This the most utterly stupid thing I have seen in a long time, and so of course I am borderline obsessed with it.

Basically what you have here is a Flash game where you’re supposed to be running the 100m dash, but the physics and controls are terrible. I’m guessing the game was an experiment that failed, but it failed so comically that it became a strange kind of success.

Speaking of success, I have managed to develop a technique with the game that is somewhat successful, enough so that I was able to achieve a record distance of 13.8 meters. (The fact that the score is kept in distance, not time, is your first clue that something is amiss here.)

Think you can beat it? Give it a try.

My secret is that I gave up on trying to run for real. Basically I keep one leg out in front and just inch the trailing leg up far enough to gain ground without tipping over backwards. Start by holding down W and O simultaneously until you’ve moved as far forward as one stride will take you, then tap Q and P simultaneously a bit to move the back leg forward, but not so much that you teeter backwards. Then repeat holding W and O, tapping Q and P, etc. It’s still not easy, but forward movement is possible, and with it comes a strange, pathetic sense of accomplishment. I still haven’t gotten enough momentum going to hear more than the first couple of notes of what I assume is “Chariots of Fire,” though.

A Room 34 Christmas — Updated

This is my official submission for the RPM Holiday Challenge. Same idea, completely different recording. I didn’t quite like the direction my first version of “Greensleeves” was taking, so I started over from scratch, mixing up the rhythms a little (changing it from 6/8 to 9/8) and going for more of a straightforward jazz waltz vibe.

This recording features me on tenor sax, keyboards (electric piano and Mellotron), 5-string electric bass and drum programming.

Apologies to Miles Davis. You’ll know it when you hear it. And if not, so what?


Download the MP3
(Right-click and choose the appropriate menu option to save the file.)

More groovy ’70s Sesame Street

The other night I revealed to my mom, for the first time (and 30 years after the fact), the true, bizarre nature of the things I was exposed to multiple times per day on Sesame Street; in particular the Yellow Submarine-inspired cartoon about the lost kid and the yo-yo master. Along the way through the treasure trove of old clips YouTube has to offer, I found this other long-forgotten favorite. I think this can probably be viewed as a sequel to the more famous “Mahna Mahna,” but as a kid I liked it even more. Enjoy!

While I’m at it, there are, of course, many more amusing and/or disturbing vintage Sesame Street clips on YouTube, such as…

This (amusing):

And this (disturbing):

And finally, while certainly not as iconic as the Pinball Number Count series, there was this other counting series that I also remember quite well. (I suppose the wizard opening his robes to reveal another smaller self within does fall somewhat into the “disturbing” category… to say nothing of the trenchcoated flashers at the end!):

Catalog of Annoying Grammatical and Spelling Errors

Originally posted July 12, 2006

First off, let me acknowledge that my English ain’t perfect. (Get it?) That said, it’s pretty damn good. And when I make grammatical errors, it’s usually on purpose and I’m aware that I’m using something incorrectly. In those cases, I’m only doing it because I don’t really care and it’s not something I’d label as an egregious mistake. (I don’t make spelling errors, period! Well, OK… maybe once.) I will also acknowledge that English is not a fixed language, and that the rules of its use are arbitrary and subject to permutation. (And, of course, I’m sure anyone outside the U.S. who’s reading this will find the title itself to be unacceptable. Too bad! I’m an American! I get to be an arrogant jerk at least once in a while!)

With all of those qualifiers and disclaimers out of the way, let’s get down to business. There’s a difference between novel usage (and I’ll even let 1337 pass in that context) and just plain boneheaded errors though, and the latter is what I’m dealing with here. This page will be updated periodically as I encounter (or remember) errors of speech or (more commonly) writing that I simply find intolerable. (Split infinitives and dangling participles are OK. And so is beginning a sentence with a conjunction.)

These errors fall into three distinct categories: spelling, word usage and grammar. (We’ll skip the matter of whether to use a comma before “and” in a list, as I’m at a point of transition on this matter personally.) OK, maybe they’re not really so distinct. But that’s how I’m slicin’ ’em up anyway.


I will not bother to offer the correct spellings of these words. Look ’em up!

  • comming
  • definately

Word Usage

This is a bit of a nebulous category, as sometimes it’s hard to tell whether what you’re dealing with is a spelling error or a grammatical error. In fact it’s a mixture of both, because often it involves spelling a word incorrectly, but in a way that happens to be another legitimate word; it’s just one that’s incorrect for the context.

Apostrophes in plurals
Granted, I am a super-genius, but I got this rule back when I first learned it in elementary school. Is it really that hard to tell the difference between a plural and a possessive? Apparently so. Of course, we also have the confounding situation of “its”/”it’s,” where the posessive does not contain an apostrophe. But then again, the one with the apostrophe is a contraction, not a plural.
“Alot” vs. “a lot”
Have too many things to count? That sounds like “a lot” to me. You’d better “alot” plenty of time for the task.
“Everyday” vs. “every day”
This is an “everyday” mistake. In fact, I encounter it almost “every day.” Since that one’s still a bit opaque, I’ll suspend the witticisms. “Everyday” is an adjective. You can’t do something “everyday,” unless “everyday” is describing the something and not when you’re doing it.
“Formally” vs. “formerly”
Both are legitimate and useful words. However, despite similar (or, depending on your accent, identical) pronunciation, they mean two completely different things. Yet I am amazed at how often I see “formally” used in cases where the intended meaning is clearly “formerly.” I have yet to see the reverse mistake.
“Of” in place of “have”
I know you generally don’t really get into dissecting parts of speech until junior high school, long after most Americans have completely tuned out, but just think for a minute. “Have” is a verb. “Of” is a preposition. You can “think of” something, but you can’t “must of” or “could of” something!
“To” instead of “too”
*Sigh* Do we really even need to get into this? I’ll admit this is an easy one to slip into, as I often do it myself if I’m not paying enough attention. (Therefore, if even I am susceptible to the error, it must be more excusable.) Just remember, there are “too” many o’s in “too.” (Yes, there also happen to be “two” o’s in “too” whereas there is only one in “two.” But… ah, forget it.)


I don’t have any for this section yet, but I’m sure I’ll think of some any minute now…

More to come! Be sure to use the comment form to suggest any I’ve forgotten!