Vid's Space

Hello! You are visitor number 103459! 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.

New items will be selected in 2.8 days.

We Got Lost

When I was a lot younger and somewhat more hormonal, I once brought my girlfriend to a LAN party with some friends. She had to be home by a certain time, so before too long we had to leave. On the way back to her house, I took the scenic route, and we enjoyed some mellow music that went well with the wintry night.

When we finally reached my girlfriend's house, we were late by the better part of an hour. Our excuse was, we got lost. Most people who know me would be quite surprised by that excuse. To this day I'm not sure if her dad believed us.

When I returned to the LAN party, my friends noted that I couldn't stop grinning. They quickly lept to a conclusion — the very conclusion that we didn't want my girlfriend's dad to reach when we told him we got lost.

So what really happened? All I'm going to say is, don't jump to conclusions.

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?”

L Fan Club

So this one time I was at a mall in southeastern Michigan, wearing a T-shirt featuring the Deathnote character known as L. A group of young women complimented me on the T-shirt and asked me where I got it. I told them I'd purchased it at Hot Topic, then I asked if they were cosplayers. Indeed they were. How did I know, you might ask? That's a good question; the young women asked too. I told them they had “anime hair”. Pitch black, unmoving, spiking at odd angles — definitely anime hair.

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.

New items will be selected in 7.6 hours.

Don't say “Standard Time” Unless You Mean It

I have seen, many times, people announcing some event on the Internet in terms of EST (Eastern Standard Time) or, slightly less often, PST. In the winter, there's no practical problem with that, but for slightly more than half of the year, this terminology comes with a significant “gotcha”. See, chances are, whoever posted the announcement actually means not “Eastern Standard Time” but “the time in New York City” – or, instead of “Pacific Standard Time,” they mean “The time in Los Angeles.” The problem is that, from March to November, New York City doesn't follow Eastern Standard Time; it follows Eastern Daylight-saving Time! When we change our clocks in the spring and fall, Standard Time doesn't change; rather, we switch between it and Daylight-saving Time. So in the summer, while Eastern Standard Time still exists, nobody follows it (except for the west coast of South America, but they surely don't call it that). Most of Indiana did until 2007, but not anymore. And while Phoenix and Denver are both in Mountain Time Zone, only one of them is actually on Mountain Standard Time in the summer.

There are a few solutions. First and best, you could say EDT when Daylight-saving Time is in effect, and EST otherwise. Or, especially when referring to geographic areas and not actual times, say ETZ. The laziest way to specify what time zone you're talking about correctly, especially if you don't know whether DST is (or will be) in effect at the specified time, is to simply say ET if you mean the time in New York, and PT if you mean the time in Los Angeles. (And of course CT for Chicago, and MT for Denver…) I believe that's what CNN does.

The bottom line is this: If you are based in New York and announce some kind of deadline as “11:59PM EST on June 30”, and someone submits something when your clock says 12:45 AM July 1st, that submission is not late, because on Eastern Standard Time, it's still only 11:45 PM. Sure, you could argue about it, but it's just better to say what you mean in the first place and avoid any confusion entirely.

Gender-Neutral Pronouns

Everyone likes pronouns. Those are the short little words that fill in for longer names or other ways of referring to people — like ‘he’, ‘them’, ‘her’. There's also non-person pronouns like ‘it’, but this post is about the personal ones. In English, there are male pronouns, female pronouns, and plural pronouns. But there aren't any singular, non-gendered pronouns. At least, not officially. Many people have invented some, and generally they fail to catch on. That's what I'm doing here. Except maybe mine have a better chance of catching on because they're systematic and therefore easy to remember, and also the Internet is great at spreading ideas people like.

So, why do we need singular gender-neutral personal pronouns? Sometimes we don't know, or for some reason don't want to reveal, the gender of the specific person to whom we're referring. Sometimes we need to refer to a non-specific person in a specific role, and that could be filled by either a male person or a female person. Sometimes we're referring to a specific person who would prefer not to be categorized as male or female. Or maybe we just want to make a point that gender is a non-issue in the current context — or almost every context, depending on whom you ask.

There have traditionally been three approaches to this problem. One is to assign arbitrary new words as the missing pronouns. One is to try to combine male and female singular pronouns to find a middle ground. Perhaps the most popular approach is to simply use the plural pronouns and pretend they can be singular as well. My approach is to apply a common simple modification to each plural pronoun:

Singular
Male
Singular
Female
Plural Singular
Neutral
He She They Phey
Him Her Them Phem
His Her Their Pheir
His Hers Theirs Pheirs
Himself Herself Theirselves Pheirself
see also phey on pronoun.is

Simple, right? Well of course I think so. Maybe now that I've put this online, it can gain some popularity.

Update

I've recently become aware of the sets e and ey, which are just about as logical and memorable as the set I've described above. As far as I can tell, they are (like ‘phey’) meant to be truly gender-neutral, rather than referring to a specific non-binary gender identity. Maybe the more confusing ones with exes and zees were created with a similar intention, but when one genderqueer person says “my pronouns are xe/xem” and another says “my pronouns are zie/zir”, it's hard not to get the impression that those have a more specific meaning.

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.