All posts by theelkmechanic

The Tell-Tale MLA Citation

The youngest has a party coming up in English class to celebrate their reading of The Tell-Tale Heart, with the theme being “Blue Eyeball Day.” One of the activities is making a T-shirt with a blue eyeball on it. We were going to use the same eyeball from the second-youngest’s shirt to save time/money/aggravation, but apparently we aren’t allowed to do that because it would be plagiarism. So here, on this website, is a picture of said artwork so that we can properly cite it using MLA format.

Felt and Blue (2021)


Okay, so I moved my blog from WordPress hosting to my own local server because it didn’t seem to make sense to pay $50 a year for a blog I hadn’t updated since 2016. So now I guess I should update it?

The French are at it again. For those who don’t know, the French language has a bunch of fuddy-duddy custodians who hate the idea of loanwords coming in from other languages, so whenever you get a new word like “computer,” they have to make sure that French people don’t just call it “le computer” but instead use a real French word, “l’ordinateur.” That hatred of the British runs deep, I guess.

At any rate, the latest uproar is over online gaming. Apparently, you can’t call it e-sports (even though “sport” is a French word), you have to call it “jeu video de competition.” You can’t be a streamer, you have to be “un joueur-animateur en direct.” You can’t be playing Doom Eternal on a “cloud gaming” service, it has to be a “jeu video de nuage.”

Predictably, the younger generation thinks this is ridiculous. Which it is, but there’s a simple solution: L’Académie Française should pick French versions that are actually good instead of long, unwieldy phrases. If “sport” is a French word, why not call e-sports “sports en ligne” (online sports)? That at least flows better. Instead of turning cloud gaming into “videogame of cloud,” call it “nuage-jeux” or portmanteau it into “nuajeux” (literally “cloud games”).

We say “streamer” or “streaming” in English because saying “live video shower of gameplay” is ridiculously overworded, and “stream” is a handy metaphor for stuff (in this case video) flowing from one place to another. So I don’t want to be “un joueur-animateur en direct,” but I’d be happy to be “un fleuveur” or “un couranteur.” You catch more flies with honey than with up-turned noses.

Stone soup 

I got my gallbladder taken out.

Of course, it didn’t go smoothly, but then what ever does? So I find myself convalescing here waiting for the bleeding to slow down enough for me to go home.

The chaplain stopped by tonight to see how I was doing and to fulfill his seminarial duties (probably more the latter), and one of the things he asked me was what I was taking away from this experience. And I’m not sure what I said or if I said anything at all. I’m not really good off the cuff. But I should have told him not to be a surgeon.

Continue reading Stone soup 

Well, well, well

Our company started up a wellness program about six months ago. I expect they realized that when the most exercise your typical software developer gets is running to the fridge when the Mountain Dew runs out, having some kind of incentive for your employees to get in better shape will reduce your healthcare expenses in the long run. It works on a “points” system. You get points for filling out a health questionnaire, going for preventative care, and competing in “challenges,” the point of which appears to be to get you to develop good habits.

Continue reading Well, well, well


A blog post I read recently made me think back to when I was growing up. The world was changing. Vietnam was done, and now we got our Asian war fix from the 4077th. Disco and prog rock gave way to hair bands and pop. And while we were moving from the hippie idealism of the ’70s to the cold capitalism of the ’80s, a young director came on the scene and changed the face of science fiction films. He had only made a couple movies before, but his new film, a tale of robots and rebellion and redemption, created a world so rich it would touch sci-fi movies for decades to come and attract a legion of devoted fans.

But then we come to find out that the movie he made didn’t live up to his expectations, and when time and technology allowed, he recrafted it, adding bits here and subtracting bits there, even changing one scene in such a way that it totally altered the nature of Harrison Ford’s character. And when the final product was revealed to the fans, they loved it even more than the original, and spent lots of money on the new release, and were thrilled that the director could at last have his vision realized.

“Wait a minute,” you say, “what on earth are you talking about? Everyone hated the special editions of Star Wars. George Lucas is a monster who took a giant dump on my childhood! HAN SHOT FIRST!” Well, that’s as may be, but what does that have to do with Ridley Scott and Blade Runner?

Will Hindmarch points to an article by Devin Faraci that reminds us that this kind of revisionism happens more than we might remember or realize:

Continue reading Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Uncomfortably numb

This is a difficult post to write.

Oh, not difficult mentally; I know what I want to say. It’s not anything I’m embarrassed about, or can’t find the words for. It’s all things I’ve been thinking about for a while now.
No, it’s just physically hard for me to type these days. They’re right when they say you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone, and it wasn’t one of the things I ever worried about (or even thought about) while they were treating me for cancer last year.

Continue reading Uncomfortably numb

I’m not a thing

So John Scalzi, in addition to writing really good sci-fi novels, also writes a column for Since he’s on a book tour in Germany, instead of the usual sci-fi movie stuff he writes, his latest column was a list of writing assignments for his readers. Now this is not the sort of thing you can do to my brain, which proceeded to wake me up constantly last night with new lines for the first topic, namely convincing him (and his flamethrower) that I am not the Thing. In rhyme. Here’s what my sleepy head came up with. (Note: Spoilers for the 1982 movie, The Thing, ahead. And if you haven’t seen it, well why not?)

Continue reading I’m not a thing