The next round-up

Jeffro, pumping some diesel, clicks off the pump with 137.001 gallons showing, and asks if we’re similarly OCD:

Just to make it easier to calculate my account balances, I pump my own gas to the nearest dime.

Are you picky — do you “round it off,” or do you just run until it clicks off and call it good?

Weirdly enough, I run until it clicks, and then enough to bring it up to the next dime. And then I go home, calculate mpg, and sob: it’s winter, so instead of my usual 21-22 mpg, I’m barely over 20. In the interest of improving my statistics, I’ve been buying the same grade at the same station for the last several months. I figure I’m taking about a 3-percent hit using E10. Then again, the best tank I ever scored was running the superslab through Midwestern cornfields on 93-octane E10, breaking the 31-mpg barrier. (EPA sticker: 20/28 original; 17/25 revised.)

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The mind’s eye, decelerated

When I raved about BT’s album If the Stars Are Eternal So Are You and I last summer, it never occurred to me that there might be video worthy of it. So I was surprised at the visual feast conjured up for “13 Angels On My Broken Windowsill”: “You don’t need visuals: the brain provides its own,” I had said.

Now comes something even less likely: a video for “Our Dark Garden,” a pure mood piece.

The description:

From a concept by BT, ‘A Million Stars’ director Christopher Andrew executed a ‘macro time-lapse journey’ for the final music video, combining time-lapse photography and slow motion HD-footage over the course of six months. From April to September 2012 over 350,000 stills were taken, day and night, in Christopher’s backyard in Gloucester, MA. Produced by Stoptime341 Productions.

I’ve provided the embed here, but you really need to see this on a wider screen.

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Miserable kayaksoaker

If you’ve been reading this stuff for a year, you have at least a passing familiarity with the term “douchecanoe,” though I admittedly didn’t provide anything resembling a taxonomy of the subspecies. For that, you need LeeAnn’s description of just such a barge, a former coworker with delusions of adequacy:

In the past months, Scooter has been a revered member of the Armed Forces, a manager of a motorcycle shop, a bounty hunter, a feared and respected repo man, a member of Cirque Du Soleil, a secret agent, a bank manager, the inventor of the Grumpy Cat meme, and has had 312 girlfriends, all of whom still are obsessed with him. Scooter also maintains, despite the fact that everyone heard BossMan go ballistic and fire his sorry ass, that he quit to pursue a degree in criminology.

Scooter is well on his way to being a politician, we have all agreed.

At the very least, we need to check his cap size.

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An equal and opposite reaction

A news release from the Imperial Center at Coruscant:

The overwhelming military superiority of the Galactic Empire has been confirmed once again by the recent announcement by the President of the United States that his nation would not attempt to build a Death Star, despite the bellicose demands of the people of his tiny, aggressive planet. “It is doubtless that such a technological terror in the hands of so primitive a world would be used to upset the peace and sanctity of the citizens of the Galactic Empire,” said Governor Wilhuff Tarkin of the Outer Rim Territories. “Such destructive power can only be wielded to protect and defend by so enlightened a leader as Emperor Palpatine.”

That’s the trouble with those earthlings: they keep electing Alderaan people.

(Via Pejman Yousefzadeh.)

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Nuggets dunked

The one thing you need to know about this game was the amount of garbage time: more than ten minutes. It was OKC 95, Denver 70 after three quarters, and the starters hung around just long enough for you to remember seeing them. The Nuggets reserves put together an 11-0 run, but they’d never make it back within a dozen. “It’s like a bad accident that I can’t turn away from,” said Darnell Mayberry. The final: 117-97.

You win some, you lose some: Serge Ibaka was back, but Nick Collison sprained his right ankle and did not return. Russell Westbrook put on a show, getting most of his 32 points (12-20 from the floor) before halftime; both Kevin and Kevin weighed in with 20. (Durant went 7-12, Martin 8-12.) Overall, the Thunder shot 52 percent, and made nine of 19 treys. The major excitement, other than statistical, was waiting to see if Hasheem Thabeet would foul out. Twice in the waning moments, it looked like he would, but both times someone else was tagged with the foul.

Denver normally shoots better than 45 percent, and 2-15 from beyond the arc can’t have made George Karl happy. Kosta Koufos was satisfyingly sturdy in the middle, posting 16 points and swiping nine boards, but it’s usually not a good night when Kosta Koufos is your leading scorer. (Between them, Andre Igoudala and Danilo Gallinari were 7-20.) With the Thunder taking the ball away at every opportunity — OKC had 11 blocks and 11 steals — it’s probably remarkable that Denver broke 90.

The Nuggets will have a chance to redeem themselves at their preferred altitude Sunday. The Thunder, presumably, will be coming off a win at Dallas — though you can’t be sure of anything with Dirk Nowitzki hanging around.

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I might have known

Just a little, tiny traction boost, they say, and then suddenly you’re in the middle of an international incident.

CBC screenshot: Armstrong Used Rugs

Why don’t you come with me, little girl, on a magic carpet ride?

(Several hundred Facebook shares on this already.)

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So much at steak

Whatever else Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk may be, he’s definitely not the kale-eating overlord of Mars.

A brief explanation:

[A] press representative at PETA had sent The Jane Dough staff an open letter written to SpaceX founder Elon Musk. The well-publicized launch of the SpaceX Dragon capsule last year, and Musk’s claim SpaceX would make it to Mars by 2018, got PETA thinking: “The opportunity to colonize Mars means a chance to make a fresh start, especially now that we’ve degraded our own planet by treating our fellow animals like disposable widgets, filled the air with pollution that will soon make the sky in Soylent Green look clear, and populated the Earth with so many humans that the premise of Logan’s Run starts to look practical,” the letter said.

Somebody’s been trying to sneak out of Carousel, don’t you think?

Anyway, this is how you deal with PETA. From February 2004:

Last week, PETA offered twenty grand worth of soy products or something to the folks in Slaughterville, Oklahoma, in the hopes of persuading the town to change its name to “Veggieville”.

Bill Hightower, who raises Limousin cattle in Slaughterville, came up with a counteroffer: “We’ll give them $20,000 worth of hamburger if they will move to India where they will be appreciated.”

Eventually a deal was struck that would require neither side to buy new stationery.

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Traveling on

Rather a lot of Emmy Rossum pictures hit the wire this past week, which led me to believe that she had something to promote, She does, of course, but this probably isn’t it: her second album, Sentimental Journey, due out in two weeks. The title gives it away: it’s a collection of standards, and we can always use a collection of standards, right? The first single is a version of Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper,” which you probably remember as a Roy Orbison hit, circa 1963. It’s about as far from “Slow Me Down,” her sort-of-hit single from 2007, as you can get.

One of the stops on Emmy’s itinerary was ABC’s daytime gabfest The View. This was reportedly shot backstage at ABC yesterday:

Emmy Rossum backstage

She continues with her day job on the Showtime series Shameless, which was probably what she was actually promoting during that whirlwind tour, inasmuch as the series’ new season (the third) started Sunday.

And I’d appreciate it if someone could name this shade of green, which I think is utterly wonderful.

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Magazines at checkout

Tam finds a particularly egregious form of artificial dissemination:

So, some goldbug site reports that his sister’s cousin’s mother’s boyfriend went to Wal-Mart and tried to buy some .22, and the computer told the cashier that they were out of ammo and wouldn’t be ordering any more.

Which story, of course, immediately went viral, despite the fact that it couldn’t possibly have been true:

Does nobody think that if the administration had arm-twisted Wal-Mart into discontinuing ammo sales, the first person you’d hear it from wouldn’t be a cashier in the sporting goods department, but rather Barry O. himself, doing some nerdy student government brainiac version of a sack dance behind the podium in the White House Briefing Room?

Bordering on Urkelesque, it is.

If nothing else, this proves that crap is not a zero-sum proposition: the population continues to grow, and crap per capita is definitely not declining.

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No accounting for words

The Instant Man notes:

Different word processors generate different word counts on same document. Slight differences in the algorithm turn out to make a difference.

And he links to this analysis, which may be of interest to legal types mandated to keep it short.

Once again, I’m (slightly) ahead of the curve. From last summer, while I was working on what turned into a novella:

I am becoming persuaded that every editor in existence counts them differently. Google is full of people who have found discrepancies between how many words they think they wrote and how many words Microsoft Word thinks they wrote.

I didn’t pay any attention to this phenomenon, of course, until I landed here. I wrote The Sparkle Chronicles in the WordPress editor, since it’s the one I use most often these days. The three chapters published here so far are listed at 3278 + 2830 + 3886 = 9994 words. WordPress says 3186 + 2727 + 3720 = 9633.

Final word count was 18,589 — more or less. And I must rehash this hash from the winter before, simply as a rebuke to myself:

I seriously doubt I could put together a decent 4000-word short story.

Well, you can’t win ’em all.

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They’re not actually lethal, but they didn’t exactly save my life either.

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But they had so much in common

Kelly Hildebrandt and Kelly Hildebrandt are breaking up:

The couple who met, fell in love and married over a shared name, have now filed for divorce. Kelly Hildebrandt and Kelly Hildebrandt have gone their separate ways.

The pair with matching names made news when they tied the knot in 2009. But the couple came to realize that sharing a name wasn’t enough to keep them together.

(Background here.)

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Floating in the dark

Welcome to the unreality-based community:

The Internet is a sensory deprivation tank. It somehow has the exact specific gravity of a human brain, so that it cancels out the heavy, reminding tug of our bodies. It deceives us that whatever we can imagine is not only possible, but already sufficiently existent without the salutary work and frustration that is matter’s accursed blessing. Our minds are crumbling like the bones of astronauts who have lived too long in weightlessness.

On the other hand, this may not necessarily be a bad thing, at least in terms of the effect it has on certain sectors. Continuing into a comment:

All those people, full of hope, sending out identical tweets about their social media optimization coaching — they are going to end up bagging groceries.

And bagging groceries is a tangible good, mostly. Sometimes it’s an art form. And sometimes they put the M&Ms under the rotisserie chicken.

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Cheerful nonconformists

Mark Alger glances at some of the staff at his local Whole Foods:

[W]hat amused me was the observation that all of the male employees’ beards looked exactly alike as to length and shape. As though they had a beard inspector who went around at morning check-in with a plastic mask he laid over their chins and made them either shave or glue on additional hairs so everybody had the same whole-wheat-and-chambray uniform appearance to match the store’s corporate theme.

That and the fact that everybody acted stoned.

In this town, alt-grocery stores tend to be stocked with (or by) hippie chicks, but Sixties throwback that I am, I believe in being kind to hippie chicks. I blame Dean Friedman.

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Authentic robot gibberish

Somewhere in the vast botnet, there is a machine sending out this weird text sample under the title “PC Error Removal”:

mentiams seemasm crosoduching portle drenation ousnappitters filesspective squero tourness scoper shamps oblelibell shamps. oblindings progichastits ritelenmens waywortsmarks extota bequanized viscent exciand matempendully velyncies peneed romesseld. pealth scrium advelnes shrianest compast forgst simposconcia decluble thsterenth efering acticiouts withendes obscor stickerysly farecienies matemper disgroonesset. jurinap burliner sionce scamation bumbericated benesin franno recroutratess ovissivers atered crifyinger riathelmedly climaxons polimillowerly norment scoffects paratole reascessies reextruch gramazing euchbows rantenvics.

It pains me that there are no definitions for these nonwords, so once, anyway, unto the breach:

Portle, v.i. To make use of a portal. (“We portled our way to Beta Centauri to save time and fuel.”)

Compast, n. A pile of organic material that has decayed beyond usability. (“You’re never going to get your tomatoes to grow if you dump that compast on them.”)

Efer, v.i. To use the F-word (q.v.) profusely. (“The Big Lebowski sets the curve for contemporary efering.”)

Burliner, n. A sock of unusual thickness, intended to protect the ankles from certain weeds. (“Better wear your burliners, there’s a bumper crop of stickers this year.”)

Scoffects, n. pl. The personal property of an individual arrested for a misdemeanor. (“We’re holding Mr Franno’s scoffects as evidence.”)

Norment, v.t. To assail an individual with statistics. (“The doctor normented me for half an hour before she’d give me the prescription.”)

Climaxon, n. The theoretical unit particle of orgasm. (“Two hundred sixty climaxons! I’m telling you, Cindy, this one’s a keeper!”)

Feel free to bumbericate your way to some definitions of your own.

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The wrath of Durant

Radio guy Matt Pinto actually said that when Kevin Durant logged his 40th point tonight. Really, though, Kid Delicious didn’t look all that wrathful: he was utterly methodical as he took apart the Phoenix defense. And when he wasn’t doing it, Russell Westbrook was; with Durant’s 41 and Westbrook’s 36 — well, the Thunder won it 102-90, so there were twenty-five points that they didn’t score. Kevin Martin had just under half of them.

The Suns made a few runs at it, showing a knack for second-chance points — Phoenix grabbed 14 offensive rebounds — and the limited rotation (just eight) put in some serious work. Marcin Gortat played more than 46 minutes in an effort to seal off the cylinder. (He finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds, four off the offensive glass.) Shannon Brown collected a team-high 21 points, though it took him 43 minutes to do it. From the abbreviated bench, Michael Beasley and Sebastian Telfair (14 points each) were busy, Beasley clearing the boards and Telfair sinking the treys. This is what happens when both Channing Frye and Jared Dudley are out of commission.

Speaking of hors de combat, Serge Ibaka still is, but Thabo Sefolosha was back. (Telltale statistic: third-highest scorer of the starters, with four, but at +20 top of the box score.) Nick Collison started at the four, but for much of the night it was Durant and Hasheem Thabeet working the frontcourt. Kendrick Perkins didn’t shoot much, and what he did shoot didn’t go in, but he did collect 13 rebounds.

While all this was going on, Chicago was putting the hurt on Atlanta, holding them to 15 points in the first quarter and five in the second. I mention this here mostly as a “Don’t get cocky, kid” reminder.

The Nuggets come to OKC Wednesday, after which a six-game road trip ensues, starting Friday in Dallas.

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