Larry Hosken: New

Updated "phraser" word list

I updated that big ranked "phraser" word list (and also the even bigger ranked phrase list). It counts words (and phrases) from different sources than it did before.

Also, I got an updated copy of Wikipedia (that knows about newfangled things that have come along in the last few years like wandavision, which didn't usedta be a word, you know); and updated snapshots of fandom.com wikis that had new snapshots. And probably some other things I forgot. (I don't do well in heat waves. I just want to drink more ice water. Why am I tinkering with computers?) Anyhow, please enjoy these updated word and phrase lists.

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2021-06-18T00:51:36.210885

The Ice Cream Bar, my local ice cream parlor, requires everyone inside to wear masks at all times. (This makes sense; a sizable fraction of their customers are kids too young to vaccinate.) Thus, they aren't giving out samples; there's no "try before you buy." I have never seen the line move that fast! When I stopped in today, there weren't many folks behind the counter. (I think the owner filled my order?) But I was out of there with a bowl of ice cream* in less than five minutes. When we return to "normal", can we keep this part? Please?

*One scoop peanut brittle, one scoop banana puddin'

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2021-06-11T21:44:28.234782

Orna, another walking-around game (or not if you'd rather stay put)

Lately, I've been playing Orna, an RPG-style phone game in which your character moves around in the game world when you, the player, move around in the real world. E.g., in the picture below that looks like a map, you can see my game character (the little guy in the middle with the purple hair) walking the streets, stalked by a blue troll, a green goblin, a big blue genie, a big spider, a little spider, and other monsters. But somebody who knows my neighborhood really well might look at that map and say "Oh hey, that's where Carl Street makes a dogleg turn and becomes Irving Street" because I am causing the little purple-hair guy to walk around by walking myself around my neighborhood, close to that dogleg turn. (Looking at that map, you'll also see big text saying "Calls and texts will vibrate." That's not part of the game. That's a side effect of me trying to take that screen picture and pressing the wrong button because I'm not good at phones, apparently.) I've been enjoying this game the same way I enjoyed…uhm, another game that I played many years ago on Game Boy back when that was a thing, which was oh gee whiz about 20 years ago uhm well anyhow maybe it's not surprising I don't remember the name of the game that Orna reminds me of. Dragon Quest, maybe?

screenshot, looks like a map screenshot depicting a little battle

Unlike other move-around-by-walking phone games I've played, there's plenty to do if you're sitting still. Much of the game activity involves beating up on monsters. As you might have figured out from the aforementioned goblin, troll, genie, and spiders: there is no shortage of monsters in this game. If you don't go to the monsters, they will come to you. But I don't tend to play sitting down. I mostly play while I'm walking around because that's still how I spend my mornings: getting some exercise by walking around streets in my neighborhood, eager for a phone game to hold my attention.

There's a lot to the game, but fortunately you don't have to figure out everything at first. As you go along, you encounter dungeons, quests, PvP fights, a fishing mini-game, guilds, land-capturing… I mean, I've heard this is true—but I haven't tried to figure out guilds or land-capturing yet, and I'm still having a good time. There's variety—I don't enjoy that fishing mini-game, but I can avoid it without ill consequence. Anyhow, if you start playing the game on my recommendation and/or are already playing and I know you, we should form a "party" (a collection of characters who can help each other out); you can add lahosken to your party; or tell me your character's name and I'll add you. Yes, play Orna, recommended for fans of a game which may or may not have been Dragon Quest (but with optional walking around).

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2021-06-09T16:01:55.791074

Comic Report: The Secret to Superhuman Strength

It's a graphic novel memoir by Alison Bechdel, who you might remember from Fun Home. It's about her attempt to keep mens sana in corpore sano (sound body, sound mind). She talks about her experiences exercising; and it's always in the context of her life; and she's human, so you get to find out about her fucking up (and occasionally getting things right) in between the fitness fads. It's not just about her; the comic also gets into some past writerly-artistic folks who went boldly striding around America when they needed to get their heads straight. This is a comic and thus has pictures; when it depicts folks boldly striding (or cross-country skiing or whatever) through nature, nature looks pretty good.

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2021-06-07T12:41:33.771797

Google Ngrams Download

There's a new-to-me set of Google Ngrams (big files with frequency counts for common and not-so-common English words&phrases&word-strings): Google Ngrams Download. I mention this because when I do a Web Search for "google ngrams download", the top result was a link to the previous set of data from 2012. Too bad those Google people aren't better at SEO (haha I kid but seriously I'm grateful for these files).

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2021-06-05T21:57:02.571355

MIT Mystery Hunt 2020 report

From January 2019 to January 2020, team Left Out put together the 2020 MIT Mystery Hunt. Since I was on the team, I helped out. I wrote some puzzles, did some web stuff, asked some nice folks to do some other web stuff, tested some pancakes, … Uhm, I did a lot. I wrote about my experience. You can go read "MIT Mystery Hunt 2020". Thrills, chills, and excitement abound, at least if you get excited reading about other peoples' deadlines I guess. There are also some interesting glimpses of what it takes to motivate a bunch of volunteers towards a collaborative, uhm, thingy. A collaborative work of art? Let's say a collaborative work of art.

Some of you who are paying attention might think "oh hey this story ends in January of 2020 but you're just now getting around to posting a report more than a year later?" That's very observant. It turns out that global pandemics are very distracting (but they become less distracting if/when one gets vaccinated against them).

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2021-06-03T19:21:12.469487

Book Report: Forced Perspectives

This book, sequel to Alternate Routes, further explores a world in which ghosts' haunting behavior obeys physical laws that living humans only halfway understand. Also, self-negating cultists seek to erase their personalities by forming an égrégore, a sort of mystical hive-mind. Much of the action takes place on Topanga Canyon Road, so you can try to imagine what it was like before the fires.

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2021-05-25T22:13:10.950227

💉💉

It's been two weeks since my second COVID vaccine dose. I'm about as immune as I'm gonna get.

photo: taking off the mask, frame 1 photo: taking off the mask, frame 2 photo: taking off the mask, frame 3 photo: taking off the mask, frame 4

San Franciscans, I'm about on pace, vaccination-wise, with the median city resident over 16 years old. I.e., if you're hanging out with other local grown-ups, about half are fully vaccinated as of today.

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2021-05-17T16:26:59.656738

(For folks who are trying to gauge vaccine side effect trends: My arm was a little hurty yesterday near the infection site. Today I feel fine.)

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2021-05-05T19:14:12.590566

Current post shot #2 status: Bracing myself for side effects and/or superpowers.
Circlified selfie

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2021-05-03T19:42:51.845161

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