28 July 2009

Word is dumb

So, I’m writing up this letter at work the other day, and it has the word “information” in it a lot. (What can I say? I have a lot of information and I provide it to others. I’m nice like that.) Anyway, since I was using the word over and over, I thought I would try to use a few synonyms to mix it up a bit. I threw in “data”, but then I was stumped due to late-afternoon brain exhaustion. So, I decided to ask MS Word what it might suggest. This is what it gave me:>>>>

It’s “information” you idiot computer program, not “in formation”. Note the space. One word, not two. Plus, it’s like a totally common word, especially in the computer and business worlds. You would think Word would know it…

23 July 2009

If you have to have ads, at least make them entertaining

So, we're visiting both ends of the unsolicited advertising spectrum this week. First, I encountered the scary teeth in the previous post. But that was balanced out by this charming lad who also recently appeared in my yahoo mail.

That is just funny. It almost seems like it could be a fake ad in the Onion. Good for you, unnamed insurance company whose name I cropped out of the image and therefore don't remember now. That's some good comedy you've got there.

17 July 2009

Teeth just look weird out of the context of the whole face...

So this was the ad lurking over on the side of the screen in my yahoo mail this morning.

Don’t all of the teeth in this image seem a little scary, even the ones that are supposed to be the white shiny versions you want? The bottom ones have those super-red lips and menacing smile and look suspiciously like they might belog to
Dr. Frank-n-Furter. You really don’t want them going all Rocky Horror on your ass.

The top pair is a little too “heh, heh, check me out, I'm-a gonna come over there and bite you. That’s right, look out here I come. Chomp, chomp, chomp, bitch.” (Also, in my head I hear the teeth saying that in the voice of
Bruce the Performance Artist from Family Guy (and if you don’t know that voice, here are his greatest hits. He is my favorite character)

An open letter to people who use words

Dear speaker,

Just a few things I would like to call to your attention:
  1. Words that start with “es” should not generally not pronounced as if they start with “ex”, i.e. it’s es-specially, not ex-specially; es-spresso, not expresso. I noted this last week, but it seems to be spreading.

  2. The abbreviation “vs.” does not stand for “verse”. It’s versus, people. Two syllables. Please use them both. "FSU versus Miami", not "FSU 'verse' Miami". That’s just lazy.

  3. Please stop saying “chillaxe”. Just…stop.
Thanks ever so, Zil

10 July 2009

7 unrelated things

  1. OK, so you know that new-ish Dell commercial, where the workers are in the factory making the laptops in the pretty colors and singing “Lollipop”? For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why they changed the lyrics to “her kiss is sweeter than a cherry pie” instead of an apple pie. I was like, "that’s weird. Is it because the computer is red? No…apples and cherries are both red." Then it finally dawned on me…Dell doesn’t really want the word “apple” anywhere near their commercial for their PCs. Duh. Sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake.

  2. While I’m not generally in favor of political unrest and the overthrowing of governments and such, at least the recent events in Honduras have caused newscasters to have to say Tegucigalpa a lot, which is always entertaining. Definitely one of the most fun Central/South American capitals to say (along with Montevideo and Paramaribo. Actually, there are a lot of fun names down there like Tierra del Fuego. And Lake Titicaca. Hee...Titicaca.)

  3. Have you ever noticed how many people pronounce “especially” like “ex-specially”? What’s that about?

  4. I’m planning a conference at work, and I’ve been using this web service that lets you make and keep up with on-line registration forms and such. It’s called Wufoo. You know why? Because one of the guys who created it “really likes the Wu-Tang Clan and Foo Fighters.” That is awesome.

  5. Why is it that everyone at work feels the need to constantly comment on what day of the week it is? I got several “Happy Friday’s” on my way in. (Along with a number of “I can’t believe it’s Monday already's” back at the start of the week.) Further evidence of my theory that work sucks and everyone hates it.

  6. Just finished the Vanity Fair article on Sarah Palin. That is some good stuff! And just offers more evidence that that woman ain’t right. I would love to hear what the author thinks of her recent abrupt resignation.

  7. I also just got finished watching the first season of True Blood on DVD. My problem now is that I know that season 2 has started over on HBO, but I’m not a subscriber. I really want to know what happens next, and I really don’t want to have it spoiled for me during the 9 or 10 months I have to wait for season 2 to come out on DVD. (I also just finished season 4 of Weeds, so ditto this problem with Showtime) I guess I will just have to occupy myself with Dexter (season 2), In Treatment (season 1), Rome (season 1), The Tudors (seasons 1), Californication (season 1), and of course there is always all those seasons of The Wire (which I have never watched, despite being told by critics and friends that is the best show that ever was on television ever). I guess all of that should take my mind off the vampires…

06 July 2009

As we stand here on the eve of the funeral of Michael Jackson, I’m remembering the last celebrity death that reached these epic proportions of media coverage, madness, and pubic outpouring of emotion…Princess Diana. Only that death seemed to be even more… well, even more everything. She was more beloved, her death was more shocking, her children more sadly orphaned. While both Di and MJ had endured public scandals, she had emerged victorious from hers. During the royal divorce she was perceived as the victim, people were already skeptical of the monarchy and were quick to believe that the end of the marriage was the fault of cruel, cheating Charles and his evil family. Their hatred of Di stemmed from her refusal to bow to their demands, to behave as they dictated, to “stay in her place.” People were happy to believe that she was simply too independent and fabulous to stay under the thumb of the outdated monarchy, and they embraced her as a single mother and woman of the people.

Measure that relatively mild disgrace against MJ’s various pedophilia charges, disturbing body modification, and increasingly erratic behavior. While MJ was going broke due to his excessive Neverland lifestyle, Di was doing charity work, crusading against landmines, and raising the future King of England. It’s generally agreed that Di put her children first, while MJ is best known for parading them around wearing veils and surgical masks and dangling them off balconies.

Add to all that the circumstances of their respective deaths. Di was a victim of the actions of others and circumstance – a passenger in a speeding car driven by a possibly drunk driver being chased by the hated paparazzi (the opportunity for lots of “they hounded her in life, and have caused her death” stories was just too good to pass up). MJ, on the other hand, was probably a victim of drug abuse and a lifetime of the indulgence that is granted to the rich and the talented.

Di even wins in the conspiracy theories surrounding their deaths. MJ’s doctors may have overprescribed him drugs and he may have been taking anesthesia-level sedatives. That’s nothing compared to all the pot-stirring that came from Mohammed Fayed – that Di was pregnant with his son’s child, and that the racist Royal Family arranged to have her murdered rather that see her with an Egyptian Muslim.

Anyway, I really had no strong feelings about Diana when she was alive (I was in elementary school when she married Charles, so I vaguely remember the wedding hoopla, but I really wasn’t that interested. I mean, I get the whole “fairy tale wedding/wanting to marry a prince” thing, but really, even to a ten-year-old, Charles didn’t seem like much of a catch.) Actually, her popularity is in my mind very similar to that of MJ. Whenever they would show a MJ related event where his fans were around (especially those super-crazy ones overseas) I could never understand what all the fuss was about. I mean, those people were fanatical…screaming and crying and waiting outside his hotel in the cold to catch a glimpse of him. What was all that about? I just never really got it. Same with Di. I admire anyone who uses their fame and resources to aid charitable causes, but otherwise, I never really gave her much thought. And while that may have been the case when she was alive, that certainly changed when she died. And that’s because I was living in London when it happened.

I was working for FSU’s London Study Centre. I had just arrived a few days before, and I was busy getting over jet-lag, settling in, meeting my new flat mates and coworkers, and getting things organized for the arrival of the next batch of students. I remember being asleep and hearing church bells ringing early in the morning. When I got out of bed a couple of hours later my flat mate told me that Princess Diana had died.

I’m sorry, MJ fans, but your outpouring of grief is nothing compared to what I witnessed in the UK. Maybe it’s because I’m not in Los Angeles or Gary, Indiana or Neverland or some other more MJ intensive locale. Maybe it’s because the UK is so very small compared to the vast United States, so the mourning was concentrated into a much smaller area. Whatever the case, the entire city (and country) was just at a complete loss. Just like in the last few days, I witnessed the same wall-to-wall, interruption-of-all-regularly-scheduled-programs news coverage. But, I also saw the madness in person out on the streets. I went out and walked around the city, and there were just so many places that people were mourning publicly. Over by Di’s residence, Kensington Palace, there were police officers everywhere, directing people out of the tube and into blocks-long lines to stream past the gates and leave their flowers and tokens. The piles of flowers, teddy bears, notes, and other items were huge (it is estimated that over a million bouquets were left there). Ditto at Buckingham Palace. At both Kensington and St. James Palaces, hundreds of thousands people waited in line to sign various condolence books.

Then there was the funeral itself (which I stayed inside for and watched on TV, like 2 1/2 billion other people) with the celebrities and the Elton John and the eulogies (including her brother striking out at her treatment over the years by both the press and the Royal Family) and the estimated 1 million people standing outside Westminster Abbey and along the route of the funeral procession. The entire country was at a standstill for that service. I’m interested how Michael’s final farewell is going to stack up.