Your Questions, Answered

At the beginning of the month, I did an Open Mic Friday, and let you all run with your thoughts in the comment thread. A number of questions came up that I promised I’d respond to at some point, and that turned out to be today. So let’s have at it.

Nick asked about the guitar controller compatibility issues with Guitar Hero III. Truth be told, as a Wii owner, i didn’t pay much attention to it. I know there’s some confusion between platforms and with ROCK BAND, but I have my one controller for my one game and that’s all I need.

I know a couple of the major gaming sites actually had charts set up to show you which guitars worked for which games for which systems. Check out or and search around for that. It sounds like it would be most helpful.

I prefer never to have to ask a Best Buy employee for technical assistance. I only head out to there after I’ve done my own research. And never buy the extended warranty!

ShyGuy asks a question that made me think:

Have you found that posting daily in a blog is good for your writing skills? I mean in terms of grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. Does it keep you fresh and make you better at communicating ideas?

I’d like to think it has, but it’s a combination of this blog and writing Pipeline for nearly 11 years now that has done that. I fall into traps and routines and pet phrases and patterns that I find myself working through all the time. I start way too many sentences with “and” or “but” or “oh, and” or “I.” I try to keep an eye out for those and minimized them, where possible. It’s just not always feasible. It’s always time to move onto the next thing.Writing all these thousands of words a month, though, makes your eye more attentive to certain problems. In that regard, I think all of this writing has made me a better writer, and not merely more prolific. There’s still a long way to go. I qualify too many sentences. I’m often too nice in my reviews. I wish I were more entertaining — whether that means more humorous or more pop culture references or more stylized, I don’t know.

Most of the writing I do both here and in Pipeline is fairly conversational. Even with all the writing I do, it’s very hard for me to write something more scholarly. I think of these blog entries and the columns as written chats. I try to go back and make sense and order of those thoughts, but sometimes it’s just a bunch of disassociated things that merge together.

It’s definitely helped with grammar and punctuation, of which I’m very proud and very sensitive when reading others’ writings.

I also wish I could watch a movie or read a comic without thinking of an angle I could review it from. That gets annoying sometimes.

Matthew M. has lots of interesting questions:

  • Why don’t women like the Three Stooges?

And why does my wife NOT think that commercial with cars drifting into parking spots is as cool as I do?

It has to be genetic.

My wife doesn’t like the Marx Bros., either.

  • Why do subtitled films make most American audiences scream in anger?

Americans are a lazy illiterate lot, on average. Sad, but true. They don’t want to “work” at anything. They want everything handed to them on a silver platter, at no obvious cost.

  • What ever happened to Phoebe Cates?

Someone fed her after midnight while hosing her down with water and she died.

Lots more after the break!

  • Why do some people think spraying Febreze on the crotch area of their jeans = “doing laundry??

I’ve never tried that before. Thanks for the idea!

  • Why are people watching that idiotic “Super Sweet 16” show on MTV?

Train wreck theater. It’s also the best way to see the wrong way to raise children. Learning by negative example can be a great thing. I linked to an article here once by a columnist who thought there ought to be a DVD of that show in every newborn’s parent’s schwag bag. I agree.

  • Why do people watch MTV anymore anyhow?

To see who gets too drunk to make it through an entire season of REAL WORLD. Bonus points if that cast member is (A) gay or (B) a student at Rutgers University.

  • Whatever happened to DC’s “Agent Liberty? character?

He’s lined up to be the next Captain America.

  • Why do people at karaoke think they are on “American Idol? and try to belt out long, belabored ballads when people just want to hear salty songs with bawdy lyrics?

I know nothing of this karaoke thing you talk about. Maybe someone else can help you on this one.

  • How come people buy Papasan Chairs from Pier 1?

Because Pier 1 makes them. It’s a nasty little circle. It also explains IKEA.

  • Who named the Vitamins and how come they seem to have stopped in the early letters?

Pure laziness on the part of the medical community.

  • Do they even bother making pencils that aren’t “#2”?

Oh, yeah, and plenty of comic book artists use softer leads. (Hey, I actually had an answer to that one!)

  • Why do people think “Magnolia? is a brilliant movie instead of the overblown garbage that it is?

I kinda liked it, actually, including the frog bit. I think it’s Tom Cruise’s best movie. Too bad I can’t quote his great line on a family-friendly blog such as this.

  • What does Willard Scott do in his spare time?

Wait for his 100th Birthday to see if Al Roker sends him a card.

Brian Smith asks if this is the year he should get cable so he can watch AMERICAN IDOL. Honestly, I can’t recommend spending that kind of money a month just for one TV show. Bit Torrent it, instead.

Josh asks the ages-old question:

Why is it that every time I get some time off I end up getting sick? Nothing ruins a good break from work more than getting sick. If I wanted to sit around feeling miserable, I’d go to work to do it! (Ok, my current job isn’t bad. I actually like it. Now my old job, definitely miserable)

Nice disclaimer at the end there, Josh. Worried someone at work might be reading this blog? ;-)

To answer your question, though: Purell. You need to start using it a week ahead of your scheduled vacation time. Vigorously.

Thanks, everyone, for your questions. I’m opening up the comments to this post for more questions. Throw ’em at me. I’d like to make this a regular Friday feature of the blog.

6 thoughts on “Your Questions, Answered

  1. Regarding subtitles — I have recently come to realize something that applies equally to captions as it does to subtitles. We often turn on captions to catch a line we couldn’t quite understand, and then sometimes leave them on throughout the show/movie. What I’ve noticed is that when the captions are on, I spend more time looking down at them than I do at the visuals, and so I end up feeling like I’m missing part of the experience.

    So I suppose that could be part of people’s resistance to subtitles…

  2. Nah, not worried about anyone at work monitoring what I am doing. Of course, if anyone were monitoring, that would be me. The perks of working in the IT department! Sad thing was the getting sick over the holidays actually ended up being my Mom’s fault as she brought the bug home with her!

  3. Couple questions here Augie:

    -Which of the summer comic book related movie are you looking forward to the most? -Are plans for summer holidays this year or any places you would like to visit? -Do you ever wake up one morning and decide you can’t be bothered to do a V&S post, or is it drummed into your head by now after going at it for so long? -Would also you rank the season 5 finale of The Shield as one of the best, most unexpected/shocking/brilliant scenes ever on TV?

    And for the obligatory nonsense question: You are stuck on a desert island, what kind of cereal do you take with you?


  4. Josh – THAT’S the job I want. I want to be the one in charge of monitoring the web for a company, just so I can look at everything and anything and know that I’ll never catch me. heh heh

    Jeff – I can understand what you mean about looking up and down a lot. It can be tiring. I just learned to read subtitles fast and look only peripherally at them to see when they’ve changed so I can look down again. It doesn’t bother me too too much.

    ShyGuy – Thank YOU for the question. If I had a prize to give out on this, you would have been the winner.

    Paul C – Thanks much. I’ll definitely be up for answering those next Friday.

    Anyone else? Questions, anyone?

  5. If you’ve done this, I’ve missed it: Do you think your podcast voice has changed over the life of the Pipecast thus far?

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