Monthly Archives: April 2021

NYT Spelling Bee 4-18-21 final

Today in LA it was about 90. Yesterday Google said that it would be that today–an increase of 17 degrees. So today it was hot and windy and dry, and now I’m sneezing and feel like I’m drowning. To make matters worse, today’s Spelling Bee was absurd. You’ll have to pardon me for the lack of creativity in this post. My head is throbbing, and I’m going to take a benadryl. Benefits of benedryl for me: I can fall asleep, and my allergies can clear up overnight. Downside is that the sleep I get is not restful. So I take it only when absolutely necessary. Sooooo, exceedingly rarely.

Yesterday I missed JUJU, LUAU, LULU, LUNA, ULNA, and ULNAR.

Meatier Misses

ANNULAR: Ring-shaped.
JOURNO: informal A journalist.
LUNULA: The white area at the base of a fingernail.

Today’s summary

Final score: 29 words for 126 points.

UPDATE: 30 words for 131 points. Head throbbing.

Genius minimum: 132 points.
First word: PARANOID.

King of the Hill joke!

NYT Spelling Bee 4-17-21 final

Calah and I have been watching seasons of The Amazing Race. Now we’re on in Season 7, and there’s an episode in Argentina where they have to ride horses. They keep saying, “Horsing around,” and all I can think about is:

BoJack Horseman

Yesterday I missed DOWNWIND. I had a high school teacher who repeatedly made the joke: “What did Louis XVI say when he was told he peasants are revolting? ‘Stand upwind, and you won’t notice!'” French Revolution jokes can be funny the first time, they get funny again at the 135th time. If you are questioning me about that, try it! The people around you will make you believe.

Meatier Misses

HOODOO: A religion practiced in parts of the Caribbean and the southern US and characterized by sorcery and spirit possession; voodoo.
WIDOWHOOD: The state or period of being a widow or widower.

Today’s summary

Final score: 14 words for 68 points.
Genius minimum: 68 points.
First word: RURAL.
Pangram: JOURNAL.

Saturday baseball series 4-17-21

Last week I said I should start a series about baseball. Baseball and series seem to go together naturally. So why not?

This series will cover things like the rules of baseball over time, my experiences playing baseball, my experiences broadcasting baseball, and my experiencing broadcasting overall.

When I went to UCSB, I took the opportunity to broadcast sports. The origin story will be in some future post, but this one, I’ll limit to to broadcasting baseball.

When I the KCSB-FM Sports Staff, I was very interested in broadcasting baseball. I had played baseball as a child, in high school, Senior Little League, an LA municipal league. I grew up watching the Dodgers and listening to Vin Scully. I was born shortly before the Dodgers won the World Series in 1988, and until recently, it was easy to recite how long it had been since the boys in blue had been able to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy.

Unfortunately for me, there was a lot of competition on KCSB Sports staff for baseball games.

Fortunately for the listeners of KCSB, though, there was a lot of competition on KCSB Sports staff for baseball games, and I had no seniority.

I got to cover games for the Gaucho Sports Spot, which was awesome. I sat near the guys who were calling the games for the radio station. Regularly, they were John Greely and Matt Connolly and I think Marco Alfandary. I could be wrong. But I think it was those three.

That’s not to say that these guys were selfish. They weren’t. KCSB Sports was known for being welcoming and inclusive. But with more time comes more experience that makes you better, so priority makes sense–especially for the big games.

They’d have their headphones on and talk about the game. They’d reference other games and statistics and they’d compare what was going on in front of all of us to something that had happened in a prior year.

Now, I knew that to broadcast sports properly, research was extremely important.

You don’t know what you’ll be faced with, so you have to overprepare. And then use a miniscule amount of what you found because it doesn’t enhance a listener’s experience to talk about something unrelated to the game solely because it’s the result of research.

I knew that the written play-by-play of each game is generally easily available on a college team’s website, but who can remember every single play from reading that and put it into context in real time?

After one game, I asked them how they did it.

“Huh? Research those stories? No, we were there. We saw those things happen. Dude how could we have known to look that up?”

Later I got to do the same.

NYT Spelling Bee 4-16-21 final

I’ve started to stream Rocket League on Twitch. I set up my computer to capture my PS4 controller in addition to my screen. When it works, it adds to the fun of watching me play the game. I’ve had up to two spectators at one time, I think. Pretty good for someone new to streaming on twitch! I think I’d probably have more viewers if I talked during the games, but I don’t have my mic on, so that’s how it goes.


Meatier Misses


Doxxing is like a personal major earthquake.

If you’re unfamiliar with doxxing, it’s when someone maliciously posts information about a person that can help people who aren’t that person’s friends to identify any combination of that person, that person’s family, and that person’s friends. It’s a very unkind thing to do.

Just like how small earthquakes happen frequently in general, so do mean comments/replies.

The difference between The Big One and doxxing is that the latter doesn’t have to happen.

Today’s summary

Final score: 19 words for 66 points
Genius minimum: 62 points.
First word: LOWDOWN.
Pangram: DOWNHILL.

NYT Spelling Bee 4-15-21 final

Netflix’s The Circle is back! Calah and I have watched the first installment of four episodes, and it’s not the same as the first season. I think it was smart of Netflix to avoid trying to replicate the magic of Joey and Shooby. It would have fallen flat. I don’t know how they lucked into having those two on the first season. But this second season is different. It’s good in its own right. Worth watching.

Yesterday I–wow! I missed the pangram and didn’t even know it. Hmm. Well, the pangram was NONALCOHOLIC. No wonder I missed it? I also missed AIOLI (again), CALLALAOO, CANONICAL, CILIA, LANOLIN, LOIN, NONCLINICAL, NONILLION, and NONLOCAL.

Meatier Misses

COLCANNON: An Irish and Scottish dish of cabbage and potatoes boiled and pounded. Just sounds Old World to me.

OK, maybe it doesn’t look Old World. Also seems interesting. But probably for other people and not for me.

LOACH: A small elongated bottom-dwelling freshwater fish with several barbels near the mouth, found in Eurasia and northwestern Africa.

For just $10, it’s cheap! Or expensive. I don’t know how much they cost elsewhere.

Today’s summary

Final score: 23 words for 138 points.
Genius minimum: 136 points.
First word: ZONING.
Final word: NOGGIN.

NYT Spelling Bee 4-14-21 final

It’s Wednesday, which means we watch an episode of the 1968 show The Prisoner. Without spoiling anything, it’s hard to consider either that we’re close to the end or that it hasn’t ended already. I won’t say anything more about that show for now.

Special nod to Calah for steering me toward CLOACA today. She reads the blog and knows the ones that I miss. If we worked together on these, we might get Queen Bee a lot of the time. Something to consider.


Meatier Misses

LECH: informal, derogatory A lecher.
(Bonus!) LECHER: A lecherous man.
(Double Bonus!) LECHEROUS: Having or showing excessive or offensive sexual desire. Oh. That wasn’t worth all that work. But good times.

WEAL: A red, swollen mark left on flesh by a blow or pressure. So like a welt?

From etymonline:

weal (n.2)

“raised mark on skin,” 1821, alteration of wale (q.v.).

wale (n.)

Old English walu “ridge, bank” of earth or stone, later “ridge made on flesh by a lash” (related to weal (n.2)); from Proto-Germanic *walu- (source also of Low German wale “weal,” Old Frisian walu “rod,” Old Norse völr “round piece of wood,” Gothic walus “a staff, stick,” Dutch wortel, German wurzel “root”), from PIE root *wel- (3) “to turn, revolve.” The common notion perhaps is “raised line.” Used in reference to the ridges of textile fabric from 1580s. Wales “horizontal planks which extend along a ship’s sides” is attested from late 13c.

So let’s see if I’m right.

welt (n.)

early 15c., a shoemaker’s term, perhaps related to Middle English welten “to overturn, roll over” (c. 1300), from Old Norse velta “to roll” (related to welter (v.)). Meaning “ridge on the skin from a wound” is first recorded 1800.

OK I think I’m right. That brings up the origin of etymonline. While it’s amazing and authoritative, it’s also run by a dude. Or the government. Or spies. I don’t know. Seems like a crazy undertaking for a solo individual.

Today’s summary

Final score: 55 words for 230 points.
Genius minimum: 226 points.
First word: ALCOHOL.
Last word: CHINCHILLA.

NYT Spelling Bee 4-13-21 final

The internet went out again tonight. It seems to happen on Tuesday nights more than it happens on other nights. I don’t know why that is, but I’m certain it’s personal. Spectrum, man, I’m telling you. They told me that they do see that there’s an unplanned outage. They also said that they don’t know when it will be fixed. I’m writing this post in Notepad, and I’m going to try to toss it up on the blog by making my phone a hotspot as soon as I’m done writing. This certainly could be less annoying of a process. Using my phone’s browser, I looked briefly at T-Mobile for home internet. It doesn’t sound so bad. So I opened my computer to look more at the details. Of course I realized as I was typing that there was no internet to my computer, so that’s where my research has ended for the moment.


Meatier Misses

I guess luckily for me because the internet is down that the only words I missed were ones I really should have gotten. I’ve watched enough Project Runway to hear Tim Gunn say it. Though it’s always a shame that he has to say it at all. I also first consciously heard the word zaftig in that show. And to think they said learning stops after high school!


Today’s Summary

Final score: 26 words for 104 points.
Genius minimum: 102 points.
First word: CHEWABLE.
Pangram: CHEWABLE.

Woodworking: First-ever cushions project (Part 3)

I left off last week in my seat cushion project having purchased the plywood boards I wanted but without a way to cut them to size. In a complete nonadventure, I purchased the jigsaw blades from amazon.

I had done a lot of research into which blades I needed because jigsaw blades come in many teeth arrangements. I learned that a 10 TPI (teeth per inch) blade is good for plywood, so that’s what I used. I got a multipack, so now I have ample supply. Also I guess there is no immediate need to expand my DeWalt set to include a cordless jigsaw because I have all these U-shank blades. Longtime readers of this blog know how my DeWalt set continues to expand.

Finally equipped with the tools I needed to cut the boards to size, it became a matter of tracing and actually cutting.

Rather than measuring, I used the perfect stencil: the prior seat board! And, lined up, it looked pretty good to me. And I did the same with the other chair so I could knock out

I clamped the board to my table, which is a super important step when cutting so it doesn’t chatter away or get grabbed and stuck in the teeth of the saw and just go out of control.

Then to the cutting. Now, I hadn’t used a jigsaw in I don’t know how long, so I was hopeful that I wouldn’t screw things up. I checked that the blade was firmly in place because, as I mentioned, this is a U-shank blade. A T-shank blade is supposed to snap into place without such concerns. Like how my impact driver bits snap into place for a quick change without having to tighten a chuck. I’ve not used a T-shank jigsaw, but this is my understanding of it.

That went well. Apparently, I have no pictures of the first cuts, but I do for the second board.

Things were looking up. The jigsaw was very easy to use.

I had spent all that time researching how to get pre-cut boards, and all it took to get some in this shape was a few quick cuts.

I was well on my way, sure, but the edges were rough. I had to find a way to chamfer them. But with all my tools, I didn’t have any planes. And I’d long learned my lesson that trying to sand a corner is a tedious process that makes lots of dust and is unreliable for a uniform surface.

I began to research planes. More on that next week.

NYT Spelling Bee 4-12-21 final

I decided to make a pizza because I’m hungry. I looked in the fridge after having had to throw away one bag of cheese today because it was moldy and found a second bag of moldy cheese. Completely sealed. Sell by July of this year. I do not understand. I’m glad I had one more bag of cheese. Now it’s open. I’ll have to get more.

Yesterday I missed NEOCON and a bunch of words I don’t know.

Meatier Misses

FLOUNCE: Go or move in an exaggeratedly impatient or angry manner. This is the second pangram. I’ve never heard this used. It also isn’t fluid ounce.

From etymonline:

flounce (v.)

1540s, “to dash, plunge, flop,” perhaps from Scandinavian (compare dialectal Swedish flunsa “to plunge,” Norwegian flunsa “to hurry, work hurriedly,” but first record of these is 200 years later than the English word), said to be of imitative origin. Spelling likely influenced by bounce. Notions of “anger, impatience” began to adhere to the word 18c. Related: Flouncedflouncing. As a noun from 1580s in reference to a sudden fling or turn of the body; by mid-18c. especially as expressing impatience or disdain.

EFFLUENCE: A substance that flows out from something.
FECULENCE: The quality of or containing dirt, sediment, or waste matter. Essentially, crappiness.
LUNE: A crescent-shaped figure formed on a sphere or plane by two arcs intersecting at two points.

Intuitive, really.

NUCLEON: A proton or neutron.

Today’s summary

Final score: 17 words for 94 points.
Genius minimum: 88 points.
First word: WILLOWY.

NYT Spelling Bee 4-11-21 final

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine who works in the accounting and consulting side of restructuring businesses. We agreed that I look at accounting with businesses continuing to survive. You really can only work with a company on credit if you think it will continue to exist, and that is what the going concern principle is. The concern will keep going. But since he works in the restructuring and bankruptcy, he lives by different rules. I offered that he uses the going, going, gone principle. I’m not so smart that I’m the first person who has ever made that joke, but I’ve not heard it anywhere, so I came to it on my own.

Yesterday I missed ADDEND, ADDENDA, ADENINE, AGENDA, AIDE (though I got AIDED), DEAN, IDEA, KINDA, NAIAD, and NANNIED. Shame on me for missing ENGAGE, ENGAGED, and ENGAGING.

Meatier Misses

ENNEAD: A group or set of nine.
NANKEEN: A yellowish cotton cloth.

Today’s summary

Final score: 33 words for 120 points.
Genius minimum: 116 points.
First word: FUNNEL.