Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Myers-Briggs personality and Star Trek

Found these by accident while prepping for next week's lecture.

This is a good mini- version of the Myers-Briggs personality type test. I like it because it's ''online'', but it's sufficiently straightforward that you could also print it out and do it pencil-and-paper style. Also, unlike most (all?) versions that I've seen, it gives you several indicators at once, so you can more easily decide which ''type'' you are.

Once you've done that -- this is the M-B personality types, illustrated by various Star Trek characters.

I'm an almost perfect split between "Thinking" and "Feeling" -- but all the rest are pretty clear-cut. So, I'm either "INTP" (Worf [??!!]), or "INFP" (Garak, Kes).


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A nice thing

Last semester I had a student in one of my classes who was about an ''8'' on a 1-10 ''social awkwardness'' scale. Nice enough guy -- just a bit odd and awkward.

So, today -- a few weeks into the new semester -- I happen to see him walking across campus, with his arm around a woman.

Good for him; good for both of them... :)


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fails the cost-benefit analysis

Sometimes I read the local classified ads: the ''musical instruments'', ''tools'', and ''computer gear'' sections.

Under the ''tools'' section:

BROOM, missing head and handle, g.c., $10

So -- this person is going to field phone calls, and have people stop by the house -- over a ten-dollar broom?

Why... bother?


Monday, August 25, 2008

A super-villan example

Name: Sink

Inspiration: 8/23/08, at the mall; mis-read a guy's t-shirt as "Sink or Die"

Hero or Villain: Villain

Skills/abilities: Can pass through any substance without a trace (like Kitty Pryde/ Sprite/ Shadowcat) -- but only vertically (and downwards?); thus, if wants to break into a bank vault, has to first get up on the roof in order to sink down.

Notes: Costume is a white porcelain bathroom sink, with grey leggings; after experimenting with different names (e.g. "The Plopper"; "Down"; "PassThru"; "Pass Through Vertically"), he settled on “Sink” -- but then couldn’t figure out how to represent “sinking” in a costume design; thus, the bathroom sink, plus tights.

(Apparently, this ''naming, costume'' thing is harder than it would seem.)

Not hee-larious -- but enough to keep me amused, anyway. :)


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Government inspector joke

Sent to me by my Peacemongering uncle. I tried editing it so it **didn't** take place in Kenya -- but it actually seemed funnier if it DID take place in Kenya, so I left it as it was originally. (The joke was sent to my uncle from a guy from Kenya, FWIW.)

An inspector with the Agricultural Ministry in Luo Nyanza went to a Farm to carry out inspection. The Farmer receives him, but warns him not to go in the field which he indicated.

"What? Listen Mr. Farmer I am an inspector and I have authority to go anywhere I have to. You see this card?!! This is from the Government of Kenya itself. It gives me authority!!"

With that he strode out to do his inspection. A while later the farmer saw him running out of the field he had warned him not to enter, with the Prize bull hot on his heels.

The Farmer leaned over the fence and yelled, "The Card!!......Show him the Card!!"


Yet another hobby

(Image from some ''Art Terminology'' website at

Back in the day, I used to make up super heroes (and villains) for fun: design their costumes, work out all their gear (including actual working schematics), figure out their backstory, and all that. Then, about the time I turned my creative energies to music, I stopped.

But, I still have all my three-ring binders of my notes and sketches -- for what it's worth. I had some pretty good stuff in there.

If I had better drawing skills -- or actually enjoyed the process enough to draw just for the fun of it, and get better through sheer practice -- I might have ended up working for Marvel or DC. Or, starting my own indie comic line. But, I'm just a shade under mediocre when it comes to drawing: I can get the point across, but it's not at all pretty.

But recently, two forces have converged to inspire me to add another hobby to my WIFMD (When I Finish My Dissertation) "To Do" list. Because, you know -- I don't have enough hobbies and interests.

First, for some reason -- possibly Slag-related, but I'm not sure -- on August 18th while running some errands with The Lady, I came up with three or four ideas for superhero spoofs or parodies. Clearly Tick-inspired (or, Mystery Men/Flaming Carrot?). As will most of my wacky thoughts, I jotted them down on a scrap of paper, so as to not lose them.

And, nearly every day since then, I've added another bad pun, weak parody, or one-joke concept to my list of super-heroes and super-villians. I currently have eleven -- including two I thought of a few months ago.

Second, I continue to be inspired by Old Roommate's online comic strip ''Crittertude'' -- which I could've sworn was in my List o' Links off to the right -- but, clearly not (need to fix that!). Not just the quality of the strips, but also the actual doing of it.

So: WIFMD, I shall endeavour to do an online super-hero comic strip -- kinda spoofy, but with a straight face. I'll do something similar to gesture drawings (had to track this term down via Wikipedia; did these back in H.S. art class...) -- just sketching it in, not worrying about perfection as long as I make my visual point. (See image at the top of this post.)

I figure that if I keep at it, my drawings will get better. If I get bored, or run out of ideas -- that's fine, too. :)

Example of one of my (minor) characters tomorrow...


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Aussie vs. U.S. kids -- cultural difference

An interesting cultural difference, which I just discovered this evening:

If you have a little kid (around 4 or 5 years old), and you put your hands in front of your chest in a “begging dog” position, say “hop, hop!”, and ask the kid “What animal am I?” -- an American kid will say “a bunny rabbit!”

In Australia, the kid will say “a kangaroo!”


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Actually bought some music

A few days ago, I was keeping the kids occupied while The Lady was trying to get some work done (applying for a grant, I think). Wandering around the local mall, and ducked in to JB Hi-Fi, just to see if they might have a "Best of Run-DMC" album for cheap (I've had a hankering).

And actually, they did! Ten bucks Australian (about US$8.50). Sounds good.

Right next to the checkout counter, they had a ten-dollar bin. Took a quick flick, to see if they had anyone I'd actually heard of. Right on top was Operator Please (local band, getting national attention; they're all in high school, play fun, energetic poppy rock). Sold!

After I paid for my purchases, I thought, Hmmm... maybe they have **other** albums I've heard of. Two "Best of" Devo albums -- but one I already had, and the other one wasn't necessary because I have all their albums. (Devo is probably my #1 band...)

But, found a Rage Against the Machine live album; two more Thomas Dolby albums (the "She Blinded Me With Science" guy; I have one of his albums); and a "Best of" Alphaville CD (including "Big in Japan" and "Forever Young"!!!).

So: six CDs; about sixty bucks Australian (in Australia, the sales tax is included in the sticker price -- ha ha ha...!), which is about US$51.

I haven't done that in a looong time. Listened to Run-DMC at work today. Because it's tricky.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

What qualifies as an Olympic sport?

So, the Olympics is a big thing at the moment. I don't actually watch the Olympics -- but The Lady watches the evening news, and they tend to report the highlights of the day's Olympics activities.

Apparently, the Australian team did well at horse-jumping, or some-such.

O.k., now -- so, riding horses is an Olympic event. If that's the case, then shouldn't auto racing also be an Olympic event? I mean, both involve "steering" something else. (And you can't say that auto racing can't count, because it's a person controlling a machine -- because cycling involves controlling a machine -- and so do the riflery target shooting events.)

And, weight lifting is an Olympic event. Fine. But then, shouldn't bench pressing be one, too? And lat pull-downs (pictured)? That is, instead of the winner is the one that can lift the most weight up, it's the person who can pull the most weight down. Why not?

And, since the notion of "athletics" includes the skilled interaction of humans and mechanical devices (compound bows in archery; target shooting with pistols and rifles) -- why not include video games? Video games take physical skill, and the player is still interacting with a mechanical device. Is there a special criteria where an athletic event has to involve the physical world?

Finally: I'm a bit unconvinced that rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming, and -- I just heard about this -- synchronized diving are Olympic sports. Shouldn't these be art forms -- not sports?

And -- o.k. -- if they are sports (because they involve precision, physical skill, and the like), then shouldn't ballet be an Olympic sport as well? I mean, except for a few hundred years of tradition as being an "art", what's the specific distinction that makes rhythmic gymnastics a "sport", and ballet an "art"?

Both are dancing. To music.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Good idea for cohabitants

I like this idea. :)

(If it's too small to read -- and it probably **will** be -- you'll have to click to enlarginate.)

From the Aug. 11th comic strip of "9 Chickweed Lane".


Monday, August 11, 2008

Parents naming their kids weird names

An interesting blog entry about wacky names that folks name their kids here.


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Distilling all yer stuff

About two(?) years ago, when my grandpa moved to an assisted-care place, he had to distill everything in his house into one mid-sized bedroom.

At this point in my life, I'd have a hard time doing that. Among other things, that precludes a lot of hobbies: gardening; woodworking (although you could do some small-time carving).

And it would limit a lot of other things, such as music recording: if you just played one instrument -- maybe a trumpet, or a violin -- you could fit it in. But if you're like me, where you'd want a drum kit, a guitar amp, a bass amp... well, I **suppose** you could work it out.

It's an interesting mental exercise, though: it's like going back to living in a dorm room.

(For those of you whom I think read my blog on a semi-regular basis, my grandpa's room size was comparable to...

Slag -- about the size of the ''computer room'', if the closet extended out sideways towards the desk [or at least, where the desk USED to be.

Old Roommate -- about three-fourths of the size of room where you hosted Belinux when I stayed with you guys a while back.

Fencing guy -- about the size of the funny-shaped [but in a fun way!] bedroom you guys have.)

Having a computer would help, as a lot of stuff could be "condensed" onto the computer: CDs could be converted to audio files; you could do your recording onto the computer; if you were a good keyboardist, you could emulate most instruments with a MIDI synthesizer.

Oh: And you wouldn't need cooking stuff, in that situation. Although this also means that if your hobby was cooking, you'd be limited: you'd be stuck with whatever medium-quality cooking tools were available in the shared kitchen.

I could probably condense down, if I had to. But I like my ''stuff'' too much: all my spare parts, and all my sentimental keepsakes.

Someday, though , it may happen.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Nice turn of phrase

This is a little boastful -- but, hey! My blog.

This morning one of my teaching assistants asked what my policy was about them covering each other's tutorials (e.g. illness; attending a conference).

I'm pretty open; I'm happy for them to work it out among themselves.

My e-mail response included what I thought was a nice little turn of phrase:

As far as payments, I wrote, "You folks can compensate each other however you like (lattes; cash reimbursement; carrying heavy weights over great distances; mighty feats of gardening…)."


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Race relations

I know the reality is a little more complicated than this -- but still, I liked the sentiment.

You'll probably have to click on the image if you want to actually read it...

(From the "Crittertude" online comic strip, by my Old Roommate; URL = )


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Love my wife's expensive family

My wife's family -- her folks, her sibs and their spouses, and their kids (i.e. my nieces and nephews) are great. So usually, it's pretty swell having them all live in town.

The main down side in in August: birthdays.

Everyone gets a birthday gift -- even the grown-ups. So, my nephew, niece, and brother-in-law are on Aug. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. My wife's mum is somewhere mid-August-y. And my daughter. And a few other folks, whom I don't remember off the top of my head.

If you include my parents (late July), then we have seven or eight birthday gifts to buy within a one-month period. Yow. Not cheap (and a lot of ''what the heck do we buy [name of person]...?")-ing.

OTOH: lots of cake! :)


(P.S. I don't know who this ''Blake'' kid is -- it was just one of the hits for a Google search on ''green birthday cake'' -- from

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Tomorrow, middle, later

Tonight The Girl (nearly 4 y.o.) correctly used the words ''tomorrow'', ''middle'', and ''later'' within the span of a few sentences. I didn't know those words were in her vocabulary -- but clearly, they are!

When you think about it, they're pretty advanced words to understand, and be able to use. ''Middle'' is a little easier to intentionally teach someone, since you can physically demonstrate putting something in between two other things. ''Tomorrow'' is a bit harder, since it requires the person that you're teaching to actually remember things from day to day.

''Later'' is probably the most difficult, because it's the most abstract. At least with ''tomorrow'', you could have someone go to sleep, and the next morning explain to them that now it's tomorrow. But ''later'', as a concept, is looser: ''next week'' is ''later'' -- but so it a few minutes from now.

Actually, the concept of ''now'' is pretty subtle, too -- and I'm pretty sure **that's** in her vocabulary. Wow. :)

Language stuff.


Friday, August 01, 2008

How very sweet

So, last night I'm lying in bed, reading some stuff for work, and my daughter comes running up to me.

''Daddy -- do you love me?''

''Of course I love you, honey. I love you very much.''

''Daddy, do you love me?'' she says again.

''Of course I love you,'' I say.

Turns out she's asking if I love **meat**: we're apparently having ground beef for dinner.

It's those pesky trailing consonants...