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Thoughts on language and more

Buried Treasure

In High School, I kept a notebook for stuff related to the AnacondaSoftware title Spiral Island. This is a white notebook, with a sheet slid in the front with the Spiral Island logo printed on it. Judging by the fact that this paper has the words "AnacondaSoftware" printed in Kino MT font instead of Arial, which I changed it to long ago, I'm guessing this notebook was probably started somewhere in my Sophomore or early Junior year.

There's more than just that in there now. It's current contents are as follows: handwritten papers for the intro for another game, a printed copy of the original script for Spiral Island, up to the first town, printed copies of the first few entries of From the Computer of J. Millen and all the work so far done on it's sequel Dreams of Reality, a printed copy of a Pokemon fanfic I started, scrapped because it didn't work as a Pokemon fanfic, then merged into the Spiral Island storyline, some documents related to the mechanics and backstory of Spiral Island, a couple sheets of randomly generated names, a peice of triangle graph paper with Hexagons traced out on half the page, several handwritten pieces of the Ties to Infinity story, and the original handwritten work for Skewed.

But most interesting, and a most unexpected find, is a paper I found in the back of a divider sleeve. It is a fragment of my aforementioned English class, a writing test on the first two of the five sentence fragments, where I wrote a large peice of the Spiral Island storyline in the test and wrote a note on the side saying "I want a copy of this back, ok?"

These sentence fragments are called "brush strokes" by this material. The first two are Participles and Absolutes (for which I found no Wikipedia entry, sorry). On this test, we had to define these two, and this is the definition I have written on this paper:

"A participle is a phrase describing the closest noun. It starts with an active verbe with an 'ing' (or 'ed') ending. An absolute goes just a little bit further, by putting a noun that is part of the closest noun before the 'ing' word."

Using these two first "brush strokes", I have now found all five fragments, so I no longer need to look for that packet. The remaining three items are: Appositives, Adjectives Out of Order, and Active Verbs. I'll go into these in detail at a future time, but for now if you want some short examples you can look at this page on the Utah Educational Network.

This folder's got a lot of information that is valuable to me, as it contains much of my ideas that aren't written anywhere else. But finding an unexpected gem like that, made it even more valuable to me, as it now tells that things in this folder have lasted, whereas i have very little other things from my High School years. And there's some other interesting things here, like the word lugubrious written and defined randomly in the margin of one of my town maps, and this saying written in the back of it:

"I see a hitchhiking cloud. I want to pick it up, but I'm not sure how..."

Wed, 27 Jun 2007 18:00:00 -0500

Proper Documentation

I don't like to forget things.

Anyone who's a regular around Notebook Forums should know that I'm a frequent poster, and the member with the highest post count. Anyone who reads the large threads in Off-Topic there, where I moderate, should be familiar with a particular post style of mine. I'll often post my thoughts or actions, surrounded by asterisk, in a similar form to stage directions. This 'conda-style posting' is rather well known on there, and in fact there's even a fairly recent thread on there dedicated to the style. From time to time the question has come up as to why I do that.

I remember a lot of things. I can remember things that are said months back, years back, even if they're said in passing. I remember a good number of the dreams I have, which I base story elements on. I remember things done over a great deal of time. But, at times, my memory fails me.

Nothing is more disconcerting to me than forgetting something. Yet, I remember little of my actual life. I remember some of high school, I remember a tiny bit of junior high. I have memories, fragments in my mind, going all the way back to when I was about two years old, yet I can't tell you what I did last month. I remember some of kindergarten, I remember practically nothing of first grade. I remember parts of the rest of my elementary school. I remember nearly nothing of my 7th grade year. I remember some of high school, but not as much as I would like. I don't remember very much of my graduation, and I remember very little of after that until the time I started working for my first tech support job, a good 5 month period, in which I turned 18.

The poem I posted a week ago is the so-far-first in a series of poems about this. I'll post more of it over time. It's a two-fold story, one a first person account of a Bard telling the story of his wanderings, and losing his old stories as he learned new ones to tell. The other a third person account reflecting myself, and fragments of memories coming to mind, forgotten strands of the past that should not have been forgotten. The stories eventually intertwine, the things in one affecting the other.

The first poem I wrote for this collection, which I originally wrote as part of a discussion after a funeral in the backstory I've written for Ties to Ifinity ~ Hehehee! The Story. The story of this poem collection, and the story told along with this first poem, originated from a dream I had one day when I decided I didn't go to work and called in sick while I was working at my first tech support job. The particular building I worked in is part of a strip mall, up the strip from a grocery store. As of now, the only things left in that strip mall is a tanning salon, an empty grocery store (the store moved out into a property down the block), and a small medical center, everything else has been taken by this call center. In this dream, I was explaining to a good friend and coworker of mine what used to be in the space, since I lived only a couple blocks from there.

When I was a kid, the strip mall used to be full. There was a video rental place, a florist, an odds-and-ends store which sold things usually $10 and under, this was before the All-A-Dollar style stores appeared. Across the parking lot used to lie a few different restaurants. I walked through the building in this dream, and pointed out the divisions that made the different stores, and showed him which stores were where. After I woke from that dream, I realized that this was something I had never thought about, and had practically forgotten. The restaurants laid empty for years at this point in time, and that one tanning salon was the only remaining shop in the building's original purpose. By now, as I understand, the owner of the property wants to tear down the complex and rebuild it from scratch, as its now more or less useless to him with one measly call center its only attendant.

I post that way on forums so I can remember. So I can look back at some time in the future, and say "oh yeah, this was happening at this time, this was a concern at this time." Nobody else remembers, because nobody else cares to remember. What has gone by is just as important as what is to come, but most people forget this. And then, at the end of the day, they look back and say "oh, what happened here, it used to be so different?"

I want to remember, I want to remember everything. But my mind is fallible. So I write things down, as the written language is not so fallible.

Mon, 25 Jun 2007 17:00:00 -0500

Cooldown Period

Between late training all week, and the fun of replacing a motherboard and then dealing with driver issues after that, this week has been pretty busy. Today in particular, I had a headache when I woke up, and that didn't go away until I finally finished fixing the driver problems the changing of the motherboard caused. That was from about 10 AM this morning to somewhere around 4:30 PM.

Humorously enough, as I was finishing the last of the drivers, and all I had to do was make the short phone call to Microsoft to reactivate Vista, "And Then There Was Silence" by Blind Guardian came up in my shuffled playlist. As the final driver finished installing, the line "The nightmare shall be over now, there's nothing more to fear" played. And indeed it was, a nightmare started Thursday morning after I finished installing the motherboard, a nightmare that even invaded my dreams, as it was the topic of a discussion in a dream last night that I was at work talking about the problem with other members of my team.

I had some other things I wanted to get done this week, that I was unable to get to. For starters, I wanted to start writing the new news script for use at AnacondaSoftware, so I can be rid of Coranto. There's just been too much drama surrounding Newspro/Coranto over the years, and I want to be done with it. Heck, the Wikipedia article that once existed for Coranto had a war start over it, and it was permanently deleted and not permitted to be recreated. If that's not a black spot on a product's record, I don't know what is.

But for now, for the next couple days, I'm just going to relax, and enjoy my now stutter-free machine, a problem that has plagued me since I installed the dual core processor in here back in early February. All things considered, looking at it now, I'm under the final opinion that, although the MSI website said the board was tested to work fine with the processor, the board, which was a first-gen board made and released before the Athlon X2 was released, simply wasn't compatible with the Toledo-core processor I purchased.

I'll talk more about that on the AnacondaSoftware Devblog sometime in the future. For now, after a full week of training and all the mess I've dealt with the last few days, I don't want to think about any more computer stuff for now. I want to take this chance to listen to music, watch some anime, and maybe do some writing. I have noticed, as I was using my notebook this morning to browse, that there is something wrong with the layout of this site under IE7, but I'll deal with that next week. So, I'll end this entry with a rather hilarious exchange from this week in my training class, between one of my classmates and the trainer, describing a customer he spoke to once who oddly called the remote control for their TV a "push-push.":

Trainer: Was she from the states?
Coworker: No, she was from Alabama or something...

Sat, 23 Jun 2007 17:00:00 -0500

Too Late, Can't Think

I'm in training all this week, from 3PM to 11:30PM.

On normal days, I go to bed at the time I'm just getting home.

So I haven't had the chance to think of anything to write, nor have had much going around to comment on either. If you want to talk about something, I can comment on drlouis over on Notebook Forums making up the word "rotiserizing" today.

With its grand 1 result when searching Google, I'm sure its slated to be the next word added to the dictionary.

And now I've just doubled that count by including it on this page. It's gaining popularity fast!

Tue, 19 Jun 2007 19:00:00 -0500

Something Different

Here I stand at the crossroads
I can see the four winds
The wind of the north, bringing a chill on it's breath
The wind of the east, with the stories of the travelers
The wind of the south, with a warm and pleasant smell
And the wind of the west, with rumors of things to come
The winds from the four corners, they meet here
Speak to each other
They do not speak to me
I am just the wanderer, they think
I have no need for the voices of the winds
Foolish thoughts
I am a wander, yes, but where I go
Light follows
I carry color to people whose worlds are grey
I carry vibrance to the towns that lie in obscurity
I go, and brilliance follows, but the winds do not know
So I stand ignored
I, who called them here
In the end they part ways, with no notice of me
I still stand, at a loss
But I must go still
Carry the stories forth
Just without the ones from the wind

Sat, 16 Jun 2007 17:00:00 -0500

A Wrong Turn, Somewhere...

So, after I created this site, I altered my MSN title to contain information about it. I changed it to "The Anaconda -"

Except replace "" with ""

I'm not quite sure how it happened, nor am I sure why I didn't notice it. It was noticed by a couple others on my list that have come here, but they never told me.

They suck.

Anyway, I made a few changes on here yesterday. First, I added an e-mail address, so you can e-mail me if you want. I'd prefer you comment or say something on the AnacondaSoftware forums, but if you don't want to do either of those, there's another option available. In addition, I changed the number of entries displayed on the front page (which was previously all of them, which made the page really long), and altered the archives from monthly to weekly. That should make it easier to navigate around as more and more entries are created. I like keeping things organized.

In fact, as I type this, I'm working on organizing ideas for Skewed and other works of mine in a mini wiki, running off my flash drive. Found a neat project on Sourceforge called Wiki-In-A-Jar that runs a micro web server in Java, hosting a small wiki. I organize AnacondaSoftware project ideas and information in a much larger MediaWiki wiki, and really like the way wiki's work. Because this one is simple, doesn't require installing anything, and is a snap to set up, I really like this one.

Thu, 14 Jun 2007 17:00:00 -0500

Recommended Misspelling

Google owns the internet.

But we already knew that. Google has become synonymous with "search". Google has a plethora of tools for getting stuff done. Google Toolbar has built in bookmarks for accessing things anywhere, a built in spell check (which is greatly needed by many people). Personalized Google (excuse me, iGoogle) gives you all sorts of things to make the information you want easy to access. It's even got a utility for managing your files, easy to find them too. And to think they started as just a simple keyword search based engine.

Which they still are, at the core. And its interesting to see some of the hits that come off the site, which are passed when you click on a link for statistic logging software, like AWStats, to log. Which means, every so often you get some interesting, and sometimes perplexing hits from the search results.

Around AnacondaSoftware I get some interesting hits. One more recent hit thats perplexed me is "i think everyone hates me disorder". I mean, what kind of search is that? And, does that really qualify as a disorder? That sounds more like just a low self-esteem problem, and a shallow perception of what other people think of you.

Sometimes it puts together unrelated discussions to form a hit, which isn't necessarily a useful hit, such as a discussion about Skype and a photoshop of Cubia from .hack I did out of boredom linking together in the search term "skype system recovered from serious error". Other times my discussions of news when it first comes out caused a number of hits, like when .hack GU was first announced and pictures of it started to roll out. Other interesting hits I've gotten over the course of the last few years have been related to computers I own, or other things I own which I've talked about either on the main site or on the forum. Among the ones which make less sense how they could link to there, or rather why people would follow results to there, are: "mack jagger and new girlfriend", "rumours spread faster", "how do endospores help humanity", "karp the killing fish grrr", and "tunnel boaring machines gallery".

The DevBlog gets very little search result logs, but a lot of traffic. I've discussed this there with numbers, and I'll post more numbers about that in the future so I won't discuss it here. This blog is rather new, so there's little in the logs that link here, mostly just the terms "regular spelling", and one hit for "name spelling of daniel". All in all, its quite an intriguing thing to see the kinds of links a machine makes in our language.

But for the person who went all the way to page five of the Google search to find this site using the search term "1995 mercury sable gs speedometer problems": Hope you get your problem taken care of, I really like my Sables.

Tue, 12 Jun 2007 18:00:00 -0500

Listen To What I'm Thinking

Text is plain. Emotions can't be portrayed very well with text alone, especially in just speech text. Forums, email and chats are where these problems particularly play out. I find it odd that offense can be easily taken with such mediums. As emotions cannot be portrayed in such ways, everything should be taken with a grain of salt. Yet, time and time again I see someone getting mad over something said, in jest, when the meaning was read wrong.

That's why smilies were created, and that's their primary use. If you're sad, you put a frowning face. If youre happy, you put a frowning face. If you're a lion, you put a >:3 face. Forums with graphic smilies allow for even more portrayals, as they'll often show things not easy to type in text characters alone. Even then, though, even in situations where sarcasm and jest is expected, they're still needed in large numbers.

There's an older saying on Notebook Forums that goes "a smilie to soften the blow". It was created after the obvious inclusion of smilies to indicate sarcasm didn't become so obvious to some members, so it was tacked on to point it out. Still, its a creed forgotten from time to time, and every now and again people need to be reminded that not everything said on the internet is meant as it sounds.

Mon, 11 Jun 2007 08:00:00 -0500

Description and Direction

Most of the time I plan out things in a script format. I have stories told by the characters, with conversations between characters explaining the situation. Anyone reading HEHEHEE The Story on the AnacondaSoftware forums should be quite familiar with this writing style, since that's how the story takes place. The rest of the time, when I write out descriptions of things, I write them in a report format, like a paper. I prefer to plan things out visually, but when I don't have the time to focus on planning visual settings I let my thought process drive characters in conversation to explain situations.

Going back to Skewed from the last entry, this explains the problem I have. I started writing Skewed in 2004, almost 3 years ago now. I write it in chunks, one at a time, in a linear fashion. I don't usually plan things out in a linear fashion, I'll jump back and forth working on different ideas for different times, which is why its such a struggle to consistently update Skewed over the years. And, in addition to writing it out, If you read through the story though you will see me struggling with description. I'll resort to direction, not description, to carry forth the story. Conversations between characters, characters thinking to themselves, characters talking to themselves. There are several points that you'll see my attempt at description failing entirely, a few places with monologues. I'm not too pleased with those parts, because my goal for Skewed is to try and be descriptive. I've built a rather unusual world there, one thats not easy to picture without good description. Yet, when I fail to provide good enough description for what I'm directing, I fail to fulfill my duties as the Author.

When I was in high school, I had an English teacher named Mr. Thompson (don't remember his full name right now, but he's a fairly young English teacher at Skyline High School here in Utah). I had him two different years, for two different classes. He didn't particularly use any set material, because it was hard for him to get his classes to focus on things to learn. instead, one year, he decided to rewrite things from scratch, writing an entire curriculum from various English resources on the internet. Most of this class was on improving writing skills and quality, and was a class I enjoyed very much. The first focus of the class were five sentence writing fragments for increasing sentence complexity, tricks which I had used occasionally in my writing, but not often, and didn't even know they had names to be considered tricks. Altogether, the entire class material was in a very large packet of printed materials, which, due to the size of the thing, he ended up having to charge students who lost it to replace to cover the costs of the paper.

Because of my forgetting things from this packet, my prose writing skills are deteriorating, and which is why I'm not happy with the way parts of Skewed have turned out. I might still have this packet. I thought it had been thrown away long ago, much to my dismay, but if I recall correctly, somewhere within the last few months I found it while reorganizing some things. If i find it, I'll go through some of the things from it here.

Thu, 07 Jun 2007 18:00:00 -0500

Five Letters

So I finally got the update to Skewed posted, after working on it for two weeks and scrambling all yesterday to find a way to defeat the invincible boss I had inadvertently created. That lifts a big load off my back, leaving me free to do other stuff now. If you're following that story, you can check it out over on the PokeGym.

So I overheard someone at my work today say something unusual. He said, "I don't know how to spell 'pilot.'"

Pilot? Come on, its five letters!

I'm not quite sure why he'd be needing to write pilot in the first place, but I was quite shocked. Its a very basic word, and should be a no-brainer. Heck, if you do somehow manage to spell it wrong, Google will correct you in every single misspelling I can think of (which isn't a lot, for obvious reasons).

Pilot! Pea-Eye-Ell-Oh-Tee!

Where do some people learn their language? Sheesh!

Tue, 05 Jun 2007 18:00:00 -0500

Internet Language

So I'm a librarian at my church. I make copies for people, and I manage materials that get checked in and out of the library for the meetings. And my ward is the last to meed in the building for the day, so at the end of the day I have to make sure everything has been checked in, and mark down anything still out so the person who checked that item out can be tracked down and reminded they forgot to return the items they checked out. We keep track of these things with a clipboard, where people write down their name and what they're taking out, and cross out their name when they bring their item back.

Yesterday after church, as I was going over the list to make sure everything was checked in, I noticed someone decided to design the paper on one of the clipboards. Specifically, on the bottom of it they drew a stick figure, and next to it wrote the word "Lol".

Now, anyone that's chatted with me over MSN or on forums knows, I use 'lol'. I use it rather extensively, and there's a specific reason. I am under the belief that anything said should get an acknowledgment, like in the older days of the radio. If what was said is funny, I'll reply with 'lol', if what was said required some other form of acknowledgment then I'll use 'i see', 'ahh', or 'heh', though I use the latter less because to some people it comes across as some sort of sarcastic remark. But, in all cases, I use these on the internet only, not in the real world.

I know how to communicate in the real world, I don't use internet slang that will be understood by few. I don't need to, I know how to speak. Some people don't. Some people don't know how to separate the two worlds. I do, and I keep them separate. You won't hear me saying 'lol' out loud.

Mon, 04 Jun 2007 18:00:00 -0500

Unfamiliar Words

I didn't have much in the way of spelling mistakes to work with the last couple of days, and I didn't want to go back and look for them. The real interesting thing about them is the creativity to explain them from me and people I chat with, more than the actual words themselves. Some of them can incur some interesting definitions, so I'll talk on that some other time.

Instead I wanted to share about some words that I had to look up during conversations. A co-worker, Kyle, is the source of both of these, one from a story he was telling me yesterday, and the other from an excuse to go see Shrek 3 he wanted to use today.

The first, from the story yesterday, is fisticuffs. He in this particular story he was telling me about a fight he got into he used that word to start the story. Now, based on just the word "fist" i figured it had to have something to do with fighting, but I still had to go look it up. It's defined as "combat with the fists," so more or less a fist fight. An interesting word, but it's odd enough that I won't find much use for it in writing.

The second word is dysentery. Particularly, he said that he wanted to use that as an excuse to go see that movie, then said he'd consider developing it just so he didn't have to go to the movie. He hadn't actually looked it up, and after I looked it up, and linked him to the Wikipedia article, he changed his mind, stating he'd much rather watch Shrek 3 then have that. I'm not going to replicate the description from the Wikipedia article here, you can go look there if you want to know more about it, but the disease is often known as "Montezuma's Revenge".

I don't think I'll find much use for that word in writings either.

Sat, 02 Jun 2007 18:00:00 -0500