The mother who’s never met a child before

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photo credit: Susan NYC via photopin cc

I’m walking into the subway station near my apartment, a reasonably rural part of Brooklyn at an off-hour for traveling into Manhattan (which exists from time to time during the week). I see a women standing in the turnstile, moving at a curiously slow pace through it. After a second or two, I see a three or four-year-old boy pop out from under the turnstile. She was helping him walk through it together.

After going through the turnstile, there is a staircase to go down to the train platform. The little boy runs to the top of the stairs and stops. He grabs the railing to wait for his mom, like he just did with the turnstile, or to possibly go down the stairs that way that toddlers do: one step at a time, cautiously.

The mother sees her train—a shuttle train that is known for coming frequently and waiting at the station a long time for passengers—on the platform. This causes the mother to run down the stairs swiftly past her son. She turns around to say, “No, I’m not picking you up,” like he can run down the stairs. Like it was his fault for being so slow. As if his response was going to be, “Sorry mother, I’ll quit dilly-dallying.”

Instead, the little boy plants his feet at the top of the stairs and begins to cry, as children do. She has to take a walk of shame past me to go back to the top of the stairs and pick him up. I’m not a parent, I don’t even have a pet, but this has nothing to do with how to raise a kid. I’ve just seen and been a child myself.

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Nerdy Currency

Videogame  GoldAn amazing number of people look at me and correctly guess that I, “do something with computers.” That seems like a broad concept—most people “do something” with computers—but I know that they mean. It’s that I either work in IT or that I’m a programmer. So, I can’t really pretend I don’t seem nerdy but I really don’t think of myself that way…usually.

Then I remember that I think of video games as a denomination of money.

For most of my purchase-making life, I remember video games costing around $50 dollars.* Now they are generally closer to $60 but my memories are too ingrained to change now. So when the price of $50 comes up in my life, I think of that as the cost of one video game. Any multiples of $50, I think of the number of video games that could buy me. When any thing is about the Benjamins, it’s about how many pairs of video games that could buy me.

I think this is because for most of my purchase-making youth, video games were consistently the most expensive things I would buy. Or maybe it’s because they would manufacture gold cartridges (the basis for that image above) for games in the Legend of Zelda series and it confused my childhood sense of what money is. Either way, I’m not about to let go of this.

*With the noteworthy exception being Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire for Nintendo 64. I remember seeing it on sale for $95. Ninety-five dollars—in 1996—a price that is still insane by today’s standards.

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Mashups, for words!

photo credit: Curtis Gregory Perry via photopin cc

The sign for a motor hotel.
photo credit: Curtis Gregory Perry via photopin cc

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the concept of a portmanteau—cramming two words into one word, like “breakfast” and “lunch” forming “brunch.” It’s one of those terms I’ve heard from time to time but always forgot the name of. Well, no more! I can’t stop thinking about them now.

Since I’ve started noticing portmanteaus, I keep finding them. Like, did you know Godzilla is a portmanteau, too? According to Wikipedia, “Gojira is a portmanteau of the Japanese words: gorira (“gorilla”), and kujira (“whale”).” Mental Floss informed me the other day that the candy Toblerone is a combination Tobler (the person who invented its last name) and “torrone,” meaning nougat in Italian.

Really though, to keep me from forgetting what a portmanteau is again, I needed a big, silly, funny portmanteau to make me remember it forever. Just in time for election season to be over, I present that Gerrymandering—the practice of adjusting the borders around voting districts to gain a political edge—is a portmanteau of the words “Gerry” and “salamander!” That’s because the first guy recognized for this act of politics was named Gerry and one of the voting districts he created looked like a salamander. We say “spork” instead of “combination of spoon and fork” and we say “Gerrymandering” instead of “Gerry’s Salamander.” I can’t forget that!

Oh, also, Gerrymandering is a big problem facing democracy in America.

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Do you know of any interesting or surprising portmanteaus?Twitter #portmanteau

I choose you, Pokémon!

This needs my help protecting it's public image. photo credit: bizmac via photopin cc

This needs my help protecting its public image.
photo credit: bizmac via photopin cc

I’ve played a lot of the new videogame, Super Smash Bros. 3DS, lately. I own every version of the game, so naturally I bought the new one at midnight the day it came out. For those of you who have never experienced true joy, the game is a bunch of iconic videogame characters (typically from Nintendo franchises) beating each other up using their various abilities. Fighters like Mario, Link, Kirby, Samus, Pac-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, and a bunch of Pokémon (among others).

I’ve taken it everywhere I go and spent a lot of my commuting downtime playing the game. The other day, late at night, I briefly looked to my right and noticed someone was watching my 3DS’ screen. I wasn’t going to say anything to him, if he wants to watch me own this game then who am I to stop him, but he decided to talk to me. The first thing he said was, “It’s been a while since I’ve been around video games.” 

OK, that’s cool. Kind of a strange thing to say, since videogames are everywhere, but I get it. He was fascinated with the game. Then, like an internet troll, he says to me, “I choose you, Pokémon!” And like someone who’s never been on the internet before, I tried correcting him by letting him know that the somewhat common phrase is actually “I choose you, Pikachu.” And that “Pokémon” refers to a bunch of different animals. To which he says, “Pikachu is all of them?”

“No,” I say back, “he’s just one of them.” Like they’re real. And need me to defend them.

 

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The Highest of All Domains

I’m a web guy, so I get lots of emails asking me to register more domains. Over the past year or so, “they” have been adding more and more top-level domains (TLDs) like .com, .org, .info, et cetera. Anyways, I decided to look into the photography TLD and see if landmines.photography was still available and, for the record, it still is along with quite a few others using landmines as the second-level domain (SLD):
landminesSo, for just under $700 I could acquire NoMoreLandmines.com or for $1,200 I could move my website to cashlandmines.com.

Then again, most of “The Latest New Domains” are pretty great:

  • landmines.club – Land Mines Only, No Homers.
  • landmines.expert, landmines.guru, and landmines.solutions – Good for getting rid of or installing a variety of land mines.
  • landmines.ninja – When its necessary to sneak around a battlefield.
  • landmines.reviews – With so many land mines to choose from, make sure you read up on them all.
  • landmines.tips – Stay away. Or, use liberally.
  • landmines.today – This morning on Land Mines Today, we interview a land mine from The Greatest Generation.
  • landmines.works – A poor grammatical choice for a corporate slogan.
  • landmines.zone – Use land mine tip #1.

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