The August Scraps


Here’s some stuff I cut out of, or otherwise couldn’t use, in posts in August. Please feel free to use any you like. Some of them are pretty sketchy, having never got out of a first draft, so you’ll probably want to clean them up first.

  • you maybe think my reading is eclectic to which I say “I didn’t notice that book about competitive fox-hurtling and other obscure sports before”
  • lemniscate orchestra
  • synonymicon for crying out loud now stop asking
  • three things that won’t
  • Well, (16 instances)
  • if there’s anything I have to hurry up and say
  • had no idea Bronies could happen in real life and not just the Internet
  • if we can’t use apostrophes correctly we just shouldn’t have them at all
  • very (38 times)
  • not to be an unnecessary haiku pedant
  • of course (28 pairs)
  • but it’s ridiculous to think the Enterprise could survive being licked by feral koi
  • woken by bunny sneezes
  • partially motorized CSV files (3 times, including two from work e-mails)
  • learning to forgive people who answer “what’s up” with “the ceiling” or “the sky” depending on whether they’re outside or inside
  • are all questions I cannot answer (4 instances)

Bon appétit! (2 instances)

That Moving Spirit


I had something remarkable happen. A friend asked me to help him move. I see this as a big deal. It’s not like I even own a truck. I’d never own a truck. If you own a truck you have to deal with a never-ending string of people asking for help moving. They’re not even people you know in the slightest. Travel sometime to a place where strangers gather, so far as anybody gathers anymore. A mall food court, or a town hall meeting, or a stunt organized by the radio station. You’ll encounter folks going up to strangers and saying, “Do you own a truck you could help me move with?”

But as a truck-less person the question has a different connotation. Someone would ask me to help them move just because they think I might be a tall guy who can probably hoist stuff. And they’re right. Even for a tall guy I’m pretty good at hoisting stuff and lugging it around. This is because I used to be a tall, fat guy, and I had to build up some serious hoisting and lugging muscles just to stand up and waddle over to lunch. I’ve lost most of that weight. You’d be surprised what you can throw in the dumpster behind a Shop-Rite before they catch you. But I’ve kept most of my hoisting and lugging muscles.

Really I kind of hope for chances to show off my hoisting and lugging prowess. But it’s awkward just asking people, “Can I help you move this weekend?” It has connotations of your hoping to get rid of them. They’ll let you ask once or twice, and then decide they’re never going to move, just to spite you. And just walking down the street, holding a cardboard banker’s box full of books is no way to go, because a cardboard banker’s box full of books weighs two and a half times what Mars’s moon Phobos does, and the cardboard will tear and they’ll all drop on your foot, denting some of the books. You have to just wait for an offer to lug stuff around.

Yes, this does sound like the kind of thing standard-issue guys would do. And yes, it’s a good rule of thumb that “stuff guys do should never be done by decent people”. Granted. But I’m not talking about lugging stuff around until somebody weeps. I’m just talking about, you know, here are some masses of things, and they could be somewhere else, and I am the kind of guy who can make that happen.

So I was glad to be asked, and to be able to say yes. But the really thrilling thing is that the question came from a friend of my love’s. He and I had gotten to be friendly, yes, but what we mostly had in common was knowing my love. We had some things to talk about, like how he beats me handily every time we play pool, and how I could beat him handily when we play pinball yet somehow do not, but we didn’t have any serious connection. And now we do.

Asking someone to help you move when there’s not truck ownership involved shows you think the friendship has reached a higher level. It marks the falling-away of a certain guardedness and reserve. Someone who’s asked you to help them move is saying, “I trust you to not freak out when you see how I arrange stuff in the moving van all the wrong way. It’s like, do we even recognize the same principles of spatial reasoning? No we do not but I believe you are a person who can accept that and not turn this into a quarrel, unlike some people we could name but won’t, like D----.” This is meaningful stuff.

This is also important to me because it signifies my forming a new real friendship. Most of my social circle is made of Internet friends. Internet friends are much like real friends, except that your Internet friends have a built-in excuse for not being able to help you move, and you’ll eventually break up with your Internet friends in a shockingly bitter fight that starts over which of you better exemplifies the ideals of the “Mane Six” characters on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. I like my Internet friends, the ones who are left after I told them I don’t ever want to hear about any of the characters on My Little Pony. I feel a little dirty every time I encounter the phrase “Mane Six”. But getting to this fresh level of friendship with someone in real life is a wonder.

I hope the new place has an elevator.

What Nebus Humor Found In March 2014


To keep up the listing of things and numbers and especially countries that’s oddly popular around here let me review what WordPress says the humor blog did here the past month. The big news is I had my most popular month, by page views, on record, 468 things looked at, which is thrilling because I’d hoped that sometime I’d write stuff that was viewed by not more than ten percent less than 500 times in a single month. There were 199 unique visitors, too, which ties for second for my all-time records without being a suspiciously neat 200. I bet WordPress deducted one just so it wouldn’t look like too round a number was being reported. Anyway, all that’s up fro February 2014’s 337 views and 170 visitors, and even the views per visitor went up from 1.98 to 2.35.

The top five articles this month produced a four-way crash for fifth place, which isn’t that always the way? But here’s the list of them:

  1. The Chuckletrousers Decade, a lightly biographical bit about something funny that happened on Usenet back when Usenet happened.
  2. I’m No Good At Music, the really not at all exaggerated story of how bad I am with doing music.
  3. Next, The Comics, pointing over to my mathematics blog and showing off a Beetle Bailey cartoon printed literally days after the Soviet Union had the world’s first successful intercontinental ballistic missile launch.
  4. Dream World Investment Tips: My Little Pony Edition, as apparently there’s a very peculiar fortune to be made out of this show.
  5. Warnings From The Dream World: Trans-Dimensional Travel Edition, as there are hazards in going through dystopian alternate universes and hassling with their movie cashiers.
  6. Five Astounding Facts About Turbo, That Movie About A Snail In The Indianapolis 500, because really isn’t every fact about this movie astounding?
  7. Escaping To Lansing, and the various disasters you won’t see there.
  8. Better Eating For 2015, and how Olive Garden figures it will provide this.

The countries sending me many readers this month were the United States (342), the United Kingdom (22), and the Canada (11). Just a single reader each came from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Pakistan, Russia, and Switzerland. None of those were on the list for February, so again, the whole world is very gradually kind of tolerating my stuff.

Among the search terms that brought people here:

Dream World Investment Tips: My Little Pony Edition


I admit normally my dreams seem to contain warnings about how to practically navigate various life scenarios. This one seems different. I’m pretty sure that this dream is telling of the next big fad in indoor mall-based entertainments, and it’s obviously got to be acted on soon because indoor malls have maybe four years left before the last one closes down.

Anyway, according to my dream, the next big fad especially among fraternity brother-model young males, is going to be renting these cheap but surprisingly well-crafted My Little Pony costumes and wandering around the mall just looking like the one that’s a kind of dusty grey. I don’t know why this would suddenly be a fad, much less how you could make these surprisingly flexible foam costumes, which are seamless except for the zipper up front, wearable for only five bucks an hour, but I have to admit, I love seeing the ordinary crowd wandering around a shopping mall with a surprising number of grey My Little Ponies puttering around silently.

This may be because along the way, all the vacant stores in shopping malls are apparently turning into unattended arcades, with another big attraction being a two-person replica of the contestants booths from Hollywood Squares, I’m guessing so people can play their own version of the game against a video monitor and recorded answers and all that. As a game show fan from way back, I approve, even if I never much cared for Hollywood Squares. It’s all a step towards getting Card Sharks back on the air.

Percentages of Things Ruined by its Fans


For Statistics Saturday (really Sunday) I’d like to offer a useful little guide regarding things to be fannish of.

Thing Percent Ruined
Monty Python 73
Star Trek 78 or 79, whatever
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic 60
Football 22.5
The United States of America 37.5
Flowers 8
Typography Conventions 50
Firefly 84
Saying It’s “Sinister” Whenever Someone Mentions Left-Handedness 98
Dvorak Keyboards 22
Douglas Adams 45
Silver-Age Comic Books 38

How To Draw


Drawing is a wonderful way to express yourself, to force your friends to look at URLs of your art without leaving them free to express their real indifference, and to get pictures of what you really want without having to explain it to an artist. (“It’s Kim Possible’s Mom as Captain Picard’s new helm officer, only she’s a steampunk mermaid dragon Little Pony, and she’s eating spaghetti, in Tron.”) It’s also a beloved activity of childhood, something parents and teachers pass on to kids, along with making paper rings and snowflakes, to show humanity’s dominance to crayons and construction paper. Many of us stop drawing, but here’s how to do it again.

The first decision is whether you want to use pencil and paper, or “media”, or to use computer and drawing tablet, or “media”. The advantages of pencil and paper include cheapness, portability, and the ease with which the pencil will go missing every time you should practice, saving the bother of actually drawing things. Computer methods offer the chance to buy consumer electronics which always feels so good, unlimited undo’s, and 25-cent refills if you bring your own mug, and save you from practice by throwing up “Driver Error: Link token exchange ring to bus”, which sounds like some sort of contract squabble at the Port Authority. Best to give in to their demands unconditionally, as I’m fairly confident they have tire irons.

Continue reading “How To Draw”

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