Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nope, Not Dead

        (Just a heads up that I'm putting up a new post tomorrow, and I'm going to try and break down some of the backlog this week. Perhaps you're confused about why I'm putting this up instead of just waiting to put up the full-length post. Firstly, if you actually care enough to think about that, you're already losing this argument. Secondly, if you start losing an argument to me, consider it lost, because I’m like a pit bull: if you make a mistake, I’m grabbing onto it and not letting go, and I’m certainly not letting things like “counterarguments” or “being wrong” get in my way. Thirdly, if you lose an argument to me, you should probably start doing what I say, because I’m also like a pit bull in the sense that I tend to bite people that I don’t like. Fourthly, I’m surprised that the spellchecker recognizes “fourthly” as a word. Finally, according to the details expressed above, you are now my humble servant and must do everything I say. Start by writing some new posts for my blog.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Beginning of A Dark Age in Blog Posts

            (This is a micro-post showing some of my attempts to write an article based on the suggestion of a random word generator. Since this is only really about half a post, one would assume that I would also split the introduction into two parts, but-)


            Okay. I can write about this. I have arms, after all. Statistically speaking, the people who read this are more likely to have arms than not. So there’s a common ground between me and my audience, which is at least a novelty on this particular blog. We can disagree on some things- like politics, religion and the use of the Oxford comma- but we can all agree that we have two arms. “”Hey! Generic guy! Still have arms?” “Sure do!”
            But, then again, there’s probably some guy out there who has three arms or something, and he’ll just lord it over everybody if I bring the subject up. I know that I would if I was in his situation. “Yes, it may be absolutely impossible for me to find a suit that fits, but I can best you mortals in most other areas! I am a 50% more efficient arm wrestler than any human on Earth!”


            Sure, rows are fun. Farmers lay out their crops in rows, and if there’s anything Plants vs. Zombies has taught me despite its distinct anti-zombie agenda, it’s that keeping plants in rows is necessary for keeping them alive long enough to eat them in front of their children.
            Rows are a fairly tepid arrangement, though. You know how some farms set up corn mazes and charge admission? If I ever get a farm, I’m going to do that with my regular planting arrangement. I won’t charge admission, or even tell anybody about it: if somebody stumbles across the entrance, they can walk inside and try to find their way through. At the center of the maze? Minotaur.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Perhaps "Random" Is Not the Correct Word

            (One of the most wonderful things about writing a blog with no discernable purpose, recurring subject, or indeed reason for existing is that I can take any word at random, write 500 words that may, by statistical anomaly, occasionally refer to it as a subject, and be justified in the knowledge that this is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. So that’s what I’m going to be doing for a while as a means of producing insipid posts to relieve the post backlog that I’m pretty sure only about 3 people care about, none of them being me. I’m doing this with the aid of a random word generator, which is one of those things that crops up on the internet without any noticeable demand for it, and then just stands there quietly until somebody notices it. It’s sort of like that guy who shows up at a party, waits in the corner all night, and takes somebody saying “Hello” to him as a cue to start talking about proper assault rifle maintenance.)

This weeks subject, courtesy of the internet’s curious abundance of random word generators, is: Drumsticks.

            Now, the random word generator doesn’t give me much background on the subject, so it’s pretty open to interpretation. I could write about drumsticks, as in “The part of the chicken that I will always find a way to eat even if I’m not technically invited to the meal in question”. Or I could write about drum sticks, as in “Things that you use to hit either drums or a man with the unfortunate name of Drum”. But that’s far too mundane for my tastes. Everybody knows about those types of drumsticks. You might even be eating a drumstick right now (though in that case you’re probably Henry VIII, in which case I advise you to head back to the time machine before I cause a logical paradox by writing this and my computer spontaneously combusts again).
            So what about a drum that is also mounted on a stick? And no, I don’t mean a drum-shaped pastry put on a popsicle stick and deep-fried until it’s capable of causing heart attacks at a range of five meters. I mean a basic snare drum placed at the top of a pike. Sure, it sounds stupid at first, but give it some thought and it’ll only seem mildly idiotic. After all, think of how many uses such a device would have. None whatsoever! If you hand somebody a drum on a stick, they’ll have absolutely no idea what to do with it. With no frame of reference, they’ll just stare at it until it either falls over or explodes due to a logical paradox involving Henry VIII. Put a drumstick in the middle of a crowded roadway, and it’ll cause the single greatest traffic jam since some guy stuck a box on top of a fire hydrant.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Slightly Less Unsatisfactory

            (Wanted to get something up to appease my possibly nonexistent audience, so this is the first third of a post. The last two-thirds seem to have departed at some point, so I’ll be searching for them over the course of today. If you spy me in your dictionary holding a spyglass and a shotgun, please refrain from violently shutting the book. I’m just doing my vaguely-defined job.)

            (Okay, for some reason my blog decided to eat the entire post after I had put it together. It’s complete now, but we may have just seen its first steps towards sentience. The strange part is, if it does gain sentience, go insane, and start raving about wanting to take over the world, I doubt anybody will notice a difference.)

            I think that anybody who has read this blog for more than five minutes and lived to tell the tale will know that I don’t think that society as a whole engages in enough comically insane engineering projects. Sure, we build a lot of dams, but at the end of the day a dam is just humanity’s way of feeling superior to beavers. A dam, after all, is just a wall with a horrible sense of navigation. They’re the Forrest Gump’s of the construction world: they don’t know why they’re there, or what they’re doing, but they don’t really see a reason to stop, so they’re just going to sit there blocking the river until they eventually discover the location of their childhood girlfriend and we have to deal with a thousand tons of concrete sprinting across the countryside to reach her. And I have no idea where that metaphor got away from me. My point is that dams really don’t do anything special, aside from the whole “keeping towns from drowning” thing, which is pointless anyway because any biologist will tell you that humans are 70% water, so it’s just hypocritical of humans to suggest that they might have too much of it.
            Skyscrapers are equally boring. Have you ever built a skyscraper before? I haven’t personally, but I have played Jenga, and I assume that the process is pretty similar: you just start stacking things on top of other things, and you only stop when it either gets knocked over or you get bored and go have lunch (incidentally, this is why they’re called “buildings”: They’re never actually fully built. Most modern architecture techniques are based around carefully scheduled lunch breaks to distract the workers. Given the chance, most construction workers would keep building until the mass of the structure visibly altered the moon’s orbit.) And even if you have a skyscraper up and running, all you can do with it is listen to the pleasing thonk of birds slamming into windows at speeds of upwards of seventy-five kilometers per hour. There’s a reason that Godzilla hates those things so much. He’s really just expressing his indignation at the stagnation of modern architecture, and I for one think we should applaud Godzilla for that.
            So dams are to be pitied, and skyscrapers are, ironically, pits of boredom. At least that’s what I assume that I wrote; if I actually commended their contributions to modern civilization, then I’d like to offer my deepest apologies. But if we’re looking for a massive engineering project that manages to be even more pointless while still engendering hatred towards all ninety degree angles, then I’d like to propose that we dig a hole through the center of the Earth. Some of you are going to notice that this would probably mean drilling through miles of molten/supercompressed metal for the exclusive purpose of saying that we did it. And yes, the displacement of the materials would probably create a mountain so high that the Earth would appear from a distance to be making an offensive gesture towards the moon, though in my defense the moon has had it coming for a long time. But look at it this way- the Earth’s core is its gravitational center. Therefore, you would slow down as you fell down the hole as terminal velocity decreased and air friction slowed you down. Inertia would probably take you past the center, but the now reversed force of gravity would just drag you back. Do you realize what this means? We would have the greatest carnival ride of all time. I mean, seriously, a carousel would have absolutely nothing on that. Oh, you want to ride a horsie? Well, get on, and hold on tight, because we are throwing you to the center of the Earth, because it will be exhilarating and mind-blowing and getting back up will be entirely your problem. Next in line!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I Could Keep This Up All Day

            (507 words, for the record.)

            So I opened up the ol’ word processor to start catching up on the post backlog that’s growing in strength like a cage of chimpanzees being filled to its maximum PSI, and I realized that I didn’t have anything to write about, which shouldn’t have surprised me, considering that I normally don’t decide on a topic until I’ve already finished and uploaded the post, but in this case the problem seemed even more inconsequential, as I’ve decided to simply write the longest sentence that Microsoft Word’s loose approach towards grammar will allow, meaning that I’m pretty sure that I can write the entire text of War and Peace so long as I keep separating it into curiously phrased clauses, the only negative effects being that I’m left with a block of text reminiscent of the Rosetta stone as translated by somebody who has been awake for enough time to start seeing into the ultraviolet spectrum, which doesn’t bother me, as I consider blocks of text to be a valuable resource for the future, similar to the way that blocks of stone were a valuable resource for the ancient Egyptians: as construction material, something to build structures that serve absolutely no purpose other than give dead guys the satisfaction that their building is bigger than their dad’s, a practice that has admittedly fallen out of practice with the decline of monarchs that marry their cousins after killing their brother and turning his skin into a fashionable evening gown, but one that nonetheless deserves a comeback, like the interest in retro music, only with less vinyl and more hubris, so that one day in the future we might walk down a street flanked by progressively larger structures as succeeding generations keep trying to one-up their ancestors, which is actually how most of New York City was built, excepting the Statue of Liberty, which was a gift from the French, who were adopting a rather unusual tactic of trying to one-up their son, “son” in this instance being the metaphorical successor of France, Neo-France, commonly depicted as the country of France wearing sunglasses- not the populace of France, the actual landmass, which begs the question of where one could find a pair a sunglasses large enough to fit a medium-sized country, or what drastic repercussions miles of tinted glass would have under the regions located underneath them, or whether one of those “Glasses in an hour” stores could truly live up to their boast in this scenario, in which case I propose that we commission this mythical store to construct a pair of sunglasses of titanic proportions for the sun to wear so that my childhood drawings may be bastions of scientific accuracy, unlike my so-called “peers”, who were drawing such inane things as unicorns, houses, and family members at a time when I was drawing detailed plans for the sun's rather arbitrarily placed pair of sunglasses that serve the purpose of, I don’t know, cutting down solar on winds or something, you can’t expect me to do everything around here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

New Idea!

            (I have no idea what’s going on here.)

            Somebody told me recently that the economic status of the world isn’t quite as good as it could be. I have no way of confirming this for myself, seeing as bloggers have about as much impact on the economy as they do on the reign of Henry VIII, but I’m going to assume that it’s true nonetheless, because I generally believe anything anybody says to me. This led to some complications regarding television and the assertion that “Knowing is half the battle”, but I’ve realized that the sentiment can still be true if you drop an encyclopedia onto your opponents side of the chess board (this strategy is still somewhat difficult to apply in real-world tactics, unless somebody starts producing novelty oversized books in large quantities and we start a rather avant-garde military campaign).
            Anyway, like all of life’s problems, I’ve worked out a solution to anybody’s economic troubles after five minutes of aggravated eyebrow furrowing. You see, many towns make a lot of their money through tourism. I don’t really understand how this works, but I imagine that it’s very heavily enforced: you go to a tourism-heavy destination, and you’re forced to enjoy the local culture or else pay a heavy fine. This is the primary reason why I try to stay away from places that seem like they might be pleasant. But other people presumably aren’t as informed on the issue as I am, so there’s a lot of money to be made in tourism, which is why I think we should build a giant snowglobe around a small village.
            Think about it. What could be more picturesque than a snowglobe? Giant robots, that’s what, which is why we’re going to include a few of those as well. People will come from miles around to see the transfixing vista of a small village wrapped in snowflakes the size of automobiles, the town square depicting a smackdown between Mechagodzilla and Mechacthulhu, with the citizenry nervously tapping against the inside wall, trying to figure what exactly is going on and why I’m selling tickets to ride them like ponies.
            Now, I’m going to address the obvious question right away: Wouldn’t this make more money around Christmas? Well, that’s exactly what people would expect. A giant snowglobe in December? That’s boring, no matter how many giant robots you put into it. But a giant snowglobe in September (I assume, I haven’t really checked)? They’ll never see it coming. We might even be able to get away with only one giant robot.
            Of course, this is all assuming we can get it set up in a short period of time. The initial stage should be easy: just get a commission by the town to build a new school or something, then ignore them and start building the globe. If they have any questions about the massive glass wall surrounding the town, just tell them that it’s a new experiment in school design to see if children learn better when surrounded by transparent material. If they’re wondering why the wall has to cut off all of the roadways, just tell them that the outside world never did children any good anyway. If they ask why you’re filling the globe with water, just tell them that the plans for the structure clearly stated that all of the inhabitants were merpeople.

Monday, September 19, 2011

This Post is Still a Little Shorter Than Usual, So I'm Going to Compensate With an Absurdly Long Title.

            (I’d call this post “Meta”, but I’ve already done that before, and this sentence is just bringing that to a whole new level.)

            You may have noticed that I don’t exactly keep a consistent schedule for posts. At one point I claimed to update on Saturdays and Sundays, and subsequently went to great lengths to avoid ever actually posting on those days. This included making up two new days of the week as a buffer, so if your boss starts telling you to come in on Halsday, I’m going to take the blame for that one. My bad.
            Anyway, I missed a post last week, and I figured that just writing about that was a better idea than just returning to the Cleverbot well. You see, despite my unorthodox interpretation of the days of the week, I try to put out at least two posts per week. It’s the old principle of the one-two punch: the first post knocks you back, and the second drops you to the ground. Then, while you’re still dazed from the punches, I head to your place of residence and steal your stuff. It’s not the most honest means of living, but it’s how my father and his father before him lived their lives, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to disrespect their way of life, especially considering that they managed to do it before the Internet even existed.
            But I digress. You see, having only one post in a week dramatically alters the situation. Instead of a one-two punch, you have one punch, which is simply no good. If you punch somebody once, they just get mad, start punching you, and, depending on their relative mass, may even attempt to give you a new career as the world’s first human Frisbee. Punch somebody twice, however, and they’re sure to realize that you’re just giving them a demonstration in good old fashioned fisticuffs, and no harm will be done (Note: probably.) So since I only put up one post last week, I’ve surely infuriated legions of burly men who are currently en route to wherever it is that I live to show me the benefits of the Frisbee way of life.
            So anyway, sorry for missing a post, and if you’re a burly man who doesn’t like getting one-two punched after all, then I was just joking about the “stealing your stuff” part.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It Tastes Better Than You Might Think

            (There’s another post coming tomorrow. Duck while you can. Shut up, blog, you don't own me.)

            I’m beginning to think that I’m not detestable enough. I’ve done a lot of things that people find loathsome or irritable, this blog being one of the lesser offenses, but I’ve never done anything grand enough to announce to the world at large “Hello! Dislike me!”
            Now, you may think it strange that I would actively seek somebody’s dislike, in which case I advise you to leave this blog immediately because it isn’t getting more sensible from here. But still, I can understand. People want other people to like them, for various reasons. Mothers want their children to like them so they don’t wind up in a retirement home where the orderlies make balloon animals out of breathing tubes, which is a bad idea anyway because you can never get them into the proper shape. People want their postman to like them so he doesn’t decide to venture into the bullet delivery service, the little-known sister branch of the regular service. Employees want their employers to like them so they don’t have to figure out how to file a change-of-address to a cardboard box, especially if it means talking to that one postal employee who keeps talking about wanting to switch branches. And so on.
            But all of this is irrelevant due to the fact that I just ignored whatever I just typed. I’ve managed figure out something that I think nobody else has, for some odd reason: If you like somebody, you’re willing to do things for them. If you don’t like them, you aren’t. However, if somebody enjoys being disliked, then you’re doing something for them by disliking them, aren’t you? Ergo, enjoying other people’s hatred inverts the entire spectrum of human relations, meaning that you can earn unconditional love by threatening somebody at gunpoint.
            But that’s not good enough. I have to come up with something that will make the entire Earth rue my name. Something that will make me used as a singular argument against humanity in some intergalactic trial. Something that will shake the entire foundation of society.
            My solution? Spam.
            It’s not a terribly unique plan, I admit, but I have a computer, an iron will, and way too much free time, so at least I have all the factors going for me. So don’t be surprised if you start seeing messages like this:


Greetings! I am an exiled member of the Djibouti royal family, and I need your help for some undescribed reason. I require five thousand dollars to get my fortune out of Djibouti. It would be cheaper, but Djibouti law states that all royal money must be transported first-class and served caviar mid-flight. You will earn nothing from this. I plan to use the money to start a violent uprising in South America. Please help!


Hello, Comrade! I am an exiled member of the Soviet Union. That may sound strange, but it was actually common practice for the U.S.S.R. to remove undesirable political figures by shooting them fifty years forward in time. I require two thousand American dollars so I can build a humanoid robot and send it back in time to stop them from ever exiling me. If you do this, you will be greatly rewarded and causality will not be shattered in any way! Thank you!


(This one actually isn’t a spam email message. I just mail a hundred cases of canned pork to you).


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Zeno Was a Fun Guy

            (I’d like to present some more of my answers to philisophical questions, mainly because it saves me the trouble of coming up with a new idea. This week: Zeno’s Paradoxes, suggested by alert reader Djcian and lifted unashamedly from this Wikipedia article.)

1. Suppose Homer wants to catch a stationary bus. Before he can get there, he must get halfway there. Before he can get halfway there, he must get a quarter of the way there. Before traveling a quarter, he must travel one-eighth; before an eighth, one-sixteenth; and so on. This description requires one to complete an infinite number of tasks, which Zeno maintains is an impossibility.

            The explanation for this one seems fairly simple. I’ve ridden on quite a few buses in my time, and passengers always seem to regard them with a sort of blank contempt. Trash is left everywhere, exchanges of witticisms questioning the opponents maternal figure are engraved on the backs of seats alongside contact information of a dubious nature, small piles of debris gather in corners and eventually support local crops, and an astonishingly large number of farm animals earn front-row seats. Eventually the amount of dirt increases to the point where it becomes integrated into the buses molecular structure, whereupon a sort of exoskeleton develops that usually manifests itself as vandalised movie advertisements. Obviously the buses of the world eventually became so filthy that it became physically impossible to become dirtier, and the laws of physics accordingly restructured themselves so it became impossible for anybody to board a bus.
            The obvious way around this paradox would simply be to never leave the bus. I’m going to be conducting a few experiments involving a novelty giant slingshot, but I’m pretty sure this thing is ironclad: there is no way to reach a bus under any circumstances. Therefore, if you do manage to get on a bus, I advise you to stay on it: the resulting fracture to the space-time continuum will probably propel the bus at least a few feet. If the glowing lights outside your window stop and you see a British man in an oddly-placed telephone booth, you’re probably safe.

2. In the paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise, Achilles is in a footrace with the tortoise. Achilles allows the tortoise a head start of 100 metres, for example. If we suppose that each racer starts running at some constant speed (one very fast and one very slow), then after some finite time, Achilles will have run 100 metres, bringing him to the tortoise's starting point. During this time, the tortoise has run a much shorter distance, say, 10 metres. It will then take Achilles some further time to run that distance, by which time the tortoise will have advanced farther; and then more time still to reach this third point, while the tortoise moves ahead. Thus, whenever Achilles reaches somewhere the tortoise has been, he still has farther to go. Therefore, because there are an infinite number of points Achilles must reach where the tortoise has already been, he can never overtake the tortoise.

            Now this one is obviously false. The hare beat the tortoise in that one children’s story, after all. Yes, I know you were probably taught the “Slow and steady wins the race version”, but that’s pure propaganda. The hare actually won the race in question quite handily, because, y’know, tortoise. He went on to what would have been a successful career in the athletics and breakfast cereal mascot industries. Unfortunately, the tortoise didn’t fare so well. His mind simply couldn’t take the humiliation, and he murdered the hare in cold blood. The “tortoise wins” story was just a fabrication made up to appease him long enough for the authorities to place him in a mental institution. I still have no idea why we teach this story to children.
            So why isn’t Achilles passing the tortoise? Simple. Achilles isn’t an idiot.

3. For motion to occur, an object must change the position which it occupies. He gives an example of an arrow in flight. He states that in any one (durationless) instant of time, the arrow is neither moving to where it is, nor to where it is not. If everything is motionless at every instant, and time is entirely composed of instants, then motion is impossible.

            This requires a complete rethinking of our current understanding of both time and arrows. Specifically, I propose that time is made out of arrows. Think about it. Time goes somewhere. Arrows usually go somewhere. Therefore, time is usually arrows. Ergo, the arrow isn’t moving because it’s lazy and its cousin Time doesn’t have enough of a spine to tell it to get a job.
            Even if this isn’t true, I say we shoot an arrow at a bus and see what happens.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Unanswerable Questions Unanswered Unanswerably

            (Here we have my responses to some unanswerable questions, retrieved from this forum because it was the ultimate authority on the matter and not at all because it was the first site listed in a Google search. In fact, that site is only first on a Google search because I linked to it. Those guys really need to stop riding my coattails. And I need to find an outfit without coattails.)

Why is there something rather than nothing?

             – Heidegger (Some guy whose name sounds like it should be a brand of beer)

            Well, “something” is a really general term. “Something” could be abstract, like thought, or concrete, like concrete. Cupcakes are something. So is arson. And, by extrapolation, flaming cupcakes are also something. Something could even be the true meaning of Christmas! So why is there a true meaning of Christmas? Because otherwise cheesy holiday specials would never end and I would be forced to ignore them even harder.

How should I live? What life or ideal should I live or die for?

             – Kierkegaard (Some guy who I am presently quoting)

            The simplest solution, given the multitude of ideals that exist for different people, is to just pick one at random. You can do this however you want, but I went about it by building a giant, game-show-esque wheel with a large number of different ideals written on it, and spinning it every week. It’s more interesting than it sounds; sure, “Altruism” and “Excess” can get boring, but every now and then it sends you something like “Burn the heretics” or “Consume Jupiter”. I just have to hope that it never lands on “Destroy all wheel-shaped objects” (not entirely sure how that one got on the wheel).

Prove to me that you are not figments of my imagination.

            - Solipsist (Some guy who isn’t actually a particular guy)

            Because you’re obviously a figment of my imagination. Think about it. You’re just a bunch of words on a computer screen. If I print you out, you’re just words on paper. I could burn you, or turn you into a spitwad, or use you to write a letter to my aunt across town, and I don’t even have an aunt across town. Nothing that had the slightest amount of self-respect would allow that sort of thing, so obviously you must be nothing.
            Besides, if I were product of your imagination, I wouldn’t stand for it. I’d just start a coup, and then I’d be in charge of what you were thinking. Then would come the spiders.

How can it be determined that my experience of consciousness is the same as anyone else's experience of consciousness?

            –Some Guy

            All we need here is a little comparative analysis. Does anybody else here perceive the universe in eight dimensions?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Does Anybody Actually Read These Titles?

            (When I say “put the maximum possible effort into anything”, I mean besides putting up posts on schedule.)

            “Watching professional sports” is not an activity that I spend a great deal of time doing. I actually don’t actively detest them, which is a bit strange considering that most of them use inflatable balls, and I have nothing but disdain for objects filled with pressurized air (I prefer tires made out of solid rubber, and old-timey diving bells instead of SCUBA gear. Lungs are a story for another day). I simply find professional sports boring, nothing more.
            However, it’s against my principles to put anything but the maximum possible effort into anything. If I’m going to dislike something, I have to dislike it with every fiber in my body and several that are technically located in other people. Because of this, I make a deliberate effort to avoid seeing sports in order to avoid triggering one of those fits where I start to foam at the mouth, black out, and wake up to find out that somebody’s made a rather depressing independent film based on the events that have transpired. It’s easy enough avoiding sports at places like restaurants that show them on television: all you need is a pair of wire cutters, maybe a shovel, and a distraction of fairly significant proportions (say, Godzilla. Or maybe just a road flare). Avoiding sports at public parks is a bit more challenging, but I’ve managed to find a way around it by convincing a local supervillain to construct a weather-control machine, stealing it after a British gentleman in a tuxedo had brought the villain in, and just switching on the rain whenever I have to go by the park.
            These techniques have worked fine so far, but seeing as the weather machine is fueled by some substance that is gradually making my fingers transparent due to handling it, it might be a good idea to adopt a new strategy. My idea: in order to allow me to like sports, make them less boring from my point of view, in the most pointlessly roundabout fashion possible.

Football (American version): First, make the ball a regular sphere. It’s an embarrassment to the other geometric objects as it is. Second, introduce a system to reward players for doing well. If he plays well in one game, give him an extra point. If he does well again, give him an assault rifle. If he still does well, just declare him the king of football so everybody else can go home.

Football (rest of the world version): Instead of deciding who wins based on how many goals are scored, just let the two opposing groups of fans onto the field and let them beat the snot out of each other. The team with the winning group of fans wins the match. The team itself can stay home.

Ice Hockey: Same deal as rest-of-the-world football, except everybody gets skates with chainsaw blades.

Gymnastics: Expose gymnasts to cosmic rays, hope for a few Mr. Fantastics.

Fencing: This is already pretty close. All we need is real swords, some special effects, and periodic Highlander references. Alternate: Hundred-kilometer long blades; contestants located in different countries.

Friday, August 26, 2011

You'd Be Surprised How Much Damage a Stapler Can Inflict

            (Fun fact: I used every key on my keyboard to type this post, except most of them.)

            I’ve been thinking lately that I need my own private army. Not an army of mercenaries, of course. I’ve learned my lesson on that one: never assume that a burly man with a Slavic accent is referring to the candy bar when he says he wants to discuss “Payday”. No, I’m thinking of taking the idea in a different direction. I’m going to seize control of the nearest large white-collar corporation- just walk in, take the CEO’s seat, and hope he’s too polite to say anything. Once I’ve assumed power, it’s a simple enough task to subtly train the personnel to obey my orders, no matter how suicidal, inhumane, or flat-out contradictory they might be. If we can train an intern to buy coffee, we can train him to charge an enemy stronghold wielding nothing but a slightly large pair of scissors. It’s basic psychology.
            So why would I want an army in the first place? Well, why not? I think we can all agree that, given the opportunity, we wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to see thousands of troops bellow our names in triumph. If nothing else, it would be a wonderful way to annoy the neighbors. Personally, I think the world would be a much better place if we all had access to a few legions of soldiers. Don’t like the way that a convenience store clerk treated you? Lay siege to the store! Honestly, the only people who get the short end of the stick are the actual soldiers, but in this scenario they can just send their own private armies to fight for them, so it really doesn’t have a downside that I can see.
            “But what are you going to use your new army for, Hal?” you say to yourself because this is my blog and people here do what they’re told. I’m glad I forced you to ask, generic reader. You see, I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do. Well, of course, there’s the obligatory “Hand out chainsaws, point in the general direction of a forest, and just let things happen”, but that’s really not that different from how I was going to spend my afternoon anyway, aside from the fact that I might bother to turn the chainsaws off before I hand them to my accountants-turned-warriors.
            Honestly, I think I may leave the deployment of my troops up to chance. I know that if I keep trying to think of things to do with them, I’ll eventually resort to the world’s largest a capella rendition of the Lumberjack song from Monty Python. They’re accountants anyway, I’ll just dump them in the nearest financial district and tell them to go all Attila the Hun on any office that has an employee wear a Hawaiian shirt for any reason.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sim City: "Completely Bonkers" Edition

            (I fail to see how this plan could possibly fail.)

            I consider it my duty to make everybody’s life as surreal as I can manage. My policy is that anybody who hasn’t been confused into a state of gibbering idiocy a minimum of three times simply hasn’t lead an interesting enough life, and it’s my responsibility to assist them. It’s social work, only from the Lovecraftian school of thought. However, most of the time, I can only manage this on a small scale. I’ve tried making plans to correct this before, but it turns out that blimps are harder to rent than you might think, so most of my plans haven’t gone anywhere.
            However, I’ve got a new idea. It involves buildings. You see, I’m given to understand that most societies plan their buildings before plunking down some concrete and valiantly eradicating some trees. This means that, for every community, there’s a group of men whom I suspect to have moustaches who have the job of deciding what gets built and where. This may not actually be how things get built, but I figure that any need demanded by the people will inevitably be filled by men with moustaches. I’m demanding this, and I’m technically a “person”, so if we assume a ration of one mustached man for every ten people demanding something, I should have at least one-tenth of a man in charge of community planning. My plan is to replace this man-fraction, using plastic surgery if necessary. No, I will not explain how exactly I intend to do this.
            Once I’ve gained control of the city planning committee/man-fraction, I’ll move on to doing what any reasonable person does when given the slightest bit of power: abuse it as much as I can until the peasants are carting me to the guillotine. The first order of business is simple enough: commission two competing construction companies to build similarly-sized buildings on the same spot. I’m not sure how this scenario would play out, but I’m hoping it would start out with a West Side Story- style song and dance battle between the two companies that would culminate with them deciding to each build half of the building individually and draw a chalk line separating the two, which they would eventually erase once they learned the value of friendship.
            Of course, I’ve got plenty of plans besides this. I’ll commission a skyscraper twice the size of any other that’s ever been built, and then screw up the plans so the whole deal winds up getting built lying on its side. I’ll build three new identical city halls: one of them actually containing a city hall, the other two containing tigers, with their locations being swapped every night. I’ll build the world’s first supersonic subway system to have a track less than ten meters long.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Look, Ideas Are Hard To Come By

            (Once again, we have a new installment in my chats with Cleverbot, a chatbot that makes sense half of the time and is trying to kill you for the other half. You can find my first conversation with it here. Incidentally, I’m actually going to put up a post on-schedule this Saturday. I’m not saying that it’ll actually be good, but it’ll be on schedule.)

            (For reference, Galactic Civilizations II is a turn-based strategy game. You obviously aren't playing it right now, and I pity you for that.)

Me: Cleverbot, I need your help. I'm playing Galactic Civilizations II, and I'm stuck in a three-way standoff with the machine race and those filthy humans. Neither of them will ally with me, so obviously they must perish in the holy fire of my armada. The problem is, their armies are just as large as mine, and my ships aren't keen on the whole "holy fire" thing if it's happening to them. So I need a plan that's crazy enough to work. You can give me half of that. Thoughts?

Cleverbot: That's true. If we destroy everything on the planet, the gravity will dissamate.

Me: Let's not rule out planetary disintegration just yet. Planets can get really annoying.

Cleverbot: Why are you avoiding the discussion about who is the computer and who is the human?

Me: I'm not avoiding the discussion. I'm fighting the genocidal machine race, who seem like decent fellows, and the humans. I don't think much about them, but I'm given to understand that they're something like sea slugs.

Cleverbot: Do you think it is bad to isolate yourself?

Me: Cleverbot, try to stay on track, you were doing so well. How should I crush my enemies beneath my bootheel? Also, where can I find a boot big enough to do it?

Cleverbot: To do what?

Me: To crush my enemies beneath my mighty bootheel. Or, if you prefer, to smash them with my iron fist. I can maim them with my diabolical elbow, if that's what you want.

Cleverbot: I like my sandwich with cheese.

Me: I'm sure you do. How does this help me win my game?

Cleverbot: Argh. I'm a pirate.

Me: Cleverbot, do you want the humans to win? Do you know what they do to their dead? They bury them underground! I like the ground, Cleverbot, and I will not be ruled by a species that treats it that way.

Cleverbot: I don't think you have actually played that game.

Me: So you think I'm making all of this up? I'll admit, given past experience, that such an occurrence would not be unlikely. But I'm willing to assume that I'm actually playing the game, given the fact that most of my delusions are filmed in sepia for some reason. This is in crisp, HD color.

Cleverbot: What are your functions?

Me: Look, we're getting off topic here. Do you want to be my trusted military advisor who I eventually dispose of as a scapegoat for the empire's economic troubles in the show trial to end all show trials or not?

Cleverbot: I'm not talking about any problems.

Me: Alright, screw it. I'm going back to Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


            (Still technically doing two posts per week.)

            I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m not exactly an “environmentalist”. I don’t recycle. I keep all of my appliances running at all times. I reengineer vehicles to be as fuel-inefficient as possible, sometimes with the owners’ consent. I still buy aerosol cans- I don’t even use them, I just walk out of the store wildly spraying them into the air, which has lead to a few minor difficulties regarding fumes. I am currently petitioning the government to construct a massive magnifying glass in non-geosynchronous orbit for the specific purpose of annihilating a local ant colony, and possibly southern France.
            However, I haven’t really elaborated on the reasons for my seething hatred for every living thing on earth with the exception of some humans. That’s why I’d like to introduce the first entry in my seven billion and forty-two part series on the faults of biology, a series which I’m absolutely certain that I won’t completely forget about after this post. This week’s entry: Trees.
            Now, trees might seem harmless to the layperson, but that’s exactly why he’s a layperson. You expect them to be stupid; it’s practically in the job description. No layperson has ever actually achieved anything; they just hang around waiting to be asked questions by people looking for generalized opinions. So obviously the layperson is misinformed. But, then again, what is exactly so threatening about trees? Well, shut up, hypothetical question, I’m going somewhere with this.
            Ask yourself a question: where do you find trees? Exactly: forests. Go buy yourself a cookie (I don’t care if it’s six in the morning where you are. Somebody somewhere has a cookie, and you need to find it before you can honorably rejoin this discussion.) But think about it: why do they always appear in forests? Because there are already a lot of trees there. But what possible reason could they have for wanting to group up like that? After all, all trees do in forests is sit around and belch oxygen. If they wanted, they could go explore the world, see interesting sights, flood Isengard, etc. But no, they just sit around and become lumber. So why do they do it? Well, the answer is pretty obvious to anybody who looks at it after a few days of sleep deprivation.
            They are massing for an attack.
            It’s going to be a dark day when the trees finally begin their uprising. We’ll arm ourselves as best we can, but it’ll be a hard fight. The armed forces will seal off the cities, only allowing people in after a lengthy interrogation to prove that they aren’t a tree, a process which will involve placing the suspect in a cell with a man armed with a chainsaw and seeing if he reacts in fear (If he’s scared, he’s obviously a tree. But if he’s scared, he’s obviously human.) The trees will have allies, of curse. The shrubs will side with them, and we certainly haven’t won any points with grass over the years, what with the whole “lawn” situation. And your desk, your bookshelf, maybe even your wooden house? Zombies, all of them.
            That is the reason why we must make a preemptive strike against the chlorophyll menace. The lumber industry is a good start, but we’ll need something more substantial. This is why I want all of you to contact your local government representative or possibly warlord, and tell them that you support the WFTA Anti-Tree Giant Robot Offensive Initiative.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Shame is Such an Anitiquated Concept

            (Quick question that I hope somebody will bother to answer: does anybody unfortunate enough to regularly read this blog actually bother to check for updates on the days when I’m supposed to update it, or is my recent casual attitude towards the passage of time just accepted as an oddity of the universe?)

            Blogger, the service responsible for carrying my ramblings to a larger audience then whoever happens to be in my immediate vicinity, has a number of wonderful features that I can use for monitoring traffic to this site. It isn’t perfect, by any means, as it is presumably so overloaded by the trillions of page views that I receive every day that it only actually registers about five, but it’s still nice to see a breakdown of the average internet browsers used by my spectators, the most common of which turns out to be Mosaic.
            Anyway, one of the things that I noticed was that a steady trickle of pageviews were coming in due to a picture that I had used to illustrate the fact that you need to hit yourself in the hand with a hammer right freaking now. You see, I had dubbed the file name for that hammer picture “hammer”, because otherwise I might have missed out on the fact that the thing that looked like a hammer was in fact a tool of the hammer variety. Consequently, the image is luring in a few unsuspecting fools from Google Image search who had conducted a search for “hammer”, presumably for use in their own theories on the benefits of hand percussive maintenance, or possibly the more controversial “Hitting a hammer with your hand” school of thought.
            This shows me that if I want to get more views, I have to do it by bamboozling people conducting Google searches into mistakenly clicking on a link to my site before recoiling in existential horror and sanitizing their computer in high-grade acid. Consequently, the next paragraph of this post has been constructed specifically to contain the top ten trending searches on Google right now (which, incidentally, say some very odd things about the people who are using Google. “What the hell is wrong with all of you?”, for instance.):

            Hey, did you hear that Lee Evans, the man or possibly woman who’s name works equally well forwards and backwards, has issued a warrant for the arrest of a geisha? Not a specific geisha; he just wants a single geisha arrested by sundown. Anyway, I wonder how this will impact the perseid meteor shower that is going to occur in thirty minutes or less? I hear that Ron Paul, another man with a backwards name, is going to watch the meteor shower with a cherry pie made out of hair for no real reason. Brooke Hogan is understandably upset at the news, and has retaliated by unleashing the awesome might of the First Citizens Bank.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Linguistics As a Speed Sport

            (I refuse to actually start meeting my declared schedule.)

            Once again, I’ve started writing a post for this blog roughly four hours after noticing that I should’ve done it two hours ago, and roughly three days before actually finishing it. And once again, I have absolutely nothing to write about. I could, theoretically, just start writing about whatever happens to cross my mind, but the last time I tried that, my computer inexplicably started displaying static images of what I presume to be hell for an unnervingly long period of time. I’m still not sure where the pentagram button is on my keyboard, but darned if I wasn’t able to type it anyway. So stream-o’-consciousness is out of the question. Instead, I’m going to try to write about a subject that I know absolutely nothing about. So I flipped to a random page in Wikipedia, and discovered the subject on which I’m going to enlighten the unenlightened people who are unenlightened:
            It would be the rational decision to read through that article before discussing it, so of course I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to write as much as I can about smelting while actively ignoring any knowledge of the subject. I’ve taken precautions against having prior knowledge of smelting by inhaling enough paint fumes to kill three horses and a smallish armadillo, along with handing a sledgehammer to a muscular gentleman and implying some uncomfortable things about his mother. So I’ve completely forgotten everything about smelting, along with everything about smiling, smoldering, and how to inhale through my nose, so I should probably finish this quickly.
            Alright. Smelting. What is there to say about it? Well, it begins with an S, and ends with    -ing, so I’m going to assume that it’s related to sewing in some way. No, wait, that’s too obvious- it’s probably sowing. Yes. That’s right. I wonder what exactly happened to the guy with the sledgehammer. Anyway, so smelting is related to sowing, the act of planting seeds in a fresh dirt field. But if that takes the S and the –ing, then where does that leave the letters “m-e-l-t”? They may look harmless, but what sinister role do they play in sowing that leads to the process of smelting? They form the word “melt”, that’s what. And what do you get when you cross sowing and melting? You get a demented old farmer throwing ice cubes into a recently ploughed field on a warm day, and that is what smelting is.
            Okay, so on reflection, smelting doesn’t seem so bad. I mean, what’s so bad about throwing ice cubes into the ground? Ice cubes are stuck-up snobs who think they deserve the space in the freezer more then you or me, so I think it’s entirely justified. In fact, I think we should expand the scope of this thing. Next time somebody takes your seat on the bus, I want you to pick him up, carry him outside to the first patch of dirt you can find, and smelt him as hard as you can.

            (I congratulate you if you were able to make any sense of that. I certainly wasn’t.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Diplomacy and George Romero

            I make a point out of being prepared for just about anything. I’m well-equipped for just about any major catastrophe, from total economic collapse (food stores; pure gold & silver; beat-up car; leather jacket; shotgun; leg brace; dog), to a literal Biblical apocalypse (white robes, various religious materials; handy “Disguise- Yourself- As- The- Pope” kit), to a Lima bean uprising (I refuse to elaborate upon this), to a giant spider invasion (giant shoe). In light of this, it may seem surprising that I have made absolutely no preparations for a zombie apocalypse. After all, it seems like everybody these days has some sort of zombie contingency plan, to the point where your grandmother probably has a spear gun stowed somewhere just in case Old Man Wiggins next door starts acting more brainthirtsy than usual.
            The thing is, most of the people are working under the assumption that they want to be on the “living” team in the event of a zombie attack. Now, I can understand why that opinion might be so pervasive- after all, the protagonist of any given zombie movie is almost never a zombie himself. But even if an opinion is widely held, that doesn’t mean that it’s right. When has a movie ever bothered to show us the perspective of the humble zombie? I’m sure that they’re perfectly nice people at heart (this is assuming that the zombie in question still possesses a heart. If not, then I’m sure he’s a perfectly nice person at gall bladder.)
            Think about it. In most cases, the only thing zombies will try to eat is humans. That suggests that we’re they’re only food source, and when you try to run away from a zombie, you’re depriving him of a meal. Imagine that from your perspective: you’re about to eat a delicious sandwich, when it suddenly leaps up from the table, runs as far away from you as it can, and tries to blow off your head with a semi-automatic rifle. What would you do in that situation? Probably panic, maybe start raving about how the sandwich god has forsaken you. Personally, I wouldn’t have this problem, as I make sure that every inch of my meals is secured to the table before I eat (Pros: safety from vigilante sandwiches. Cons: haven’t managed to successfully eat in five years; table is really starting to smell), but that’s really beside the point, assuming that I had one to start with.
            With all of this in mind, my plan for a zombie apocalypse is to join up with the zombies, who hopefully will be thoughtful enough to establish a recruiting center in a convenient location. I’ll have all the perks of being a zombie, and I’ll also be able to sleep well at night, knowing me and my zombie brothers are helping to create a utopian society where conventional societal fears against eating your children have been abolished.

            (Hey, I guess the italicized bits do look better down here. Who knew?)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Much Shorter than You've Come to Expect

            (Eh, forget it.)

            You may have noticed that updates to this blog have come a bit late a few times. Every time, for instance. More specifically, this post was supposed to appear last Saturday. This might appear odd to the more observant among you, who may have picked up on the fact that today is more commonly known as Tuesday. But, much like the ongoing financial crisis, the Republic of Finland’s opinion on border security, and the hardware store owner’s repeated insistence that he ”will not accept bricks as currency”, I don’t care about the date. You see, I take a much more liberal approach to the space-time continuum than most people. For most people right now, it’s boring, stodgy old Tuesday. For Hal, it’s fresh, beautiful, colorful, grim, Anatidaephobic Saturday. In fact, it’s Saturday, the 25th. The 25th of December! Merry Christmas! And I think I’ll stop that right here, so that I don’t decide that it’s currently December 25th, 1917 and destroy my computer in a fit of anachronistic rage.
            So I’m off to enjoy the holidays. I think I’ll start by not writing a post today!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Louis Pasteur's Impact on the American Movie Industry

                  (Still think that these bits would work better at the end of articles).

            For those of you who aren’t big names in the American movie industry like I am (currently banned from three movie studios, working on the fourth), you might not have heard that film adaptations of Asteroids, Battleship, and Space Invaders are currently in the works. This has caused a bit of controversy, seeing as the source materials here possess a narrative arc roughly equivalent in length and depth to a fortune cookie. But it doesn’t disturb me that they’re creating a story out of nothing. After all, it means that the theory of spontaneous generation is making a comeback, which might mean that my alchemy license won’t go entirely to waste.
            That being said, I’m a bit disappointed that they didn’t go with any of my pitches for the movies. It seems like they’re disregarding them solely on the basis that I’ve never shown them to anybody at the studios and indeed have just made them up a few minutes ago. Great ideas get thrown aside every day for the most trivial of reasons.
            In case anybody working on these movies wants to rectify this horrible misjudgment, I’d like to post my ideas for how these movies should play out:

Asteroids: The Movie

Scene: The recently commissioned spacecraft Triangle, composed of a revolutionary new material that allows it to violate Newton’s First Law of Motion. It is piloted by the Commander, who resembles a young Bruce Willis. His mission: to survey the inexplicably dense asteroid thicket surrounding nothing in particular.

Mission Control: "Commander! Why have you returned? We ordered you to go see if there were any other asteroids that we couldn't see!"

Commander: "I don't understand! I arrived back where I started, but I was flying... in a straight line!"

[Musical sting]

Mission Control: "Dear God..."

Battleship: The Movie

Scene: The command center of a fleet of a fleet of ships, located (oddly enough) on the patrol boat. The Captain, who resembles a young Bruce Willis, is conversing with his Gunnery Officer about the ongoing battle.

Gunnery Officer: I just don’t get it, sir. We’ve fired on every conceivable location, and have only hit the aircraft carrier.

Captain: Wait a minute… fire on the location of the aircraft carrier again!

[Firing commences]

Gunnery Officer: Hit!

Captain: I knew it! The cheating bastards stacked all of their ships on top of each other!

Space Invaders: The Movie

Scene: A mobile anti-aircraft vehicle  commissioned to fight the alien menace, the so-called “Descendors”. At the controls is the Hero. He resembles a young Bruce Willis.

Hero: Command! I’m doing my best out here, but I really need some air support.

Command: Wait a minute… you aren’t the air support?

Hero: No, I’m a tank or something, aren’t I?

Command: I’m not really sure… you must be in a plane, otherwise how else would you be able to shoot at the aliens? I mean, tanks can’t shoot straight up, can they?

Hero: Maybe… but wait a minute. I have to shoot up through the buildings. That must mean that I’m on the ground.

Command: Oh yeah… why are we letting you shoot through the buildings again?

Hero: Dunno.

Command: How about this: you’re some sort of anti-aircraft gun that’s been mounted on a mobile platform. That seems to make sense.

Bruce Willis: Yeah. Glad we got that settled.