Sunday, July 17, 2016

Culture Lesson: Pokémon GO

Pokémon GO
 is a videogame sweeping the nation. The free mobile game is the latest installment in the very popular Pokémon series.

Pokémon was introduced to the market in Japan in 1996. The games were developed for Gameboy, and are known as Red and Green; the games were extremely successful and released internationally as Red and Blue in 1998.  Subsequent releases include Black and WhiteYellowGold and SilverRuby and SapphireSun and MoonX and Y, and Diamond and Pearl. In addition to the videogames, there have been several animated series, a number of manga series, and films.

The plot of Pokémon is that small, animal-like "pocket monster" exist in the world to be captured and trained. The monsters can then fight each other. The world is probably saved as a result. Pokémon Go allows the user to act as a trainer and capture pokémon in the real world environment; the monsters are found in habitats relevant to their personality. Water monsters are near water, and in the case of this stampede, a rare animal was found in its habitat, Central Park.

The game has caused some controversies, with people injuring them selves during play, and various sites and museums banning the game. The game is free to play, but requires data and swiftly uses the smartphone's battery.

(The games were popular with a variety of ages, but because it did so well with the single-digit set, I felt like I was both Too Cool and Too Old, which is to say, I've never played, and am happy to include feedback from real gameplayers.)

Additional Resources:
Pokémon GOWikipedia

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Vocabulary Lesson: Woke

Woke, as a slang term, means to be aware and informed of what's going on around you.

As a slang term, it is popularly used in the Black community--though apparently Tila Tequlia (herself not an activist) uses it as well. Though the phrase "stay woke" was particularly popular in 2014, Erykah Badu used it in her 2009 song "Master Teacher."

The most popular and frequent usage is "stay woke." This NYMag article tried "wokest."

Usually the awareness would be toward a socioeconomic or political situation, like the Black Lives Matters movement. (And not a batshit conspiracy that the world is flat.)

Don't fight it. And unless you're Black, don't say it. You'll look fake.

Edited to add this video, where DeRay McKesson explains woke to Stephen Colbert:

Additional Resources:
What does "I stay woke" mean?, Yahoo Answers, Brainjet
Stay Woke: All the New Slang of 2014 in One Video, Complex
Stay woke, Urban Dictionary
woke, Urban Dictionary

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Vocabulary Lesson: IANAL

I mark my victorious return with a quick lesson. IANAL is an abbreviated way of saying I Am Not A Lawyer.

Typing "IANAL" saves the speaker time; it is frequently found on forums (as opposed to articles, blogs, or private chat), particularly when responding to a person seeking legal counsel and advice. The person would provide to abbreviation as protection before proffering advice.

IANAL but...[legal advice and opinion].
A similar disclosure is TINLA, This Is Not Legal Advice, though I see it less frequently.

Additional Resources:
IANAL and IDKWITA, Ask Metafilter
IANAL, Wikipedia

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Vocabulary Lesson: Bae

Bae is a popular word used by Young People. When used by Young People, it means "babe" or "baby," and is meant as a romantic gesture. (There is some thought that it is an acronym and stands for Before Anyone Else, but this is erroneous.)

Per Time: "...Today bae is used as a term of endearment, often referring to your boyfriend or girlfriend. Or perhaps a prospect who might one day hold such a lofty position."

The word has been around for years, but was popularized by Pharrell, who released the single "Come Get It Bae" in June:

And now white people are co-opting the word, and frankly, looking kind of stupid.

As for how to use it in conversation, Time recommends:
A good rule of thumb for now at least: if you would use the words boo or babe in some circumstance, you can probably use bae.
But if you have to ask, you shouldn't make an attempt. And Michael Che agrees:

Additional Lessons:
This Is What Bae Means, Time
Bae, Urban Dictionary

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Vocabulary Lesson: Spoopy

Have you noticed the word "spoopy" lately? In Twitter handles, or T-shirts?

I myself was flummoxed from this selection of shirts from Look Human:

Clearly the Internet was in on a joke and we had missed it. Many full moons ago, in 2009, Mike Woodridge found a mispelled Halloween decoration. He uploaded his photograph (below) on the Internet, and lo, the online community had a field day.

The Internet loves a mistake, and this was one. Thanks to my generation's general sense of humor, spoopy can sometimes be used to indicate that a thing or event is also amusing. Urban Dictionary calls spoopy, "Something that is funny and spooky at the same time."

I don't much care for deliberate misspellings, and I prefer for my autumn Halloween to include a degree of spookiness.

Additional Resources:
Spoopy, Know Your Meme
Spoopy, Urban Dictionary
Tumblr's new Hallowmeme is 'too spoopy to live, too creppy to die', The Daily Dot

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Technology Lesson: Downloading U2's New Album

Unfortunately Labor Day has come and gone, and the regular posting schedule has not resumed as planned. I've been exceptionally busy. But I have a lesson today, because far be it from me to deny you the assistance to free music.

U2, one of the world's most popular bands, released a new album Tuesday! Titled Songs of Innocence (named after William Blake's collection of poetry, Songs of Innocence and of Experience), the LP will be available for physical purchase October 13. But as of Tuesday, the album was available for free on iTunes. (After October 13 the free album is no longer available.)

I had a deep, abiding love for U2 in my youth, and I have a deep, abiding interest in free things, so I set about getting my hands on the album before the free-window closed. (The group released a single in January, which was free for one hour.) As it happens, Apple set about providing the album for each user. To get the album, you access your cloud and download it.

This is a little disconcerting. (What if you don't want U2's album?) It can be confusing if you go to the band's page and see that you already "have" it. I realize not everyone understands "the cloud" so I'm here to help.

Let's get started. Turn on your computer (or iTouch/iPhone). Load iTunes. (Apple devices have the app, it's purple.) If you are accessing this the week of September 9, 2014, you'll see a banner for the album:

You can click this if you want to, or you can skip ahead to the instructions regarding your account and files in you cloud.

This is what the album page looks like:

You'll see that under the album artwork, it says PURCHASED instead of BUY. If you click on PURCHASED nothing will happen, because you already "own" the album.

This is what the page says: "Songs of Innocence is available from your Purchased page on iTunes now. And soon you can go to the Music app on your iOS device and your iTunes music library on your Mac or PC, and find Songs of Innocence under the artist or album tab. Your music is in iCloud, just tap the track listing to start listening, or tap the cloud icon to download."

So, let's get into your iCloud. Go back to the music page in iTunes. Click MUSIC or click the house icon. Look for the column on the right, under the circulating banners.


By default, the PURCHASED page will show what you have purchased and is NOT in your library. If it doesn't, there are two "buttons" on the right side of the page. Click "NOT IN MY LIBRARY."

My page shows items I have purchased through my iTouch but chosen not to download to my iTunes library.

You'll see the U2 album is there. In the top right corner of the album icon is a cloud with an arrow. Click that to download it. If you click the "X" on the top left corner it will hide the item (but not delete it). 

After you click the cloud, the download will begin.

To get the album directly to your device, open the iTunes app.

Press MORE. It is in the bottom right corner of the app, next to SEARCH.




U2 should be an option. Tap the cloud with the arrow, and await the download.

Presumably this option will expire in October, and those of us burdened with unwanted music will feel some relief. (Particularly since I have no instructions to provide in that regard!)

Additional Resources:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Vocabulary Lesson: SFM

Am I getting Old? Several vocabulary lessons have been precipitated by my own ignorance. For shame!

So here I am. I didn't know what "SFM" meant. Thanks to the powers of Google... I do.

SFM means "So Freaking Much." (Or... "So Fucking Much.")

Here is the abbreviation, as used by a Young Person in the know:
You would probably only used this generally, when expressing genuine affection. You would not use it as a means of dislike. For example, you'd only use SFM as seen above, and not, say, "I do not love watching Glee SFM." (Mostly because that's not how a person should speak anyway!)

Gosh, it's hard keeping up with kids these days.

Additional Resources: