Things 27: Shoe Friends, Dog Frisbee, Dying

(Originally sent September 2008)

As I had suspected, Things is not by nature interactive – one person requested to be on the CC list (and this also happened to be the one person to reply to last week’s puzzle). Since the functionality with one person is identical to keeping everyone on the BCC list that is what I will do, until someone else wants to be CC’d!

Nothing wrong with this, it just reaffirms my decision to switch to BCC by default.

Films continue to be rubbish, ‘Rocknrolla’, ‘Step Brothers’ and ‘The Duchess’ all having zero appeal to me.

Last week’s puzzle
Shoes are like friends…

“You only need a few and even then there’s only one or two you really spend much time with”
“You’ll always know which the best ones are because you like wearing them constantly and you never feel like they’re worn out.”
“They come in pairs”
“You only know their true value when it rains”

Additional answers from 2010:
Richard: “Shoes are like friends … everyone needs two good quality ones that they’ve worn-in over many years”
Phil: “A good thing to put on before going out, but there were far too many episodes which are all basically the same?”

This week’s puzzle
Sometimes it seems as if a shampoo becomes less effective the more you use it, and by the end you have to switch to a different one entirely. Why is this? (Note, I don’t have a good answer on this one, please do send in any theories you may have).

A video
I taught our dog to catch a frisbee and thought I would upload some video of this to YouTube. Then I reasoned that someone had probably already done this to a much higher standard, and upon searching discovered the amazing world of competitive dog frisbee catching:

For anyone interested, I did end up including some of my dog’s frisbee-catching skills in the background of my review of the Bourne trilogy:

A link
A lovely game (in the very loosest sense of the word) involving a cat and some dots.
(Possible challenges to set yourself: enclose the cat in the largest area possible, let the cat escape with the most dots filled in possible)

A quote, or rather a poem
I went to the funeral of my great aunt this week. During the service my mum read this poem:

Gone From My Sight
I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts
for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until at length
she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come
to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says;
“There, she is gone!”

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull
and spar as she was when she left my side
and she is just as able to bear her
load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone
at my side says, “There, she is gone!”
There are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad
“Here she comes!”

And that is dying.

by Henry Van Dyke, a 19th Century clergyman, educator, poet, and religious writer

Personally I’m a bit of a nihilist when it comes to death, but I can see how this would be comforting to others.

A picture
Something went horribly wrong when I searched for video of the Edinburgh Fringe festival – it seems they have some kind of automatic title generator. Result number 2 is the most problematic (click for full size):


Things 26: Shoe Friends, Gondry Music Video, Sushi Cat

(Originally sent August 2008)

I  am now initiating a more nuanced system for Things, as more people get added to the mailing list. [Things was originally, and still is, an email publication – T.M. 6/11/10]

There will now be two separate mailing lists.

By default, everyone will be placed in the BCC mailing list. With all email addresses in BCC, this means your email address remains private, and you do not get involved in any ‘reply to all’ discussion.

Anyone can ask to be put on the CC list instead. It’s redundant but I’ll say it anyway: the only other people on this list are other people that chose to be on the CC list. They can see each other’s email addresses and can reply-to-all at will.

So, if you want to be moved onto the reply-to-all see-each-others-addresses list, just let me know.

This week’s film
I saw Dark Knight for the second time at the IMAX, which I recommend. Seeing it for the second time there that is, not the first time. A lot of the action does not read well on such a big screen and would make things more confusing than they already are.

Next Week’s film
All the films out now are rubbish or I’ve already seen them enough times.

Last week’s Puzzle
Last week I asked why Olympic records keep getting broken. I had my own theories about this, but I asked John Broughton who gave me a very thorough response:

  • Better drugs. Drugs an athlete took to enhance their performance six years ago will still enhance their performance now due to long lasting body improvements, but will not show up in a test.
  • Better drugs. There is always an arms race between the drug tests and those developing new drugs that won’t show up.
  • Better incentives. More money in more countries is being shifted to support sporting activity.
  • Bigger potential population. Globally the middle class is expanding, meaning more people are able to take the time to obsess about something. Given a bigger pool, better contenders will tend to emerge.

This week’s Puzzle
Now in an experimental new format!

There is a plate in this office that reads “Shoes are like friends… you can never have too many!!” Since I disagreed with both halves of this comparison, I wondered if the fundamental tenet might still hold true. Are shoes like friends?

So, here is the challenge: complete the phrase “Shoes are like friends…” so it fits your own view of shoes and friends, and I’ll report on what people sent in next week!

A video:
My favourite Michel Gondry music video, mixing his penchant for in-camera effects with music, dance and mental disturbance:

A link
One of the things I love about the paranormal is how easy it is for it to exist. Confirmation bias is such a powerful effect that even – in fact, especially – the most rational people will happily ignore or explain away anything that does not agree with their world-view. So things like this can happen, and nobody really bats an eyelid:

’40 die after deliverance prayer – Family of 3 dies of food poisoning’ [Link is dead, luckily the article was copied wholesale here – T.M. 4/11/10]

Interestingly, this news story has the more exciting headline and is actually much more plausible:

‘Portal to mythical Mayan underworld found in Mexico’

A quote
I was looking back on my life notes for the past 15 years to try and come up with a name for my forthcoming blog. I found that I once said this:

“You have to identify the things that will never happen, and avoid them.”

A picture
Food as art: