Wednesday, August 30, 2006

When writing papers for school, I always tried to add humorous elements. Writing about philosophy can be serious, but there's always room for a good joke.

And as we all know, a joke directed at the professor grading the paper is the best kind.

At one point, I had a professor who held one very unorthodox view regarding the validity of one of the most basic logical structures. As in, he considers modus ponens invalid in certain situations. No, really, he did. Very well-known, highly-respected philosopher. Someday perhaps I'll write an entry on his argument. Not right now.

The point is, he thought modus ponens wasn't always valid. So after providing a M.P.-based argument in my paper, I commented,

It seems pretty clear that it is perfectly valid, and so the only way to respond to such arguments is to deny one of the premises. (Or to deny Modus Ponens, but only a crazy radical would do that.)
I don't remember my exact grade, but it was an A, as always.

[Insert some point to this post here.]

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

When I was young, when I'd try to write a story, I wouldn't know how to start. I knew 'Once upon a time' was lame. So what to do? I could start out by introducing the character: 'Bob was a lawyer who wanted to be a carpenter.' But that sounded clumsy. The only way to make an opening line like that would be an almost Carrollian commentary discussing Bob with us. Very lighthearted, and very narrator-talking-to-the-reader.

Eventually, I realised the easiest way was to start in the middle of something. 'Bob looked around nervously. This was his first time using a hammer and if he broke his fingers, he didn't want the nearby construction workers to laugh at him.' It worked.

If I was a better writer, I'd do something in between. 'It was a sunny day in middleton. The leaves fluttered in the breeze, and Mrs. Andrews was hanging up laundry to try. Down the street, a construction crew was breaking for lunch.' But the transition over to Bob's stealing a hammer and then smashing his fingers requires magical writing skills only held by brilliant writers.

So I usually stick with the 'jump right in' approach. Bob's holding the hammer. Ambulance needed presently.

But I can only write a few paragraphs of this scene. I then have to jump over to Fred who is in another country but will hopefully tie in sometime later. Fred's an orthopaedic surgeon. Yeah, that's right. Oh what fun he'll be, what with the cutting and sewing and gushing blood!

Two paragraphs later, though, I have to leave this scene to go to another. And it can't be the Bob scene. That one hit a dead end. I have to start yet another.

Perhaps next November my Nanowrimo will consist of 49 000 words of brief, unrelated scenes followed by a three paragraph conclusion that pulls them all together. That, I can do.

Friday, August 04, 2006

From time to time, I'll create a 'hit-and-run website'.

My first one was Mr. Worf's Homepage (which was deleted for unknown reasons, but I've now reposted it at the original location). A link to an parody anti-Trek website was mentioned on, so I wrote a page with a similar style as 'Mr. Worf', and signed the guestbook as him.

Then in 2003, a Foxtrot strip featured Eileen Jacobson complaining about Mandy Berwick who things she's so popular. At the end, Eileen shouts out 'Zero matches on Google, Mandy! Zero!' So I threw together Mandy Berwick's homepage. Sadly, though blog posts and such appeared on Google that very day, my new site didn't for a while. Oh well.

I've since written three fan sites for people I know. There may be others around, but if so, I don't remember them.

It's a fun thing to do. Advice: Freewebs is probably better than Tripod. Of course, you could use your own host,but then it's less anonymous. Blogger also could be used, but blogs are less cool than normal hit-and-run sites.