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.