Created Endured Puzzled Over

Introducing: Wrong Remy

Like so many others, I have found Twitter a simultaneously fantastic and mind-numbing portion of the internet. For every good thing (extremely rapid notifications for breaking news, lots of good links from friends), there’s an equal and opposite bad thing (inane trending topics, spam bots). While most of these are universally shared, there’s one particular quirk that is not common.

Twitter makes it easy to reference other users – sticking an @ symbol in front of their name is considered a “mention” and most clients will flag this as relevant to the interests of those mentioned. This is theoretically good, but in practice a number of things become clear:

  • With characters at a premium, many people can’t be bothered to type out full user names.
  • Because a lot of people are using cell phones to post to Twitter, the habit of heavy SMS users to shorthand text continues here.
  • Because a lot of people don’t understand how mentions work, they tend to throw @ symbols wherever they feel like, or spaces in the middle of user names.

What this adds up to: if you were on the Twitter train early enough to get what could be called a stem username – one that might be used at the beginning of other user names – you may be subjected to mentions not intended for you.

There are a lot of Remy’s on Twitter, and I get a lot of mentions for them. I’ve taken to answering them on a Tumblr blog devoted specifically to such endeavors.

Sighing frustration + helpful cheerfulness + Twitter anthropology = Wrong Remy. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.

(This is one of two side projects I’ll be introducing this week.)


Project Moon Language: Prologue

“Let’s never come here again, because it will never be as much fun.”

While my interest in Japanese culture has existed for nearly as long as I’ve been cognizant of Japan’s existence, I never really considered going there until Lost In Translation was released. I am easily swayed by love letters to cities, treatments that shine warm light on the best and worst parts.

Lost In Translation always struck me as the film most reflective of both how I do travel (bewildered, often eating at the hotel, trying and failing to blend in) and how I would want to travel (see introductory quote). But I am rarely afforded the opportunity to fulfill this wanderlust when out of town; my travels almost always comes with primary motivations like weddings, or conferences, or family gatherings.

The film forces me into a parodox: while it is one of my favorite movies, it is one I cannot bring myself to watch. This is largely out of jealousy – I have been dreaming of going to Japan and wandering the same streets, and never finding a chance to act on it…until now.

At the end of the year, I will be making the trip I’ve been waiting six years for: a visit to Tokyo, and an attempt to cram in as much sightseeing, shopping, eating, and exploring as possible over the week of a major holiday.

First, though, there is the small matter of a language barrier. For despite as many times as I’ve rushed to consume imported media, I know an effective naught of Japanese. Abortive attempts at learning character sets have been made nearly every year, but now I have definite purpose. If I fail to learn Japanese this time, I will find myself in a strange land and being able to communicate only through hand-waving, pantomime, and apologies.

Thus begins a series of posts that I’m dubbing Project Moon Language: my attempts to fight through Rosetta Stone Japanese Levels 1, 2, and 3[1. I’d like to point out that unlike most geeks who use Rosetta Stone, we in fact purchased a legitimate copy through Amazon. This either shows my commitment to taking this seriously, indicates that I am a complete fool, or both.], as well as possible explorations into other methods and cultural oddities[2. Expect a post about mahjong that can only be described as “overkill”.]. As a 29 year old well past the age where learning a new language is natural, this should (if nothing else) be entertainingly frustrating.

The installation is done; the learning begins tomorrow.


Cleaning House

I’m having one of those moments where I’m not terribly happy with every last bit of my blog, so forgive the layout mess as I rebuild.

*Three hours later…*

I think I’m happy again. In some ways, this was a very silly rebuild – I’ve basically redone the same look and feel with a different base stylesheet. But the syntax has been cleaned up considerably, and while I’m sure I’ve missed some styles, the site is more functional than it’s been in years.

I also nuked over 300 entries from my archives, which turns out to be about 20% of the total number in the system. This seems wrong for a site that’s acting as an embodiment of myself, but all the posts that were nuked were from the nightly posting script. After some reflection, I regretted having them in the system, as they mostly just take up space on the archives page and provide minimal value. So out they go. (These links are now autoposting to my Tumblr blog.)

Anyhow, there’s more playing to be done, but for the time being, I’m satisfied. If only I had the motivation to write something substantive. (In the mean time, have you been to The Power Is On lately?)