Thursday, January 26, 2012

PCPPP Font

Hi Christian. I think we need a new font. I don’t like this one. It is staid and dull. I propose Calibri. Or Futura. Either one signifies a new age, one of exploration and adventure and surefootedness, while acknowledging the importance of tradition through their crisp and clearly defined lines. Whatcha’ think?

Christian: Before I give you my argument, I think we need to give our treasured readers a little insight into the PCPPP writing process. I’m sure most of you picture Pat and I sitting behind large grandiose mahogany or ebony carved desks surrounded by shelf upon shelf of expensive leather bound books of great length, as we dip our quills into ink extracted from the rarest of squids, and scribe each PCPPP blog post as we sip from our brandy snifters.

And I’m sure you then imagine how upon finishing a post, we hand our parchments of paper, that have each been wax stamped with our family crests, to one of our many attractive secretaries whose task it is to publish our works onto the internet, and then kick our legs up onto our rhinoceros skin ottomans and enjoy the finest of colonial period cigars.

Well, it’s more or less like that. But one difference is that we use shared Google docs to do our madcap back and forth writing exposes (We’re currently in the works for trying to patent back and forth writing so don’t even think about doing it). We then copy the contents of the Google doc (We’re also trying to patent Google docs) into our blog and viola! PCPPP magic is birthed. And when I say ‘We copy’ I mean ‘I copy’ because another thing that should probably be known to our dearest readers is that Pat is what I like to politely call “tech dumb” (Patenting this too people).

Don’t take this the wrong way Pat. Your skills just lie in other areas. That’s all.

This guy’’s skills lies in other areas too. Am I right ladies?

Now that I have filled our readership with the proper background I can address your suggestion about changing our font. No. I don’t think we should. And here’s why...

First off, since we are using Google docs we are limited to a select few fonts to choose from. Futura isn’t one of them. Sure there might be a way to get more choices into Google docs and sure there’s the option of changing the font after it is copied into blogger but both would require effort. Effort I just can’t get behind.

As for your second suggestion of using the font Calibri - yes this font is available in Google docs and as you can see this paragraph is being written in it. And now I have a migraine. I don’t think this font is as nice to read as the pleasurable Arial that we have all grown to love and adore in an "just friends” kind of way. In fact I better switch back to that sophisticated yet whimsical Arial before I vomit all over my keyboard.

Ahhhhh... there she is. Much better.

And my last argument against changing fonts lies in the fact that, as I think you are aware Pat, our blog is posted on the internet. Sometimes referred to as the web. I don’t want to get into the technical details here but there is a concept of web safe fonts. Kind of like safe sex but with letters and numbers instead of extreme pleasure and mayonnaise.  

A font is considered to be web safe if it is a very commonly used font across the different computer systems. The reason is, at the basic level of web stuff (non-technical term) any font you see while browsing the internet has to actually be loaded on your computer otherwise it won’t render. Nowadays there are ways around this but it is still a good idea to stick with web safe fonts.

And guess what? Arial is a web safe font (Is there nothing she can’t do?).

Oh dear god, look what you’ve made me do Pat. I’ve become informative. *shudders* People who are reading this blog now might be actually learning something. I apologize for that dearest readers. I never meant it to happen.

So Pat, are you cool with sticking with Arial? I think she’s “the one”.

Pat: Umm...okay.  Sorry.  I just thought it might look nice. I didn’t know, y’know, that it got all complicated and techie and all. Sorry. I won’t ask again.

Christian: Well shoot, now I feel bad. I didn’t mean to rain on your new exciting font parade but... wait a sec. Are you underlining your name now? Is this just to spite me because of this font thing?

Pat:  Yes, yes I am, and yes it was, but then I tried this new backlighting shadowy thing, and now I’m stuck Christian, and I can’t get out of it and make it go away and I’m really sorry, but I’m kinda’ freaking out ‘cause it won’t stop, and I was only trying to be funny and I really won’t ever bring it up again if you can just make this stop. I really don’t like this...it’s like when you took me to that bar and promised me that the jello was just offered in bite sized servings so I had a lot of them and then felt really funny. Help.

Christian: See what happens when you play with fire. I think it’s best that we just leave everything as is, before you end up breaking the internet.  

However I don’t want you to feel bad about your lack of technical knowledge (see “tech dumb” above). Yes, nowadays it’s pretty common for most people to use a computer on a daily basis, but I’m sure there are other people, such as yourself, that have difficulty with them and at times feel a bit overwhelmed. I guess not everyone can be computer savvy. But don’t fret it. I feel like over time, someday you’ll get there.

Below are some examples of confident computer users that don’t accidentally get themselves stuck highlighting text and become distressed.







But there isn’t anything saying that over time, as you get more experience, you can’t be part of this group too, Pat. Until then don’t worry about it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Are Video Games Bad For Our Kids? And Does it Matter, Because I Really Like Them.

Pat and I both have kids. There’s no getting around it. Believe me we’ve tried. And all parents eventually have to deal with their kids wanting to play video games. There is a lot of discussion out there about the potential side effects, some good, some bad, of playing video games. Mostly  bad. So should parents forbid their kids from playing video games? Or just give in and let them play while we take that time to nap or drink or watch TV or get caught up on our internet surfing or drink or play some video games? And drink.

Here at PCPPP we have decided to truly get to the bottom of this issue while involving little to no scientific research. It just gets in the way.

First off, I understand that many games today have mature themes and are surprisingly violent. I mean have you seen that Mario Kart? They have you throwing banana peels and turtle shells at other players while you are operating a motorized vehicle. Putting aside the horrifically violent image that projects, it’s also teaching improper driving etiquette.  

The violence depicted in this image makes me cringe.

But on the other hand I played a ton of video games growing up and I seemed to have turned out fine. It didn’t effect my attention span or ability to do well in school. Sure I may not remember the details of Abraham Lincoln signing the Declaration of Independence or how Hawkeye and Trapper John ended the Korean War but at the same time my math skills are spot on. For example I have an uncanny ability to remember my hotel room number most of the time. That’s what you call applied math.

Anyways, what are your thoughts Pat?

Pat:   I really may not be the right one for this query, Christian. I did, in fact, grow up playing lots and lots of video games (mostly platform games, turns out...learned that one from one of my ├╝bergeeky students recently), and did identify proudly for a time as an “arcade rat”, but I stopped a long time ago and really have not kept up with the modern trends.

For instance, Angry Birds is still pretty damn exciting for me, as is Bejeweled. I think I’ve learned enough to know that those two aren’t considered the pinnacle of current video game technology.

Further, while we have joined the 21st century and exposed our kids to Wii technology (mostly because of their grandmother who was willing to buy it for them and I was too selfishly excited to even consider whether it was a bad idea), our concern over the violence issue has led us to focus on their playing two primary games: Littlest Pet Shop, wherein you, as an annoyingly cute pretend animal avatar, run around and do annoyingly cute animaly things, and A Boy and His Blob, in which you and your pet blob walk along in a forest and go places and find things and avoid black blobs and occasionally hug.

So...not too much trauma happening in our household, and the great thing is the kids are naive and content enough to not want anything different!

By the way, did you know that there’s an entire genre of music dedicated to making complex sounds and songs out of platform game music? It’s called “Chip Music” and, while intrigued, I can think of nothing I want to avoid more. You can read about it here.

By another way...I am really impressed with your ability to apply math.

Christian: Thanks. So what I have gathered from your ramblings is that violence doesn’t have to be an issue. It looks like you have been able to find some sissy games that your kids enjoy but are low on the violent imagery. That’s good to hear.

But what about the social aspect? Some claim that playing video games can effect a kid’s social development.

I’m sure this guy turned out fine socially.

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, playing video games was a social event. My best friend and I would play video games together for hours and hours at a time, laughing and cheering each other on. His name was Atari and we had a blast together and had a special bond that only video games could have created.

Although, to be honest I don’t remember what Atari actually looked like and my parents have some cockamamie story about how he wasn’t a real person but rather the game itself, which doesn’t make any sense, because I remember doing other things with Atari beside playing video games. Like gathering up pine cones while pretending to be chased by ghosts or pretending that we were being invaded from space by invaders or doing drugs.

I also remember that Atari had two younger twin brothers named Colecovision and Intellivision that would also play video games with us sometimes. So Atari was definitely a real person. Yes definitely real. My parents must be senile.  

Pat:  I’m right there with you buddy, as I was friends with that fellow you mentioned, Intellivision! He sounded so smart, and seemed so cosmopolitan what with that disc wheel controlly thing he had. He and I loved to spend hours playing Pitfall and other cheap knockoff Atari games.

And don’t worry about the social stunting of your children. Know why? Well, since we last talked, my daughter and I have discovered a new game, Just Dance. And you know what? I totally kick my daughter’s ass when it comes to dancing like Michael Jackson or Ke$ha or Vampire Weekend or Snap!! (<--that’s an intentional double exclamation, because the first one is part of the band’s name, and the second one is because I’m excited because I am SO good at dancing!)

Anyway, so now that I’ve been kicking her ass, her friends have been coming over to watch me dance and get sweaty and rock my butt off! She’s doing just fine. In fact, I often hear her and her friends whispering to each other as they watch me and giggling or making weird faces together. It’s like they’re bonding or something.  

Maybe you should think about FORCING your kids to play video games. With you. It teaches them to be cool and know how to lose at things.

Christian: I see. So to solve the social problem I just need to make sure I play video games with them. And make sure they never win. Got it. This is good because the one thing I like as much as winning, is not losing.

Sounds like we have determined that video games are A-OK! Sweet! I’m going to go out and buy some right now! I hope my 18 month old daughter likes Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Friendly Neighbors or Creepy Clones?

I consider myself a very open-minded person, especially when it comes to issues of culture, race, immigration, economic class and vegetarianism. I don’t believe anyone is inherently superior to anyone else, I’m all for gender equality, I believe people should orient themselves however they see fit, and I think walls between countries are just silly (and expensive!). That said, I’d be dishonest if I didn’t acknowledge that there is one specific group of people who just kind of raise the hairs on my neck and give me that skeptical feeling in my brain and tummy.

How do you feel about Canadians, Christian?  

Christian: I have no problem with Canadians. In fact I have a good friend that is one quarter Canadian. I just don’t see color. I mean, I don’t see race. Is Canadian a race? Probably not. I mean, I don’t see Canadians. No, that’s not right either. I mean, I don’t see differences amongst North Americans. Yes. Except Mexicans. Because they do look visually different than us. I do see that.  

Anyways, what is it about Canadians that makes you feel uncomfortable?

Pat:  First off, thank you for correctly assuming that I was not talking about geese. I’ll be more careful to specify next time. By the way, when it comes to geese, it’s not the Canada geese I have problems with, but those Hawaiian geese--the pompous and mean-spirited Nene!

Back to your question...I DON’T KNOW! And that’s precisely WHY Canadians kind of freak me out. I’ve never been good about listening to or using my intuition, but darnit if our friends (or ARE they?) to the north don’t set off my alarms. Petty, I know, but I liked Neil Young and Alex Trebek a little bit more when I thought they were as American as Stills and Crosby and Jeopardy, respectively.

They’re fine, I suppose, what with their historically less-valuable dollar, their slightly watery beer, and their anachronistic connections to the Queen Mum. It just seems they are like us, but a little less (your friend, of course, in only one quarter a little less in my book). Sounds harsh, I know, but sometimes you gotta’ just listen to what your tummy tells you.

Christian: I see. Are you sure this doesn’t have something to do with your fear of Latitudes? Since they are more north than us and you have that ridiculous sensible fear that everything, including people, get smaller and smaller the more north you go.

Pat:  Oh, you might be onto something there. I think that’s what analysts call “projection”, whereby I project (thus the name!) my discomfort onto those whom I deem it represents. I’ve never been to an analyst, though, so I really have no idea, but that sounds about right. Is it?

Have you been to see one? It’s okay...I won’t judge if you have. Well, not much.

Christian: I would like to take this opportunity to point out that I have no problem with Canadians. And I’m not just saying that because our blog stataticians have informed me that we do get the occasional Canadian reader. And I would just like to say to them “Hi there. You’re OK in my book!”

You have tremendously tasty bacon, police who ride horses, and …. and other Canadian things.

Don’t listen to Pat. He’s a little bit “off”, and should probably see an analyst, which I have never done, because I’m totally sane.

So if the question before us is whether they are Friendly Neighbors or Creepy Clones - I’m going with Friendly Neighbors, eh.

Pat:  Alright, alright...I’m not beyond being convinced otherwise on this one, but you have to wonder about a few things:

Do you think there are as many Americans who watch the Canadian Genie Awards as there are Canadians who watch and respect and revere and pay homage to the American Oscar Awards? The same can be asked using a Grammy/Juno comparison.

Christian: What is a Genie award?

Pat: Do you think Canadians eat more of their own bacon or more of ours? Ours, I bet!

Christian: Well yeah, but we’re talking about bacon here...

Pat: Why do so many super Canadian artists--such as Neil Young, Sandra Oh, and Carl Newman (who does a STELLAR cover of your favorite 80s song, “Take On Me”, by the way!)--decide to take up residence here in the U.S.?

Christian: Those people aren’t American? I thought they were...

Pat: Why do SO many of their geese choose to stay here and shit all over our parks?

Christian: Those aren’t our geese?

Pat: All of these things point to one thing for me...THEY WANT TO BE LIKE US!

I’m okay with that. But I wished they had the inner confidence to realize that they’re okay on their own. Do they even realize what they’ve got going with health care? And Poutine? Have you tried that stuff? Puts Frito-Pie to shame, I’ll tell you that!

Love yourself, Canada, that’s all I’m asking.

Christian: Or is it maybe that you want them to want to be like us? Or MAYBE it’s that you are projecting yourself onto them in wanting to be like us, which in turn means you actually want to be like them!!! A-ha! That’s it, isn’t it!

This isn’t the first time you’ve mentioned Poutine to me in recent past, which makes sense now.

Side-note: For those unfamiliar with Poutine it looks like this:

Those Canadians sure know how to put the Pou in Poutine.

Plus you seem to know an awful lot about Hollywood celebrities that were born in Canada but moved to the US and their geese. And now that I think about it, how do you even know about these Genie and Juno awards in the first place? It’s all clear now.  

You wish you were Canadian. Case closed. QED. La Fin.

Pat:  Dude! You are SO much cheaper than therapy! Thanks. Have you had poutine yet?

Christian: No way. I don’t trust foreign food.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Which Way to Flip the Toilet Paper?

The other day I was at Subway when the guy in front of me asked the sandwich jockey for “pepper and salt” on his sandwich instead of “salt and pepper”. So I shouted “GO BACK TO THE SANITARIUM CRAZY PSYCHO!” to make sure everyone in the place knew there was someone unstable around.

It then got me thinking about other things people do that I would consider abnormal or eccentric or loony. Like installing the toilet paper with the toilet paper flap coming out from under the roll as opposed to over the roll. See image below.



This is the image I told you to see.

To me its unnatural to flip it under. This is the kind of behavior I would expect from un-medicated psychotics. Flipping it over is what keeps are society from dissolving into chaos. But even in 2011-12, I still occasionally find myself in harrowing situations where someone has put the flap under.

Pat, please tell me you agree with me about the proper flap placement. If not I’m afraid from now on I can only ever hang out with you in well lit public areas where there are lots of other people around.

Pat: Back to Subway. Who was the unstable one, in your opinion?

And, just as a considerate advance notice, I kind of want to tell you that I don’t use toilet paper, and thus have no opinion on the matter, just to kind of play with you, y’know.

Christian: I don’t know. Dear god, what are you saying?

Pat:  Relax, friend, relax.  So...you went crazy in Subway. That’s okay. We all lose it a bit and none of us can predict when or where. The important thing is that you (and everyone else) are okay.

I sure wish we didn’t have to use toilet paper. Wouldn’t that be nice? I don’t know if I’d prefer a bidet or just a wipeless butt, but either would be better than the inconsistent world of toilet paper that we are forced to endure. I never know if I’m going to get a soft and quilted two-ply or a sandpapery single ply that rips at every perforation and lets my finger poke through into very uncomfortable places. I don’t like that kind of uncertainty.

What did you ask?

Christian: I’m getting a sense that you are intentionally skirting the original question. It concerns me that you don’t really want to answer the question because you know I’ll be disturbed by the answer.  In fact, I’m going to have to go ahead and assume that the worst case scenario has just played out here and you are for sure someone who rolls the toilet paper flap under.      

Do you by chance have the number for the witness relocation program handy?

I already told my cats to go into hiding. This one isn’t very good at it.


Pat: My cat did that once, but he couldn’t get his head out so he walked backwards all around the house. We watched it and laughed. A lot. I know that the compassionate-pet-owner thing to have done would be to free it from its agonizing predicament, but it was REALLY fun to watch! Reminded me of when I was a mean terrible kid and I put double-sided tape on the bottom of my cat’s paws or when I gave my dog peanut butter. Funny shit!

Let me put you out of your misery...while I will use any toilet paper that is put in front of me, I do feel a certain solace when the roll has the paper coming out OVER the roll. Can we still be friends?

By the way, what really gets me is those industrial size rolls they put in the dispensers in the bathrooms at the school I work at. They’re too big for the dispensers, so all you can get outta’ there is one square at a time. Now THAT’S frustrating!

Christian: I don’t know. Finding enjoyment from watching innocent animals struggle with humiliation seems in line with a twisted soul that prefers the toilet paper flap to be under the roll. But I guess I’ll take your word for it.

However, while I was cracking up from picturing a cat walking around backwards with a vase on its head a thought struck me. There is one reason that I could accept for putting the toilet paper flap down (besides the person being mentally deranged). Cats! If they had cats that liked to unravel the toilet paper then I could see the justification in putting the flap under.

Careful you don’t bury yourself Mr. Fluffles.

Putting the flap under would prevent the cat from being able to unravel the roll. Unless of course you have a cat that can run backwards with its front paws. But in that case you’d be too busy living a glamorous life of traveling the world, managing your spectacular cat in the circus or magician’s circuit to be concerned about toilet paper flaps.

Is this the reason why you don’t seem as fully committed to putting the toilet paper flap up like you should be?

Pat:  Nope. I don’t give my cat that much of my dream-time. Cuddles are fine, but don’t you DARE impede on my visions of glory, feline dream-thief!

Hey! This weekend I experienced something WORSE than your dreaded underfold. It was one of those industrial dispensers I’ve already cursed at, but this one had a mammoth roll WITH NO APPARENT PERFORATIONS! I know I should be able to just rip the paper apart with my brute strength, but I kept assuming (as any rational person would) that a perforation MUST be on it’s way, so I just kept unravelling. I had a good 25 feet of paper in a pile on the floor before I finally gave up. And then it was hard to use.

Christian: Yeah I hate that too. Or when you can’t find the end of the toilet paper because it’s a new roll and the end is still stuck down. So you keep rolling it and rolling it thinking the end has got to be there somewhere and then the next thing you know 30 minutes have gone by and your cat is no closer to fame and success than before. Toilet paper engineers are sadistic folk.