Category Archives: Thoughts

Artistry in the Snow II

Last week, I mentioned someone flipping over a semi. I confessed to being somewhat awed.

Last Saturday, I managed some artistry of my own. Saturday is an excellent night for doing laundry, mainly because you, you, and you do not think that it is a good night for doing laundry. I had just finished it and was walking down the slippery, steep slope to my apartment when I got deposited hard on the ground.

My right knee and left elbow got a jolt, but somehow, my left thigh did, too, up near the hip joint. I felt the pain inside where the bone is; it was not a bruise. I was somewhat aching and lame for a couple of days.

In other news, I slipped and fell in traffic last week at a busy intersection.

This winter seems to be meaner than most. Take care, look at my example, and maybe try something else?

Artistry in the Snow

On Friday afternoon, I was driving home from a counting job in Merritt, British Columbia to Kamloops. It had been snowing, and a fellow driver and I had been wondering which route to take home. He had been considering Highway 5A, because Highway 5 (the Coquihalla) is awkward in the event of trouble as there are few turnaround points.

When it came time to leave, the Coq looked fine so he decided on the Coq. I followed his lead.

Unfortunately, we should have considered other drivers. There was an accident on the Coq, and we had to stop. I went to his van and commented that 5A was looking better. We were stuck waiting for about an hour.

The artistry? Someone had managed to flip over his vehicle. Given the surroundings, I did not see how he could have flipped a car or van. I am awed somewhat that the vehicle in question was a semi.

Please drive safely. Watch out for yahoo drivers, and do not be one yourself.


It can be difficult to assume another person’s perspective. Assuming that one knows can be disastrous. Asking politely can help a lot.

Sometimes, it is the other’s point of view that is missed. (I am somewhat unusual in a number of ways, and I see this personally by people who just do not get me.)

Some people do not even try to understand others and just treat others as they like to be treated. This can cause fireworks when an extrovert tries to get an introvert to, ah, have fun.

(It is sadly hilarious when such a person says that he is a people person and why am I not one?)

Sometimes, the misunderstanding is due to a condition. Do you really understand what it is like to be blind?

Here is a case where sighted people did not understand problems blind pedestrians face navigating in the snow: Be kind to blind pedestrians by choosing where you step when walking through the snow in Japan. What would seem to be the logical thing to do causes trouble for blind pedestrians.

Thank you to those who try to understand others. I try myself, and I know how hard it can be.

Digital Pacifiers

From a newsgroup posting:

“He’s learned to use a cellphone to check email when he travels. So where’s the resistance to new tricks? He just doesn’t find that he needs to carry a laptop.

Just because marketing-fueled news tells you the latest fad that doesn’t mean you need to buy all of those latest gadgets. Does it really make
sense to catalogue how many steps you take in a day with a $300 watch? Why? Do you really need to check Facebook while crossing city streets? Why? Is it hip to walk into trees or get run over while tech-diddling?

There’s nothing clever or cutting edge about the general trend toward people never being where they are. It’s nothing more or less than a widespread addiction to high-tech pacifiers, for people too embar[r]assed to twiddle their thumbs and too restless to sit still. Ditto for college students writing papers on dorm room sofas or in Starbucks. They don’t do that because it’s a good way to work. They’re simply restless.” – anonymous (The poster declined to be identified/credited.)

When one of the Apple systems was released, a poster in one forum noted that he had had to write a best man’s speech and had written it on one of the new systems. He noted that it took about three to four times longer than it would have on a desktop system.

Just because you are busy using whatever device does not mean that you are getting useful work done or much of this done. You might just be frantic, or as the newsgroup poster noted, “simply restless”.

Free Books at Project Gutenberg

There are a lot of good books to read for free at Project Gutenberg. According to their home page, they have over 53,000 titles which can be read in a variety of formats.

I have read many science fiction books there that are now out of copyright. A recent read of mine is mentioned in my current Odd Language item: Odd Language #188: Proving for Whom?, namely, Andre Norton’s The Time Traders.

Have a look, and let me know if you find any gems.

Odd Language #188: Proving for Whom?

‘Kurt snorted. “That they do not tell you until just before you take your first run. I do not want to know why. But I do know that I am not going to be sent into any wilderness where a savage may run a spear through me just to prove something or other for Major John Kelgarries, or for Millaird either. I will try my plan first.”‘ — The Time Traders, chapter 3 by Andre Norton

The issue: Yet another misplaced modifier. The way it reads Kurt is complaining about a savage trying to prove something for the major. This story is available at Project Gutenberg. Here is the link for The Time Traders.

*ing in a Winter Blunderland

(For “*”, read “walking”, “driving”, or whatever other things you have to do in the bad waether.)

For me, Monday had interesting weather in the Chinese curse sense.

One of my co-workers was turning over a company vehicle to me. The apartment complex I live in is on a somewhat steep hill. The entrance is at the top. My apartment is at the bottom. He came down, and got stuck in freshly-fallen snow. (Yes, the maintenance people are very good about plowing, but first, the snow has to fall. It was doing a very good job of that, too.) It was a bit of an adventure getting him out.

While doing so, other vehicles got in the way. He said that he initially got stuck because of another vehicle cutting him off. At one point, while we were trying backing up, a man and child came walking by and did not even move aside out of the way.

I saw a few other cases that day of people just not paying attention to the winter conditions.

Hey, folks! Not allowing for winter conditions can cause accidents. Please take care.

Corner Cases

Have you ever examined a situation and wished that people had considered the unusual cases just a bit more?

Look at this week’s Odd Language. Normally, whether to put commas inside or outside of quotation marks makes little difference, but in the case shown, inside makes it less clear. It would have been even worse if some of the names included nicknames (Gene “the Nitpicker” Wirchenko?).

Something that works 99.9+% of the time can still blow up. Electrical power does go out occasionally. People do get hit by lightning.

Then what do you do?

Evaluating the Internet

I read an interesting article on reasoning about the Internet this last week: EVALUATING INFORMATION: THE CORNERSTONE OF CIVIC ONLINE REASONING.

From the article: ‘Our “digital natives” may be able to flit between Facebook and Twitter while simultaneously uploading a selfie to Instagram and texting a friend. But when it comes to evaluating information that flows through social media channels, they are easily duped.’

Just this week, I read another example of someone accepting false data. This example comes from a Star Trek wiki article. In the section “Graphics and displays” is this:

“A painting of an 18th century British warship, the HMS Defiant, can be seen on one wall of the briefing room aboard the Federation Defiant. Mike Sussman referenced the older ship in the episode’s script, after having done a Google search. In real life, however, no such sailing vessel ever existed. A fictional Defiant was seen in the 1962 movie Damn The Defiant! (based on the Frank Tilsey novel Mutiny), which may have been the namesake for the Constitution-class ship. It was only after the art department had created the image that Sussman discovered the vessel had not really existed in history. (ENT Season 4 DVD audio commentary)”

One interesting thing about this example is that either this story is true so this is a good example, or the story is not true, I have fallen for something myself so this is a good example.

If you read it on the Internet, it might be true, and it might be nonsense. Learn to tell the difference.