abounding with verbosity

Category Archives: Miscellaneous

App Idea: Sanctus Bells

I went to a wedding this weekend, and the silence of no sanctus bells during the consecration was noticeable. Why not an app for that? There’s nothing in Google Play nor the Apple Store. Sanctus bells aren’t cheap, and they pack a loud punch. The enterprising altar boy can easily connect to the church’s PA system via Bluetooth and operate his phone’s shake event detection discretely inside his surplice sleeves.

Awesome Comics I Made

These were published way back when I had a Xanga account. I was totally on point with these. Not sure what happened to the #1.

Click to embiggen and make bigly.

Public Service Announcement: Yes, Virgin Mobile Soiled Its Drawers

Virgin Mobile towers are down. I heard that things won’t be back up for another 72 hours…so no calls or texts if you’re on their network. VM’s site doesn’t mention it at all.

Here’s a screenshot of the outages, from Down Detector. Notice the large red monstrosity over my area, Pittsburgh. Regardless, the outage looks pretty widespread:

UPDATE, 6/3/17 – 12:32 PM: I’m able to text and call now, but the outage map is getting worse.

UPDATE, 6/4/17 – 8:23 AM: Things seem back to normal on my end. Down Detector areas are mostly yellow now—I’m not sure what it’s supposed to look like when systems are nominal, though.

“Shave it.”

You don’t need to know much about the characters, or the series itself, to appreciate this little filler episode (embedding the video is disabled, hence the direct link), showcasing the evolving psychology of boredom. I don’t even mind the “dopey, good-natured male vs exasperated, dutiful female vs mischievous kid” trope.

One thing to know: Vincent is not quite human, but a Jekyl-Hyde type of character. Pino, the little girl, is a high-functioning android. The woman, Re-L, is the only actual human of the trio, and as an astute Youtube commenter pointed out, she’s the one acting the least human—at least, up until the end.

A Reign of Terror and a Guillotine

From A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court:

I rather wished I had gone some other road. This was not the sort of experience for a statesman to encounter who was planning out a peaceful revolution in his mind. For it could not help bringing up the unget-aroundable fact that, all gentle cant and philosophizing to the contrary notwithstanding, no people in the world ever did achieve their freedom by goody-goody talk and moral suasion: it being immutable law that all revolutions that will succeed must begin in blood, whatever may answer afterward. If history teaches anything, it teaches that. What this folk needed, then, was a Reign of Terror and a guillotine, and I was the wrong man for them.

Someone Steal This Idea and Do a Kickstarter

A belt clip holster for cell phones, attached a retractable draw string, so that the phone is always attached to the clip, and subsequently the hip. The idea is to prevent accidentally leaving the phone somewhere, which happens to users who have minds that are always in some other place (like mine).

Some high-level specs:

1. Ideally, the phone would hang upside down at the hip, when in the retracted state. So the holster is attached to the beltclip at the bottom.
2. Both the clip and drawstring would have to be rather heavy-duty to hold up against being pulled dozens of times per day.
3. The holster would completely cover the phone, so the face of it should pick up on all the normal gestures used to interact with phone
4. Should have a button to disable retraction, so the thing isn’t tugging at you when you don’t want it to, like when using it as an actual phone that makes calls.
5. BONUS: Drawing or retracting drawstring charges phone.

EDIT: This actually comes pretty close to what I was thinking. The actual holster doesn’t seem too durable, as it is just a sticky backing that holds the phone, as opposed to a pouch. The cord and belt clip seem pretty lightweight, too. Also see this and this.

The Epistemology of the Man-flu

This post was originally titled: “Don’t Tell Me How To Feel About My Own Body,” quotes included. Though that was an obvious appropriation of retarded activist-speak, I couldn’t bear having it so prominently on display. Satirizing activists is a few degrees lower on the cringe-meter than an actual activist, and I don’t have the perpetual self-disregard of a trained actor to actually go through with it.

It turns out man-flu really exists—which, okay. The study looked at male and female mice (the article strangely calls the male mice, “men”), and the dude mice fared worse than the lady mice when injected with influenza. The article helpfully points out that, of mice and men, there are differences.

Studies like this aren’t needed to prove man-flu exists. You simply have to gauge the general reactions of men versus women when they get the flu. Maybe some access to simple statistics could help you along. Pinning the more acute reaction on men just being more whiny gained traction because the hah-hah chumpy sitcom dad trope is funny. Humor is easy to remember, and so is pathos; there’s nothing more acutely and universally pathetic than a whiny adult male. General likelihood doesn’t bear that scenario out though, since biological reactions—something we generally can’t control—happen with more consistency than a mild conspiracy on the part of men the world over to take advantage of their convalescent state. The former is a force of nature, which do not bend to force of will, whereas the latter involves human agency, which is much more variable.

The study isn’t needed because humans have bodily awareness, a field of philosophy that I don’t think is explored very much because it tends to get overrun by the physiology or psychology fields. In the case of “feeling” sick it’s called “intransitive bodily awareness,” since we are dealing with the body perceiving itself rather than objects existing outside of it. The thing of it is, it’s of the surest forms of knowledge we can have, since there’s no middle, interpretive layer between the sickness and the perception of it; the feeling of it is the knowledge of it.

Even in extreme, hypothetical contexts where a man’s awareness is tricked into feeling sick through stimulation of certain parts of the brain, it doesn’t change the fact that the sickness is felt, even after the deception is revealed. In other words, it’s “defeater proof.” If someone were to show me that the dead tree in the lot behind my house was actually a holographic projection, it still doesn’t change the fact that I still see a dead tree, even after knowing it’s not a real tree. I can’t be reasoned out of seeing the tree, just as I (or anyone) couldn’t be reasoned out of feeling a certain way when getting sick, because sense-data isn’t falsifiable*. Even our sitcom dad in question can’t argue with this.

* But perhaps not always. I need to read and think on this.


I did another hackathon. See photo below for photographic results. I somehow got more sleep than past hackathons, but that’s not saying much.

The local news covered the event (PS- I’m not a CMU student as the title implies). You can try to watch the video but it’s Flash-based and the site takes forever to load, like most affiliate station news sites.

Ebook Sales Trend Downward

Due to screen fatigue…at least in the United Kingdom:

“I wouldn’t say that the ebook dream is over but people are clearly making decisions on when they want to spend time with their screens,” says Stephen Lotinga, chief exeutive of the Publishers Association, which published its annual yearbook on Thursday.

“There is generally a sense that people are now getting screen tiredness, or fatigue, from so many devices being used, watched or looked at in their week. [Printed] books provide an opportunity to step away from that.”

You can’t Netflix the latest edgy one-hour drama or search for Caitlyn Jenner’s eyebrow waxing routine on a static, printed book. Amazon might do well to keep up with pre-fourth generation Kindles, where it was an actual e-book reader and not an iPad clone.

How It Should’ve Gone

Mustafa sat proudly at the back of the rock outcropping, a paw—with just enough claw extended make the warning explicit—held firmly on the back of Sarabi’s neck. The mandrill, that neurotic mystic, walked out to the edge of the outcropping and held up Mustafa’s infant son, Simba, for all the gathered animals on the ground to see. The signal. The lions, naturally the strongest and the acknowledged instigators, leaped into action, followed a few seconds later by the hyenas. The two factions tore into the group of frantic wildebeests, and the commotion kicked up dust and shreds of wildebeest hide. The meerkats activated and jumped into the collected pile of squirming grubs and bugs. The warthogs came after, alongside the meerkats, but soon the two groups vied against each other for control of the insect pile.

There were other fiefdoms that joined in, but the details of the battle were lost in the fog of war for all those gathered on the promontory. Simba, still aloft in the crazed mandrill’s hands, cooed and giggled at the chaotic Tennysonic battle below.

Mustafa smiled. It was an orchestrated war of all against all in homage to his heir’s future, and the future of his dynasty. His pleasure-sense heightened, and his claw involuntarily extended out farther into Sarabi’s fur. She whimpered and tried to evade the clamp down, which made him tighten all the more. What a wonderful scene, Mustafa thought, ignoring Sarabi’s pained cries. Wonderful. It will make a damn fine movie someday, if they would get it right.