Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Horrors of Internet Dating, Volume 8

When you're looking for someone to date, one of the most important things is having something in common. Luckily, OkCupid has advanced algorithms that can scour profiles and identify common interests.

Thanks. That really helps this person stand out from everyone else. Although some people need more help standing out than others.

Pro tip: if you have friends who look exactly the same as you, identify which one is you. Better yet, take pictures with friends who look different so it's clear which one is y-

AHHH FUCK! Never mind, I take it back. Just take normal pictures. Goddamn. I remember when The Shining was just a movie.

But it's words that matter more than horrific pictures.

No, random internet person, you shouldn't have to preface that. If thinking deep conversation and communication are important is "weird" to most people, then I'm screwed. Let's see who else agrees with me:

Nope. This may sound weird, but I use a spacebar and shift key when communicating with a keyboard.

Although, "Ballcrosswordsex" does sound like my kind of sport.

Hey I like intelligence! I like learning! I even like happiness! Unfortunately, I also like the letter N. :(

Falling apart at the.

But you know, despite being a snobby grammar nazi (which is obvious in my profile), sometimes people actually do send me messages. Let's see who loves me today:

ok. yw. loljk.

I am flattered, truly, that someone thinks I am Q.T. Cutie? I am cutie? Wait what?


Sometimes I figure these people must be getting by on their looks, but then I click and they either don't have a picture or aren't that good looking. So then I just feel sorry for them because they're not very good at communicating over the internet. Either that or they just don't put any effort in because they figure I'm so desperate I'll go for anything. Which is 100% true.1

At least some people appreciate language.

This assassin lover does like animals. And poem. I wonder if there is someone else who's into the same things.

Well, her life is suck, but she does like dog! And pomes! Close enough.

This may sound weird, but maybe I should go back to trying to find thuth love in real life.

I leave you with this:

1 Not really. Actually my pickiness only allows me to go anywhere with the cream of the crop. Then I get all emotionally invested because the cream of the crop is so very rare, and that makes me all serious and not-myself which sabotages everything, and I go back to stockpiling the crop of my cream.

See also: Volume 7.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On the BBC

Hey look at that, I'm quoted in a feature on the front page of the BBC: Do Typefaces Really Matter? (near the end)

If you're visiting from the article, you may wish to see the post that inspired the reporter to give me a call: Fonts Don't Matter.

I wrote it to be a bit provocative, and I am by no means an expert in any aspect of design. However, I stand by my opinion that in the vast majority of situations where text's primary purpose is to be read (versus, say, recognized, like a brand's logo, or the sign to the right), typeface matters very little.

Some pro-fonters in the BBC article posit subliminal emotional reactions to fonts. That is a testable claim, and its veracity is an empirical question. Show me actual evidence for substantial differences in emotional reactions to fonts and I'll gladly rescind my assholery. Until then, I highly doubt there is a tapestry of font-inspired emotions comparable to Baskin-Robbins' 31 flavours of ice cream.

If this is your first visit to, welcome. I usually don't talk about design, but you might wanna come back anyway, since I'm kinda awesome. I also don't usually write boring posts about my dreams. Hence why I had to put this one up to, you know, make up for that last one. So y'all come back. Or else.

In other 15 minutes (maybe 16 now) of fame news, I am currently the featured blogger at Studio 30+ (also: I'm old). Plus there was being in Macleans and other publications etc etc talk to my publicist.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hammy Potter

Trying to sleep in sticky heat with a fan blasting in my face tends to give me the best dreams. I won't bore you with the details, but last night I dreamed that I went to see the latest Harry Potter movie. The dream seemed to go on for hours; every detail of the plot was there, and I even remember picking apart little differences from the book.

The thing was, it had nothing at all to do with the plot of any of the real-life books. No, my mind dreamed up an alternate Harry Potter involving alternate dimensions and even sadder angsty teen romance.

The best part, though, was my brain's replacement for Quidditch. There were still brooms and goals, but it was played indoors. Also, every kid played with a hamster strapped to their wand. In one scene, Harry realized that someone had sabotaged his hamster, because it belched a deadly fireball that singed a hole in the wall, almost killing Ron. I'm not sure what the hamsters strapped to wands were supposed to belch, buy not fireballs I guess.

It was at this point that I realized this wasn't really Harry Potter, and began to wake up. Damn. I hope I get to see what happens tonight.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Oh internet, I know I haven't been there for you lately, and for that I am sorry.

It's just that there has been so much going on. See, when Willow died that got me pretty down, and when I'm down I feel like I'm this personality-free bag of flesh. That's not very conducive to blogging. Oh, me? Yeah, I'm doing better thanks, but, you know, it still hits me pretty hard once in a while.

The other thing is that I'm finally finishing up this school business. The deadline for my PhD dissertation is looming—I'm talking in two days here—so I've been spending, literally, almost every waking moment writing and rewriting and realizing there is no such thing as a fully functional word processor. Have I ever told you about my PhD research? It's pretty cool; I study horror movies. I'll be giving a very brief talk (like, 5 minutes) about the psychology of horror at Ignite London if you're interested. I'm going last, and you know what that means: I'M THE HEADLINER. And/or got chosen last in a hat draw. Whatevs.

So there's been all that stress, on top of other stress (mostly the good kind, but anything that gets my heart a-thump is still adding fuel to the fire), and although I've got enough mental resources to deal with it, it leaves me with few left to devote to you, dear internet. Don't worry, I will return to you soon. Then never leave you.


Thursday, July 01, 2010

Book Review: Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card

You could describe Ender's Game as Harry Potter in space. It'd be a pretty shitty way of describing it, since Ender came long before Harry , but the similarities are there. We've got a school full of kids who are special, an upcoming war, a sport that involves flying around and reaching a goal, and one really special angsty kid who's destined to save the world.

The similarities "end" there, though. Ender's Game is not fantasy, but hard science fiction. For a geek like me, it was a delight to read the intricate details of how to maneuver in zero gravity; not only how it affects people physically, but mentally as well ("the enemy's gate is down").

The sci-fi doesn't come at the expense of character development, however. Ender is a flawed, rounded out character. Flawed in a Jack Bauer kind of way though; you always know he'll figure out a way to deal with any obstacle. Often violently.

I was amazed at the prescience of Card's vision of the future. The short story the book is based on was written in 1977, yet many of the technologies described are just coming to maturity in 2010. The Internet plays a large role (especially in the interesting but ultimately rather pointless side plot about Ender's sister), taking over media and political influence in a way we are sure to see soon. He even threw in a line about kitchen appliances being online; in the 80s, the idea of a human being able to type something up then post it for the entire world to see (hi) would have been mind-blowing, but somehow Card was already imagining Twittering fridges.

Part of his genius was keeping descriptions just vague enough that your mind fills in the details with plausible technology. For example, the students' "desk" computers are described as fitting on a lap and having a screen, but the exact control mechanism is never specified. Of course, I imagined them as iPads.

Speaking of which...I got an iPad. This is my first post written on it. My typing is slower and I can't figure out a way to include a picture, but I still feel like I've arrived in the friggin future. Full impressions coming up later.