Sunday, September 30, 2007

1337 pwnxorz IM SPK!

Being the wife of a military Reserve soldier, I thought I'd had my share of acronyms. We're routinely treated to such literary gems as "The Sgt. will bring the DD-214 to HQ on the QT before going on his CONUS R&R" and "1LT will est. an LZ at 0700."

Medicine is even better. I get to write interesting things like "Disp: 5 ml. Sig: ii gtt OS QID PRN", which is to say "Dispense: 5 milliliters, and signa: 2 guttae in the oculus sinister quater in die pro re nata." Apparently, someone in a flash of great brilliance (and a sick sense of humor) decided to use Latin abbreviations in prescriptions, because, as we all know, medicine is made even more comprehensible by using a dead language to describe it. In case you're wondering, (and who wouldn't be?) it means "give the patient a 5 milliliter bottle of the medicine with the instructions to put 2 drops into the left eye 4 times a day as needed."

Now, I've been on a few forums, mostly medical but some for my Renaissance re-enactment group (membership in which earned me at least 6 points on the Geek test). We speak pretty much all English there, though occasionally a little Latin and Greek leaks out in the medical terms. So, when I joined Lucasforums, of course I thought they'd speak English there, too. Silly me. There was not only one, but two, count them, two, geeky languages I now had to learn.

The first is instant message speak, or 'IM Spk' Now, mind you, IM spk to me means a bizarre combo of 'intramuscular' and 'superficial punctate keratitis'. It's pretty much impossible, since the cornea has no muscles. Since the person using IM spk at that point was a 13 year old kid whose goal in life was to make every headshot in Battlefront, I concluded that he must not be meaning it in the medical sense. After much research including, but not limited to, plugging "IM spk" into the Google search box, I learned it meant 'instant message speak'. I also learned that, OMG, i d k how 2 IM my bff Jimbo 2 get DP nao. Frankly, I can type real words faster than I can say "i h8 IM spk".

The second is 1337 5|>34|<, which, for those of you who have not pwned n00bs with more HS skillz than spent time earning As and Bs in Real School, means 'leet speak'. This one's even weirder. In fact, you know it's really geeky when it shows up in a Wikipedia article with a bunch of bizzare little symbols under orthography. You know you've reached 'new language' status when you have an entire alphabet posted in in a Wiki article. I've mastered some of it. I have 101 or LOL, (for laughing out loud), teh pwnage, n00bxorz, and OMG. There're also the lovely ones STFU and WTF, which of course mean "Sort the Files Uselessly" and 'Where to, Freddy?" My favorite is "!!111!!oneone!!11eleventy-one!!111!!!", which is pretty much equivalent to "DUDE!!!"

I'm hoping that the language doesn't change too much between now and the next few years when my kids hit the teen years. I already have to work hard enough keeping up with all the languages as it is without adding in teen-speak, too. :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Geek Handwriting

Women are supposed to have lovely handwriting, right? Well, you already know I'm a Geeky Mom, and not an Ordinary Mom. Therefore, I do not fit into the Typical Woman mold.

My handwriting totally sucks.

It's sucked since I first learned to write. Now granted, I learned to write before I got my first pair of glasses. Since my vision at that time was 20/2000 (that's right, 2000 with three 0's) without glasses, it sort of put a crimp in my ability to see the chalkboard and follow how the teacher was making the letters. So, I have a lame excuse. When my high school English teacher announced that if anyone could print more legibly than handwrite, then please do so, I switched back to printing and never looked back. It's not much better, but at least some people can read it (including me). My dad quipped when I graduated doctor school "So, did you learn how to write badly yet?" I quipped back, "No, it was an entrance requirement--you had to have bad handwriting just to get in." My signature is so hard to reproduce even I have trouble re-creating it. I had to go in to get something notarized the other day and the lady at the bank told me the signature on the document didn't really look like the one on my license. Well, try fitting a long name on the 1/2 inch wide box the DMV gives you and see if it looks the same anywhere else. Fortunately, I have multiple picture IDs with a scrawl that looks at least within the same style, if not exactly the same, so everything was fine, if temporarily annoying to me. I could gripe about the anal retentive banker, but it really is my writing.

Needless to say, when my son hit elementary school, I had no small amount of angst about how I was going to help him at home with printing and handwriting. I can't even color in the lines, how was I going to teach him how to print letters, even with the big thick pencils and the wide-lined paper? There was no hope. It doesn't help that he inherited my writing ability.

The education system in our town, happily, is quite progressive technologically (at least philosophically), and rather than make him copy c's and z's endlessly to try in futility to make writing semi-legible, they just assigned him this little device called an 'Alphasmart'. It looks like the electronic typewriter I used in college, minus the paper and really expensive ink ribbon. So, all he has to do is type in his answers and book reports and such, and he's in business. It shows up on the screen, and he saves it when he's done and it's stored right on the device. He takes the Alphasmart back to school, the teacher reads it on the screen, and grades it from there. This was something I could handle, because as a Geeky Mom I totally understand anything remotely looking like a computer. In fact, I taught his teacher last year how to add attachments to her school email (which was different from her computer at home). I don't do the PTA thing, I do the Techno-geek mom thing in the classroom instead. It works very well.

When I talked to the teacher about the fact that if he uses the Alphasmart all the time instead of writing, he'll never learn to write properly. She pointed out that with the way technology is going, by the time he grows up, they probably won't be doing much writing anyway. Everything will be done on computers or by texting. Good thing my kids have a Geeky Mom.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ever wonder where the socks disappear to?

Raise your hand if you've ever lost a sock in the laundry.

Any of you who have not raised your hands, shame on you for lying. :D We all know that washers and dryers have a strange affinity for socks.

Washer: Hey, Dryer!
Dryer: Yes, Washer?
Washer: Hey, check it out. He's got a basket of SOCKS!!!!!!
Dryer: We'll be eatin' fine tonight! You want the colored ones or the black and white ones?
Washer: I've got the bleach thing happenin', so you take the colored ones. Besides, I can't stand Hello Kitty Pink or Smurf Blue. Makes my tub out of whack and then I pound and walk all over. It's not pretty.
Dryer: Oh, no problem. I'll just make those ones 'lost' in the filter or shoot them out the vent for you, then the kids can't wear them again.
Washer: Hey, thanks!! I'll make sure to use some extra Downey as a treat for you!
Dryer: That's totally awesome!!!

At least I thought it was a washer/dryer issue until I saw this on the i can has cheezburger? site:


Suddenly it was all clear: maybe my cats did something with them. Perhaps they thought they were some kind of weird mice. Perhaps they have a nest of left socks somewhere in the house, and I have yet to find it. Perhaps they have a tiny mantle inside their covered litter box, and they were hanging them by the fireplace with care. Maybe they rolled them up and made balls out of them to bat across the floor--a sort of floor sock-hockey.

There are also other alternatives to the magic disappearing socks:
1. my son took off his socks on the sofa and one of them ended up between the cushions.
2. my daughter took hers off in the bathroom before a bath and it got stuck under the vanity.
3. my hubby dropped one in the basket and another on the floor. Note that this happens with some frequency.
4. half of mine got shoved under the bed, the other half made it to the laundry basket. The next time we had laundry, I send the other half down, but the first half mysteriously disappears.
5. my son took his socks off in his loft bed and didn't bother to bring them down with him in the morning, and he now is sleeping with 3 weeks' worth of dirty socks. How he doesn't get grossed out snoozing with that many stinky socks, I'll never know.

Will the single-sock problem ever be solved? I doubt it. The cats, washers, and dryers are too addicted to them now, and there's no chapter of Socks Anonymous nearby.

Just for more laughs, here's another fun pic for you: