Vid's Space

Hello! You are visitor number 102172! I may be a bit narcissistic, but I don't quite want to talk about myself for pages and pages on my website anymore.  I could, but that might be a bit depressing.  Meh, at least I have a job.

Suffice it to say I'm a pansexual nudist roadgeek with issues including but not limited to depression, selective eating disorder, and possibly Asperger's syndrome.  But again, this page isn't about me.  Instead, it's my space for random thoughts which I hope you'll find interesting or amusing. 

By the way, if you don't like the fonts or colors on my website, now you can override them using the Style Chooser!  As for other improvements to this site, I really need to redo the guestbook, get the counter/greeter system to work how I originally intended, and oh yeah, get in the habit of adding content more often…

Random Quotes

I hope you'll find the following quote amusing and/or thought-provoking.

“If you need drugs to be a good writer, you're not a good writer.”

— Rod Serling

A new quote is randomly selected three times each day. For your convenience, here's a permanent link to this quote.

Cool Story, Bro!

Here you'll find brief anecdotes which usually are worth the time spent reading them.

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Mangled Words

A friend of mine once went to Steak 'n' Shake and attempted to order cheddar fries. But when she spoke, she instead asked for “frizzies”, and she didn't even realize she'd misspoken!

I went to the movies with friends once, and someone said, “I want popcorn.” I must have misheard, because I had to ask, “Did you just say you want cock porn?” To be fair, with my circle of friends, it wouldn't be entirely crazy to say such a thing in a cinema or random other public place.

Get In The Phone!

The Matrix is an awesome movie. Not a perfect movie, but an awesome one still. One time in my college dorm, someone had The Matrix on TV, and a few of us were watching. It got to that scene near the end, where Neo and Trinity are going to leave the Matrix by answering a telephone and sort of teleporting into or through it. Agents are closing in, and the telephone starts ringing. Trinity is going first, but first she has to make an angsty confession to Neo about love and prophecies. Why can's she wait till they get out? So the phone just keeps ringing while they talk, and someone in the dorm starts yelling at her, “Get in the phone!” Soon all of us are shouting the same thing at the television.

Later that day, a phone in one of the dorm rooms starts ringing. It rings several times, without either resident of that room paying attention to it, so someone shouts, “Get in the phone!” That got a lot of laughs, but even better, it got the phone answered.

This was back in the day when people let their answering machines (physical devices in the home) answer incoming calls, then listened to the messages being left in real-time, possibly deciding to pick up the phone and talk to the caller. (If your elderly relative ever leaves you a voice mail like “Are you there? Pick up the phone!” this is why.) So a few times when I called home, I actually left messages asking Mom to “Get in the phone!” Of course I had to explain it to her at some point. I've told this story to my friends, and they occasionally use the phrase, though with voicemail service largely replacing actual answering machines, “Get in the phone!” isn't very useful anymore.

Epic Entrance

So I was coming home from work one evening, and I'd been listening to music played by my smartphone through a portable speaker. I still had the music going as I was walking into the house, and the song was “Nights in White Satin” by The Moody Blues. I opened the front door just as it got all climaxy, and there was my mom sitting in the living room. I said to her, “Wow, what a dramatic entrance, huh?”

More Cool Story, Bro!

Passing Thoughts

This is the opinion section of my site. If I have something to say to a general audience that won't fit in a tweet, it'll probably end up here.

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But Wait, There's More!

The following rant was written in reference to Billy Mays before he died. It's actually not about just him, but rather it's about all those TV pitchmen (and women) who sell things that “aren't sold in stores”.

He comes into my living room, shouting about this amazing product that I can only buy from him. Then he says I can have four of them (an $80-dollar value) for just $9.95. I'm sorry, but if the only place to get this amazing product is from him, and he's selling four for ten bucks, that means the product is only worth $2.50 each. Eighty dollars my ass. And why isn't it sold in stores? Sure, that might involve a “middle-man markup” but it would also involve economy of scale, so I don't have to pay five bucks shipping and handling on a product only worth $2.50.

Customize Your Browser

Have you ever really poked around your web browser's settings? It's not all technical mumbo-jumbo. In most browsers, you can choose what fonts to use on certain websites. Actually, maybe I should clarify something first. Websites don't actually come in unchangeable fonts like a printed document would. They're actually electronic text, with suggestions for your computer about things like fonts for displaying it. Some websites don't even have these suggestions, and that's when your browser uses “default” fonts.

There are actually at least three kinds of default fonts, because some websites might suggest one category of font without really caring what specific font to use. These categories are “serif” (newspaper-style fonts), “sans-serif” (relatively plain fonts) and “monospace” (typewriter-style fonts). In many browsers, the defaults for these respective categories are Times (New Roman), Arial/Helvetica, and Courier (New). Many people find these specific fonts to be rather boring, partly because they're the default fonts for almost everything. As a result, most websites are designed with suggestions for slightly more interesting fonts.

So, back to your web browser. In most popular browsers, the user can specify what default fonts to use, either in just the “serif” category or in multiple categories. Many browsers allow the user to select different fonts based on what language a website is written in. Some of them will even ignore the font suggestions a website provides, and use only the default user-specified fonts, if that's what the user wants.

I encourage everyone to select their favorite fonts (think practical; do you really want to read a whole article in Jokerman?) for their browser defaults. I have a few suggestions, for readers who don't know what to pick. For serif fonts, try Garamond, Palatino, Georgia or Constantia. For the sans-serif category, perhaps Lucida Sans/Grande, Tahoma, Corbel, Frutiger, or Century Gothic. In the monospace category, it's probably best to let each user pick his favorite from the monospace fonts installed on his system, since tastes and installed fonts can vary significantly.

If people's default fonts are more interesting, then maybe web authors would feel more comfortable relying on them rather than specifying a font for the sake of specifying a font. Or, on the other hand, if a designer actually wants Times New Roman, he should learn to specify it.

For that matter, some other default style choices in web browsers are rather bland. Maybe headings should, unless the website says otherwise, be in a sans-serif font rather than serif. And why don't paragraphs have indented first lines or justified text? Not to mention the inter-paragraph spacing that looks exactly like one blank line. That's given too many amateur web authors the mistaken idea that <P> simply means “insert two line breaks”. And why the crap do all web browsers have the same default style sheet? I don't think HTML was intended to look exactly the same on everyone's screen, and if an author wants it to, then he should specify all these style choices in CSS.

In case you're wondering, these default styles can usually be overridden by the user, too. How this is done varies from browser to browser, but often it's a matter of placing a CSS file somewhere the browser will look for it. For some browsers, an add-on may be available to simplify this process. (Example: for Firefox, there's an add-on called Stylish that's quite popular.) If you don't want to learn CSS, it shouldn't be too hard to get an interesting stylesheet from someone else, and many style-related browser plugins have associated means for users to share stylesheets.

Alright, this ramble has gone on long enough. I think I covered my annoyances. To summarize, go customize your browser already!

More Passing Thoughts

Cool People

Cool Famous People

Here are, in no particular order, some of my favorite people from movies and TV:

Cool Obscure People

Here are, in no particular order, some of my favorite people of whom you may not have heard:

Best of my LJ

You know how radio shows often run "best of" shows during the weekends or when the stars are on vacation?  Well, I haven't posted to my LiveJournal much recently, but there are some good nuggets from the past I thought I might share here.