Glossing my Twits: 2HB

Seth Godin recently blogged "If you've got 140 characters to make your point, the odds are you are going to be misunderstood (a lot)." I'm not really surprised that I get questions about my twitter items. E.g., my parents and D. asked what my recent Twitter means. OK, so I'll explain. But I warn you: it's a long story, maybe not worth it.

This time, I recognized the two-headed baby even though I just saw it out of the corner of my eye. It is a skill; it can be learned.

Why "This time"? Because this Twit refers back to a previous one:

I failed to recognize the two-headed baby. I blame the brutal legendary hair.

That Twit probably only made sense to two people reading it; I twitted it anyhow because I liked the sound of "brutal legendary". Ah, but what sense does it make?

I used to work at a game company called Infinite Machine, and so did a bunch of other people. After I.M. went under us people scattered to the four winds. Paul Du Bois and Lance Burton went to a company named Double Fine. Double Fine's logo is a two-headed baby. They are a game company, thus they have artists working for them full-time, therefore they have an awesome logo. This logo is sufficiently awesome that they stitch it onto patches. You can buy these patches.

I'm fond of the company. Remember how I bought an Xbox so I could play an excellent game called "Psychonauts"? And then when I was done with the game, I gave away the XBox and the associated TV because they would never experience anything so awesome again? Double Fine made that game. Anyhow.

Double Fine's project is a game called "Brutal Legend." I don't know much about it except that it's based on the iconography and imagery of Heavy Metal. And lately, they've been making two-headed baby patches upon which the 2HB sports long headbanger-ish hair. (Available now! Just $5) If you waxed lyrical, you might refer to it as brutal legendary hair. Anyhow.

At work a coupla weeks ago, some of us folks on a project are walking along. One of them asks the project's Tech Lead about the patch on his jacket. I'd kinda noticed that there was a patch on his jacket, but now I looked closer--OMG 2HB! He was wearing a Double Fine Two-Headed Baby patch. His spouse, it turns out, works at Double Fine. (What are the chances?) It looked different from the logo I was used to--it had the head-bangerish hair.

So I'd seen this patch a few times and failed to recognize it until someone pointed it out--maybe because the head-bangerish made it look different. Thus, I failed to recognize the two-headed baby. I blame the brutal legendary hair.

With me so far? OK.

Sunday evening, I'm trotting down my apartment building's stairwell, heading out for the evening. Someone else is coming up that same stairwell. We mutter greetings at each other, drift right, move past each other. And after we'd passed each other, some synapses in my brain finish firing and I ask... I ask something which, if the answer had been "no", would have been pretty embarrassing. I asked "Excuse me, is that the two-headed baby logo?" The answer was yes, yes it was. He was wearing a jacket with the patch. This guy lives upstairs from me. It turns out he sits right next to Paul Du Bois at work, because he works at Double Fine. I was pleased that I'd recognized the logo this time--and noticed it en passant.

Of course, part of the reason I'd succeeded this time is that earlier, I'd stared at that other patch, wondering "why didn't I recognize this?" The image was burned into my brain.

OK, so this time I recognized the two-headed baby logo out of the corner of my eye, probably because I'd been staring at the logo recently. Thus This time, I recognized the two-headed baby even though I just saw it out of the corner of my eye. It is a skill; it can be learned.

Fair warning: April is coming up. April is National Poetry Month. In April, I reserve the right to Twitter things solely because they sound interesting--and they might not have any basis in reality whatsoever.

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Book Report: The Breeze from the East

Mostly, I am not reading books. While I work on the Hogwarts write-up, I am not reading books. Mostly. I've posted some book reports in the past few weeks--but I'd read those books beforehand, written the book reports halfway.

I've been reading comic books and magazines. Quick reads, they don't distract me for long. I guess if it takes me much longer to finish the Hogwarts write-up, I can post some book reports about comic books.

But. But today I read a book. Today I went to the post office. I had recieved a slip of paper, a slip of paper saying that a registered letter was waiting for me. This was worrisome. Who sends registered mail? I have sent registered mail twice in the past, each time to a dishonest landlord. Registered mail means that you're edging towards a lawsuit, doesn't it? Who would send me registered mail? Who had a grievance towards me?

Anyhow, it was a relief when the registered mail turned out to be a book from R. S. J. Reddy, that crank who mailed me a book full of fake proofs that Pi is 3.1464. He might have a grievance against me after the mean things I said about his Pi book. Yet today he had not sent me a lawsuit. Instead he had sent me a book of his poetry. I was so relieved that it wasn't a lawsuit that I read it on my bus ride.

This book was titled "The Breeze from the East", and it is Book 1 of a translation of some presumably even longer poem called "Sarvam Jagannadham". Reddivari Sarva Jagannadha Reddy wrote the original; and A.L.N. Murthy took the time to translate this part of it.

It's a sort of devotional poem, saying that the world is a wonderful place and that we should live wisely and well. It's pretty vague about how one should do this. This allows the reader to project their own beliefs onto the poem and convince themselves that they agree with it, and that it thus must be wise.

I am no doubt being harsh in this summary of the poem. After reading several of Reddy's false proofs that the value of Pi is 3.1464, I look for snake oil in everything associated with him. If anyone else had written this poem, I would think it harmless.

I'll point out the third poem, which mentions Ramanujan.

Einstein, who worked in a patent office, became a great scientist
Ramanujan, who worked in a port office, became a great mathematician
Madame Curie, who engaged little children in tuition, became a gem of womanhood
Raman won the Nobel prize with a small instrument

I guess that these are Reddy's heroes. Ramanujan is one of his heroes. Did Reddy convince himself that he must discover a new value of Pi so that he, too, could be a great mathematician?

Later on, in poem 89:

My intellect solved more skillfully than my imagination

Except for that value of Pi. He pulled that one out of his... imagination.

That was a cheap shot, wasn't it? I guess it's tough to overcome a first impression. My first impression of Mr. Reddy is someone who tells false proofs. Should I hold that against his poetry?

Finally, from poem 117:

A critic knows the imaginative power of the poets.

Ah, "a critic". I guess that's me. To see how I waste the imaginative power of the poets, I guess you can look in the comments of this recent blog post by lessachu. I wrote a couple of haiku there, the one that starts "My development" (arguably funny to people who study software development methodologies) and the one that starts "Dashdash dashdashdash" (arguably funny to people who like Morse code).

OK, not many people will find those poems funny, but at least I'm not propogating false math proofs.

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Book Report (of a sort): Sucker's Progress (more or less)

National poetry month is April.
So I'll rhyme all month! Oh yes I will.

A book not to read if you're in a hurry?
The long Sucker's Progress is by Richard Asbury

Its style is both list-y and rambling;
a survey of U.S. gamblers and gambling.
For many days, it was my commute reading.
Concerning faro, poker, blackjack, and cheating.
I hoped to learn many cardsharps' antics,
But our nation's crooks re-use the same tricks.
If you want mini-biographies, there's somehting doin',
With many tales of rise and ruin.
To me, beyond the year, city, and name,
These stories began to sound the same.

This work seems well-researched, not swayed by bull
As such, I found it kind of dull.
Our nation's gambling? I guess I've seen it.
Anybody want a peanut?

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