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October 9th, 2002


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09:19 pm - Pay attention 007, birthday alert
Back on 30th September, I wrote that I should like to speak to as many of you in October as possible. The number of you to whom I have spoken in October to date is dangerously close to zero. Not so good.

My 27th birthday will be on October 23rd. Two weeks today. The Wednesday after next. (Not today.)

This year, I am requesting that you do not send me any cards or presents, even if you have my postal address and were planning to do so. Instead, I request that you celebrate my birthday on the 23rd of October by permitting me to speak to you. This means you. (Yes, you. The one reading the screen.) If I haven't spoken to you for years, or if I've never spoken to you before at all, so much the better - my birthday will provide sufficient excuse.

I will be posting a live telephone number upon which I can be reached that day into my journal. Common sense suggests that this is a really dumb idea, but sometimes I feel that I just have to learn the reasons behind these things the hard way. (Anyone know how much it would cost to hire a +800 international toll-free line for the day?) Alternatively, I will be available on IM services that day if you want to talk through microphones over the Internet to save money. We'll work something out.

More about this next week. I am quite serious.

Some remarkable dreaming over the last couple of nights. The only thing I remember from Monday->Tuesday's dream was playing Civilization (or was it Civilization II?) and rather enjoying it. Accordingly, I'm now tempted to dig the CD out again and give it another go. How inconvenient. Couldn't I have picked a game to dream about which doesn't take fifty hours to play?

(Oh, one specific detail was that I was using alt-I and alt-R to get Settlers units to concentrate on irrigating and roadbuilding without my having to micromanage them. Is that a feature of the game or a fantasy?)

Tuesday->Wednesday's dreams had a few memorable images, almost all of which weren't so good. The first one ended in someone driving a car through our back gate, up the garden and through a wall of our house. I went down and climbed on top of the person driving the car (the presence or absence of the roof of car was not adequately discussed - might it have been a sports car?) but the driver continued to drive with me on top of him. I squealed for the police, who arrived quite quickly and apprehended the culprit. Nevertheless, when I woke up I had to go and check that the garden was OK on the way to getting water for my dry throat.

On getting back to sleep, another bad dream: things going on at an aquarium ("The Deep" - pretty good, but not worth a hundred-mile journey unless you really like that sort of thing) of the type that I don't like to watch on TV. :-( Accompanying me were a family with whom I am friendly from the Middlesbrough Gamers Club, who seemed to be enjoying it. Seems that I'm the only person offended even in my dreams.

A bit later in the dream I was playing poker - specifically, Texas Hold 'Em. Someone I know by name and might have met once from Wizards of the Coast was sitting two to the right of me and I was rather concerned to try to play well. Holding JD KD, the flop was TD QD AD. (Some of you might question what I was doing in the flop with KJ; can't remember any details of pre-flop action.) Now that's rather more like the sort of thing that dreams should contain!

Incidentally, if any amateur analysts want to take a stab at the above and provide conclusions, I would regard it as a great favour.

zorac wrote a lovely word-counting utility the other day. With a bit of, er, mungeage we managed to alter it to take the interests lists from everyone who I have listed as a Friend and work out what the most popular interests among my Friends are, not least to get some suggestions as for some things which I might be interested in but currently aren't. My own interests list is not included.

Is it reasonable to extend these interests in general to other people who haven't put any, or have only put a small number of, interests in their interests list? For the most popular few, it's probably not too unreasonable.

Here's the top 12:
Place Count %age  Word
----- ----- ----- ----------------
    1    14 0.747 harry potter
    2    10 0.534 music
    3     9 0.480 reading
    4     8 0.427 writing
    5     7 0.374 books
    =     7 0.374 computers
    =     7 0.374 game shows
    8     6 0.320 board games
    9     5 0.267 cooking
    =     5 0.267 science fiction
    =     5 0.267 scrabble
    =     5 0.267 sleeping


It may be interesting to compare these interests with the most popular interests overall. Naturally, the Harry Potter and game shows sides of my friends list are extremely well represented; a very large proportion likes music, reading and writing. Interesting to see Scrabble up there, which doesn't make the top 400 overall.

After that, naturally, it gets rather more complicated.

There's a fifteen-way tie for 12th place, each of which attracts four appearances: baseball, buffy the vampire slayer, cats, classical music, fanfic, fanfiction, friends, internet, lord of the rings, movies, politics, singing, star wars, the beatles, wibbling.

Lots of Buffy fans both in my Friends list and elsewhere in my acquaintance. That's probably the biggest cult show that I probably should be familiar with but aren't. Cat fans outnumber dog fans 4:1, compared to about 2:1 in LJ at large. Incidentally, "wibbling" in the context that most of my Friends use it does not mean the same thing that it does in Britain.

There's a forty-two-way tie for 28th place, each of which attracts three appearances: babylon 5, baseball cards, billy joel, coffee, dilbert, doctor who, dvds, fan fiction, fantasy, fictionalley, gadgets, hollywood squares, iron chef, livejournal, match game, mathematics, memes, monty python, mp3s, mythology, piano, pizza, poetry, puns, puzzles, quidditch, roleplaying, shakespeare, sports, the price is right, travel, tv.

Iron Chef is probably the second biggest cult show to escape my attention. Coffee outnumbers tea 3:1 (5:2 in general), but there are many specific teas which earn additional mentions.

There's a one-hundred-and-fifty-three-way tie for 60th place, each of which attracts two appearances: 60s music, 70s music, 80s music, all your base, angel, apologetics, astronomy, atheism, austin powers, baileys, beaches, beatles, belle & sebastian, big brother, black, blackjack, buffy, calvin & hobbes, camping, card games, cheese, chess, chocolate, christianity, cinema, comics, concerts, crosswords, cycling, dance dance revolution, dancing, databases, dave gorman, dice, disney, douglas coupland, dr pepper, draco dormiens, draco malfoy, dragons, driving, education, england, english literature, er, escher, esperanto, espn, family, fanzines, fight club, films, football, frank sinatra, frasier, game show network, gaming, german, good eats, google, grammar, history, html, hugs, ice cream, in-jokes, indie, italy, j. k. rowling, jasper fforde, jeopardy, kahlua, knightmare, larp, las vegas, latin, laughing, lego, les miserables, libraries, life, lingo, literary criticism, london underground, malcolm in the middle, meeping, moon on a stick, moulin rouge, museums, musicals, no doubt, oscar wilde, oxford, oxford university, paradigm of uncertainty, pardon the interruption, paul lynde, pedantry, perl, philosophy, pop, postmodernism, programming, psychic serpent, punk, radio, rain, red dwarf, romance, root beer, rowling, rpgs, running, russian roulette, sarcasm, schnoogle, schnoogling, sci-fi, science, sex, shrek, six feet under, skiing, slash, snow, south park, spaced, sports night, squeeing, star trek, sushi, t00bing, teaching, television, the leaky cauldron, the matrix, the osbournes, the simpsons, the west wing, they might be giants, to tell the truth, tolkien, tom lehrer, travelling, tv-gameshows.com, united kingdom, usenet, vampires, weakest link, weebling, werewolf, words, world war ii

cheese, lego and perl are as popular as sex among my Friends. No pithy comment required.

There are slightly over a thousand interests which appear once only each. I won't cut and paste them in. :-)

Not sure what conclusions we can draw from all this. Maybe I ought to look again this time next year and see how my circle of friends has changed.
Current Mood: interested
Current Music: theme from "Terrahawks"

(23 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 9th, 2002 04:41 pm (UTC)

+800

(Link)
Well, the raw cost is only one small extent of the outlay required. The minimum overall charge would probably be the stumbling block - would such companies be prepared to hire you a line for only one day, would there be any sort of minimum fee required or that sort of thing. I haven't been able to find any Google terms which give good results yet, but I only tried for a couple of minutes.

In the end, would it just prove cheaper for me to accept reverse charge phone calls? Would it be cheaper for me to get some sort of phonecard (which is why I was asking the UK readers if they had any recommendations...) and make outgoing calls myself? I'm just not sure.
From:songmonk
Date:October 9th, 2002 04:23 pm (UTC)

Quidditch

(Link)
I am a big fan of Harry Potter (referring here to the series, not the person), but I am *anti* quidditch. It is a lame game.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 9th, 2002 05:01 pm (UTC)

Re: Quidditch

(Link)
Ah, now that's interesting. What do you have against it? I'll grant you that the scoring system could kindly be described as "requiring some playtesting" and the movie's depiction did leave somewhat to be desired (hanging on by his toes?) but the spirit of the game works very well in context.

Maybe my tolerance for match descriptions is just higher than that of most people...
[User Picture]
From:black_dog
Date:October 9th, 2002 08:48 pm (UTC)

Re: Quidditch

(Link)
One peculiarity of quidditch is the sheer disproportion between the activity and the scoring of the seekers and that of everyone else. On one level, you have this very exciting, rough and tumble game of constant action, and you rack up points an excruciating and hard-earned 10 at a time through teamwork and strategy and physical intimidation. But then -- abruptly -- your seeker swoops down, pockets more points than you've scored in your past three seasons, and brings the game to a sudden end. In the process, he generally establishes the win, with almost no regard to who was ahead during the regular action.

Perhaps quidditch is meant as a kind of acculturation to the unfairness of life, or to late capitalism in general. I can't help but think of a swarm of salarypersons, slaving away, adding perhaps a hundred dollars a week to their savings, until a key investor suddenly decides it is time to cash out on his speculation, and walks away with a few million while the enterprise is broken up.

Not that I am an anticapitalist lefty sandal-wearer or anything, necessarily. There's just something creepy about quidditch.
From:songmonk
Date:October 10th, 2002 12:20 am (UTC)

Re: Quidditch

(Link)
I enjoyed the description of the matches as well. My complaint is the obvious one -- that the importance of the seekers completely dominates all other aspects of the sport. Lame.
[User Picture]
From:addedentry
Date:October 10th, 2002 01:51 am (UTC)

Re: Quidditch

(Link)
Quidditch arbitrary and unbalanced? It's just Brockian Ultracricket writ small.
[User Picture]
From:ericklendl
Date:October 9th, 2002 04:41 pm (UTC)

Questions

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Is there any overlap between those who are interested in "cooking" and those who are interested in "books", and of those are any interested in "accountancy"? At least two people are interested in "reading" but not interested in "books". What do they read? Or are they actually interested in Reading, Berkshire?

Is it relevant that there's never been a Broadway musical called "Dogs"?

Are the two people who are interested in "squeeing", "weebling", "meeping" and "t00bing" the same two people?

What, pray, does "wibbling" mean in Britain?

Is "er" a reference to "Emergency Room", or could people just not remember what it was that they were interested in?

That is all. (For now)
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 9th, 2002 05:26 pm (UTC)

There are moooooorrrrrreeee questions than answers

(Link)
I like the way you're thinking. (There's an off-colour joke about that...)

Googlage for site:livejournal.com interests cooking books accountancy (what might be called the Massey method) suggests not. There are more Readings than the one in Berks - notably the one referred to on the US Monopoly board in the context of the (Pennsylvania and) Reading Railroad.

There are many fine non-book things to read, not least LiveJournals. I understand that magazines, newspapers and other content distributed over the Internet are some of them.

One uncharitably wonders whether some of the actresses in the Broadway musical which you inferred might be referred to as dogs.

athena_arena: meeping and weebling. leiabelle: squeeing and t00bing. thegraybook: meeping, squeeing, t00bing and weebling. House!

What, pray, does "wibbling" mean in Britain?
Well, you're British. (Albeit a Belgian/Azerbaijani sort of British, but British all the same.) You should know. Help him out, please, addedentry.

It's possible that the interests listed were the rather apologetic forms "er, escher" and "er, evil dead". You raise a good point in questioning how it is possible to encode an interest which contains its own internal comma. Must check whether people are interested separately in dave dee, dozy, beaky and mick & titch or in dave dee dozy beaky mick & titch.
[User Picture]
From:ericklendl
Date:October 10th, 2002 02:18 am (UTC)

OK, I'll grant you that.

(Link)
I would tend to associate an interest in reading with an interest in books, but I'll concede that newspapers, LJs, backs of cornflake packets - even Usenet on a good day - have their appeal.

The Massey method, I think, only works for people who don't have spiders disabled. I don't like spiders! Hence, there is supposedly nobody listing scrabble AND eurovision amongst their interests. We know different.

My understanding of wibbling broadly corresponds with thegraybook's. Maybe it's a specifically Cambridgeshire and America thing. Or Oxonians are different.

I think there's a four-word limit on interests, hence people could at best be interested in dave dee dozy beaky. mick and titch, as usual, don't get a look in.
[User Picture]
From:addedentry
Date:October 10th, 2002 02:37 am (UTC)

Re: Weebles wibble, but they don't all frown

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Wibbling is somewhere between adlibbing and riffing.

And in American English?
[User Picture]
From:ericklendl
Date:October 10th, 2002 03:47 am (UTC)

In a wibbly wobbly world of their own

(Link)
There's a definite wibble illustrated here</i>, in my opinion.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 10th, 2002 07:07 am (UTC)

Up to a point, Lord Copper

(Link)
The best definition of British wibble is to be found within h2g2. The context within which members of Generation ZX - a category into which nearly all the British readers of this page will fall - are likely to be most familiar with it is that mentioned second down, a nonsense word most usually found in Your Sinclair, which was by far the weakest of the three major Spectrum magazines. (How'way! Here and now!)

Compare with the use of the adjectives "interesting" and "random".
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 10th, 2002 07:11 am (UTC)

D'oh

(Link)
Oh yeah. </i> .
[User Picture]
From:missingdonut
Date:October 9th, 2002 05:07 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Hmm... I have about 170 minutes on a Wal-Mart phone card... that should get a few minutes across the pond.

You may wish to make the post with your phone number private, at least, but that's probably a given, no?
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 9th, 2002 05:38 pm (UTC)

Privacy

(Link)
Try to convince your Wal-Mart phone card that it's an Asda phone card and it'll work much more charitably with regard to calling the UK.

Making my phone number private: I probably should, shouldn't I?
[User Picture]
From:missingdonut
Date:October 9th, 2002 05:56 pm (UTC)

Re: Privacy

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Well, the Wal-Mart phone card is technically an AT&T phone card. I'll find out how many minutes it costs me per minute of calling England later -- I think it's two minutes per minute to Canadia.

I actually meant friends-only with posting your phone number. Otherwise, any Tom, Dick, and Harry could get your phone number and have a field day with it.
[User Picture]
From:leiabelle
Date:October 9th, 2002 07:02 pm (UTC)

you can find (almost) anything on the internet...

(Link)
*wonders if this is you?*
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 9th, 2002 07:23 pm (UTC)

Re: you can find (almost) anything on the internet...

(Link)
Good effort, but it isn't. :-)

You should be able to find the downstairs phone number easily, though not through that service. (Even knowing my parents' initials doesn't help.) The upstairs phone number is ex-directory and is the one that I'm thinking about revealing for my birthday.
[User Picture]
From:quiz_master_man
Date:October 9th, 2002 10:12 pm (UTC)
(Link)
How about the one on this page. At the bottom.

-Myron
Loves a good web search.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 10th, 2002 06:53 am (UTC)

There's nothing like a good web search...

(Link)
...and that's nothing like a good web search. Oi!

That would do the trick and would indeed reach downstairs. A winner is you! (For the bonus round, what's Bob Barker's telephone number? Would you like to ask Thomas Boggs, go 50-50 or phone a friend? For the latter, Bob Barker would be a good sort of friend to have...)

You could also have Googled for chris dickson middlesbrough telephone, which is a satisfyingly easy and logical way to get the answer.
[User Picture]
From:ealuscerwen
Date:October 10th, 2002 06:25 am (UTC)
(Link)

I don't know how to tell Livejournal what my interests are, but if I did, I might break the 42 way tie...

Eal.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 10th, 2002 06:57 am (UTC)

Interesting? Very interesting!

(Link)
http://www.livejournal.com/editinfo.bml - big box about half-way down. The second of the two big boxes, below the "About You" one.

Wonder which interests you would list to break the tie? I can guess some of them...
[User Picture]
From:ealuscerwen
Date:October 10th, 2002 07:39 am (UTC)

Re: Interesting? Very interesting!

(Link)

Interests listed. Not terribly interesting and I left at least three off after careful consideration.

Eal.

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