muppet! and tree swallows.


I went away last weekend and headed down to Amherst where I hung out with Jim and my friend Matthew, went walking around outside a lot, ate a lot of delicious food and saw the Asylum Street Spankers for the first time on what was, sadly, their farewell tour. It was a good time.

The last few weeks have been a lot of adjusting to the shorter days and hoping that my poozly sinuses can hold up long enough for my ENT appointment which is in December. So, I’ve been scarfing down a lot of zinc, drinking a lot of tea, trying to get some sunlight and dwelling on my least favorite dwelling-topics: sinus infections (avoiding) and sleep (getting enough of). Mostly successful.

A story you might like is how this video of my colleague Josh and I swearing up a blue streak wound up making $200 for my local food bank. It’s sort of complicated and involves a lot of inside baseball, but I’ve had a frustrating day trying to explain Mac computers to local folks, so I’ll try this.

– There was a thread on Ask MetaFilter where some one asked for good jovial insults to call your friends. It was, predictably, hilarious.
– So, we mentioned it in the monthly podcast. Yes there is a podcast, about a website. And yeah it’s really us talking about the website. I can’t explain it, it is somehow good.
– In the comments for the podcast — yes we put the podcast about the website on the website itself and then people comment on the website, about the podcast — someone mentions that he’ll give $20 to my favorite charity if I read the list of insults into a video camera. He did this knowing full well I would totally do this.
– Josh (cortex on MetaFilter) offers to help and he is much handier with video stuff than I am.
– I do the reading and send the link to my friend who donates $20 to the Randolph Area Food Shelf (my charity of choice) via PayPal. He mentions it on Twitter and a few other people offer to make donations if I send them the link. I do
– The next day, Josh finishes the remix and it is terrific. He makes a separate thread about the new video and people enjoy it and because PayPal is so ridiculously simple, chip in some cash for the food bank.
– I put up the original video of me just reading words off, with no remixing. At some point I decide to explain to the Food Shelf what exactly is going on and I receive a nice note back from them. I have no idea if they saw the video or not.
– I teach a somewhat frustrating Mac class and decide I would rather explain this to internet strangers [and facebook friends] than make myself a drink.

This has nothing to do with tree swallow houses, which I decided to use as an illustration on the off chance that an auto-playing video of me swearing like a sailor might be surprising or off-putting to anyone. I realize this is not likely.

hunkerdown highscore


So according to my calendar, I’ve been away or home with houseguests every weekend since early September. Last night I got home after doing my last talk of the season and I slept for 13 hours. This morning I got up and contemplated an empty calendar. I can tell things are mellowing out here somewhat when I catch up on my RSS feeds and my sweeping. But things aren’t so relaxed that I’ve figured out where to put all the Scientific American magazines or sorted out my CD collection. This bowl of pumpkin innards was in my sink for way too long.

My new-to-me car seems all modern compared to my last one but it does actually have a tape deck, so it’s been somewhere between 1984 and 1994 in the car most of the time. It’s been fun and weird to drive around listening to mixtapes that people made for me in high school. Most of it is music I still like. Some of it is music I’ve been missing. Jim and I had a “Woah!” moment when one of the mixtape songs came on and I said “This is that song I’ve never been able to identify, even though I’ve Googled and Googled” and he said “What? This is Tribe.” And it turns out that the word that I thought was Hoedown was Down Home and suddenly it was all there.

Related big grins in my highest ever Scrabble score [against a well-matched opponent]. Jim and I have played somewhere around sixty+ games since we started keeping track. Until Wednesday we were about twenty points apart in total scores. Somehow the stars aligned and I got four seven letter words and pow pow pow. Luckily, we play using the Internet Scrabble Club which lets you replay games for kibitzing and nerd purposes. So, I made this little movie about the game, well OF the game really.