Larry Hosken: New

I recently passed a milestone: I've walked over 10 million steps while playing the game Pikmin Bloom. I didn't notice at the time; the app didn't pop up an achievement badge for 10 million like it did for previous round numbers.

edited screenshot of app showing my Pikmin Bloom profile. The edit: I circled the total step count, which is a little over 10 million

You might think the app designers, by not handing me another achievement, missed an opportunity to keep me enthused about the app. Then again, Adrian Hon recently blogged about how game designers shouldn't over-rely on achievement badges to figure out how to "gamify" everything, e.g., how to gamify walking around. So I guess they're doing something right.



In the constructor notes for today's Puzzmo crossword, Zhouqin Burnikel says her original gimmick idea (not used) was people whose names had a fruit-word and a season-word. But she could only find one example, so she used a different theme instead.

That got me thinking, so I wrote a little script that looked through my phrase list for two-word phrases and used wordnet to detect fruit-words and season-words. Then I eyeballed the resulting list of fruit-season phrases to see which might be names. The program overlooked the fruit-season name that Zhouqin Burnikel found. (My phrase list doesn't know that name.) But it did find: Jack Spring (an athlete), Jack Winter (a TV writer). Wordnet says that "jack" can mean "jackfruit", and who am I to disagree?

Anyhow, here's the little script I wrote. I put it here not because I feel it's amazing, but because my previous wordnet-use blogposts fell out of Google's index, so when I went searching for past examples, I ended up having to grep around my hard drive like an animal. Anyhow, behold the majesty:

from nltk.corpus import wordnet

FRUIT = wordnet.synset('edible_fruit.n.01')
SEASON = wordnet.synset('season.n.02')

already = {}
is_fruit = {}
is_season = {}

def categorize(word):
    if word in already: return
    sss = wordnet.synsets(word)
    fruity = [ss for ss in sss if FRUIT in ss.hypernyms()]
    seasonal = [ss for ss in sss if SEASON in ss.hypernyms()]
    if len(fruity): is_fruit[word] = True
    if len(seasonal): is_season[word] = True

for line in open("Phrases_20240103_085450.txt"):
    score_s, phrase = line.strip().split("\t")
    words = phrase.split()
    if len(words) != 2: continue
    w1, w2 = words
    if (w1 in is_fruit and w2 in is_season) or (w1 in is_season and w2 in is_fruit):
        print(w1, w2)



Today's grocery delivery came with a couple of free samples. I'm trying not to take it personally.

two small bottles of high-strength mouthwash



statue of Eadward Muybridge at Letterman Arts Palace of Fine Arts Fishing pier near the Crissy Field Warming Hut Old houses on Mallorca Way



Spoiler Warning: This post spoils a twist in "Not Your Typical Reincarnation Story."

I read a review of the comic "Not Your Typical Reincarnation Story." The comic falls in the isekai genre: the protagonist dies and is reincarnated as a character in a fantasy story. As in many isekai stories, the protagonist finds herself in the role of the fantasy story's doomed villain, but seeks to change the story to escape her fate. Unlike typical isekai stories, this comic's protagonist finds out that she's the 13th person to be thusly doomed.

As I said, it's an isekai story.

As someone who's had to identify the objects of phobias in a few puzzles over the years, I of course know that the ancient Greek word for 13 is triskaideka (τρεισκαίδεκα).

This leads us to the discovery of a new sub-genre, trisekaideka, a portmanteau packing "isekai" into "triskaideka". Some would say it's silly to define a sub-genre that contains only one work, but this word is too good to pass up (albeit difficult to pronounce).



Tammy McLeod isn't just my teammate on MIT Mystery Hunt's Left Out; she isn't just a sudoku champion; she's also a world record speed jigsaw puzzler. She started a YouTube channel with another speed puzzler, USA national champ, Yvonne Feucht. I'm a jigsaw ignoramus, so a lot of their pilot episode was over my head. I was nevertheless amused, especially with the 1:1 competition that starts at about the 15:30 mark.



I continue to check my little dashboard of San Francisco COVID numbers each morning to figure out whether heading into a pastry shop to pick up inessential-but-tasty tarts endangers just my waistline or also my lungs, heart, long-term dementia chances, etc, etc.

Alas, lately the numbers have risen enough to suggest there's a lot of COVID in SF these days. I stopped going to inessential indoors-swapping-air-with-others places.

chart plotting three San Francisco COVID stats over the past couple of months: new cases reported, test positivity %, and COVID in wastewater. The wastewater line is far above the 'pretty safe' level, alas. The test positivity % has recently gone above the pretty-safe level. The new cases line is still below the pretty-safe level, but has been rising.

So I switched over to getting my groceries delivered instead of shopping in-person. There's a silver lining; apparently things are chaotic in the backrooms of Safeway and it worked out in my favor. I ordered four avocados, got charged for four, but received six. I ordered a bag of split peas, got charged for a bag, but received two (one of which was organic?). I ordered a COVID test, got charged for it, received three(‽). Between receiving these bonus groceries and halting indoor-restaurant dining, my budget's going to stretch so far you guys. (Just kidding, I'm still paying San Francisco rent.) Stay safe, y'all.



I feel like the back of this car is trying to tell me the owner's life story, but I can't quite grasp it.

photo of parked car, seen from the rear. It has a "R☤N" bumper sticker. The (California) vanity license plate reads "quietly". The car is a Tesla model X photo of parked car, seen from the rear, zoomed in to the text-y parts. It has a "R☤N" bumper sticker. The (California) vanity license plate reads "quietly". The car is a Tesla model X

I saw it near UCSF Parnassus Hospital, where you might expect a medical professional to use a loading zone for something.



I didn't understand the artist's obsession until I saw the text.
sidewalk chalk rendition of an artichoke a different sidewalk chalk rendition of an artichoke sidewalk chalk: text that says Artichalk

San Francisco, Hugo St near 7th Ave



Lately, a hate group has been posting flyers in my neighborhood. I wanted to tear down the flyers to spare my neighbors some hatred. But I hesitated: at the bottom of each flyer was an official-looking notice about Removal of Notices in Compliance yadda yadda.

But then I checked the rules, and those flyers weren't complying; tearing them down was totally legal (and neighborly).

If you're in San Francisco and you're hesitating to tear down a hateful flyer because of an official-looking notice, you might double-check:

If you spot an illegal flyer in San Francisco and don't want to tear it down yourself, you can report it to the city.




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