Sadtress

GMFMattress.jpg

 

I have a frowny face today.

I finally broke down and decided to replace my verging-on-twenty-year-old mattress to see if a new bed would help mitigate my chronic fatigue (probably in vain, but hey, it has to be better than aging time-compressed springs, right?).  After waffling around for a month, I ended up ordering one of those fancy 12-inch three-layer gel memory foam types.  A little wary of ordering a mattress without being able to try it first, but it was on super-sale and very well reviewed, so here’s hoping.

It was supposed to arrive on Thursday, but when it still didn’t on Friday, I gave UPS a call.  Apparently they lost the package.

How do you lose a mattress?

I mean, a book or movie or something I can understand, but…

Anyway, I called the seller, and they said they’d work with UPS to try to find it, and otherwise send out a new one, which is good, but it means I’ll probably have to wait another couple weeks to maybe hopefully actually finally get a good night’s sleep for once.

Oh, the little things we look forward to…

 

Bene vīvite.

Forvo

forvo_logo

 

Speaking of interesting word websites – here’s another!

Forvo is an audio pronunciation database which aims to have every word in every language (yes, even swear words and slang) pronounced by a native speaker.  It looks like it’s already most of the way there for the more widely spoken languages – at least any random thing I tried in English, Spanish, German, Italian, and Japanese was available.

The interface is presented in multiple languages, but any word in any language can be queried from any of them without needing to specify the language of origin.  Words not natively in Roman characters can be searched for either in the native script or their Romanized versions (e.g., 犬 or inu).

Common words also tend to have multiple pronunciations to listen to, phrases with the word, and translations to other languages as well.  If you’re a native speaker of a language whose word is not yet included, or is not pronounced to your satisfaction, you can help Forvo out by submitting your own words and pronunciations.

Give it a look (and listen) at http://forvo.com – it’s pretty neat!

 

Bene scribete.

What Three Words?

w3w_logoG

What three words could unambiguously identify where you are right now?  A question you probably didn’t ask, but was nevertheless answered by U.K.-based organization what3words in their efforts to create a universal addressing system for the world.

They’ve divided the planet into a grid of nine-square-meter (3×3) segments and given each and every one a globally unique sequence of three common words – the fact that that’s even possible just goes to show how vast the permutations of language are.  (>^-‘)>

 

w3w_sciencelovingraven

 

It sounds a little silly at first, but the more you think about it, the more useful you realize it could be. Most of the world – including much of it where people actually live – has no address, no way to positionally identify a given location beyond longitude and latitude, and to reach this level of precision with coordinates, you’d generally need to get down to the hundred-thousandth of a degree.  A sequence of three words is a lot easier to remember and convey than a series of fourteen digits.  It’s even simpler than a lot of conventional addresses – what’s more efficient to get across, slinky.little.fox or 2301 NE 32nd St. Bldg #102?  Plus, how much more fun is it to say “deliver that pizza to slinky.little.fox“?  (>^-‘)>

There are several disadvantages, however, even aside from the obvious one of adoption.  The sequences are meaningless in isolation, and there’s no relational information built in; if you’re familiar with an area, the street name of a conventional address will at least give you a general idea where something is, but the real slinky.little.fox is not even on the same continent as, say, slinky.little.ferret. The order of the words also matters (slinky.little.fox and little.slinky.fox are entirely different places), but so does the order of numbers, which are still easier to mix up.  Not every sequence flows together nicely as a phrase, but with a grid of this resolution you’ll have several to choose from on a typical plot, and so are likely to find one that’s snappy enough.  Finally, discovering the name of the square you’re in or the location of another given sequence requires the use of a computer or mobile device of some sort, which is not as conducive as it could be to the places where this could be the most beneficial.

Still, it has the potential to be a pretty nifty alternate addressing scheme, especially because it’s already done.  The developer offers a lightweight API to implement into any application, service, or website that deals with locations.  You can get their standalone application for phones and tablets right now (Android | iPhone), or find out where you are right in your browser:

https://map.what3words.com.

So what say you, fellow word lovers?  Feasibly functional or just flippantly fun?  (>^-‘)>

 

Bene scribete.

EEEEEEE

EEEEEEE

 

This car is…very excited to be a Prius.  Not a single E was spared.

Or maybe it’s an acronym?

Exuberantly ensuring environmentally endangered ecosystems exist eternally?

I don’t know, but like to imagine that’s the sound it makes when it’s zipping down the road, blissfully enraptured in the fact that it’s a car and can go faster than any cheetah, and never has to know what Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Mac & Cheese tastes like.

 

Bene scribete.

Buyer’s Fee

BuyersFee

 

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the sleazy but time-honored practice of shunting off portions of the cost of an item or service into a miscellany of arbitrary fees that are inseparable from the cost of trading in said item or service – and thus have no reason not to be factored into the sale price – in order to deceptively advertise a false, lower cost.

When the local K-Mart was closing down and selling off their fixtures, however, I saw what has to be the most blatant, lazy, and absurd example of this I could possibly imagine – a “buyer’s fee.”

Let me say that again – a “buyer’s fee.”

I mean, is there anything more inherent to the cost of buying an item than, you know, buying it?  It’s practically a parody of itself.

“See, this shelving unit costs $50, but the privilege of actually buying it will run you another $7.50.  You can avoid the buyer’s fee if you just want to pay the fifty bucks and let us keep the unit.”

Way to go, K-Mart.  You’ll be the envy of ISPs everywhere.  (>^-‘)>

 

Bene scribete.

Dincton Flatt and the Heavy Taco

I’m going to be honest – this is not worth reading.


 

Taco

Dincton Flatt shuffled ponderously down Bendstrom avenue, eyes darting suspiciously at everyone he passed by.

“It’s far too small a day for bacon,” he muttered.

“I wouldn’t know,” said Featherby, trotting alongside him.  And he wouldn’t, for in addition to being a coyote, he was a robot, and could not eat bacon in the slightest.

Flatt stopped a short, round man coming from the opposite direction, placing his hands to his shoulders and leering into his beady eyes.  “You.”

“Me?” the man sputtered.

“Yes, you.  The very one I am accosting.  How long have you had that hat?”

The man reached up and grabbed at his driving cap.  “This one?”

“Yes, that one.  Out with it, man.”

“Er–a couple years, I imagine.”

“And how long have you been wearing it?”

“All day – what is the meaning of this?”

Flatt sighed and released him, waving him off.  The man gave a distrustful glance, but went on his way.

“Sir,” offered Featherby, “perhaps you shouldn’t be attempting to track down our hatleaver on an empty stomach.”

Flatt wiped a hand down his face.  “Yes, I suppose you’re right.  But what could possibly satisfy my hunger for justice?”

“There’s a newspaper-and-taco stand just over there.”

“Why on Earth is there a newspaper-and-taco stand on Bendstrom?”

“A question for the ages, sir.”

“Never mind.  It’ll do in a pinch.”  Flatt made his way over to the stand and got the attention of its attendant – an oily teenager with lank brown hair in his eyes (which could only serve to obscure his taco-related perceptive capabilities).

“Good afternoon, sir,” said the vendor.  “Would you like a taco?”

“As it happens, I would.”  Flatt looked the boy up and down.  “I see you’re not wearing a hat.”  He narrowed his eyes.  “Have you murdered anyone lately?”

The vendor got to work on the taco.  “I don’t think so.  I’m not really one for murderin’.  Mum would be none too pleased with that.”

Something on the front of the day’s paper caught Flatt’s attention, and he snatched up a copy.  Depicted in the side column was an all-too-familiar face.

“Cleben Render.”  A fart of a man if ever there was one, and there was one, and his name was Cleben Render.  His fiery red hair and leaf-green suit said it all.

Featherby nosed at another copy.  “What do you imagine he is doing back in Danesbury?”

“Who could say?”

“Likely the story written about him in the very paper you’re holding, sir.”

“There’s no time for that, Featherby!”  He slammed the paper back into the stand, and in the following moment, was handed a fresh, sizzling taco.

It smelled appetizing enough, but as he tested it out in his hand, he noticed an unusually generous heft.

“This taco is rather heavy, isn’t it?  Is the shell made of solid gold?”

The vendor shrugged.  “I think that would be cost-prohibitive, sir.”

“How much is it?”

“Two quid.”

“Lead in the beef, then?”

“Maybe if the cow was shot to death.”  The boy fired off a pair of finger-guns.

Flatt bit into the taco.  The flavor was loud, and it hit his gut as though his esophagus were punching him in the stomach. His colon began to rumble, and his eyes reached out in desperation for the nearest establishment with plumbing.  “Pay the man, Featherby.”  He began to backpedal.

“Sir?  You have given me no funding.”

Flatt turned and broke out into a sprint, calling back, “Oh, Featherby, why did I build you?”

“For good times, sir!”


 

Bene scribete.