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Topics - sortitus

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Site News / Relocation: Choose a Direction
« on: August 18, 2010, 07:47:42 PM »
I'm defying Horace Greeley's advice and heading in a mostly anti-westerly direction, leaving Utah to (hopefully) never return. I'm moving to a city just outside Baltimore, Maryland the second week of September! It will be the fifth move for me within 10 months (woo, house sitting). I'll be in Baltimore until Decemberish (possibly later). Does anybody here live on the East coast? If so, we should boogie.

Anyway, why start a topic when you can start a topic and a poll? Polls should be required for all new topics. Because polls are awesome. You can choose three directions to be most specific! Are you moving? If so, where are you headed?

Suggestions Box / I have a suggestion for the world.
« on: March 17, 2010, 12:35:00 AM »
Or maybe just for the goths.

They need to define things that they like/dislike by darkness or color. Eg. "My vespa is so dark. It did the Kessel run in like two units of measurement."

Rants and Stuff / Writing Excuses Team Nazis?
« on: October 19, 2009, 01:34:40 AM »
I used to enjoy listening to the writing podcast, Writing Excuses. Last week, my eyes wandered over to the "Contributors" panel, and my enjoyment was destroyed. I knew that the team was all Mormon. What I didn't know is that they were all supporters of Nazism! Are the two related? The more I search online, the more I think that all Mormons are Nazis!

I did an image search on Google for "Mormons", and all of my results have pictures of seemingly normal people. But all of the images are super-high contrast and every single man, woman, and child is sporting a toothbrush mustache!

What I'm trying to say is that my faith in the Writing Excuses team has been shaken. I trusted them. I listened to their clever advice and witty asides with a smile on my face, and my trust has been shaken!

Please, can someone explain why Howard has half of his face occluded by deep shadow, wears a snappy jacket, and shaves his head? Why do Dan's eyes gleam with maniacal fervor and his teeth shine with a supernatural sharpness? Why does Brandon... actually look quite good with that mustache? Why???


Writing Group / Passive Voice: NOW YOU KNOW
« on: August 27, 2009, 09:35:20 PM »
I've always had a problem with passive voice. I can write decently well, but because I was raised in a very science and technical writing centered family, what I write tends to come out in passive voice. Partially because nobody ever properly told me what the **** it was. So, in English classes I would write completely off the wall, nuts stuff. This is partially my personality shining through, but it was also me not knowing how to write in a way that satisfied my English teachers. No more!

Today my teacher said, "Passive voice is anything that's written with a form of 'to be' as the verb." My head exploded. I've attended advanced English classes my whole life, but nobody ever bothered to break down what passive voice is. Here I was thinking that it was some complex set of rules that made something passive voice, when use of "etre" (French is better) form is all it is. On one hand, I'm just happy to know what the poop everybody has been talking about all this time. On the other, I want to go back to all of my old schools and punch my old English teachers in the face.

I've listened to all of Writing Excuses, including the one that they talk about passive voice in (I don't think it was a dedicated episode), and they didn't bother defining it. I suppose I could be alone here, but I have the feeling that on the internet somewhere out there, somebody will stumble over this post and finally realize what passive voice is. As I have done. Except that I had to pay like $500 to find out and they will get it free. Just knowing this totally makes the cost of this semester worth it.

Rants and Stuff / All Things Username
« on: August 21, 2009, 12:50:42 AM »
I have noticed that many people use usernames that are either confusingly spelt or capitalized and that people sometimes care about these things as much or more than their real names. Discuss your username and other peoples'. With abandon!

I'll start it off. Note that I like names. I'm completely obsessed with them.

My name comes from Latin, but I first encountered it when reading The Aeneid by Virgil. It basically means "the process of determining by chance", though many people simply define it as "casting lots". It shares a base with the French word sortie, which isn't really surprising, since French is a Latin language. :P

I use it because chance is an interesting concept to me, and I've got a bit of a dose of the "Luck of the Irish". Plus, it contains my real name, which is Titus. :)

It is pronounced sore-TEA-tooce (flipped "r", if you can manage it), but people tend to pronounce it as sore-TY-tus.

Spelling is sortitus, always lowercase.

Nicknames are easily acquired by knocking sounds off the end, and some that have been used in the past are sor, sort, and sortie (or sorty). Titus is acceptable and I'm used to it, but I've gotten rather fond of my screen name.

I have used Titus as a screen name, but the name is often used by others, and sometimes those others are dumb. I only use Titus as a name when I'm in a place that real names are common (handy, since the username is hardly ever taken at places like that).

I was the only sortitus until this year (since 2006, when HS ended and my friends and I found fancy new names that we thought suited us), when another dude used the name for a WoW character. I do not play WoW. Also, this guy seems to like capitalizing the first letter, so maybe we'll be distinguishable. Any posts by a sortitus before 2009 are me. Sometimes I wish they weren't, but I'd rather learn from the past than try to erase it, so record of my idiocy as a youngster lives on. And on in this post. I'm a rambler. Sorry.

QUICK! Post about your username! Discuss other peoples'! Push this post off the active page already, dannit!

Rants and Stuff / I has proof...
« on: August 16, 2009, 07:06:14 AM »
...of my idiocy.

You know that game, Tea Double You Gee? I beat it, and it only took me 24 days 20 hours and 39 minutes!

What's your best time?

The Proof

Everything Else / Sapphire Blade Ramble
« on: July 19, 2009, 04:45:53 PM »
This story goes a while back. Until about a year ago, I worked at a jewelry store. Part of my job was to clean the parts of the store that had hardly been glanced at in about fifty years, and one of the perks was that I could ask to take almost anything I found home. In one pile on a box that was 90% polishing wheel cloth scraps and polishing dust, I found some awesome stuff. One, my current main watch. Two, an 8oz. bag of 18k casting gold, stamped and with a receipt from 1955. My employer didn't let me keep that one. :'( ;) Third, and the point of this story, a sapphire watch crystal.

My boss let me take the crystal, so that day I came home hoping to test out just how tough sapphire is. I cut papers with the edge of the crystal, but it wasn't really sharp. No surprise there. I scratched my pocketknife and failed to scratch my mother's diamond. Normal tests. About a week after I got the crystal, I rediscovered it on my desk and was playing with it when I dropped it on the cement in the garage. I expected it to chip, but it was unharmed when I checked it over. Naturally, that made me wonder just how impact resistant the crystal was. I figured that other than for testing hardness, the stone would be fairly useless to me.

Anyway, I grabbed a screwdriver, hammer, and some safety goggles. I placed the crystal flat on the concrete and swung the hammer as hard as I could onto the crystal. The hammer head was dented, but that's all that happened. I tried the same experiment with the screwdriver focusing the force with similar results. I positioned the crystal on our steel vice, straddling the gap, with the screwdriver focusing the blow again. I figured that I might as well break the persistent bugger and get some entertainment for my trouble, but, as you may have guessed, the crystal survived, leaving the vice with some marks and the screwdriver a bit dull-headed.

I still have the crystal, and rediscovered it most recently last night. My brother and I got to talking (he was there when I duplicated the experiments to show that I wasn't crazy) about the use of a stone that hard and shatter-resistant. Being the crazy fantasy reader I am, my first thought was a sapphire sword. Making an entire blade of saphire would be impractical, but having a nicely rigid metal I-beam core would be decently light and lend some semblance of financial practicality to the project. (Says a broke college student. :P)

Sapphire can be made to be very sharp, would be resistant to dulling, etc. Basically all of the characteristics of a ceramic blade, but a little harder and infinitely cooler. The only Google result of any usefulness I got for any variation of corundum/sapphire/aluminium (tri)oxide blade/knife/sword is here: bob-basset's livejournal. The link's in Russian. Here's Google's translated version: woo, language!

The discussion last night included crysknifes, glass daggers used by Mistborn, and the RPG series Elder Scrolls' weaponry (Glass weapons are made of green volcanic glass, Ebony and Daedric are made of obsidian. The Daedric dagger from Morrowind looked sweet.). These were just the examples that sprung to mind, but I'm sure there are many other stories that use transparent stone weapons.

To sum up, sapphire is surprisingly strong, and I'm impossibly long-winded and nerdy. I could ask a synthetic sapphire manufacturer about a 6-8" knife blade made to my specs for mounting on a metal rail. Watch crystals are pretty cheap, but a custom job like that wouldn't be. Ah, if only I had money to burn for ridiculous projects like this. I guess it's better (more practical and inexpensive) than my original idea for a micro-serrated diamond blade edge. A super high-tech sword would also be awesome for its capacity to baffle future archeologists. ;D

Dan Wells / Dan Wells: The Devil?
« on: June 11, 2009, 05:49:20 AM »
Seriously. Has the thought never occurred to anyone else? (Spoiler.)

Rants and Stuff / Pie VS Cake: The Official Thread
« on: June 02, 2009, 10:20:12 PM »
It's on.

I was getting jealous of miyabi's celebration thread (which is awesome, BTW), and I wanted to put this lame pun I made up somewhere when I saw that this here Rants section specifically allows telling stupid jokes. Thank Jark I didn't have to go anywhere else to post. The interwebs are scary. The pun/joke/non-sequitur thingy:

I'm doing my dissertation on humor. In it I prove that there are two kinds of humor: funny and not funny. This statement is the ladder.

I've used it offline to evade telling people what I'm actually doing in college, but nobody got it and/or thought it was funny. I think it works better as a written joke, plus people tend to believe whatever I say, so I hope that it gets a better (or at least more extreme) reaction here.

I made the poll so you can change your answers! Just in case, I guess!

Everybody else, post the puns! This thread is'pun! (Woo! Triple wordplay pun! Raise your hand if you got it!)

Reading Excuses / WrEx Season 1 DL
« on: May 02, 2009, 06:51:50 AM »
Hello all, I checked with the WE team to make sure this upload was alright and got the go-ahead from Dan himself.

I have created a complete re-tagged and replaygained Season 1 torrent and uploaded it to This download is for all of you who started listening to WE after S1 and are too lazy to go into the archives and download the episodes individually. Or, if you are like me, you could need to re-DL the first season because you deleted it for whatever reason, changed computers or PMPs, etc.

Umm... Buy the CD. It's only $14 shipped and has 110MB of bonus content. Besides, it's the only way I know of to support all three of our favorite authors.

Movies and TV / Anime Review!
« on: March 20, 2009, 05:06:28 AM »
For those who don't know:
Shōnen anime is anime for boys under 18.
Shōjo anime is anime for girls under 18.
Either genre has a huge target range, and some titles classified as one of these are R-rated content. Shōjo not so much, but it's possible for either. I'll give equivalent ratings for Americans for each show as I go along. These ratings are my own and just an estimation of where I think the MPAA would likely rate these shows.

Over the last week (Starting and ending on Monday) I have watched well over 48 hours of anime. Apart from revealing my stupidity, I'm unsure as to what this says about me. Blood type: O+. Astrological sign: Taurus. Zodiac sign: Dragon. Height: 5'10".  All of these are important things, OK? Also, this post is resembling a bad personals ad more and more. Moving on... the shows I (will admit to having) watched are BLEACH, Welcome to the NHK!, and uhh... Skip Beat!.

BLEACH (PG-13 for violence, blood, partial nudity, and some sexual themes) (Season 1 is borderline PG) was pretty awesome. For the first season. Then they took Rukia the Awesome away from me and I watched the next 2 1/2 seasons waiting for her to come back and make the show cool again. That never happened, and the show descended into a Naruto or Dragonball-like power escalation thing (There's probably a term for it, but I don't know what it is because it's dumb.) which I am told never stopped. Basically, the producers said after season 1, "Oh, we've gotten all of that useless 'character' 'development'. Now we can get to the stupid typical shōnen fare." The series is ongoing, and they haven't stopped that stupid powerup crap. Apparently.

Verdict for BLEACH: Watch the first season because it is awesome, then never ever even think about looking at the rest of the series. (Then again, if they do stop doing the idiotic flexing-mah-muscles stuff, it may be worth it to start watching again.)

Welcome to the NHK! (R for nudity, drug content, and thematic elements), also classified as shōnen (though thankfully devoid of fighting for the sake of fighting), was an incredible show. Excellent soundtrack, realistic take on life including very human characters, and a talking appliance every now and then. The female lead was the highlight of the show for me, as she's always so nice and patient with the jerk of a main character. I'll admit to crying several times during the show.

Verdict for Welcome to the NHK!: It's worth watching. You may not like it much, but it's certainly different from most shōnen. I liked it quite a bit. (The animation is bad at times, but nothing anyone who sat through The Hobbit can't handle.)

Skip Beat! (PG for because it's really tame, but there may be something I can't remember so I'm being safe and not giving it a G) is shōjo. It is hilarious, though I'm unsure of how funny it's really supposed to be. Character development is pretty good, as it's for girls (most girls care about that more than boys). The plot is different from what I'm used to, the main character is a girl, and some moments feel a little strange for me.  The acting-based action is weird. It's treated the same as a fight would be in a shōnen. But all of this is beside the point. For reasons I find hard to express, I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this anime. (My brother admitted to liking it as well, so it is possible that other dudes will like this. My other brother and sister are kinda meh about the series, so apparently YMMV.)

Verdict for Skip Beat!: Basically the best show ever. Seriously. (Easily my favorite anime of all time. Perhaps because I am an idiot. Discuss.)

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