Don’t look for anything too serious here, consireding I’ll write most of these while frothing at the mouth.

Seriously, What Can I Eat?

This is a total rant. Nothing of value here other than ranting, so if you don’t feel like reading a rant, skip this. (Of course, you can check the post for the awesome salad dressing recipe found within, but don’t bother reading anything else if you don’t want to read a rant.)

I’m getting sick of this. No, really, the whole contradiction thing when it comes to what foods are good for you and which aren’t. From one side, I’m told X foods are bad for you, eat Y foods. From another I hear A foods are bad for you, eat B foods. Problem is that the list each gives me pretty much cancels out the list the other gives. Any way I can survive, you know, without food? Read more…

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Posted by Gnorb - April 28, 2008 at 8:23 pm

Categories: Rants   Tags:

So, When Should I Start Caring?

I belong to more than a few email groups. Usually, these are for subjects I wish to learn on: psychology, health, writing, philosophy, etc. Recently I joined a particular health group because I wanted to find out more about a particular condition, one that isn’t well studied but which is being revealed as being more prominent than people once thought. I did this in order to learn, and to help others. However, the old adage “No good deed goes unpunished” proved true, as it was my helping others that cost me my ability to learn more about it. I’ll explain: Read more…

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Posted by Gnorb - April 26, 2008 at 11:38 am

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Why Do People Feel the Need to Shout Into Their Cell Phone?

A few weeks ago I was riding with a friend in his car, a 2000 Lexus something or other. It’s a nice car, very quiet; not much noise makes it to the cabin from the road. At one point in the ride we’re chatting, talking normally, when all of a sudden he gets a phone call. Read more…

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Posted by Gnorb - May 10, 2007 at 7:54 am

Categories: Observations, Rants   Tags:

Life Updates

Talk about one heck of a week! I know you probably haven’t been wondering about why I haven’t posted all that much recently (well, other than “why hasn’t Gnorb posted more? Hmm…”), but I’ll explain anyway.

This has been one really screwy week. I’ll start with last night and sort of jump around from there. Read more…

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Posted by Gnorb - January 28, 2007 at 12:02 pm

Categories: Life, Money, Rants, Sci-Fi   Tags:

Battlestar Galactica, Season 1 Observations

I just finished watching the first season of the new Sci-Fi Chanel version of Battlestar Gallactica. I wrote about it before, after having seen the opening movie, and while I wasn’t too impressed, I liked what I saw. (Luckily in sci-fi there are only two kinds of movies: good movies and funny movies. The first are usually intentional and very well planned out. The second usually aren’t.) I borrowed a copy of the DVDs from a friend (Thank you, Dora!) and decided to spend one night watching the whole season. Thankfully, while not a sci-fi nerd, The Wife likes sci-fi just enough to watch the series with me. What follows are a few observations I made regarding the show. This isn’t a review, so don’t expect one. Also, don’t expect it to be very serious: while the observations are real, remember than in sci-fi there are never any bad moments: only good ones and funny ones. Read more…

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Posted by Gnorb - January 22, 2007 at 10:07 am

Categories: Rants, Sci-Fi   Tags:

All-Out Rant: Gary

Ok, for way too long I’ve kept silence on a personal issue, and right now I need to let out some of my emotional outrage. If you feel like reading about the yellow-bellied, no morals, spineless, unprincipled, pussy-whipped coward that is (soon to be “was”) my brother-in-law, keep reading. Otherwise, stop right here. Read more…

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Posted by Gnorb - November 27, 2006 at 12:49 am

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MySpace: Pigeonhole Madness and Web Design Insanity

As I’ve admitted before, I have a penchant for doing those tests which pigeonhole you into a particular category. Some are good, some are hilarious, and most just plain suck. Ever since I joined MySpace a week (or so) ago, I’ve seen more of those things than I could have possibly ever imagined. Seriously, it’s like everyone there has one of those things displayed in their profile page:

“Which Ninja Turtle are you?” ” What city do you belong in?” “How strange are you?” “Which member of the A-Team are you?” “Who’s your daddy?” “Who’s your mommy?” “How Paris Hilton-esque are you?” “Which mass murderer are you?” “What color do you taste like?” — AAARRRGGHHH!!!

Now, I like taking these tests and all — don’t ask me why — but most of these fall under the “just plain horrible” category, which means that they’re actually a form of mental vampire or sucubus trap, so if you take the time to take them your IQ falls 20 points and you automatically begin drooling.

Here’s the cool part, at least from a Web-page owner’s point of view: at the bottom of every single one of these tests, there’s always a link leading you to the test, which I’m sure is great for PageRank, provided Google even spiders MySpace. (I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t. Google wants to organize all the world’s information, but MySpace is where they probably send their spiders to die. It’s like, if you’re a bad spider then *bam!* off to the MySpace Gulag, where you’ll spend the rest of your miserable, Web crawler life. I’m sure it’s a horrible death.)

You know, maybe I should write up a test like this. Maybe something like, “which one are you, a Ninja or a Pirate?” And I could write up questions like “Pick which one best describes you: (a) You usually surprise people because you can sneak up behind them with the silence of a church fart, or (b) People often tell you “Oh, I was just thinking about you,” and always just happen to know when you’re within a mile from them.” Heck, with the way some of these tests are built, that could be the only question and it would be enough to get me into some MySpace profiles, just so long as I put a funny picture associated with the result. No picture, no linking. Really, the only thing stopping me is that I don’t really know much PHP or JavaScript, and I’ve forgotten most of the HTML I knew (save for the basic stuff I use to make this page). Maybe there’s a test generator somewhere on the Web. (“Which personality type test are you…?”)

Another thing I noticed about MySpace pages: most people — wishing to express their individuality and show the world how unique and special they are — don’t stick with the basic theme. That’s all well and good. Heck, I’m a big proponent of individuality. The problem is that 99% of all MySpace themes suck. And I don’t just mean they suck in the put-a-straw-in-your-mouth-and-suck sort of way, I mean that these things give Hoover a run for its money. It’s like they could pick up bowling balls from the carpet just by their shier suckyness. Just open the page, and *sluuuuurrp* “whoa, why is all the furniture flying towards me?” Seriously, a depressurizing cabin in outer space doesn’t have the sucking power of some of these pages. Take this dork, for example. What the hell is up with having translucent text and images, with virtually no opacity, then sticking a picture of a yellow Ferrari in a high-contrast color photo as the background?! The only possible explanation I can come up with is that this guy just doesn’t want anyone reading his page. That’s it, nothing else. It’s like this guy couldn’t figure out how to use the “make profile private” button, so he decided instead to make his page totally unreadable to anyone, including himself. (This wasn’t the first instance of opacity abuses. I’ve seen many, many, MANY more.)

Now, I wish this guy had the worst page I’d seen, but no: although his page is horribly stupidly designed, it’s not as eye-gougingly hideous as most of the pages I’ve seen. Seriously, if you want a good laugh, just go to MySpace, click “Browse” and start clicking around. I guarantee it won’t be more than 1 minute before you run into some of the butt-ugliest, sucktastic Web pages you have ever seen. Remember Angelfire? Well, it’s worse than that. The only thing I can possibly compare it to is watching a retarded bear at the circus. I mean, you wanna laugh, ’cause he’s riding on the tricycle and everything, but you feel bad because the bear’s retarded, and you just want to say “Just… stop it. Please. Leave it be.” That’s the same way I feel when I see some of these pages, like they were done by retarded circus bears.

Please, people, if you don’t know how to design, grab a template or something. Hell, pay someone $10 to make you a theme, or better yet, just keep the basic theme and pay attention to little things like page widths (because nothing sucks more than having to horizontally scroll to read a page because a picture somewhere in the page is too frig’n big).

Anyway, I’m done ranting for now. Just had to get that out of my system.

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Posted by Gnorb - July 12, 2006 at 11:39 am

Categories: Rants   Tags:

MySpace…for the attention whore…in all of us…hahahaha…j/k

A couple of weeks back I got an email from a friend. The email, which seemed frantic at best, ignored most of the laws of conventional English in that there were no capitalizations, no complete sentences, and all punctuations were replaced with ellipses (…). As I read it, my heart began to race, my blood pressure arose, and I suddenly found myself sweating, even though the temperature was at about 75-degrees (Fahrenheit). “Why do people write like that?!” I thought. I shrugged it off as it just being one of those emails written in a hurry, where information is being communicated just well enough for the reader to both understand it and understand that it was done super quickly. After all, this friends was always a great writer and this was something I didn’t exactly associate with her.

A few days ago, I got another email from the same person. This email was written in the same frantic style, making my head feel again as if it was about to explode. “What,” I thought, “could have possibly gotten into her?!” I didn’t actually ask, since I didn’t want to offend, but I couldn’t help think that some form of parasite had burrowed into her brain. I’ll admit, I’m being a bit anal about this matter, but c’mon: I’m a writer and an editor. It comes with the territory. (Note: I know, I know — I don’t edit this blog as much as I could/should. It’s not meant to be that professional anyway. Like it or not, that’s the way it is. Hypocrisy be damned!)

Yesterday, I was at my parent’s place. My younger sister, who has her own MySpace page and circle of friends, was sitting at the computer writing an email to one of her MySpace pals. Being the cyber-quidnunc that I am (sometimes), I looked over her shoulder to see what she was writing.

There it was again: the writing.

hey…didnt c u at Amp last night… tell mel i’ll be flying in at 12… i dont plan on staying up too late either… yeah, I feel old too, but at least u’re already doing what older people are supposed to do….lol….responsibilities!! I will definitely keep u updated…

It seems like the Internet’s spawned yet another lingo: MySpaceTalk.

MySpace has always been a bit of an enigma to me. In fact, I hadn’t heard of it until about a year ago, when someone told me that it was “like LiveJournal, but different.” Yeah, real descriptive there, buddy. Other than that, I’ve pretty much ignored it until recently, when I began to hear that a lot of people were using MySpace as a way of getting in touch with old friends. “That’s not a bad idea,” I thought. After all, MySpace has something like 75,000,000 subscribed users (or about 10% of all Internet users world wide, if you don’t account for the myriad of users with multiple accounts), so I’m sure at least a few people I know are probably there.

After looking around for a bit, I decided to take the plunge and open up my own MySpace page. I figured it could help me network by helping people who may be looking for me (and who can’t find me via Google, which has Gnorb.NET on the second page for the search term “Norbert Cartagena” after a few meta tag blunders I made with this site when I revamped it), find me. Furthermore, I figured I could use it as a technique to drive visitors to this site while still allowing them to comment on MySpace if they should choose. This one I’m still a bit unsure about, but I’ll see how it turns out.

The one thing I still have to do…aside from setting up my MySpace profile…is work on my MySpaceTalk cos that way i can communicate with people and seem like im all busy…which i am so dont bother me…j/k hahahaha…. loves ya!

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Posted by Gnorb - July 5, 2006 at 11:13 am

Categories: Random, Rants, SEO   Tags:

Since When is a Plurally-Referenced Singular Acceptable?

What follows is an English lesson. If you are a blogger, write for any sort of Internet website, or are a writer in the sports world, this post is for you. This post is also for the rest of us who are tired of your constant violation of the English language.

Read the following sentences out loud:

  • Google are buying Yahoo.
  • Argentina have done well in the World Cup.
  • Before yesterday, Microsoft were doing better in the stock market.

Odd, are they not? Read them again. Sound them out. Something isn’t quite right, is it? Now, compare them to the following sentences:

  • Google is buying Yahoo.
  • Argentina has done well in the World Cup
  • Before yesterday, Microsoft was doing better in the stock market.

Which of these two batches sounds right? Anyone who paid attention to English in grade school would emphatically state that the second batch sounds right. Yet, this common sense grammar is increasingly being attacked and shredded to bits by the Internet media, bloggers and news soruces alike. This poor, deranged group believes that because an organization is comprised of more than one individual, it can rightly be referred to in the plural on a consistent basis.

Newsflash: This is wrong. Not just wrong in the “oops, I don’t know how to use a possessive apostrophe” sort of way, it’s wrong in the “All your base are belong to us” sort of way. It is an affront to the basic constructs of the English language.

So what would posses writers everywhere to abandon common sense and go around describing one country, team or organization as a “they” in order to be consistent when it comes to whether something is referred to in the singular or in the plural, to have it one way, all the time, every time? The problem here is that one of the basic laws of English is being violated: if there is one, you refer to it in the singular; if there are more than one, you refer to them in the plural.

Where does this nonsense come from? Why is Argentina no longer singular? Why is “Google are going to do something” being used in lieu of “Google is going to do something”? It’s an abstraction, plain and simple. The speaker (or writer) is shortening the sentence at some point by making one abstraction, and in order to not break the rule which states that you should not use both plural and singular when referring to the same thing, the writer instead elects to make another abstraction as opposed to correcting the sentence. Here’s what I mean:

The following paragraph shows how people would generally speak:

Brazil is expected to win the World Cup. Why, just recently, they beat Japan, who was playing poorly anyway.

Obviously, this is incorrect, even though the speaker can safely presume that the listener will understand the sentence as follows:

[The team from] Brazil is expected to win the World Cup. Why, just recently, they [the Brazilians] beat the [team from] Japan, who was playing poorly anyway.

In order to correct this sentence, Internet writers could have done the following:

Brazil is expected to win the World Cup. Why, just recently, the team beat Japan, who was doing poorly anyway.

However, instead of doing the common sense thing, writers (especially sports writers) have given in to the pressure of bad Internet grammar, and have opted to make a few more abstractions in order to shorten their word count while unifying the sentence structure. For example:

Brazil are expected to win the World Cup. Why, just recently, they beat Japan, who were playing poorly anyway.

This is obviously wrong. The writer, while keeping in tact the plural referencing within the sentence, is presuming that the reader will understand the following:

[The] Brazil[ian players] are expected to win the World Cup. Why, just recently, they beat [the] Japan[ese]. who were playing poorly anyway.

The problem here is two-fold. First, the writer is presuming the reader will make all the correct abstractions (and for the most part, the writer is correct in making this presumption). Second — and this is the most important — the writer is destroying the flow of the language. The sentence is almost unspeakable! In this case the writer is trying to make plural references universal, even though plural references obviously have no place in some arenas. Here are a few more examples:

  • Canada: singular. Canadians: plural. Usage: Canada is doing better. The Canadians have gone all out this year.
  • Iraq: singular. Iraqis: plural. Usage: Iraq is doing well in this year’s games. The Iraqis have already made an impact.

Now, there are instances when something that seems like a singular is actually correctly referred to as a plural. Examples::

  • The Tampa Bay Lightning were not able to defend their championship status.
  • The Miami Heat have just beaten the Dallas Mavericks!

“Lightning” and “Heat” serve as both singular and plural. (You’ve never heard of “Lightnings” and “Heats”, have you?) In none of these sentences, however, is it OK to eliminate the team name and keep the plural referencing.

  • Tampa Bay were not able to defend their championship status.
  • Miami have just beaten Dallas!

Contrast that to this:

  • Tampa Bay was not able to defend its championship status.
  • Miami has just beaten Dallas!

In all of these examples it is understood that the speaker is referring to the team associated with the city. Yes, the team is comprised of a group of players. Yes, the team is usually referred to in the plural. Still, only the second set of examples actually obeys the laws of English, and as such it doesn’t make much sense to eliminate the team name and still keep the plural referencing. For example, New York is only one city, and the team from New York is only one team. To say “New York are loading up on quarterbacks” is no more correct than saying “The New York Jets is loading up on quarterbacks.”

A pluralistic description of a team is due to the fact that most teams have pluralistic names: Bulls, Seahawks, Raiders, Hornets, Thrashers, Senators, etc. That’s fine, and if the team name is referenced then the team should by all rights be referred to in the plural. When the name is not mentioned, however, it is not OK to talk about it as if the team name was there.

The Miami Dolphins is going to the Super Bowl.

Man, am I ever glad the New York Times never decided to make that abstraction. For years, the laws of writing stated that if you spoke of something plural you stayed in the plural, and if you spoke of something in the singular, you stayed in the singular. Apparently, this is no longer the case.

This is wrong, plain and simple.

Flagrant violators to this basic rule of English include most blogs, most Internet forums, and most sport-related websites. I point out sports-related websites because there are cases, especially when it comes to large news outlets, in which both the correct and incorrect styles are used by different departments. Here are two examples from the BBC:

  • “It is a style, though, that Ecuador have moved right away from.”
    (from http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/world_cup_2006/5093548.stm)
  • “Microsoft has admitted it was late to spot the threat from the net.”
    (from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/5086994.stm)

When a news source as respected as the BBC can’t even get its own act together, what hope do we have?

All in all, here’s what it boils down to: When referring to one unit, such as a sports team or a company, go ahead and talk in the singular, even at the cost of having to transition later on from singular to plural, but use common sense. When it comes to sports, if the team name is mentioned, you will likely need to use the plural. That’s perfectly OK. If only the city or country of origin is mentioned, please do the English language a favor and refer to it as singular. I’m pretty sure the team members wouldn’t mind. Finally, cut down the abstractions. English is screwed up enough as it is without any new nonsensical abstractions, so the less of those there are, the better it is for all of us.

[Editor’s Note: Maybe I should reprint Strunk and White: Elements of Style here. I’m sure it’ll help more than just one or two people.]

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Posted by Gnorb - June 25, 2006 at 10:20 am

Categories: Favorites, Rants, Sports   Tags:

Follow Up: Anti-Muslim Cartoons are a No-No, but Anti-Christian? Have At It!

This is a follow up to this article (Anti-Muslim Cartoon Exposes Media Hypocrisy):

Depicting Muhammed in a manner that might be offensive is not only taboo, it’s not proper use of “freedom of speech.” But offending Christians by purposely depicting Jesus insultingly? Well if that’s not freedom of speech then I don’t know what is! Here’s exactly what I’m talking about: http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/003630.html.

In short, a Canadian newspaper, The Sheaf, decided to not run the “anti-muslim” cartooms out of “respect”, citing the moral high ground, then turned around and published what can be only described as pure filth and a slap in the face to every Christian: a caricature of Jesus giving felatio to a pig who tells him “it’s kosher if you don’t swallow.” (The cartoon was commenting on the relationship between corporations and Christians in politics.)

Got something to say about it? (I expect you should.) Just email The paper at editor@thesheaf.com. Again, that’s editor@thesheaf.com.

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Posted by Gnorb - March 9, 2006 at 11:48 am

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