Top 5

Inspired by my baby sis…

1) Minesweeper for speed. Hours can evaporate in a blur. You haven't really played minesweeper until you have beat either 5/30/100 seconds in Beginner/Intermediate/Expert. But when you get into the zone of right-drag-left-clicking efficiently, it's like dancing with logic!


2) Ice Cream. If I had to choose between a lifetime with only ice cream vs. a lifetime with all other kinds of desserts except ice cream, it would be no contest. I can do without cakes, pies, cookies, donuts, brownies (except in ice cream), chocolate (except in ice cream), … you get the point. I sometimes wonder if I tried to survive on only ice cream whether I would die of malnutrition before I got tired of it. In a pinch, chocolate milk (guzzled at the rate of about 32 oz / 32 seconds) is a decent substitute.

3) Lounging on the couch with T, watching Movies(/TV) that are innovative, not formulaic. For instance, Intacto, Bubba Ho-Tep, Twelve Monkeys, Pulp Fiction, any movie by David Mamet, the Coen brothers, M. Night Shyamalan, or Charlie Kaufman, Spaced, The Simpsons, Scrubs, Freaks & Geeks, My So-Called Life, The Office (The Office), My Name is Earl, Lost, etc. (I could keep going, but I don't want to get carried away here). Also lately (should probably be higher) discussing theology and interesting books with T (books on classical education, culture&religion, postmodernism, etc.)

4) My own software. Ditto to dad's sentiments in his own #4:

I knew after writing my first program in 1982 that seeing your own software run and be useful is strangely satisfying. Still is – but all the more so when the useful software is for your own personal benefit.

BTW, my first program (in BASIC) was also pretty close to 1982. Lately, I've been getting much enjoyment out of Perl and C++ STL. Watch Blogorrhea for an upcoming post "Code is Poetry"

5) Things kids say, that show there's something going on upstairs. Like the other day when #1 asked whether the name "Obi Wan Kenobi" was Spanish because the a in "Wan" matched what we explained to him about the simpler treatment of vowels in Spanish (as opposed to in English, where it would probably rhyme with [bcdfjlmprtvy]an, as opposed to the two other sounds a can make by itself, not to mention dipthongs). I told him there were actually many languages that use the same single sound for a as Spanish (I was thinking of German). His response, "OK, then I guess it's Latin." And back on the bike to continue around the block. Kudos to home-school-marm T, who is the only possible way this 5 1/2 year old could possibly know anything about Latin and its relationship to Spanish.


6 Responses

  1. For your general reading public:

    In college RubeRad and I would buy and consume two five-quart buckets of generic vanilla ice cream a week. We’d pop off the top, squeeze in Hershey’s chocolate syrup until we couldn’t see any more white, then eat until we couldn’t see any more brown.

    That might be mildly exaggerated — but only mildly.

    For awhile after college, I basically lived on ice cream three meals a day. Ah, the carefree bachelor days …

  2. Very interesting. I was surprised by pretty much all of those answers. I wonder if T could have guessed them. :)

  3. What is the right-drag-left bit? And I noticed violin playing wasn’t on the list. What’s up with that?

  4. The list did not contain violin playing, or perhaps more surprisingly, music listening. Nor did it contain disc sports (ultimate, golf), on the basis that, although I say that I like them, my lifestyle does not sufficiently demonstrate that I like them. I have ~200 CDs right here in my cube, and I’ve listened to maybe 3 discs in the last few months. I don’t know why, but I just can’t be bothered to open the case, select the next disc in the alpha by composer sequence, and listen to it.

  5. Right-drag-left: uninitiates to the cult of minesweeper do not know that, if you have a cleared square with a number, and that number of neighboring mines have been flagged, then right-left-clicking on that number automatically clears any remaining neighbor squares of that number (hopefully setting off a clearing chain-reaction).

    Slow way:
    Right button down to flag a known mine.
    Release right button.
    Move mouse to point to adjacent numbered square, which now has enough mines flagged.
    Right-and-Left click.

    Fast way:
    Right button down to flag known mine.
    Drag mouse to adjacent numbered square that now has enough mines flagged around it.
    Left button also down on numbered square.
    Release both buttons.

    It doesn't seem like much, but when you get it into your muscle memory, it's kind of like holding down the shift key to type ALL CAPS vs. releasing and re-shifting for each letter.
    Then again, there's a whole school of minesweeper that believes flagging is a waste of time, so you should use only the left button on known clear squares, aiming to detect which known-clear squares are more likely to cascade into chain-reaction clearing.

    How geeky am I?

  6. Hey, a “Bubba Ho-Tep” fan. Well done!

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