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By Samuel Stoddard

September 1998

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Wednesday, September 30, 1998

Second call on the reader question: "Explain how the invention of the microwave oven has affected the social climate of modern culture."

I have an humorous tidbit for you today. The author is unknown.

I had eighteen bottles of whiskey in my cellar and was told by my wife to empty the contents of each and every bottle down the sink, or else... I said I would and proceeded with the unpleasant task. I withdrew the cork from the first bottle and poured the contents down the sink with the exception of one glass, which I drank. I then withdrew the cork from the second bottle and did likewise with it, with the exception of one glass, which I drank. I then withdrew the cork from the third bottle and poured the whiskey down the sink which I drank. I pulled the cork from the fourth bottle down the sink and poured the bottle down the glass, which I drank. I pulled the bottle from the cork of the next and drank one sink out of it and threw the rest down the glass. I pulled the sink out of the next glass and poured the cork down the bottle. Then I corked the sink with the glass, bottled the drink and drank the pour. When I had everything emptied, I steadied the house with one hand, counted the glasses, corks, bottles, and sinks with the other, which were twenty-nine, and as the houses came by I counted them again, and finally I had all the houses in one bottle, which I drank. I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

Tuesday, September 29, 1998

Journal-type news is still scarce. Here are the answers to Saturday's reader question, "What's better? A hyena or a pogo stick?"

Today's reader question: "Explain how the invention of the microwave oven has affected the social climate of modern culture."

Saturday, September 26, 1998

Journal-type news has been scarce lately, I guess.

Today's reader question: "What's better? A hyena or a pogo stick?"

Thursday, September 24, 1998

Day two of the first Site Market Game. The prices have changed, and now you should be able to see your ranking. If you're high, good job; if you're low, don't worry; things can change pretty fast sometimes. If you haven't started playing the game yet, it's not too late, by any means.

I'd like to quote an excerpt from a letter sent from Marcie K., who wrote us about The Duel of the Ages:

"First, let me say that this story is possibly the most MALE story I've ever read. Two guys jockeying for Alpha Male position through violent (to-the-death/pain/whatever) competition. I should take this story to my Soc professor and let her have a field day with it. . . . I noticed that the characters in this story were really just amplifying the behavior I notice my male friends doing -- punching each other, teasing each other, insulting each other -- to demonstrate their friendship. So in the end, the story really showed what good friends you two are."

I stopped quoting Marcie's letter before it got too gushy for male tastes. At any rate, it's a very interesting viewpoint on the story, and I bet this Soc professor would have another very interesting viewpoint on the story, possibly involving either emergency committals, sardonic laughter, or both.

Answers to the reader question, "What word best describes your personality: horse, white-out, mustard, ghoul, jackknife, or scoop?" are given below:

Congratulations, Everett, for the longest answer to a reader question thus far. :-)

Wednesday, September 23, 1998

The RinkWorks Site Market Game has opened. I spent pretty much the whole weekend hammering out the scripts that make it work. See the "Traffic Log" thread in the Message Forum for what brought all this about.

Yesterday the site experienced some harsh performance problems which appear to be continuing to today. It is being looked into; sorry for the inconvenience.

Third and final call on the reader question, described two journal entries ago.

Tuesday, September 22, 1998

The first RinkWorks Mailing List message was sent out yesterday. Let me know if you did not receive it, or if you received multiple copies.

Yesterday, Netscape featured the "Guess My Number" page of Slapdash City on their daily "What's Cool" column. Their comment was, "Almost as fun as Duke Nukem." I wonder why they picked just that specific page to feature.

Second call on the present reader question, given below.

Friday, September 18, 1998

Yesterday I wondered if the return of The Dialectizer would cause it to regain its status as most traveled RinkWorks site. The answer is yes. It beat it yesterday by a significant margin.

Today's reader question: "What word best describes your personality: horse, white-out, mustard, ghoul, jackknife, or scoop? Explain." Send your answers, the sillier the better, right here.

Thursday, September 17, 1998

The Dialectizer is back in full, and it is fast. Much better than the old version, and I'm optimistic that my web hosting service will agree. Check out Jool o' the Ages in Redneck.

Since Computer Stupidities and Book-A-Minute Classics were featured in Netscape's "What's New," and The Dialectizer was featured in subsequently breaking the web page part of it, interesting things have been happening to our traffic logs. If you're not interested in my personal traffic logs, you may want to skip the rest of this journal entry. :-)

For the longest time, The Dialectizer was the number one RinkWorks site in terms of hits. Computer Stupidities was second, followed by the main RinkWorks page, followed by At-A-Glance Film Reviews, followed by Book-A-Minute. Now, for the first time in months, the order seems to have taken a lasting turn. Computer Stupidities, by an average margin of around 10%, is number one now. The Dialectizer has moved into second -- it will be interesting to see if it regains the number one spot now that the web page part is fixed. The RinkWorks main page is third, followed by four sites that keep playing leap frog...but are usually in this order: At-A-Glance Film Reviews, Book-A-Minute, Brain Food, and Crazy Tales. Interestingly, but not inexplicably, Book-A-Minute Classics is still getting more hits than the Book-A-Minute main page -- so it's probably not fair just to count main page hits; if the hits on the three genre pages were added in, it would rise to fourth place easily. The rest of the sites get quite lower -- but still significant -- traffic. Lastly, honorable mention goes to Movie-A-Minute, which manages between 40 and 50 hits a day even though it's not actually open yet. (Usually sites that haven't opened yet only get 1 to 8 hits a day.) I take it this means people are looking forward to it. I'm glad.

At any rate, the story is a little different if you look at the results of my Reader Survey instead of the hit logs. The ordering of the sites is similar but far from identical. The biggest difference is that I Think is ranked at number four but only finishes in the middle of the traffic report.

Wednesday, September 16, 1998

Now that most of those of you who are interested have had a chance to read The Duel of the Ages, I have here another similarly written, but much shorter, story. This is what an English teacher, Professor Miller at SMU, claims was actually turned in by two of his students, Rebecca and Gary (last names deleted to protect the guilty). The class was a creative writing class, and the assignment, an in-class one, was to write a "tandem story," where each person would pair off with another in the class (based on where they sat in the room -- they couldn't pick their partners). One of the pair would write one paragraph, hand it to the other who would write the following paragraph, hand it back, etc. The goal was to create a coherent short story. Here's what Rebecca and Gary came up with:

At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one careless evening over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth -- when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

Little did she know, but she had less than ten seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion which vaporized Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow'em out of the sky!"

This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent.

Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium.



Tuesday, September 15, 1998

I finished the "random movie review" link on the At-A-Glance Film Reviews page. That can be fun to play around with.

Some time ago, I ran across a contest for kids, aged 4 to 15, where contestants had to imitate Jack Handey's Deep Thoughts. Some of you have told me the RinkWorks featurette I Think is reminiscent of Handey's Deep Thoughts. But I digress.

I thought some of the entries were quite funny:

Monday, September 14, 1998

Updates over the past week have included: Computer Stupidities, Book-A-Minute SF/F, and I Think.

Speaking of updates, I'm going to become more lax again about posting update notices here in the site journal. I have started an experimental mailing list which will be used to notify readers about updates to the site. This has been a commonly requested feature; now you've got it. [Note 5/15/2001: the mailing list has since been discontinued.]

A quick note about Book-A-Minute: I shuffled some of the condensations around between the pages. The Edgar Allan Poe condensation, for example, belongs more on the Classics page than the SF/F page. So some were moved around, and in these and other cases, I mention more than one condensation on more than one page. Each condensation "belongs" to only one of the three pages, but some are mentioned on the bottom of one of the others. If this explanation is confusing, go look and see what I mean.

Friday, September 11, 1998

The rewrite of The Dialectizer is coming along well. I've just about finished the first draft of the code and will be debugging soon.

I saw Dark City last night. Very weird, very good, very satisfying. I can't get over how thick and effective the atmosphere is, particularly in the first moments.

Thursday, September 10, 1998

The Dialectizer is causing more problems. My web hosting service has shut off the web page portion of The Dialectizer, as it was exacting too heavy a load on the system. The text translator part of The Dialectizer still works.

We are looking into solutions to this problem and hope to get it back up and running as quickly as possible. I am currently at work rewriting the script so that it runs more efficiently. Hopefully the rewrite will be good enough to make my web host happy. If not, there are other options I can pursue at that time.

Wednesday, September 9, 1998

I received a thoroughly entertaining letter from Brian W. the other day about Slapdash City. I asked him for permission to print it here, and he granted it.

I've got to hand it to you, Snooky. You've got quite a web site. Yours is *way* better than "Darlene & Her Former Hubby's Cat" web site. However, your web site left me feeling somewhat... Oh, how shall I put it? Somewhat, well... quasisanguinovalescent. I mean, what's with the fish? What could be more boring than fish? I want to email your dog! I want to tell him how cute he is! And that thing with the funny names when you sound them out? What's that all about? I quit moving my lips when I read at least ten, maybe eleven weeks ago. (It would have been funny back then, though, I gotta tell ya. What a hoot!) While I'm at it, here's a list of comments I think would help you with your web site. No need to thank me. I'm just doing my job.

  1. After pinging around and tracing packet headers for over an hour, I finally found your guestbook and signed in. A week later I got a letter from the Armed Services Recruitment Center asking why I didn't show up like I promised. I know it was related to your website because it had "Sanguine" as my middle name, just like I entered into your guestbook. Do you know anything about this?

  2. I fed your fish so many times last Friday that, according to my calculations, your feeder had to dump less than one molecule of food into the tank for every time I pressed the button. I was going for splitting the atom or creating a quantum singularity, but my finger got tired. I'll try again next time my boss goes on vacation.

  3. You left three words off your list of "Words You Can't Spell On A Calculator." If you care about having a complete list (and by your disclaimer, you don't seem to care at all), then I suggest you include these three words. The words are "ATROCITY" and "INCUBATE." Um, okay, make that two words.

  4. Your background color web page is pretty cool, but you really gotta include the color white. I know, it's a boring color, but it is perhaps the most popular color out there. Just look at the background color of this very email. (In fact, I snatched it from your background colors web page. [Heh, heh.] Wait a minute... That means you already have white! What am I thinking? Okay, make that orange. You really need to get the color orange.)

  5. On a positive note, way to go on getting the "Good Website Award." I gotta admit, even as good as my own web site is, only one of my pages earned the "Pretty Good Website Award" while two of my pages got the "Not Bad Web Site Award." I have to admit, I'm a little jealous.

  6. You also left a couple of pretty obvious entries off your list of "Books That Start With 'R'." Don't know what they are? Think, now. Still don't know? Okay, here's a hint: Encyclopedia! That's right! You left out volumes 18 and... Okay, make that one entry you left off your list.

  7. On your opening page disclaimers, two of them ("Slippery when wet" and "All models over 18 years of age") make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Honestly, I almost wonder if you're not just being silly!

  8. Sofa Change Records are of no interest to anybody without, say, a corresponding list of visiting relatives. Including such a list would (I think) make your research a double-blind study and dramatically increase the scientific validity of your research. Don't forget to formulate a hypothesis like, "I want to be in Uncle Ed's will."

  9. Your virtual eyedoctor is great! But instead of getting glasses, I'm scheduled to have laser surgery on my corneas according to your prescription! I'll let you know how it turns out.

Well, that's it. Keep up the good work, Snooky. Although it needs a little work, web sites like yours definitely improve the cyber-landscape, whatever that is. (I read that phrase in a book called, "Return of the Hot Red Vengeful Blood of the Cold Ninja Corpse.") So take my advice for what it's... Oh, Oh!! That's another 'R' book! I knew there was another you'd forgotten! Well, then, I guess your little web site isn't so cool after all, huh? You can't say I didn't show you up you there. Ha!

Hypermorphosanguinologically Yours,

Oh, and one more thing, Snooky -- Your Visa card is maxxed out. I'd do something about that if I were you.

Tuesday, September 8, 1998

The Duel of the Ages has opened. Make sure you read the introductory text before diving in. Unlike the rest of RinkWorks, this page wasn't written with public consumption in mind.

Answers to the reader question, "What's your favorite use for rope?" follow:

Friday, September 4, 1998

This is nice. I've been enjoying a little traffic boost the past couple days. On Wednesday, Computer Stupidities was featured on Netscape's daily "What's New" section (even though it's not new). On Thursday, Book-A-Minute Classics (which is new) was featured there. It's funny, because I find these things out sometimes before I even look at the hit logs. Yesterday I was looking at the Computer Stupidities entry in the September 2 column, and I was thinking that, gosh, we'd been getting an usual amount of email about Book-A-Minute in the last 12 hours or so. On a whim, I checked the September 3 column, and there the Book-A-Minute Classics entry was! I was shocked that my frivolous guess about the increased level of email was right.

In other news, I added a "Random RinkWorks Site" link to the main page. I can't imagine anybody would actually want to use it, but making it was good practice for the "Random Movie Review" link I'm going to put on the At-A-Glance Film Reviews page soon, which could be both useful and fun.

Lastly, I added a new story to the Crazy Tales page. It's an excerpt from Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes -- the scene where Tarzan sees his reflection in a lake for the first time. He'd never seen any other people at that point, so all he could think was that he was an incredibly ugly, deformed, hairless ape.

Second (and real) last call on the reader question, "What's your favorite use for rope?" I'll be gone for the weekend; when I come back, I'll post the answers readers have sent me. So don't delay, send email today.

Thursday, September 3, 1998

You can't end a sentence with a preposition, according to the rules of the English language. But when Winston Churchill violated this rule and was corrected, he responded: "That's the sort of pedantry up with which I shall not put."

My second favorite play on end-of-sentence prepositions is the following. A child complains to his parent, "What did you bring that book that I don't like to be read to out of up for?"

Language can be a lot of fun sometimes.

Last call on the reader question, "What's your favorite use for rope?" The crazier the better. Send me mail.

Wednesday, September 2, 1998

The RinkWorks Message Forum hit 100 messages during the night. Right now, there are a couple of RinkWorks quizzes, so if you'd like to test your RinkWorks knowledge, head over there.

My film review of Saving Private Ryan, as well as a few other new releases like The Avengers, has been posted on the At-A-Glance Film Reviews page.

So, readers, what's your favorite use for rope?

Tuesday, September 1, 1998

The latest round of updates: I Think was updated on Sunday, Brain Food was updated on Sunday, and, of course, Book-A-Minute Classics was released yesterday. New Book-A-Minute Bedtime scripts are forthcoming.

Of special note, Brain Food now has a new puzzle type -- Scrambled Equations -- in addition to a new page of Logi-Number Puzzles.

Second call on the reader question, "What's your favorite use for rope?" Get creative, get funny, and send me email.

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