prep for school? Nope! Creative writing time!"

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Random Customer Moment

This happened earlier today:

Customer walks in off the street.

"Are you guys goo?"

"What?" I replied.

"Are you guys goo?"


"Are you hard of hearing?"

The customer walks out.

I heard him just fine. His question made no damn sense. Anyone else have similar tales?

Pokemon GO Reactions

Pokemon GO was a huge part of the summer of 2016 for me, though I'd later stop playing due to the ongoing issues it had. Here are some reactions I had as the game was being rolled out.


Install starting! Now I shall finally be a Pokemon PROFESSOR! Muah ha ha ha!

I have to use my James voice whenever I'm on this app. And make it double!

Pokemon GO installed! Now I wait for tomorrow when they get more servers running.

Would it have killed them to adapt the English anime first opening theme for Pokemon GO?

Charmander! I shall train him until he takes his final form. A MOTHER LOVING DRAGON!

First wild catch: Pidgey. I named him Grackle. His main attack shall be "poop."

Going to hunt Pokemon at work tomorrow during lunch. I'm curious what I find. Mostly getting grass, poison, and bug types here.

Caught a Pidgey and a Taurus at work. Named the former Cock and the latter Bull. Great story there.

Two Pokestops and a gym right near where I work. Ah, yeah.

I need to remember to point my camera at something interesting when a Pokemon pops up so I can take funny screen shots.

Level 5! Joined Team Valor (Red). Going by mission statement, Team Mystic (Blue) is more my style, but red is my favorite color and that beats it.

...I'm betting the head of Mystic is a glasses girl, though. I have a feeling.

Valor is Gryffindor and Mystic is Ravenclaw. (Which has me going against type for once.)
Let's all agree that Team Instinct is the Hufflepuff.

I'd be further along with Pokemon GO if the server would stay up during my lunch hour, when I'm near two stops and a gym. I've barely been able to use either stop as is and still haven't been able to add a Pokemon to a gym yet.

When I transfer a weak Pokemon, I imagine it's going to a candy factory where it's chopped and squeezed into the free candy the Professor gives you. The strong feed on their weaker brethren to grow more powerful!

Went walking through Rutland doing Pokemon GO. Ended up in a park, met two guys. Also playing Pokemon. And they were Team Valor! Nice.

Yay, lunch time at work. So of course the Pokemon servers are down.

Servers popped back up at the end of my lunch - just in time to see the double lures put on the two nearby Pokestops. Caught quite a few, including some new ones. Also met another couple Go players who work down the road.

I found a place to order Team Rocket t-shirts online. Tempted to get one in white and black.

Climbed down into a drainage field to catch an Ekans, Eevee, and Poliwag all clustered together. Totally worth it.

First Eevee evolution: Flareon! Do I name her Sailor Mars, Phoenix, or something else?

Caught a Ghastly, then my phone died. As I was catching him, had a person drive by and shout, "Are you playing Pokemon?" Second time that's happened. Also met half a dozen players near my work now.

Not bad. Pokémon servers are staying up during my lunch now so I can hit the two nearby stops.

Blanche is trash waifu. I mean, no glasses?! Seriously?! TRAAAAASH.

That feeling when you sing the Digimon theme while evolving your Pokemon.

I don't understand how folks had Eevee evolutions over a thousand but now I'm the same level they were and only getting 500's.


During work: Ugh, I'm on my feet. I'm in pain. Ugh. Want to sit down.

After work: Oh, the server isn't down. I'm going to walk to that gym finally!


Tip: like Ingress, Pokemon GO can sense when you're in a car by speed. If you move 20 mph or less, it thinks you're either biking or running. Past that and it won't measure. Tested that today. Good way to level up an egg while driving slow through local streets.


Not serious Pokemon GO questions:
  1. Will Missing No. take over your phone and delete everything?
  2. How many children must be stacked into a pile of corpses to summon Mew?
  3. When will we have projectors that can put the Pokemon out for everyone to see?


For those wondering why I'm into Pokemon GO when I don't normally do video games, this is easy to explain:

Pokemon GO is my first Pokemon game.

I watched the show and read the manga. In fact, I remember watching the very first episodes when it premiered on UPN on weekday afternoons - before Warner Brothers bought it. But I never got into the CCG (I did Magic) and I never owned a handheld system for the video games. This has been the first release I can play on a machine I own.

So I can happily say Charmander is my very first and only starter. Just like I always wanted as a kid.


Serious Pokemon GO question: I have enough candy to start evolving some of my Pokemon. Should I only evolve those with the highest combat points? Does that matter? Or can I evolve whoever? 

Experiment: testing if the CP of the evolutionary antecedent Pokemon is positively correlated with the CP of the evolutionary descendant.

The test: two Pidgeys. One at CP 42 and the other at CP 10. They were both evolved to Pidgeotto with candy.

Result: The CP 42 Pidgey became a CP 80 Pidgeotto. The CP 10 Pidgey became a CP 15 Pidgeotto.

Conclusion: Assuming the CP isn't totally random, evolving a stronger Pokemon provides a stronger next stage. So strengthen them before evolving to get the best results.


Current Charmander naming scheme:
  1. Chamander - Agumon
  2. Charmelon - Grimlock
  3. Charizard - Godzilla

Why Team Valor? Valor is red. In anime and sentai visual vocabulary, it means you're the LEADER. You are the Red Ranger. You wear the goggles among the DigiDestined. You are the boy who will become Hokage, and then go on to be King of the Pirates. YOUR DRILL WILL PIERCE THE HEAVENS!

That is #teamvalorlife.

"Go Team Valor!" Say this ala the Venture Bros.


Pokémon Go algorithm right now:

1. Do not evolve Pokémon piecemeal. Do it all at once in a huge wave with a Lucky Egg in place.

2. Stockpile Pokémon to evolve. Pidgey has one of the best ratios of candy required to XP gained in the game.

3. If you can't evolve a Pokemon yet, transfer lower CP until you get there. Once you have enough, wait per step 1.

4. If you have candy to evolve more than one of the same kind, keep that number and scrap the rest. Do this until the number you can evolve increases.

5. Repeat until you can do a full 30 minutes of nothing but evolutions with a Lucky Egg. You'll get 1000 XP minimum each time. More if a new form.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Remembering Oliver Clarke

I learned that a friend, Oliver Clarke, passed away recently. He and I had fallen out of communication the last few months as he'd moved to another city. I wanted to honor Oliver by sharing memories of him.

Like many, I met him through conventions. He was Kenpachi, the tall gruff character from Bleach. He looked and acted the part. His voice boomed and he presented himself with never ending self assurance.

At a convention in 2016, I was being stalked by an ex and one of her enabler friends. Oliver learned of my situation and immediately stepped up. He knew they'd gotten a room at my hotel to try and track me down, so he offered a space in his room so I could get away from them. I didn't even have to ask - he made the offer out of the blue. Helping people in a bind was something he liked to do.

While I was working on my tabletop game, Oliver was one of the early playtesters. He gave us great feedback, especially on the difference of players and NPC's. He suggested ideas for faculties that remain in the book to this day.

Oliver worked at a FLGS that I liked to frequent for a while. He was always engaging and outgoing. His voice filled the store with his views on anime and merchandise. He made you want to be passionate about his passions, like Weiss Schwarz or Bleach.

I remember him as a man who knew what he loved and loved it fully. He loved his children and his hobbies. It amazes me how full a life he had, while still being 2 years my junior. I always viewed him as older from the way he behaved.

Oliver was a good man and one I will miss.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Ghostbusters (2016)

As expected, McKinnon and Hemsworth were the best things here. And they were VERY funny. McKinnon made every scene she was in better for it. Hemsworth had a lot of fun and that comes through. Worth the price of a ticket.

Holtzman is among my new favorite science characters. I don't give a damn about her sexuality. I'd do science with her anytime.

I want a film that focuses on McKinnon being a science geek who seduces all who cross her path with her awkwardness and quirk, while winning the day with crazy inventions. Do it action-comedy style with someone competent at the helm who can handle quirky, like the Coen Brothers, Terry Gilliam, or Barry Sonnenfeld (on a good day). For bonus points, make it steampunk so the world can be as strange as its star.

I want the comics to have a multidimensional crossover between the original and the new. Mainly so Holtzman and Egon can compare tech, fall head over heels, and bang as (literal) sparks fly. In addition to flirting with techno babble, they'd exchange snacks: Egon his sweets, Holtzman her salty.

Egon: Would you like a Twinkie?
Holtzman: Sure. Have a salty parabola.

Wiig tried. She really did. She was a good straight woman in the beginning, then became forgettable. The material failed to give her a character arc. This is especially disappointing because Wiig's character was new - she doesn't correspond to Murray, while the other three are tied to their predescessors. She was the character by which the movie could have found its own voice and themes and that opportunity was squandered.

Did anyone else notice the rather significant missing scene with Wiig's character after she gets the book from the main villain? One second they're exiting the hotel having been fake arrested and then she's in a bathrobe looking at the book. Combine this with her saving the other three from the balloons when they roll out without her.

I think after the arrest she did a, "That's it! I quit! Bye!" scene. So the part where she suits up again is supposed to be a big come back and ties into her "I won't leave you this time" line to McCarthy in the end. Why they edited this out I don't know, since it would've actually introduced some tension and character that she needed. As is, it looks like she was just further away from the action when the apocalypse started.
Leslie Jones could have done a decent job. The problem? She was given some truly awful racial stereotyping. Holy cow. That was jarring and bad. I liked the bit where she knew city history. But it was overshadowed by the rest of the bad archetypes as well as poor editing for her character. (One second she's joining, then she's regretting it, but nothing has happened to cause that.) This is an odd case where a minority character from the 80's (Winston) is a less racist portrayal than a modern take.

McCarthy was where jokes went to die. You know how Megan Fox brought down TMNT? That's McCarthy here. Just awful. Total miscast. Feig's fault. Even when she had good lines her delivery and timing sucked.

There are some good jokes and good scenes. Best? McKinnon busting out her dual wield pistols. That fight scene was AMAZING. Straight out of Girl Genius. The Hemsworth interview was the first place in the film I laughed out loud (though Holtzman made me smile before that).

However, there's no heart to the film, just effects and looks. The friendship story of Wiig and McCarthy is inconsequential and given no weight. There are no character arcs. Several plot points are sloppy and fall flat. This was supposed to be a tale of science heroines saving the day, but it failed to evoke the emotions of camaraderie. This lies squarely on Feig, who was not up to the task of delivering anything more consequential than a poor imitation of the original.

Should you see it? Yes, for McKinnon and Hemsworth. Holtzman was just wonderful. I'd be raving even harder if all four had been on that level of performance. The final fight is also nice, though the ending is anti-climatic. This is not a total train wreck like the first trailer implied, but it is not good or great. Mediocre.

Friday, June 9, 2017


“Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.”

— Robert A. Heinlein, “The Notebooks of Lazarus Long”

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Finding Dory

I enjoyed Finding Dory overall, but it's not as good as Finding Nemo.

The strength of the original was that both Nemo and Marlin grew as characters. Here, Dory gets most of the development, but it isn't really through any realizations or maturity. They stretch believability even further with this installment, to the point it starts to get a bit much. Remember "all drains go to the ocean?" Yeah, it's worse. Salt water fish can apparently breath any kind of water anywhere. 

My biggest issue is that it seems to teach acting without forethought and that it's good to move on instinct alone. Not the sort of lesson I agree with, unlike the lessons of the first (there's a time to let go, overcome your fears and stand on your own). The lack of a strong lesson makes this a more shallow experience overall.

The humor is good and there are some very adorable parts, though. I recommend seeing it if you liked the first.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Ice Cream Diet

I recently changed my late night snack a bit to start losing weight. I went from cookies to ice cream.

Small cup of ice cream? Lost 2 pounds.
Half a pint of ice cream? Lost 8 pounds.

I'm going to try eating half a gallon next. That's clearly how math and dieting works.


Follow up: eating a half gallon for a snack dropped me down 10-12 pounds. Not even joking. The ice cream as a snack routine has gotten me down away from where I was quite nicely.

I seriously have no idea how that works, only that it does. Dare I upgrade to something even larger?

Friday, June 2, 2017


What did the Doctor say after finding i squared?

"Finally, something real."

Monday, May 29, 2017

New Animals

I like meeting new animals. They end up liking me. Here's how one encounter went recently:


Me: Hmmm...

Dog: *Sniff sniff sniff*

Me: Yep. Check me for threats. I'm good.

Dog: *licks hand*

Me: *starts petting*

Dog: *looks up, tail wags, loves it*

If only socializing with people was as easy.

Friday, May 26, 2017


In Socialism, the people who say, "I need all this power to do good" are inevitably followed by the people who say, "I need all this power to do whatever I want." If you welcome the former, you will eventually have the latter - and usually sooner than you'd like.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Finn and Poe

I will admit Finn is my favorite of the new humans in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He had actual growth and development in the film. His subplot was the closest the movie came to having an actual coherent story. The actor did a fine job allowing Finn to be human and flawed without being pathetic - and also able to overcome those flaws. Had it focused more on his background as a trooper, the sort of life he'd had to lead, it could have setup contrast with the First Order leaders and Kylo Ren, one who intentionally indulges his flaws.

This is why Poe is such a great foil for Finn, since Poe represents the freedom Finn seeks, as well as the greater morality/satisfaction he didn't find with the First Order. As I've said before: if it'd been Poe and Finn only with no Rey (or Rey with a reduced presence, her back story saved for the sequel), TFA would have been greatly improved.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Bias and Evidence

"I need evidence of your view before I believe it."

"You're just claiming to be skeptical because you haven't been exposed to the evidence!"

"That argument does not constitute the evidence I requested. My point stands."

Recently had this argument. Apparently you don't need to counter with evidence anymore, just say the person is biased and that's why they haven't seen it yet.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Mood Music 8 - Feeling Silly

For this one I thought I'd be a little silly. A list to reflect my playful side.

Friday, May 19, 2017


Thanks to a word problem involving Deadpool, I taught my kids what chimichangas are. Most of them had never heard of them.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Smash Bros. Commentating

Back in early 2016 I had a chance to "commentate" on a Super Smash Bros. tournament. The commentary was streamed live to an online audience. I played the role of the "questioner" - I had the more knowledgeable partner explain things to me and, in turn, the audience.

Highlights of my time as commentator:

1. Audience wanted llamas. I gave then llamas.

2. One asked me to sing her Happy Birthday. I did. She told me it was the only birthday celebration she'd had all day.

3. When I first came on, one viewer exclaimed, "Who's the cutie?!" Took me a bit to realize she meant me.

4. Whenever someone asked, "What game is it?" (as in match of the tournament) I'd reply, "Smash Bros." Got an amusing reaction each time!

Overall, 10/10 would commentate again.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Justin Trudeau

Something about the way Canada's PM, Justin Trudeau, speaks is really creepy. I'm used to Canadian accents, but the way his words come out remind me of the "good veneer masking sinister evil" type villains. I seriously expect him to have ot be taken out by James Bond at some point because he's building a Canadian Ice Ray of Doom.

Friday, May 12, 2017


If a student asks what happened to a classmate who transferred to another class, I laugh evilly and talk about how lovely their blood looks on my wall at home. No one's caught the "I have to keep the wall wet!" JTHM reference yet, sadly.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Story Prompt: A Twist

Story prompt idea: take a question with an obvious answer and create an AU where the answer is a twist.

Who's buried in Grant's tomb? An unknown soldier.
What color was Washington's white horse? It wasn't a horse.
What weighs more: a ton of feathers or bricks? Feathers have varying weight thanks to being anti-grav.

And so on.

Monday, May 8, 2017

DC Legends of Tomorrow

Legends of Tomorrow is about Rory stealing a TARDIS from the Time Lords and assembling a team of companions to stop the Master.

But with superheroes.

I like it.


"This isn't my first prison break." - Captain Cold, Legends of Tomorrow

It takes so many great characters and keeps what's great about them.

Friday, May 5, 2017


"Hey, America, if you could elect a president who didn't think bombing people was the go-to solution to national security, that'd be nice, okay?"

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Asian Immortality

"How old are you?"

"I'm in my 30's."

"Wow. I didn't think you were past 21."

"I'm Asian. We're practically immortal."

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


Which princess shines the best?


Which princess is most proficient with boats?


Which princess do you want to go mountain climbing with?


Which princess has the best singing voice?


Which princess drops the sickest rhymes?


Which princess makes the best cowgirl?


Monday, May 1, 2017

Once Upon a Time Reactions Part 8

Season 5 continues. By this point, I was watching the show in real time as it aired, so my reactions were more spaced out.

Season 5 Part 2:

I wonder when OUAT will give us their take on the 3 pigs? I don't remember them mentioned except in passing. And while Ruby is a werewolf, we haven't seen this wolf yet.

Does everyone in OUAT have daddy issues? It seems to be the go to trope for the writers. Maybe THEY all have daddy issues.

Belle and Rumple are back! Yay! What a sweet and touching reunion, just as I predicted. It's good to see Rumple's character moving forward and -


About the only good thing about the OUAT Winter Finale: we'll get to meet Hades soon. The sass levels should be amazing.

Greg Germann will be OUAT Hades? Yes, I think he will have sufficient sass. Good casting. (Unlike Merlin, where they royally effed it up.)

Friday, April 28, 2017


I love working with coaches and military folks. They love hearing from a math teacher. If you do sports or ROTC, I OWN you.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Syllables in Love

The number of syllables in the words I use is inversely proportional to the size of the crush I have on who I'm talking to.

Normal: Let me wax loquaciously on the merits of romanticism in art and its uplifting effects on the human soul.

With an intelligent girl: Good. Yes. Like. Okay.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Big Art Lie

Remember: anytime someone argues every color is from Red, Blue and Yellow, they're lying. It's Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. CMYK is much brighter and more vibrant. You use RBY and all you'll get are dull brown smears. This is probably the biggest lie art teachers will tell young kids.

(This applies to producing physical tones via mixing colors, not digital displays or wavelengths.)

Friday, April 21, 2017


Random WPI flashback: forgetting to account for gravity in calculations on a Physics lab paper - and only losing a single point (out of 12).

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sesame Credit

I am both aghast and intrigued by this new Chinese national game system, known as Sesame Credit.

First, historical context: when Mao took over, he indoctrinated the populace into Communism using an easy to understand media for the masses - comic books. When Deng Xiaoping wanted to convert the nation to Capitalism, he used comics as well. Both instances were among the biggest examples of comics - normally a pop culture fixture - being used for something far larger scale than story telling. In this sense, China adopting game design to reinforce their national message is consistent with past mass education movements. They take what we treat as "fun" in the west and figure out how to use it in a more serious manner.

Second, personal reaction. Yeah, this is horrifying. It decentralizes oppression to the individual level. The centralization of the state's hold on people is always the greatest weakness - they simply can never be efficient enough to suppress everything. This eliminates that bottleneck and does so in a way consistent with Brave New World more than 1984. Instead of a single data stream being broadcast from the government, it turns individual citizens into mini-radio towers that broadcast and enforce the party line.

Third, and the scariest point: it could easily happen here. We have interconnected data mining on a mass scale, just like China, as well as at least two major online companies willing to work with the government on anything (Google and Facebook). We have a rising tide of people who want echo chamber hug boxes in their friend circles and a demand for exclusionary "safe spaces." It would be child's play for the government to sponsor a gamified site that ranked people based on adherence to being "environmentally friendly" or "socially just" or any of a dozen other dog whistle terms that all translate to "OBEY."

If they wanted to be more low key, have a private company do it, but receive under the table support from the government in choosing what constitutes "good" and "bad" points. They wouldn't have to pass a law saying it's mandatory: just shunt all the data in there whether you want it there or not and refuse to prosecute them. You will participate, even if you object.

I think I just envisioned Facebook 2.0.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Fake Rights

"You don't have the right to do that."

"Sure I do! It's the right to public safety."

"That doesn't exist."

"Oh. Then, the right to protecting my community!"

"That's basically the same, but nope, not a thing."

"The right to stop people who look scary and act weird?"

"That's called 'profiling.' And it's definitely not a right."

"Look, just shut up and do what I say!"

"You know what is a right? My ability to tell you to go to hell."

Friday, April 14, 2017


Why are math teachers naturally Sith?

Because they deal in absolute values.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Once Upon a Time Reactions Part 7

Season 5 begins! And, boy, does it kind of sting.

Season 5:

Well, hello season 5. Time to catch up.

I'm so glad Belle picked Rumple in the end. That SHOULD end well, now. I look forward to seeing his recovery arc. Maybe he can become a proper hero now.

So the dagger is just the tip. Ha.
Head Voice Rumple? Or Clippystiltskin? Trying to come up with a good nickname for the voice in her head.

What's with Hook and Regina suddenly hating each other? Their antagonism feels forced.

Ha. Rumple has a rose-based health bar. And Belle is going with them on the adventure this time! ABOUT BLOODY TIME. Maybe she and Mulan will get another team-up.

MERIDA! Yay! Makes sense she'd be in Anglo-Saxon territory. She should get Excalibur and become king. Then she could be Saber-class! Alternatively, she leads the Scottish in revolt against Arthur and kicks his butt.

"You need a hobby. How about knitting?" Loving this version of Rumple.

I just realized that the sanitarium nurse is Ratchet from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I wonder if she's from a realm filled with Jack Nicholson movies?

Zelena's actress is having WAY more fun in the role than in season 3. The Wicked Witch as a gleeful yandere type works so well.

"And now we ride to...Camelot!" I am disappointed the Monty Python theme didn't come out of those horns. Someone needs to do a mash-up.


Jeebus writers. Learn another plot device already. It was fine the first two times (once because it was new, the second as a callback to the start). But this is RIDICULOUS.

Dark One Emma is pretty awesome, though. Liking the leather look.

Still getting used to an Arthur that isn't Graham Chapman.

The way it jumps between 3 times - founding of Camelot, 6 weeks ago, and today - is confusing. Not helping is the use of Granny's Diner in both the 6 weeks and modern.

HA. It really is only a model! Also, nice "comfy chair" reference drop. There's hope for more Monty Python still.

Ooo. Does Merida get to go Mel Gibson on King Arthur? I really hope so. She needs the blue war paint!

"I need you to make him brave."

AUGH. The writers must have been giggling hard when they wrote that line.

I really like the actress they chose for Merida in OUAT. Good accent, great hair, everything.

Dark One Emma continues to be far more interesting than her other versions (except season 1 Emma, who's snarkiness I liked).

The Belle and Rumple content of season 5 continues to please me. Makes up for the heart ripping moment of season 4. So glad that Will is gone. Also glad to see Belle FINALLY get more of a main character status.

I also love the Belle and Merida team-up. Belle is like the ultimate team-up companion.

Get Merida, Mulan, and Belle together. Rumple dispatches them to fight evil. RUMPLE'S ANGELS.

Maybe Rumple's time as the Light One will be made real when he overcomes his cowardice? I'm glad they're finally really digging into that character aspect. Before it's been his use of power to hide his fear (his fear of fear, basically). Now he has to face the underlying problem head on without a net.

One thing I like with both the Frozen and Brave integration: they feel like sequels to the originals, in a good way. It's a shame Tangled won't get the same treatment, since they already had Rapunzel. I could see Tiana coming in - she could easily be from a part of Cruella's 1920's world.

OUAT Merlin sucks. Hard. There are so many great actors who could've been Merlin. The guy they picked is just...terrible. Bad delivery, bad body language. He doesn't convey wisdom or skill at all. The Apprentice was a better Merlin than this guy.

Easily the worst part of season 5.

Emma's reason for going dark were kind of predictable. I was hoping for something more shocking. It at least makes sense in character and explains the mystery. It is also nicely ironic.

Arthur needs to get his limbs chopped off while screaming that he's invincible. I really want that to happen.

YAY FOR FRANKENSTEIN RETURNING. About time. He didn't fit in thematically with season 4, so I understand why they left him out, but he is pretty great. Love his one-liners: "I hope you don't throw me across the room like last time." WELP. Running gag established.

Looking back, they should have cast Neil Patrick Harris in this role. He'd have been perfect.

"My name is Merida Dunbroch. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

I wanted Mulan and I got Mulan! OUAT Season 5 is pretty good about pleasing me. It has Belle x Rumple, Frankenstein back, Merida and Mulan team-up, Zelena being a grinning evil lunatic, etc. That the thematic backbone combines two of my favorite properties - Brave and King Arthur - also helps.

Oh, so that's where Ruby's been. I was wondering.

Didn't Philip and Aurora get stuck as Flying Monkeys since Zelena's not dead?

So far season 5a is a big step up in quality. As much as I enjoyed Season 4a, this one feels better. The only reason it's not as amazing as it could be was the absolutely horrible actor they picked for Merlin. A better Merlin would've made this darn near perfect.

Oh, come on, OUAT. Now you're just screwing with Rumple x Belle fans for no reason. Seriously. There is no good narrative cause other than "Belle is an indecisive idiot" (and she isn't) that would keep them apart at this stage. They're probably setting up their reunion as part of the winter finale.

(Or they'll do something really horrible and have Rumple absorb all the other Dark Ones into himself, thus ruining this whole "Hey, look, he's a hero now" subplot.)

The Hook x Emma drama is just fluff for me. I'm not very invested in that couple.

I also think the writers have forgotten what made the Dark One interesting. He's a shadowy deal maker, manipulating from the shadows. Turning the Dark Ones into an army of magical mooks triggers the Inverse Ninja Law - none of them will be as particularly as powerful as a Dark One ought to be.

One of the reasons seasons 4a and 5a of OUAT have been better than season 3a is the thematic unity and contrast.

Season 3a was just a "we need to do the thing by chasing the thing." It was a chase sequence with no chasing. Blah. It's only good episodes were where it explored Peter Pan's motivations and drew parallels to Rumple's relationship with his son.

Season 4a focused on Frozen's theme of sisterly love and added a new dimension with the Snow Queen. Frozen was about two sisters mending ways. OUAT Season 4a followed it up by exploring what could happen when that desire for a bond went too far.

Season 5a seems to be exploring bravery and leadership. We have Merida contrasted with Arthur. Merida is the just and true queen figure, come into her own and able to lead. Arthur was a fearful person, who wanted the appearance of unity without doing the work.

In both 4a and 5a, they've found story cues from the original and pushed them to a next step for OUAT. It's very clever and is probably why I'm enjoying it so much.


Things I wish I could see in OUAT future seasons:

1. Chinese myths. They have Mulan, so this is possible. Sun Wukong and others would be a natural fit for OUAT. Since we know season 5b is Hercules themed, having them butt heads with the Chinese deities would be interesting.

2. Tiana. They've established another unnamed realm that is always the 1920's with Cruella. Tiana could easily be from there.

3. Atlantis. You not only have great potential of Milo interacting with Frankenstein (OUAT science bros!), but there are tons of Atlantean legends to mine. Since this would be a sci-fi theme, you can push it even further by mixing in John Carter (which Disney still has the rights to) and Treasure Planet. OUAT...IN SPAAAAACE.

4. The Incredibles. A long shot, but with a sequel in the works and Henry's established love of superheroes, this could work. It'd have to be yet another realm. For even more fun, mix in Big Hero 6 - a Disney Marvel property that isn't tied up with the MCU.

5. Tarzan and Jungle Book. An obvious pairing here. Mowgli and Tarzan together? This could have some good moments. For even more fun, insert Emperor's New Groove. "WRONG LEVER!"

The main ones I struggle to think of are the animal ones, like Rescuers and Great Mouse Detective. I grew up on those and would love to see them integrated, but turning them into people risks losing something. Still, I'd love to see them try.