Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Turbotastical Challenge: A Story for Carey

Two years ago I posted a challenge  (that I would still consider as open, by the way) – that I would turn any sentence left into the comments into a story. I completed two – “Fallen” (from the sentence Tyran left: “There was a warm fetid smell, like wet dogs running wild.”) and “Fair Acres” (from the sentence Stefan left: “But she couldn’t get the hang of his torso.”).

I got stuck on the third one.

For those of you who don’t know the history behind how Captain Turbotastic and Careybatgirl… you are lucky. It is long and it is rambling and it is full of silliness. It involves dish mats and little men on the windshield and dinosaurs.

When we were in high school together, so many years ago now, I wrote Carey a children’s story in math class about how we became friends. When she left her sentence in the comments of the challenge… I wanted to write another.

And that’s why it took so long to get this one out, boys and girls. Because the Captain doesn’t do much drawing these days.

Carey’s sentence was “We never found the dish drain mat and were stranded there forever.”  And with that out of the way… here’s my story for Carey.

I miss you, Carebear.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(If you hover your mouse over the slideshow, you will get controls. It moves a bit quickly, so I would stop play and advance it manually. You need to move your mouse off the slideshow to make the controls get the heckfire out of the way.)

Competitive nature + gamifying fitness = Captain Lazyass gets off the couch

Last week xkcd posted this comic:

Which made me laugh. A lot of fitness tracking websites (I use Daily Burn and Runkeeper) miss out on some of life’s best activities. I probably would have had a chuckle and left it at that… but it was the mouse-over text that caught my attention. It was:

“I felt so clever when I found a way to game the Fitocracy system by incorporating a set of easy but high-scoring activities into my regular schedule. Took me a bit to realize I’d been tricked into setting up a daily exercise routine.” 

“I’d been tricked into setting up a daily exercise routine.” That interested me. So I rocked over to Fitocracy to check it out.

Fitocracy ( is still in beta and you need an invite code to check it out. Fortunately, they were excepting “xkcd” as an invite code the day I wanted to try it (I don’t know if they still are).

It is exactly the kind of thing I like. You get to level up when you are active and there are unlockable achievements. There is a lovely sense of humour underlying the site. For example, the quest to run a mile in under 10 minutes is called “Someone is chasing me!” There is an over abundance of zombie references. I joined a group called “Getting Fit for the Zombie Apocalypse”. Not even kidding.

It seems to be pretty nerdcentric, but that also suits my temperament. I need something to motivate me to get away from my computer and out into the wild. And if I find that motivation on a website that will give me “points” for doing so… well, I have no business commenting on the other nerds rocking the site.

There is only three things missing from the site right now that would make it better. The first is a mobile site and/or iPhone/Android app. Apparently the mobile site is in the works, which would be rad. The second thing is that it doesn’t (yet) connect with my Withings scale. All things should connect to my Withings. But that too is apparently in the plan.

The final thing I’m missing is people I know who’s asses I would like to kick. I’ve joined a few groups (such as the aforementioned zombie training group) on the site, but being better than a handful of strangers is not nearly as much fun as kicking the asses of people I know.

I have ten invites (apparently) that I can give away. If any of you would like to give Fitocracy a try, let me know. I’ll send you an invite and start following your ass. And then I’ll start kicking it.

Being grown up is hard work

You’d think I would be completely and utterly used to being broke by this point in the month; seeing as how by this point in the month I am usually completely and utterly broke.

But this month has been different. Sure, sure… I spent some cash on some new clothes yesterday – it has been a long time since I’ve had anything new and I was looking pretty shabtastic at work. But I knew I had the funds for it before I spent it.

That’s the thing: I knew I had the funds. I was actually pretty chuffed, it was looking like I was going to make it to payday with at least a tenner left in my account.

And that’s why I was so absolutely devastated when my card was declined at M&S on the way home tonight.

Turns out all is well. I’ve checked my account and there *is* still money in there (not a lot, but at least I’m not at a negative number yet). I called the bank and there isn’t a block on my card – they think it was the store’s machine. I’ll try getting some cash out tomorrow to check that it isn’t the card. I hope it isn’t the card. I hate waiting for another card.

All the way home and until I got online and checked the situation out, I was nearly sick because I thought that I had overdrawn my account and was officially out of money until payday. Again. Here I was, feeling all harfy bunger about being broker than broke and hanging out in my overdraft… even though this has happened to me (running out of money, not breaking my card) nearly every single month of my life. Why was it so different this time?

I think it hit me hard because I have been better behaved (financially) recently. I was finally feeling like I had a wee handle on my finances. I’ve got my debt to a point where it will be paid off within the next three years and the monthly payment (note the singular “payment” instead of “numerous paymentS”) isn’t killing me. I’m being far, far more cautious about my purchases (as in: other than my clothes buying yesterday, I haven’t been buying anything but food). (And beer). It is only eight days to payday and I still have a bit of cash. This would have been unheard of even three months ago. Or last month.

So to go from feeling all like a GROWN UP to feeling like a penniless turd again tonight really threw me. GAH. I’m happy all is well, but I really could have done without feeling – even if just for a second – like my attempts to get my shit together lately were all for not.

click the picture for the funniest blog entry ever on why being an adult is hard

I’m feeling better about the situation. Now I just have to get over being angry because I had to deal with not one but two stupid people at the bank over the phone. I should have bought beer instead of groceries…

Are you familiar with the religious positions taken regarding the various hooves of animals?

What? NO.

Should I be?

Pardon me a moment whilst I Google something…

All I’m finding is the bit about the cloven hoof and the devil, which I did know. Screw you, Wikipedia.

After being let down by Wikipedia, I headed over to for searches on ‘hoof ‘and ‘hooves‘. It’s mostly about eating pigs and getting dirty (that’s what I’m taking away from it), but I do like this bad-ass verse:

Micah 4:13
“Rise and thresh, Daughter Zion, for I will give you horns
of iron; I will give you hooves of bronze, and you will
break to pieces many nations.” You will devote their
ill-gotten gains to the LORD, their wealth to the Lord 
of all the earth.

I dunno about giving all their stuff to God once Zion has gone and kicked their ass… but the rest of it sounds pretty awesome.

How do we know that Satan has hooves anyway? In fact, how do we know what he looks like at all? More Bible study for me…

From 1 Chronicles 21:1, Satan rises up and makes David take a census. So maybe he looks like an accountant or some kind of bureaucrat. Do accountants have hooves?

In Job 1:6, Satan went with the angels one day to say howdy to God. If no one noticed him, he must look like an angel. Again: Hooves?

::Side Note::

I gave myself the giggles with that last bit. I just imagine a bunch of angels (technically a ‘legion of angels’, innit?) hanging around God’s throne, going ‘What up?’ and Satan kind of hanging around the back, not wanting God to get too good a look at him. *Snicker*

::End Side Note::

Also from Job (Satan is big in the book of Job), Satan tells God that he’s been cruising all over the earth, ‘going back and forth on it’. I’m going to infer ‘in a boat’. So perhaps he looks like a pirate. With hooves.

More Job-y goodness: God tells Satan, ‘Very well, then, he is in your hands…’ so I think Satan must have HUGE hands. Dunno about his freaking feet though.

In Matthew 16:23 Jesus says, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block….’ Clearly Satan must be square. A smaller-than-Jesus-sized square. With hooves.

There are, of course, more references to Satan in the Bible (more so than there are about the devil, go figure). But I’m going to stop this silliness with this:

He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.’ (Luke 10:18)

I’m NOT seeing anything in the Bible about the Devil’s feet. WTF, Bible?

So if Satan’s cloven hooves aren’t mentioned in the Bible, where did we get this crazy idea that Satan has hooves and horns when none of the other angels (fallen or not) have them as well? Oh wait…

Oh ho! I see what you did there, Christianity! I guess if you can’t beat ’em, demonise their gods until they join you. Or something. Poor Pan.