I'm sure we all know that Twitter, the popular web service, imposes a limit on the messages it transmits. They cannot exceed 140 characters.
This is, of course, an upper limit. But: what if we were to take 140 characters as the lower limit, as well? Only messages exactly 140 long.
Perhaps this would be tedious, at first. But mightn't it not also be beneficial? For one: we would surely consider our words more carefully.
Indeed, not just words, but even minute punctuational choices would have to be thought about. Commas, hyphens, semicola: suddenly important.
(Naturally, leading and trailing spaces would have to be deleted before the calculation is undertaken, to prevent knavery, cheating, and c.)
A side-effect of enacting this admittedly voluntary change would presumably be a significant decrease in trivial and uninteresting "tweets".
For it takes some effort to fit a missive into this constraint, and I'm sure that even post-fluency restraint will be the transmission norm.
I don't have a twitter account myself, so I couldn't test a script myself, but I'm sure many could whip up a Greasemonkey thing for web use.
Let me begin with a false dichotomy between Unfogged and The Rest Of The World. Let's just pretend there's a nice clean line there.
When the mineshaft is dissecting The Rest, I often feel that a major source of misunderstanding is an unchecked assumption about how much mental airtime The Rest dedicates to thinking about a given topic. We fret in incredulity about how you can possibly believe such ludicrous contradictions, but really, it's very easy to dedicate almost all your mental airtime to entirely different topics that have never even crossed the mind of old Heebie. Perhaps by "you" and "the mineshaft" I mean "me". But calling me you gives me such more weight, no?
So that's the backdrop. Yesterday at soccer I sat on the edge of a conversation where different people contributed anecdotal evidence to the theme "When you get too arrogant playing soccer, God injures you." All the anecdotes had the same structure: I was getting too cocky/getting into it with other players/arguing with the ref over bad calls and all of a sudden I blew out my ankle/knee/critical thinking ability.
I don't know why I have such a hard time processing this conversation. I mean, are you fucking kidding me? The most immoral thing you've done is hack at someone during a soccer game, and as a result God blew out your ankle? What kind of hacking do you think victims of war are paying for?
I know, I know, they're really just not thinking terribly concretely about these things. But still. I feel the need to vent to you all.
The email asked me, "If you do not share this AND leave your opinions on the comments section, how will you be able to sleep at night?", and I was, frankly, without response: how indeed? I have been sleeping poorly lately. And so share it I shall.
I often recall an episode, so to speak, from my childhood: that of watching an after-school cartoon, where one of the villain's captured minions, a simple and hapless character, having been induced to participate in a failed act of villainy by the promise of a specific reward, suddenly spoke to me directly, saying:
All I wanted was a candy bar.
In that moment I conceived of what it is to be pathetic. Me, too, hapless minion. Me, too.
I am told that recent decision in the 9th Circuit will make such zones harder to maintain, but, uh, seriously? (Also, Seattle's actions, as described to me, seem practically sociopathic, but that's neither here nor there, I guess.)
In college, I tutored an autistic teenager for a few years. I learned the lesson of Patience in a big way, which served me well when I started teaching regular old neurotypical goofballs.
His parents were marvelously relaxed and easy-going. What they wanted was for Chris to be sufficiently verbal such that down the line, if he lived in a group home, he'd be able to tell someone outside if he were being mistreated. They had the resources to design and build their home, and they'd designed it so that Chris could wander outside, and they could easily keep an eye on him from almost anywhere inside the house.
Of course, a big lesson for autistic kids is the public-private distinction, right? So when Chris wanted to masturbate, he went to the most private place possible: the closet of his bedroom. Which was located over the stairwell. Which made kind of a drum acoustics effect, and the whole house would go whump! whump! whump!.
All the time, new people would be cycling through the house, because they hired a lot of college students as daytime babysitters, and a lot of them would last a semester, and then move away, or whatever. So often, mid-interview you'd hear whump! whump! whump!
His parents would airily say, "Oh, Chris is just pleasuring himself." Like I said, they were so great.
I think anxiety is probably one of the most unpleasant feelings. Either that or jealousy. I used to be an extremely jealous person (and probably would still be if Jammies hadn't laid down such a good layer of trust and Jammiesness to the relationship).
Fortunately I've never been inclined towards anxiety. I feel stress, especially when I've got too many tasks for too small a period of time, and I don't want to do any of them. But that's not the same as anxiety. I feel sad, or lonely, or even depressed, especially when I lived in Michigan which is a cold, gray, lonely, sad place to live. But still not anxiety.
But when I do occasionally feel anxious, I'm always struck by how freaking unpleasant it is. (I don't know what brought this on. At the moment I'm feeling quite content, having gone jogging this morning, which I never do. I'm an afternoon jogger, but circumstances conspired. And now I'm drinking coffee while Hawaiian Punch sleeps. The house is quiet, the laundry machine is going, and the cats are passed out on the rug. Everything is actually rather cozy and wonderful.)
My grandfather used to do a magic trick. This is not the one married to the slow-talking, determined grandmother from all my grandma stories, but other one, the Manhattan grandfather married to my bitchy step-grandmother, who is the one that dated Hank Greenberg before marrying my grandfather.
The trick went like this: he'd pull a twenty dollar bill out of his wallet. We'd all inspect it. It would be passed around and we'd even write the serial number down. We always ate out at restaurants. Then he'd set the twenty dollar bill on fire. Up in flames it'd go, past the point of recoverrability. I remember looking longingly at the charred remnants of the bill, resting around the wick of the candle, in the center of the table.
Then at some point during the meal, the twenty would reappear. Someone would be served it in their dessert, or something. We'd check the serial numbers: exactly the same! Amazing!
I wanted to know the secret more than anything, and he told me he'd tell me when I was sixteen. By the time I was sixteen, he'd been senile for many years, and no longer even recognized his close friends and family. Although he could still play bridge. Something about sitting around the table would jumpstart his rusty connections. And then a few years after that, he died.
And then a few years after he died, I found out that he had told my oldest brother how he did the trick, and if I could only derail his impulse to torture me, I would finally know the secret. He teased me briefly, then told me how it was done.
And now I'm wrestling with the urge to torture the mineshaft, when originally I had just planned to tell the story with the secret of how he did it. But how much more delicious to make you guys figure it out! I could call this entry "Tuesday Puzzler", instead of my original title, "Speaking Of Cash".
I actually think I've told this before, in the archives, which may mean this is not very puzzling at all, if you remember this trick or can locate it. But I will withhold the secret of the Mystery Of The Burnt Twenty from the front page, at least.
Bumming around New York (well, Brooklyn, mostly) this week, I'm taken by the number of establishments that accept only cash. I have a dual reaction almost every time: (1) what?! that's crazy! everywhere else I just swipe my debit card; and, (2) Yeah! Those fees they charge you are ridiculous! Fuck 'em!
It leads me to adopt this routine of closely monitoring my cash on-hand and making strategic purchases (oh, I'll buy those paper towels we need here, because I can get $35 back) when an ATM or bank is far away.
I don't know that I have a larger point, other than: huh; money management is different here.
At the mothers' coffee group on Friday, one mother told this story: toilet-training was going pretty well with her two-year-old, (who had initiated it.) They'd gone three days with no accidents. And then the mother walked into her daughter's room, and found that she'd pulled every article of clothing out of the drawer, and peed on all of them.
Basically I can't think of anything to post, but I'm around and in the mood to post. Jammies sent me this article, about a hapless passenger besting United Airlines in the end. You know what I find irritating, speaking of customer service? "Please listen to all options, as our menu has recently changed." No it hasn't. You're just jerking us along. But we have threads bitching about customer service all the time. Where's the novelty in that?
Also last night I had a nightmare where one of my best friends committed suicide. It was pretty upsetting.
My other idea is just to post this song, which is like my favorite romantic song. I would totally slow dance to this song. I'll put it under the jump because I'm a thoughtful front page poster like that.
A question posed last night: what conspiracy theories do you actually believe, or at least think may have some kernel of truth?