Author Archives: Wyrd Smythe

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts.

Dog Gone Delightful!

I’ve been mostly off-line for the last two weeks, because I’ve been dog-sitting my friend’s American Pit Bull Terrier, Bentley, which has been so much fun that I’ve just let it consume me. I’ve never had a chance to get to know a Pit Bull, so about all I’ve done is hang out with Bentley!

It’s a lot like when the grandparents (grandpa, in this case) sit the kids while the parents go on a long vacation. The two-edged sword is that, while the parents know the kids are safe and secure, they also know they’re gonna get spoiled all to hell and gone.

Or in this case, dog-gone spoiled by a loving grandpa who is a sucker for that ‘starving dog’ look. (Those hungry brown eyes; who could say no?)

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OC Bottle Caps

Funny story. At some point, probably around 2008 or so, I began saving the plastic bottle caps from the Diet Mountain Dews I was consuming during the day at work. I don’t drink coffee (at all; ever). I get my caffeine via the DMD (which actually isn’t anywhere near what you find in coffee).

Anyway, channeling ancient college dorm protocol, I began building a pyramid of bottle caps on an unused area of my desk. It was mildly interesting to watch it grow and to try to stack them (wish I’d taken a picture). The color of the caps changes when they’re running some kind of promo, so my pyramid had some color variety.

The problem was I couldn’t stop. Once I started saving the bottle caps, I developed some kind of compulsion to see how big the collection would get…

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Ball Game Symmetry

Many of the fundamental laws of modern physics are based on laws of symmetry. (Which makes Emmy Noether a founder of modern physics.) Just as the Yin-Yang metaphor offers a way to view and deconstruct existence, symmetry is also a way to understand the world around us.

In the past (here and here, for instance) I’ve looked at various sports in abstract ways designed to bring out commonalities among groups of game types. (For instance, tennis, ping-pong, volley ball, badminton, squash, and racquetball, are all “volley” games with similar operation and constraints.)

Today I’m going to look at symmetry in various sports. As always, of course, focusing on baseball, because it’s so unique.

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Underrated SF Movies

Art, famously, is a matter of taste, and as a general rule of thumb, you have it while others often don’t. Just goes to say. Because you know what you like, even if you don’t know anything about art. Simply put: taste is personal.

With commodity art like most films, many people weigh in, and opinions are often split, but sometimes, even with, or perhaps because of, so many, a consensus grows — thumbs up, thumbs down. Everyone, or nearly so, seems to agree one way or the other. In particular for today, there are the films everyone hated.

I’ve found some of those despised films are underrated gems — or at least are not as bad as popular vote makes them out to be.

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Cut the Cable!

Snip!

I just took the plunge and cancelled my Comcast cable!

I’ve been on the cable since 2002, so they were sorry to see me go. I’m sure they are. Cable companies have been losing a lot of customers as technology shifts to a streaming environment. For me, an additional consideration is that, while Comcast has definitely improved how they roll, I have many bad feelings from the earlier years when they seemed always on the Ten Worst Company lists.

The combination of those feelings, plus the economics and logistics of it all, made it exactly the right choice for me now.

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Super Stupid SF

I think I’ve reached the breaking point with The Orville. Watching episode five of the new season, I found myself yelling at the TV for the fifth time, because the writing seems so stupid and the characters seem so lame. I’m angry that a show with so much potential is so infuriating and dumb. I had to turn the episode off and start this post.

When the second season started, I re-watched the entire first season as an appetizer, and my conclusion was that there were many more good episodes than bad. There’s really only one I found a stinker (and couldn’t watch all of), but overall it was positive. I was looking forward to the second season.

Sadly, I’ve really hated all five episodes so far. I’m really torn about watching the show anymore.

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A Round Tuit

I finally got a round Tuit! [click for big]

For the longest time, I’ve had a note in my workspace to get a round Tuit, and I finally did get a round Tuit. (Even if I had to design and render it myself.)

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Whither Science Fiction?

Judy, Judy, Judy!

I’ve been a fan of science fiction since the early 1960s. I was already an avid fan and ready audience for Lost in Space (1966–68; Judy was one of my earliest childhood crushes), It’s About Time (1966–67), and I was glued to the TV set enthralled when Kirk, Spock, and the rest, first boldly went in 1966.

By then I’d already consumed all I could of Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, along with Verne, Wells, and Burroughs (I didn’t discover Tolkien or Howard until high school a few years later).

Movies like The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), and Forbidden Planet (1956), all had me avid for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

It’s been a whole lot of years, and a whole lot of science fiction, is my point.

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Razzie Awards for 2018

It’s always nice when reality pats you on the back and says, “You got this one right.” Sometimes that doesn’t happen as often as we’d like. Reality seems to enjoy confounding us. For me that seems especially true when it comes to taste in entertainment.

So I was delighted and gratified to see The Happytime Murders, Holmes & Watson, and Robin Hood, all nominated for Worst Picture for this year’s Annual Razzie Awards. They share the honor with Gotti and Winchester. (See the full list at razzies.com.)

It’s so nice to know I’m not alone in boggling that someone actually made these movies!

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My Minnesota Twins

I haven’t written about my Minnesota Twins in a while. Blame it on 2016, the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. On top of a stunning turn in politics, the Twins had their worst year ever as a Minnesota team. (They were the Washington Senators until 1960.)

They did okay in 2017 with a winning season (.525 win record) and the second American League Wildcard. Of course, they lost to, guess who, the damn Yankees. The year also capped a weird three-year over-under-over pattern in terms of their expected performance.

In 2018, the stats look closer to expectations, which is to say sad, but it’s possible 2019 will be much happier.

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