November 1 – 13, 2010

It’s  a shame to break the flow of the last comments page, but I do believe it is time for a new entry.  Alas, the Ph.D. Phorum is still down.  I know this is a poor substitute, but what can you do?  Continue to rant away, everyone.


81 thoughts on “November 1 – 13, 2010

  1. I see what You mean by a reluctance to wrap up :-p

    I see the problem with finding a non-existent amnesiac chained to my bed at 3 AM … unless of course it’s a good-looking amnesiac 😉 (and even then who gets to be chained is an open question >;-p ).

  2. By the way – I passed by a halloween party full of reprehensible Oxonian geeks … a girl turned up with a carrot.
    You are setting a trend apparently. 😉

  3. How odd. I can’t even EXPLAIN that carrot.

    A friend of mine (who often reads these comments…hi) sent me a picture of her friend and a cousin dressed up as Bella and Edward. Apparently, the cousin was sparkly, though you couldn’t tell from the picture. I think WoB is accidentally predicting Hallowe’en costumes. I have yet to hear from Pippi Longstocking, however.

  4. Umm – given that the carrot made its WoB debut on the 29 October, I think this was less a case of costume-divination, and more one of a lurking fan coming out of the closet. 😉

  5. So… how do I pronounce Caid? Kate? Or Ca-id (like Rahim, but with the h swallowed)? Since he’s going to stick around (or not, as it may be), I’d better make sure 😉

  6. I think of it as being pronounced kind of like “Cayid,” but shading towards “Cade.” Yes, I do consider these things, for some reason.

  7. Dear student. Please tell me where you plan to work so that I can avoid anything you ever design. Sincerely, Your scared, frustrated, bewildered TA.

  8. You know I just realise that Evil/Matrix Marie never really got given a name, you have labelled her as Evil Marie on the character page but I don’t think I remember anyone calling her that. She must be steam that this new “Caid” got a name before her… is this because Evil/Matrix Marie will be “gone” soon, like all unnamed character usually do?

  9. Oh you are right, “November 9, 2007” was the comic that her name was used. Damn! I really thought I could get Evil Marie steamed up enough so that she would do something dastardly since she has become placid like a Stewie of WoB.

    On a side note I must say that: Good lord! WoB has really improved graphic-wise over the years, I mean that 2007 strip was eye scratchingly worthy. Who knew that the drawing could improve SO VERY MUCH in only three years.

  10. Evil Marie isn’t truly placid. I’m sure her boundless inner rage will break through eventually.

    I am pleased that you have found YET ANOTHER thing about the comic to criticise. Hurrah!

  11. Technically it’s still the one thing, just you know from a different angle. After all we should all be encouraged to think outside the box otherwise we will end up with cliché thing like, oh I don’t know, Evil twins that has a goatee or wear dark clothing.

  12. Evil Marie knows she is a cliche, and she’s proud of it. In fact, she’s probably wearing dark clothing because she WANTS to be a cliche. It’s just the way she is.

  13. Oh dear me, I wasn’t referring to WoB. Goodness gracious I would never do such an underhanded and handsome thing, that would be incredibly charming of me to do and that’s just not me.
    I mean I have always seen WoB as a think outside the box type of comic strip, although not literally since they are confined to their little boxed panel and although they do tend to follow the typical archetype and have a predictable plot that is reminiscing of all open-ended story line, it is really good to see that the innovativeness of hatched and cross-hatched clothing are like onto beacon of light for this dark world of cliché.

  14. As a special favour to me, could you, at some point, write ONE comment that doesn’t insult WoB in any way? It doesn’t have to be very long. I just want to see whether you’re capable of doing it. I’m guessing not, but hey, you never know.

  15. Sure thing boss, I read WoB everyday because it’s one of the best webcomic out there… hehehahaha HAHAHAHAAHAHA… man this is a lot harder than it look.

  16. Gosh…and to think that without you, I might go around being all conceited and–no, wait, I already have incredibly low self-esteem. This is actually NORMAL for me. It’s too bad I can’t think of any reply more devastating than, “Your momma!”

  17. I remember reading in a research paper somewhere that low self-esteem is usually due to one not having a good enough arch-nemesis or in some part of the world, not having an arch-nemesis at all (can you imagine the horror?). Might I suggest a certain smart, charming and handsome fella that is a regular fan of WoB as a suggested arch-nemesis?

    Also as an added incentive: “Your flute!”

  18. Well I never really understood the logic behind “Your momma” as a personal insult, I mean it’s not like you picked who your mother is going to be or that you were somehow involved in her creation therefore any lewd comment or otherwise seem illogical to feel insulted about.
    On the other hand, insulting something that you picked or bought, in this case, “Your flute!” seem more appropriate.

    Well it’s good to have arch-nemesis that are on the same page, you know just to make it all official so that we can get all the paperwork done quickly and effectively.

  19. If it helps you, I can’t draw nearly as well as you can. Granted, I’m a math major, so I can’t really draw at all, but still.

  20. I want the phorum back. Why is it that total chaos in my life only happens when the phorum is down and I have no one to talk to?

  21. I’ve never understood “your mama” as a personal insult because usually the person doesn’t know my mom, and therefore any comment they make is based on no evidence and therefore dismissible….

    also, I picked my flute and my piccolo, but the flute is kinda old and dented now and I haven’t looked at my piccolo any time recently, so I’m probably more likely to insult them than anyone I know…

  22. mivadar: What’s this one day stuff? You rather do it or you don’t, back in my days we would get tar and feather just for thinking of looking at someone the wrong way.

    Stefan: I don’t know this Bugs of whom you speak, but if they had been my previous arch-nemesis then I can only say that their existence is probably now null (if they were your friend then I apologise, you should probably pick more worthy friend). Of course to keep up appearances they would occasional appear once in a while somewhere just to allow others to drop their guard.

    Rin: I don’t know if that logic would flow so well, I mean other people don’t have to know you very well for you to be offended when they call you names.
    Just as I don’t have to know what the WoB characters look like in real life to make comments on the way they are drawn, I mean for all I know they could really look like badly drawn squiggly line in real life.

  23. My results may not be wrong 🙂

    Just had to share the only Yay Me moment I’ve had in the last few weeks. Still little hope of making my deadline to enjoy a slightly longer (and cheaper) holiday, but at least I can actually see things happening.

  24. Nuttycat: that…is…weird. That condescending letter from the editor makes me want to set somebody’s pants on fire. Good lord.

    Incidentally, though I’ve only glanced over the first couple of paragraphs of the plagiarised version, from what I can see, not much editing has been done. All the original mistakes are reproduced intact.

  25. Well… looks like this just exploded all over the web. This is the original author’s web-post[1] BoingBoing has an article [2], so does LA times [3]. According to [4], that magazine has grabbed content (no one knows with or without permission) from Disney, Martha Stewart, The Food Network, NPR and some more. Oh and it also made it to Slashdot [5].

    [4] (no login required)

  26. Sorry – I seriously feel the need to rant, and semi-anonymously at that.

    Leave me out of it. This does not involve me and shouldn’t involve me. Don’t try make me start to “choose sides” or anything, it’s not going to happen and all it’ll do is make any contact with you sour. I don’t want to be involved in this because I know it’s going to be ugly and there is nothing I can do about it. You’ve been asked (instructed actually) to not involve me in this matter, please do exactly that and just let it lie (wrt me anyway – feel free to pursue things with those who actually have something to do with the matter).

    and on topic

    maybe we need a new schoolyard advertising program – SAY NO TO PLAGIARISM – giving kids the power to stay away from plagiarism, avoid peer pressure and stand up to their friends. (is it just me who can never type plagiarism right? I keep transposing letters)

    is good to hear that the entire internet is available for free though, I mean, there are quite a number of good articles out there that’d go aces with my name at the top. I promise to “edit” them and won’t even charge the authors for my services.

  27. Just had to share this YouTube video of the latest episode of South Park, for fans of H. P. Lovecraft (The Call of Cthulhu) and Hayao Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro):

  28. Incidentally, I think I haven’t commented yet on the particularly amusing alternative text in Friday’s comic. So let me do it now: I loved it!

  29. I got it, I got it.
    (And the only reason I got it is that my internet is slower than usual, so I saw the text before the image loaded – for some obscure reason my computer refuses to show the alt text on WoB once the image has loaded, on either of my browsers. I don’t have this problem with any other site, no idea what’s going on.)
    But at least I got to see the Mordor alt :-p.

  30. Forgive my ignorance, but what do you mean by alt text? Have I been missing something? Where can you see it?

  31. Yeah…see, I do the alt text the wrong way, and it doesn’t show up in Firefox. I should correct the problem, but I feel that if I change my methods for one comic, I’ll have to go back and change my methods for ALL of them. There are nearly 800 comics. I’m sure there’s a way to do them all at once, but I don’t know what it is.

    Roeslein and others: you can see the alt text if you right click on the comic and choose “Page Info” or “Properties” (or some similar option). You’ll get a bunch of information, including the text that will show up if the comic doesn’t load.

  32. Hello,

    Oh dear do I have some news for you:
    1) It is Dr Winding PhD. officialy for a little more than a week
    2) I may or may not be dating a sweet sweet RA from the lab next door
    3) I would like to share my recent swap of anxieties from ‘I will not ever graduate’ to ‘I will not ever get a job’
    4) I have got some weird bible translation question

    Where is the forum when you need it?

  33. Congrats, Dr. winding! May the force of the job market be with you!
    What is your bible translation question? Perhaps I could help you, being a theology student and therefore spending much time on bible translation questions (even if it is translation into German rather than English).

    As to the mordor puns: I know that a violin needs a bow, but what’s a guitar’s axe? (Sorry, non-native speaker of English speking here.)

    And now I want an ukulele!

  34. Nobilis: “axe” is a slang term for “guitar.”

    Badgers, Dr. Winding!

    Re. ukuleles: cuteness, I’m telling you. I happen to believe the ukulele is a great instrument and not the toy some people treat it as, but there’s no denying the cuteness factor. Ukuleles are somewhat in vogue at the moment (I can virtuously claim to have been playing mine for roughly twenty-five years), and I really do think that cuteness has something to do with it.

  35. @Kari, the expert of musical instruments: I tried playin guitar a few years ago, but gave it up – had problems with those weird finger movements, probably my hands are too small (but other people manage). Anyway, my wrists (both hands) started to hurt shortly after i started playing.
    Do you think I might fare better with an ukulele? (It’s smaller, so I wouldn’t have to stretch my fingers to hold the strings down, and wouldn’t need that much strength in the other hand to play – so I hope?)

  36. Nobilis: I have the same problem with guitars, and my hands aren’t all that small. Maybe my fingers are too skinny. I’ve always had trouble with bar chords, even on the ukulele. However, I would definitely recommend the ukulele as a solution. As there are only four strings rather than six, the stretch is rarely painful (or rarely as painful as it is on the guitar, at any rate). I am playing a tenor at the moment. The soprano, concert, and tenor ukulele are all tuned identically (the baritone is lower), but they have different numbers of frets and different sizes of fretboards. I would recommend the concert uke as a good compromise between soprano and tenor; it generally has fifteen frets (as compared to twelve on the soprano and nineteen on the tenor), and the stretch is reasonable. However, if you’re going to get a ukulele, don’t start on a trashy one such as a Mahalo. Find something capable of playing in tune. Having a decent uke makes a huge difference.

  37. Kari: Oh, so it’s more like “Four Strings to rule them all, Four Strings to find them, Four Strings to bring them all and in the cuteness bind them”, heh.

  38. SunshineRain: that’s right. Problems only arise when one starts going, “My preeeeeeeeciooooussssssss,” and trying to bite the fingers off nearby guitarists.

  39. Words of Wisdom: “You can’t help people who don’t want to learn”

    “X, having this attitude of sticking your fingers in your ears and going la-la-la, while effective in some occasions, does nothing but infuriate the person who is actually trying to help. Perhaps, if you’d be willing to indulge them and at least pretend to be interested while they fix the @#$@# problem you created, you may (a) learn something (Gosh! imagine that), (b) get your problem solved (for free!) .
    In your current state, the person who could fix your problem in all of one weekend afternoon is perfectly happy to let you sit and grumble to yourself as to why the stupid problem won’t go away. Here’s a hint, pouring money on this problem, won’t solve it – it will temporarily defer it for a while until you go do ‘your thing’ again and the problem re-appears

  40. Kari: Thanks for your answer. I already looked around a bit on German ukulele sites, and found an ukulele maker – but right now I can’t afford a decent instrument, I’m afraid *sob* But the time will come.
    By the way, it seems that the concerto uke is rather unusual here in Europe, the standard instrument in this online shop are only soprano and tenor ones.

    SR: Can you carry an ukulele on a chain around your neck? I’ll probably be a bit heavy, just like the other precious.

  41. Nobilis: have you considered going international? It’s not ideal, and shipping always sucks, but there’s actually a shop on eBay with a great reputation. The guy who runs it will set up your uke for you before he sends it out, and he’s apparently quite willing to give people advice via phone or e-mail. Here’s his site:

    If you go for the handmade custom ukes, they WILL be too expensive, but there are some good factory-made ones too, and a lot of good stuff is currently coming out of Asia (getting a Hawaiian uke is, of course, optimal, but it’s also generally expensive). I have a custom Lanikai, and I love it, but Lanikai’s cheaper ukes have a good reputation too. Kala and Pono (both Hawaiian) are frequently recommended; Kala is less expensive and Pono more expensive. Oscar Schmidt is apparently decent as well. The mainland U.S. company Mainland sells reasonably priced ukes that have a really good reputation and are quite pretty. It’s best to go for a solid-wood instrument or at least one with a solid-wood top, but there are also some perfectly nice laminates out there, and even some part-plastic ukes that a lot of people play (Makala Dolphins, for instance).

    Sorry. I just like giving ukulele advice. I don’t know why. However, it’s weird that you’re finding it difficult to find concert ukuleles in Europe. Here, the concert is probably the most popular size. Guys with large hands sometimes have trouble with the soprano.

  42. I was just going to say (before reading the alt-text) that Steve look a lot like Tom Bombadil, all he need is a hat with a blue feather.

  43. Rant: How can you be dumb enough to turn in the work done by someone else and leave their name on YOUR submission??

  44. Well, I’ve had students copy passages from my own course modules word for word and hand them in to me as their own work, so nothing surprises me any more.

    Regarding Steve: he is also somewhat hobbit-like, of course, or he would be if he shaved and cut off most of his hair.

    I approve of the existence of ukulele orchestras. Toronto also has this, which may be one of the most awesome things ever.

  45. nuttycat – at least it should make it easier making a plagiarism case. Such acts of supreme stupidity should be enough to fail someone in a unit – not only do they cheat, but they are so, so very bad at it.

  46. This isn’t just a case of plagiarism. This is outright cheating. However, yes, this is the easiest to prove case I’ve seen till date. Most of the ones I’ve seen before have me having to hunt and check and prove things – this one simply stares out at you in the face. I mean, you can’t go more blatant than X submitting an assignment, in which the first file starts out named as “Y’s report of blah.ext”. My prof blew his top on hearing about this earlier this afternoon. Lets see what happens after all the people involved talk to him.

  47. Nah, I thought about spending the extra $50 to get the unlimited 3G version but figure that I already have WiFi access at home and as fun as it would be to wiki in public, the novelty of it would wear off quite quickly, much like running around naked.

    Re: Today’s comic, the Four Strings causes those around the wearer to become nonsensical? The similarity to the One Ring is eerily, also instead of making you invisible it cause the user to become very, very visible.

  48. A quick question since I know there are a few Pratchett fans that are WoBer, the younger readers series of Pratchett book goes The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents -> The Wee Free Men -> A Hat Full of Sky (sequel), right?
    And also are they any good?

  49. The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents is a stand-alone novel (one of my favourites). The Tiffany Aching series consists of The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, and I Shall Wear Midnight, the last of which I haven’t yet managed to find. I do quite like the first three novels in the mini-series, though not everybody does.

  50. Thanks, I remember reading that you wrote something similar on the accursed phorum but I didn’t have time to add those comments to my super secret compilation of phorummers’ profile before the phorum went down.

    I shall add them to my going overseas reading stash and read them in their published order, thank goodness for Kindle store, I just hope I don’t get tempted to read them before then.

  51. Hey Kari,
    Just a note on Caid.
    I pronounce it like “qaid”, the Hindi/Urdu word which means imprisoned.
    “Qaidi” is prisoner.
    Appropriate name choice I think.

  52. Well, an update: I’m now certain of leaving current program – I’ve had enough of my advisor’s prima-donnaisms, and I feel very liberated to have come to that decision. Now I have to decide on whether to transfer and continue with the PhD – or not. Feeling very jaded about it all – I fear I’ve completely lost my drive for research together with my esteem for him. He had played a big part in my decision to get a PhD in the first place. Now I just want to get away from here, see the world, work for a bit and start writing fiction again. I wish the phorum has been around during this past month…

  53. Roeslein: join the club. I have lost all faith in academia. I currently work as a sessional and have no ambition to get a real job; I’ve been sneaking creative writing into the gaps between my marking sessions, and I do so hope something eventually comes of it. Boo to academia.

    I’m getting a little anxious about the Phorum. The last time it was out for this long, it DID return, but I believe that the time before that, it was ultimately scrapped and had to start over again years later in a different form. Damn you, spammers.

  54. I think money could also be made on selling little ‘So what?’ self-inking stamps. It would make grading so much faster. Stamp! stamp! stamp! Then you just need another stamp for C- and you are all set.

  55. I’m sorry to hear that, Roeslein (and Kari – though I knew about your situation). Personally the feeling is increasing that Academia is becoming a lottery for me. I’m not sure the field I’m in is big enough to rely on networking for much longer…

  56. Thank you. I was actually already an aunt, but now I’m twice the aunt I was before. It is seriously unfair how frickin’ cute my sister’s family is.

    P.S.: the kid has a name now. It’s not Voldemort, alas. It’s Aaron Alexander.

  57. Thanks everyone. The funny thing is, I feel much better now. I had all the red flags under my nose for two years (master) and just refused to see them – that is, until I hit the wall and it just became too much. Fortunately I’ve only been in the PhD program for two months, so it’s just as well to be able to cut my losses now. Just imagine, finally I can step aside and watch the trainwreck that is my advisor without wondering if he’s going to blow up my career together with his!

    Now, about the transfer offer – I don’t think I’m emotionally ready to start elsewhere straight away. I don’t have any energy or passion left for my research. I think I was getting very close to burn-out without realizing it – I just thought that state of permanent stress and low self-esteem was normal, even when my family and friends were telling me it wasn’t. But now I’m reading plenty of unrelated stuff and having lots of fun doing it. It’s such a glorious feeling to be able to read a non-course or research related book and not feel guilty about it! I hadn’t done that since high school. Immersing myself in a whole new topic, learning a new language – that’s what I love. Perhaps my interests are just too shifting (you might say superficial) for me to stay focused on just one field for 5 years?

    So I probably need time off to figure what I really want. I have a pretty marketable master degree and good language skills, so I’ve been looking at jobs elsewhere in the EU in a (related) field I’ve always been interested in. Hopefully I’ll manage to gain some experience abroad while I decide on a career path. There’s one thing that worries me, though – I was supposed to TA this year, although I haven’t even received a formal offer yet, due to admin being incredily slow. Is it unethical to withdraw at this point?

  58. When I read “So What button” I instantly thought of a button with a voice that says “So what?” when pressed, like the Staples “That was easy” button. I still like that idea.

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