Happy Easter 2021

Happy Easter from the Evergreen State which is Washington State (NOT to be confused with Washington D.C. which is the acronym for District of Columbia)!

While watching the final minutes of the movie, Logan, as the main character, Wolverine using his adamantium claws, brute strength and healing power to berserk his way through enemy soldiers to get to his daughter who was being hunted like a dog in a thin forested area, I was reminded of an #Easter memory.


It’s a day in Bayne history as the one “that Los went ALL Wolverine” (or Hulked out, or full-potato or well, you get the picture …) Lemme explain further, and in more detail.

Growing up in the modest city of Mountlake Terrace, my family was lower to middle, middle-class. So while we had money for a roof, food, and clothes, beyond that there really wasn’t much to spend needlessly.

Which meant no extra expenditures on toys! As a child, I had to be resourceful in securing new toys. Well, the City of Mountlake Terrace hosted Easter Day at the Evergreen Playfield Complex. The advertisement I read promised toys, and prizes! Awesome, I thought. I’ll start planning. It ended up more like plotting …


Easter Sunday 1985

Finally, it was the day of reckoning! Er, actually Easter Sunday morning. The highlight of the festivities was the All Ages Easter Egg Race. The baseball field had been divided into spray painted paddocks with plastic wrapped, candied Easter eggs littered on the field.

Happy Easter

The age divisions were 0-2, 3-5, 6-8, and so forth. I muscled my way to the front line of my group which was the 1st baseline. I spied my parents were in the bleachers to cheer on their children, as Charrina was in a different paddock than me. I saw on the far-right an official with a starter gun that I’ve seen on Field Day at school.

The rules were simple: Collect as many plastic wrapped candied eggs as you could within your designated area. Any eggs with the red dot sticker on the outside wrapping could be redeemed at the concession stand for a prize / toy. You can add up your red dotted eggs to redeem for bigger and better prizes. There was plenty for all.

So my goal is simplistic: Only eggs with dots. I’ll get candy by other means. Nothing else mattered to me!

I looked down the field. Based on my football experience up to this point in my life, I judged it to be about 40 yards total. The dew on the grass would make it slippery for quick stops and can easily fall. Time is of the essence so I couldn’t afford to fall down. THIS WAS A RACE!

I anticipated most of the kids would fight for the eggs within the first half or at least in sight. I closed my eyes and envisioned what I would do next, just I was taught. I slowed my heavy breathing down to focus. I opened my eyes, prone myself in a runner’s stance, and waited.

BANG! The starter gun is fired.

I sprint down the pathway of grass, completely ignoring the eggs at my little feet. I’m confident the other parents were wondering what the hell I was up to, but my parents knew the first born better than that.

I stopped about halfway, with my standard issued basket I stooped down and rake it across the grass to the nearest cluster of eggs. Then it a half-run, half-scooping motion I made my way to the end. Next, I turned around to survey my work. All eggs captured! I finally started sprinting towards the oncoming kids.

I had a better view of the red dot stickers on the eggs lying on the field. WOLVERINE MODE ACTIVATED.

I rushed into oncoming traffic with no regard to personal safety. If another kid bent down over to snatch it up, I pushed them down. If another child attempted to wander over the spray painted line, I stiff-armed them to the ground, and snatched up the egg. One little girl dressed in her pretty Easter dress was bending over near a red dotted egg, but only picking up the non-stickered egg. Sadly, I pushed her over, to retrieve the red dotted egg.

I re-crossed the 1st baseline to make a bee-line towards the concession stand. I immediately started sorting out the eggs I didn’t want by tossing them over my shoulder back on the field, muttering profanities that would make a sailor blush.

Suddenly, I crashed into a stone-washed jean wall of legs, because I was nose down into my basket. It was my furious father.


“Oh, hey, Dad. Did you see me? I did great!”

My Dad had a very disapproving look on his face. “Yes, Sonny Boy, I watched you from the bleachers. But you didn’t do great.”

I exploded, “WHAT! I don’t care what you say, I did rad job. I’m going to redeem my eggs.” I attempted to step around him.

My Dad blocked my path. “No. No, you’re not. You’re gonna give one red dotted egg to each of the kids you mowed over, and one to your sister.”

“The hell I am,” I retorted while drawing the basket of my coveted eggs towards my chest.

“Give me that basket, son. Right NOW!” he barked.

I stared at him in defiance. “These are my eggs! I got them fair and square!”

“No, you didn’t. And if you don’t surrender them, I will spank you right and now in front of everyone.”

HM, I thought. I’ve called his buff every time which always ended badly for me. I felt the tears welling up, as I begrudgingly handed over my treasure.

Father Knows Best

My Dad counted up the special eggs. He grabbed two, and placed them in my hand. Next, he marched me down to the front of the concession stand and redemption line. He gathered up as many kids that were dirty, and muddy in my age group. He lined them up and placed one egg in each of their hands.

As they passed by me, I apologized for my behavior, by saying a genuine sorry. Finally, I was able to redeem my toy, and Charrina’s as well.

Obviously, Dad was pissed! He drove the family home, and ordered us to our room.

After awhile, Dad slowly opened the door. “Carlos, come on out.” HM, I thought. Dad only says Carlos when I’m in trouble.

I stood up, put down my new Easter toy, and left the room. He put his arm around my shoulder and patted it. “Let’s go for a drive, Sonny Boy.”

We climbed into the family Green Duster. As he drove down the road to an unknown destination, he asked, “What was that earlier this morning?”

I was confused. “What do you mean?”

“Knocking over kids, pushing little girls down. That’s what I mean,” he gripped the steering wheel tighter in attempt to not lose it again on account of my actions.

“I did what was needed. You SAID, a man’s gotta do, what a man’s gotta do. And damnit, I did it!”

“Yes. I saw that. What I wanna know is why did you feel it was needed to do that?”

“I know there’s no extra money in the family checkbook for toys, so I found a chance to get free toys. And I made the most of it.”

He sighed with exasperation. “Thank you for listening to me. However, in civilized society there are certain ways to do things. And what you did wasn’t acceptable.”

“Why,” I exclaimed. “I followed their rules. I did nothing wrong.”

“Sonny Boy, yes you followed the rules but sometimes it goes beyond the letter of law and the spirit of the agreement.”

“What the hell is that?” I inquired.

“I’ll tell ya later, but the point is that greed doesn’t override common courtesy, and respect in our society. Just because you’re bigger, and older, doesn’t entitle you to bully the others. There’ll be others that are bigger and stronger than you who will defend those you’re hurting.”

“Alright, Dad. NO shoving little girls down to the ground to get the prize. Got it,” I paused. “Wait. Where are we going, anyways?”

With a besmirched smile he said, “You’ll see.”

You’ll Find It At Freddie’s

Shortly we arrived at Fred Meyer. He parked the car, and turned the engine off. He put his arm over the front bench seats. “Alright, Son. You’ve learn quite a bit about life today, even for you and your age,” he paused. “You learned to be ambitious but not greedy, about sacrifice without reward, and how to act right.”

I only nodded in acknowledgement.

“And you’re correct, there’s isn’t a ton of extra money in the family coffer, I’m pretty sure there’s enough for a toy. I’m NOT rewarding BAD BEHAVIOR, Sonny Boy. I’m rewarding your life lessons. We’re gonna go into Fred Meyer, and you can pick out one toy of your choice. Sound good?”

I smiled, “Sounds great.” I practically hopped out the car like the Easter Bunny. I picked out a G.I. Joe Action Figure (Snake Eyes to be exact), and Dad gave the cash to purchase it from the clerk rather than him doing the transaction himself.

Reminiscing about it now, I can only imagine the Monday morning water cooler talk at my father’s work …

Co-worker asks, “Hey Charlie, how was your Easter? Get your kids all sugared up on chocolate? How is Charrina and Carlos?”

“Well … my son turned into a honey badger at the city-wide Easter Egg Race for starters.”

In closing, I hope you and your family has a fun, happy yet SAFE Easter.

Deuces,
‘los; out.

Calm Carlos In Crisis Management

Two mass shootings have occurred in the past week in the cities of Atlanta, Georgia, and Boulder, Colorado. It saddens me to acknowledge the phrases “active shooter”, and “mass shootings” have entered our daily lexicon.

To me, that means crisis management as a response. A few years ago I shared my top 5 near-death experiences or disaster related stories with a young lady.

She sat there in the bar booth with a look of astonishment. She asked, “How did you stay calm?”


“Remain calm”, you say? It’s not really calmness, folks. Trust me, it’s anything but that! It’s my response to crisis management training.

That’s right: TRAINING!

Oh, and practice with re-current training. That and … continued practice. Did I mention practice? Sadly, humans are creatures of habit therefore skills that are not repetitively addressed are lost.

[Case in point, your high school second language class – can you say more than hi in Spanish, French, or German?]

It’s been proven that a panicked mind is filled with endorphins  and adrenalin can’t think rationally and/or have cognitive thought. The basic ‘fight or flight’ instinct has settled in, and you’re amp’d. Period. When the juice hits my system, my heart beats like a jack rabbit, the blood is coursing through my veins, and my mind is on fire.

That said, I remain calm. Most people will revert to a primal action state and cardinal reactions. Unless … you’ve been trained and conditioned for the situation.

BE PREPARED

Who plans for an emergency? NO ONE.
Who should be prepared for an emergency? EVERYONE.

Speaking of be prepared, that’s the Boy Scouts of America Motto. Say what you will about BSA, but it’s solid emergency preparedness and training.

I digress.

I’ve since added CPR Training, First Aid Training everywhere that’s offered it. It’s the same information, folks. Never hurts to … (you know I’m gonna type it) PRACTICE.

Avoiding panic is knowing what to do, and when to do it. Ask any first responder! Their training kicks in and they are off and running to be heroes.

Growing up I received my lion’s share of experience in crisis management having a Filipino mother, and a little sister as a latch-key kid. Yes, my father is there but as I said before – NO ONE PLANS FOR AN EMERGENCY!

Everyone should be prepared for an emergency.

One of my sections of training is having the right equipment in place when you need it. I’ve recently agreed to be Crucial Carry‘s Brand Ambassador. I fully endorse every product, including their flagship Crucial Carry Trauma Pack. It’s the end-all, to-be-all, for first aid kits and stopping serious trauma injuries.

Stay alert, stay safe out there,

‘los; out

Showtime Ready!

As a 18 year employee at Costco, one of the first bullet points I read on an Annual Performance Review was being … ‘showtime ready’. Meaning that by the time the WAREHOUSE doors open for business that all the merchandise is fully stocked, all tools are cleared from the floor, and swept and clean aisles i.e. showtime ready.

The first 13 years though as an employee of Costco were spent at Costco Travel. Being #showtimeready held a wholistically different meaning for me …

Familiarization Trips

About 5 years ago I was still working at Costco Travel therefore sometimes I traveled for business reasons. And even while traveling, especially on behalf of Costco, you should always be Showtime Ready! One of my last business trips, called Familiarization Trips or FAM for short, was to Puerto Rico and Aruba.

Must be nice, you chide?

In order to appreciate this story, you need to know that Costco will maximize their investment in you. That translates into full itineraries from sun up to sundown on each day of travel. Honestly, I would do the same. A typical day is a group breakfast, followed by a full day of 5 to 6 hotel site inspections, and finally a group dinner or activity.

Of course, nothing that involves humans operates exactly on schedule like a Swiss watch, so adjustments are required on-the-fly.

One particular day in Puerto Rico we were terribly off schedule due to unforeseen events. Like I said, not perfect. Our group leader, also my manager, devised a plan in the van while traveling back to the resort for dinner.

Thankfully the dinner was hosted by the resort that we were staying at: 5-star St. Regis Bahia Beach. She advised us to hustle up, get ready, and meet up in 45 minutes. The resort staff did a great job of zooming each of us back to our rooms with speedy golf carts.

The resort was St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, located in the El Yunque National Rain Forest, so it was easily one of the most posh places I’ve seen, let alone stayed at. A day prior on our site inspection of St. Regis the sales rep explained that you’ll see all sorts of animals, plants, and bugs! It’s a rainforest for goodness sake. I would anticipate something like.

I digress

I busted into my room like the Kool-Aid Man with the words, OH YEAH! I laid out my clothes for dinner, quickly stripped down for a Navy quick shower. The shower area was ginormous, y’all. It was easily 20 feet by 30 feet of tiled area which was bookended by a deep soaking tub that was every woman’s dream, and rain shower head and massaging nozzles on the other end. I don’t like getting blasted by cold water simultaneously in the face, chest and nuts (3 nozzles) so I swiveled that apparatus towards the tiled wall while the water heated up.

I watched the water smack the wall, and trickle down into a trough run off. Suddenly a small dark colored object leapt out of the trough on the tile next to me!

OH! MY! GOD! I screamed like a teenage girl being murdered in a shower.

After the initial heart failure, yet still breathing heavily, I gathered up the courage to investigate the object.

Picture this. I’m stark naked, ready to look at this thing. I prayed it wasn’t a tarantula. I happily discovered it was a frog. Since I wasn’t wet yet, I calmed myself down enough to walk back into the bedroom to retrieve my iPhone to capture a photo of my new “friend”.

Showtime Ready!

A small percentage of my mind thought this might be a brown colored poison dart frog that humans could be poison at the very touch of skin. After my photos were done, and phone put away, I returned to the shower.

I grumbled to the frog still sitting there.

“Aiight, Showtime, my new shower buddy. You stay there nice and polite, and I’ll stay over here respectfully. You can bounce out after I leave for dinner or stay, I don’t care.”

– yours truly

I quickly finished up getting ready, and rolled out to the designated pre-dinner meeting place. I was the first of the Costco Travel group which was unusual. And one rep from St Regis was there. I introduced myself, and she did the same.

I asked, “So Michelle. Do you live on property like many other hotel personnel?”
She smiled, “I sure do. I love it here.”
“Awesome,” I acknowledge. “How long have you lived here?”
She replied, “Two years.”
I drilled down, “In those two years, I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of animals, plants, and bugs here. Correct?”
“Correct,” she answers.
I then withdraw my iPhone, unlock it, and immediately find the photos of Showtime. While presenting the phone to her, I ask, “Are you familiar with this type of frog? Is it poisonous?”
“Oh my! That’s a coqui frog!” she exclaimed. 
I state flatly, “You didn’t answer my question.”
She rambles, “I’ve lived here for two years, and never seen one. You’ve been here one day and you found these elusive frogs.” She pauses, “Wait. Where did you say you find this?”
I mentally sigh. I huffed, “I didn’t say. But to answer your question I found it in my shower while I was in it! So are coqui frogs poisonous?”
She lets out a laugh, “No. They are harmless.” 
I mumbled under my breath, “Thank God for small favors.” 

While I dinner I found a lull in the conversation so I recounted my new shower buddy, that I named Showtime Ready! The table full of people heartily laughed at my proclamation.

And no, he wasn’t there when I returned to the room after dinner.

Ever since then, every time I hear the question if I’m showtime ready by a Costco Manager or not I think of that coqui frog visitor and wonder how he’s doing.

It’s a gentle reminder though, you should always be Showtime Ready.

More from me later,

‘los

COVID-19 Chronicles: Day 433

Today five states — Texas, Mississippi, Iowa, Montana and North Dakota — have ended, or soon will end, statewide mask mandates, despite the looming threat of COVID-19 and highly transmissible variants.

They’re joining 11 other states — Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee — that never required face coverings statewide.

Mask Up

Texas and Mississippi announced Tuesday they’d shortly be ending requirements for masks and allowing businesses to operate at full capacity, decisions President Joe Biden slammed as “Neanderthal thinking.”

Ending requirements for face coverings defies Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that encourages everyone public to continue wearing masks in public and maintaining proper social distancing.

~ Marlene Lanthang, ABC News

So I don’t prefer to wear a mask. However, since my workplace requires it, as well as many of the businesses I patronize, I might as well cooperate and comply. I’ve heard the complaints, explanations, etc from anti-maskers, which I still don’t fully understand.

I’ll do me, you (anti-masker) do you so we can agree to disagree.

Vaccination Nation

To date (March 8, 2021) 30 million Americans have been vaccinated for the COVID-19 disease. However, masking and social distancing is still necessary to continue to combat disease transmission. Although, I’ve noticed it’s all but been abandoned.

As anticipated, variants of COVID-19 have been recorded. One of which is called B1.1.7 was first discovered in the United Kingdom.

While I long for the days of no masks in public spaces, now isn’t the time in my humble opinion. I will continue to cooperate until the narrative changes.

Besides … I’m kinda digging on the fact that I concentrate on people’s eyes, and body language. They say eyes are “windows into the soul” – for better or worse.

More from me later,

‘los

The Fate of the Sapphire Sled

Many years ago I dubbed my 2004 Acura RSX Type-S, the #SapphireSled, because of the factory color of Arctic Blue. In 2004, I was celebrating my first year of marriage as well. So this wasn’t a mid-life crisis vehicle purchase, or divorce present for myself. However, the narrative did change over the years.


I wanted the Sapphire Sled and yours truly to be synonymous with cool; to be well-known like Amazon Prime but in the end it was more like Wish.com …

What’s In A Name?

For a number of years I incorporated street-lingo from Urban Dictionary into my daily speech. Sled was one of the thousands of euphesisms for “car”. And I’m a ginormous fan of alliteration so instead of “blue”, or “arctic” I referred to it as sapphire.

Thusly, the Sapphire Sled was born!

I didn’t think much of it other than an internal labeling system. Then it became more than a name. It became synonymous with my name … after I replaced the issued license plate with my vanity plate: LOS.

It’s a triple pun, folks. I did that deliberately.

  • Car is missing from the license plate so it’s supposed to be CARLOS.
  • Los is Spanish for “the”. Quite literally translated, “LOS Automobile” is “The car”.
  • Lastly, “LOS” is short hand for Carlos which I should be driving the vehicle.

I know, I KNOW … hilarious.

Sapphire Sled – Days After Purchase

Divorceville

September 29, 2008 my divorce was finalized … thankfully. I was determined to use this vehicle to travel to as many hookups as I could do. The Sapphire Sled was gonna be a girl magnet!

At least that’s what my primitive mind was thinking.

The reality was much different. Those thoughts were born from being hurt, from the horrible realization I was gas-lit for 9 years. So I drove myself out of #Divorceville to Issaquah’s #SinglesTown.

Singles Town

The settlement from the divorce afforded me the ability to payoff the loan balance of the Sapphire Sled that coincidentally my ex-wife helped me buy as “bad cop” in 2004. It was the only thing I owned outright.

And by God as my witness, I was gonna use it!

There are too many little memories created by this vehicle it would make this post too long to read (too late!) There are a few that hit the highlight reel.

  • No speeding tickets!
  • Drove to / from California’s Great America in the San Jose, California area
  • Cited with the most expensive moving violation ticket in it –
  • Had my fair share of car sex – ’nuff said
  • Bo Duked it over the hood only once
  • Grenaded the original engine – replaced it
  • Three sets of wheels and tires on it


What’s Next, Rice Chex?

The fate of the Sapphire Sled has yet to be decided. If I place one more dollar into it for repairs … it’s a dollar too much!

Options on my mind:

Keep it and rail it one last time for the Washington Gambler 500

or

Sell as a project car to someone else

What do all y’all think I should do with it?

‘los

My Energy Level: EPIC

A few close loved ones and some team mates recently asked me: how can you have that kinda energy? All the time, no sleep, with sleep? How, Los? With a besmirched smile and a shrug, I answer: I’m high on Life, what can I say?

It’s NOT the answer I want to provide, but I “read the room” and offer up that quick witted response.

My Energy Level: EPIC

The answer that is bursting underneath my chest is so much more than that! My energy level is epic because I serve others which in turn serves me.


What does it mean to serve others, you ask? Helping, giving and doing something for someone. I didn’t say be a doormat, not at all! The messaging I’ve received throughout my life is generally the same: help when you can.


  • The Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated.
  • Boy Scout Slogan: Do a good turn daily.
  • Karma: It has no menu, you are served what you deserve.
  • My Mom: You should always help, as long it’s not unlawful or self-serving. You have an old-soul.

See? I interpreted that as the same meaning, that I should use my skills, experience, resources, and powers for good, and to serve others. This’ll sound preachy, but the powers-that-be, God, the Gods, Fate, Universe provides strength and the necessary ENERGY to do this.

I honestly believe I have an old-soul that didn’t quite get done on Earth what it needed and/or wanted to before leaving. So I’ve been infused with this seemingly endless energy to be able to help others.

Moreover, it makes the process easier when you’re happy, at the very least, smile. I’m happy to be alive, every day. Every time my feet touch my carpeted bedroom, armed with an already-counting down 86,400 seconds, I’m grateful I woke up.

I’ve been through some #shyt, y’all. I’ve battled my way through gas lighting and the subsequent divorce, thoughts of suicide, a borderline alcoholic, and personal demons of inadequacy.

It’s why I can better appreciate happiness! I’ve heard the words, “It could be worse.” Yes … yes, indeed. It can be worse, because for me, IT HAS. So I offer my help to anyone and everyone that asks for it without judgement, or malice.

I smile when I hear the question(s), “Hey Los, can I ask you question about xy-z-blah, blah? I was wondering if you could help?”

They know I’ll always say with an energetic, YES. In fact, I’m finishing up this post so I can help someone with a project – a memorial card.

‘los

Are You a Geek or a Nerd?

Of the many labels I’ve been given, the one I don’t agree with is “nerd”. Not because of the oppressive nature of it, or how insulting it is. Not at all. In my mind, it’s flat out inaccurate.

I pride myself on actually being a “geek”. And a “geek” of all sorts. The following explanation I am directly quoting from Slackpropagation, a post from burrsettles.


“To many people, “geek” and “nerd” are synonyms, but in fact they are a little different. Consider the phrase “sports geek” — an occasional substitute for “jock” and perhaps the arch-rival of a “nerd” in high-school folklore. If “geek” and “nerd” are synonyms, then “sports geek” might be an oxymoron. (Furthermore, “sports nerd” either doesn’t compute or means something else.)

In my mind, “geek” and “nerd” are related, but capture different dimensions of an intense dedication to a subject:

  • geek – An enthusiast of a particular topic or field. Geeks are “collection” oriented, gathering facts and mementos related to their subject of interest. They are obsessed with the newest, coolest, trendiest things that their subject has to offer.
  • nerd – A studious intellectual, although again of a particular topic or field. Nerds are “achievement” oriented, and focus their efforts on acquiring knowledge and skill over trivia and memorabilia.
Geek vs Nerd

Both are dedicated to their subjects, and sometimes socially awkward. The distinction is that geeks are fans of their subjects, and nerds are practitioners of them. A computer geek might read Wired and tap the Silicon Valley rumor-mill for leads on the next hot-new-thing, while a computer nerd might read CLRS and keep an eye out for clever new ways of applying Dijkstra’s algorithm. Note that, while not synonyms, they are not necessarily distinct either: many geeks are also nerds (and vice versa).

An Experiment

Do I have any evidence for this contrast? (By the way, this viewpoint dates back to a grad-school conversation with fellow geek/nerd Bryan Barnes, now a physicist at NIST.) The Wiktionary entries for “geek” and “nerd” lend some credence to my position, but I’d like something a bit more empirical…

“You shall know a word by the company it keeps” ~ J.R. Firth (1957)

To characterize the similarities and differences between “geek” and “nerd,” maybe we can find the other words that tend to keep them company, and see if these linguistic companions support my point of view?

Data and Method

(Note: If you’re neither a geek nor a nerd, don’t be scared by the math. It’s not too bad… or you can probably just skip to the “Results” subsection below…)

I analyzed two sources of Twitter data, since it’s readily available and pretty geeky/nerdy to boot. This includes a background corpus of 2.6 million tweets via the streaming API from between December 6, 2012, and January 3, 2013. I also sampled tweets via the search API matching the query terms “geek” and “nerd” during the same time period (38.8k and 30.6k total, respectively). Yes, yes, yes… I collected all the data six months ago but just now got around to crunching the numbers. It’s been a busy year!

A great little statistic for measuring how much company two words tend to keep is pointwise mutual information (PMI). It’s commonly used in the information retrieval literature to measure the cooccurrence of words and phrases in text, and it also turns out to be a good predictor of how humans evaluate semantic word similarity (Recchia & Jones, 2009) and topic model quality (Newman & al., 2010).

For two words w and v, the PMI is given by:

{\rm pmi}(w;v) = \log\frac{p(w,v)}{p(w)p(v)} = \log p(w|v) - \log p(w) ,

where in this case p(\cdot) is the probability of the word(s) in question appearing in a random tweet, as estimated from the data. For instance, if we let v = “geek,” we compute the log-probability of a word w in the “geek” search corpus, and subtract the log-probability of w in the background corpus.

Results

The PMI statistic measures a kind of correlation: a positive PMI score for two words means they “keep great company,” a negative score means they tend to keep their distance, and a score close to zero means they bump into each other more or less at random.

With that in mind, here is a scatterplot of various words according to their PMI scores for both “geek” and “nerd” on different axes (ignoring words with negative PMI, and treating #hashtags as distinct):

Many people have asked for a high-res PDF of this plot, so here you go.

Moving up the vertical axis, words become more geeky (“#music” → “#gadget” → “#cosplay”), and moving left to right they become more nerdy (“education” → “grammar” → “neuroscience”). Words along the diagonal are similarly geeky and nerdy, including social (“#awkward”, “weirdo”), mainstream tech (“#computers”, “#microsoft”), and sci-fi/fantasy terms (“doctorwho,” “#thehobbit”). Words in the lower-left (“chores,” “vegetables,” “boobies”) aren’t really associated with either, while those in the upper-right (“#avengers”, “#gamer”, “#glasses”) are strongly tied to both. Orange words are more geeky than nerdy, and blue words are the opposite. Some observations:

  • Collections are geeky. All derivatives of the word “collect” (“collection,” “collectables”, etc.) are orange. As are “boxset” and “#original,” which imply a taste for completeness and authenticity.
  • Academic fields are nerdy“math”, “#history,” “physics,” “biology,” “neuroscience,” “biochemistry,” etc. Other academic words (“thesis”, “#studymode”) and institutions (“harvard”, “oxford”) are also blue.
  • The science & technology words differ. General terms (“#computers,” “#bigdata”) are on the diagonal — similarly geeky and nerdy. As you splay up toward more geeky, though, you see products, startups, brands, and more cultish technologies (“#apple”, “#linux”). As you splay down toward more nerdy you see more methodologies (“calculus”).
  • #Hashtags are geeky. OK, sure, hashtags are all over the place. But they do tend toward the upper-left. And since hashtags are “#trendy,” I take it to mean that geeks are into trends. (I take this one back. The average PMI score for all hashtags is 0.74 with “geek” but 0.73 with “nerd.” The difference isn’t statistically significant using a paired t-test or Wilcoxon test, or practically significant using a common-sense test.)
  • Hobbies: compare the more geeky pastimes (“#toys,” “#manga”) with the more nerdy ones (“chess,” “sudoku”).
  • Brains: the word “intelligence” may be geeky, but “education,” “intellectual,” and “#smartypants” are nerdy.
  • Reading: “#books” are nerdy, but “ebooks” and “ibooks” are geeky.
  • Pop culture vs. high culture: “#shiny” and “#trendy” are super-geeky, but (curiously) “cellist” is the nerdiest

The list goes on. If you want to poke around yourself, download the raw PMI scores (4.2mb) and let me know in the comments what you find. Since many people have asked: I computed PMI for all words appearing in the search tweets with “geek” and “nerd” (millions) and then manually scanned roughly 7,500 words with positive PMI scores for both. The scatterplot contains about 300 words that I hand-picked because they made sense.

(Update: I learned that Olivia Culpo — a self-described “cellist nerd” — was crowned Miss Universe on December 20, 2012. The event was heavily tweeted smack in the middle of my data collection, so that probably explains the correlation between “cellist” and “nerd” here. It also underscores the limitations of time-sensitive data.)

Conclusion

In broad strokes, it seems to me that geeky words are more about stuff (e.g., “#stuff”), while nerdy words are more about ideas (e.g., “hypothesis”). Geeks are fans, and fans collect stuff; nerds are practitioners, and practitioners play with ideas. Of course, geeks can collect ideas and nerds play with stuff, too. Plus, they aren’t two distinct personalities as much as different aspects of personality. Generally, the data seem to affirm my thinking.

I wonder how similar the results would be if you applied this method to the Google Books Ngrams corpus, or something more general instead of a niche media like Twitter. I also wonder what other questions might be answered with this kind of analysis (for example, my wife and I have a perennial disagreement over which word is wetter: “moist” vs. “damp.”).

Finally, when I mentioned to a friend that I was going to write up this post, she said “Well, I guess we know which one you are.” But do we really? I may be a science nerd, but I’m probably a music geek…”

I read that, and thought, I couldn’t have written that better. So I quoted them instead! I’m a geek of all sorts, but not a nerd by any means.

‘los

COVID-19 Chronicles: Day 408

A year and some change we’ve been coping with the global pandemic of COVID-19. Now the question we’re trying to ask is: Who’s gonna readily step up for the vaccines available for it?

We already know the anti-vaxxers that won’t. They should, but they won’t. Let’s focus the conversation on the majority that will.

My next question: which one do you select?

You mean there choices, you ask? Yes. I’ve been following it closely, knowing I’ll be in the last group for eligibility. I’m healthy, single, 40 year old male that is not at-risk. That means my monkey-ass is at the end of the line, AS IT SHOULD BE.

I’m just writing and thinking pragmatically. Let’s look closer at the choices.


Case in point: the media coverage and public reception of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. Results from its trials were released last week. According to the company, it should be able to deliver 100 million doses in the first half of this year. But this good news hasn’t been greeted with the enthusiasm that accompanied announcements about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Perhaps that’s because in its clinical trial, the J&J vaccine had an efficacy number — the percentage of cases prevented entirely — of 66 percent. Compared against the 95 percent efficacy rate for the Pfizer vaccine and the 94.1 rate for Moderna’s, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine simply doesn’t look as good.

But in another sense, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial results were incredibly encouraging. The same trial showed that J&J’s vaccine makes Covid-19 cases much milder, meaning you might still get sick but you are much less likely to be hospitalized or die. Indeed, on that front, the J&J vaccine performs just as well as Pfizer’s and Moderna’s, a fact that seems to have been undersold in news coverage about it.

To put J&J’s effectiveness in another context, think about the flu. Flu vaccines mostly don’t prevent you from getting sick with the flu but instead make the flu much less awful if you catch it and less fatal for at-risk populations. A Covid-19 vaccine that was similar to that — one that made you much less likely to be hospitalized or die, and made the disease milder — would still be enough to help bring the pandemic to an end and give us back our lives.

That’s exactly what we have with the current crop of vaccines, including the three that haven’t been received as well as Pfizer’s and Moderna’s. No one who got two doses in clinical trials for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines has been hospitalized or died, and the same holds true for the new vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, Oxford/AstraZeneca, and Novavax (which haven’t yet been approved in the US). Each of the vaccines has demonstrated very high protection against severe Covid-19 in trials.

So why aren’t we talking about that?

– Kelsey Piper, Vox on February 11, 2021
COVID-19 Chronicles: Day 408

And just to reiterate, no vaccine is a silver bullet to kill it’s associated virus. The yearly flu vaccine you elect to have is an additional, yet important layer of protection from influenza. If you do happen to be infected, it decreases the EFFECT.

It doesn’t make you bulletproof, per se.

Around The World

As of February 11, 2021 the total world cases of COVID-19 stands at 107M, with 2.3M deaths according to WHO. Of that total, the USA has 47M cases, 1.1M deaths. Drilling down further in Washington State: 329K cases, 4.7K deaths.

Ugh. So many sick folks, that many dead. Breaks my heart.

Hopefully throughout 2021 those number of cases and deaths will be less while simultaneously increasing the distribution and dispensing of the vaccine.

I purposely didn’t answer my own question: Are you vaccinating against COVID-19 or not?

Yes, I will to answer flatly.

And with whichever vaccine is offered to me, and my preference is the Johnson & Johnson one-shot and done. That’s only IF all things being equal. Otherwise, I’ll roll up my sleeve, and you do your thing.

More from me later,

‘los

Words *DO* Hurt

The Morgan Wallen video posted is a painful reminder that words, certain words, do hurt. I’m confident that a career ending video like that, with the subsequent collateral damage field it created will haunt him for the rest of his days on Spaceship Earth.

I can only pray that he uses it as motivation to change his ways after some deep self-reflection.

Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can be only forgiven – not forgotten

~ anonymous saying

The summer of 2013 was one of my best to date, and yet … one of the worst incidents I’ve ever had in my life. Lemme explain one of my NOT-the-proudest-moments in my life.

It won’t be easy read, as well it won’t be easy for me to write it up. But I don’t ever want to forget, and Morgan’s words revived the memory.

What’s Your Frequency, Kenneth?!

After a particularly soul-crushing break up in the summer 2012, I started partying and drinking from then all the way to 2013. My consumption was to the point of black out drinking.

Blacking out does not mean that a person becomes unconscious, like falling asleep. Instead, people often continue to interact with others, engage in routine or potentially dangerous behaviors, and even continue to drink.

People who are blackout drunk are more likely to physically injure themselves. They have also been known to walk home, brush their teeth, eat meals, or go through other normal behaviors. They do not remember these behaviors because their brain does not move those experiences into memory. Once the person begins to sober up, the brain will begin to process memories normally again.

It’s like the brain quits recording on the video tape but the video tape continues to operate.

My birthday parties (yes, more than one) that year were EPIC. The first party of the weekend, I enjoyed birthday shots, and then more drinking, finally to the point of black out. Several of my friends, and a young woman I had been dating, all piled into a Denny’s Restaurant for the after-hours party.

I honestly do not remember the night, or even saying this, but the morning after was painfully evident I DID say those hurtful things.

I do remember stumbling out of my sister’s car, then while on all-fours of the parking garage I violently vomited. Jesus, this is what my life choices have culminated to? You are a borderline alcoholic.

That wouldn’t be last of my issues.

I SAID WHAT?!

The morning after I didn’t have a hangover which concerned me. Then I looked at my mobile phone – no texts or missed calls. My attempts of calling and texting party attendees were unanswered.

Something’s amiss. What have I done, my panicked mind, asks?

My best friend, my bro, Jason finally answered my repeated phone calls. I gulped, “J, what happened after about 10 pm because I can’t remember! No one else isn’t answering, help!”

He answers my question by telling a horror story where I’m the antagonist. Apparently, I was asked how I got the Captain Morgan costume that was custom, handmade by the young lady I was dating.

He recalls that I replied with, “she’s my on-call #$%^* that does anything I want including making costumes for me!”

And then I tried to celebrate triumphantly with a high-five. The hurtful statement had her burst into immediate tears, my friends were horrified, and my sister was ashamed of me for the first time in recorded history.

My heart sunk. I SAID WHAT?! Oh Lord, what have I done?

Since I lived with my sister, I apologized to her first. Her reply was the same as everyone else. “That’s all fine and well, but you apologize to Alicia.”

On Bended Knee

To this day I’m grateful for my bro, Jason, campaigning for me, saying and doing whatever it took to coax her into the car to drive to me but … he was successful.

Lemme just say she had more poise and grace than I would’ve in her position!

I managed to carry her bags in silence, up to our shared hotel room. I invited her to sit on the edge of the bed. Then on bended knee I look at her eyes that was filled with hurt. Hurt that I caused.

It was devastating.

I apologize profusely, genuinely and not from a power position as she looked down on me. She quietly listened to my apologetic words which were specific as I learned if you are sorry about something be sure to state why exactly.

She replied with the following that’ll stick with me, “Before I accept or deny your apology, as you said, I have a question for you.”

I gulped, “Yes, I said even though I apologized that doesn’t mean you are required to accept it. I’m at your mercy. Therefore I will answer any question. Shoot.”

Were those drunk words, but sober thoughts?” she asked with tears welling up in her pretty eyes.

FUCK, just kill me now. That was a dagger into my heart.

With tears in my eyes now, “Not at all. That’s a type of malice reserved for the most hated enemy – you’re not even close.”

She summoned a meek smile, “Good. I accept your apology, Mr. Bayne. If you ever say or do anything like that again, I’ll end you myself.”

I had placed my hands and arms on her thighs, “Fair enough, I accept that. It won’t come to that, but I understand the repercussions if I do.” I rose up to my feet, extended my hand to her.

She accepted it, and rose up to her feet. We literally, kissed, hugged, and mended fences. I seared into my mind forever: words *DO* hurt. I was forgiven by a very gracious human being; given a 2nd chance.

Best believe, there will not be a third. I vowed to myself never to do that again. From that day forward I would measure my words carefully. The spoken word can not be taken back. Oh, and of course, curb my enthusiasm of drinking and partying.

That is all, carry on.

‘los

Paradigm Shift of Priorities

On January 1, 2020, I turned over my iPhone named J.O.A.N. [Just Open And Network] to watch the phone line end to a nasty conversation I had spoken two words in: Hey stranger.

In that moment, I decided that I will make a fundamental change in my life. A paradigm shift of priorities … not because it was New Year’s Day either.


Inexplicably I held on to the dream of selling everything I owned, moving to a different state like Texas, build up the ’empire’ I have here, and met the woman of my dreams. Or chase after my crush that I have long known that she friend-zoned me.

Again in that moment of utter loneliness and despair even though I was literally in the middle of a Geocaching Event, I had an epiphany. A moment of truth, a blinding realization, a raw Man In The Mirror recognition: I need to do something immediately different with my life.

Man In The Mirror

I’m gonna make a change,
For once I’m my life
It’s gonna feel real good
Gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right

Paradigm Shift of Priorities

Those old institutions of thinking were holding me back from fully committing to anything. I gritted my teeth to mentally get it through my skull, “I’ll never have another partner, as I will die alone.

Therefore I should focus my attention on my house to make it a comfortable tomb for the remaining years on Spaceship Earth.

As I turn up the collar on
My favorite winter coat

This wind is blowing my mind
I see the kids in the streets
With not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

In February 2020, interest rates for 30 year fixed home loans were at a historic low – 3.5%. I would spend the rest of the year processing the refinancing loan that converted to a rehabiliation loan to finance 3 major projects: new roof, new exterior paint, and new flooring. It’s a long story of which I’ll spare you the gory details!

The first of my priorities: build myself a comfortable tomb.

Tabula Rasa Day

In 2008, I declared December 1st as Tabula Rasa Day – [‘tabula rasa’ is Latin for “blank slate”] Why?

It was the first day, of the first month, of the first year, of the rest of my life – that’s why.

  • Q: What is Tabula Rasa Day?
  • A: I created a holiday to celebrate inner freedom to start over. I declared December 1st , as Tabula Rasa [‘tabula rasa’ is Latin for “blank slate”] Why? It’s the first day, of the first month, of the first year, of the rest of my life
  • Q: Why ‘Tabula Rasa Day’, ‘los? Why not blank slate day or something easier to digest?
  • A: Most languages are based in Latin, therefore English. I created the holiday for myself – a day to challenge myself to be introspective, or perhaps run head long into a challenge. Most importantly, it’s NOT A RESOLUTION DAY LIKE NEW YEARS!

My Tabula Rasa Day Declaration in 2020 was to finish my Geocaching Jasmer Challenge.

A summer’s  disregard, a broken bottle top
And one man’s soul
They follow each other on the wind ya’ know
‘Cause they got nowhere to go

The second priority: my happiness.

That’s why I want you to know
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

If I focused on my improving my house until I was actually proud of it, WHILE I concentrate on my happiness then I’ll have everything, right? Right!

I could no longer find happiness with a partner, even if I wanted one.

I’ve been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It’s time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they’re not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody’s broken heart
And a washed-out dream
They follow the pattern of the wind ya’ see
‘Cause they got no place to be

I resigned myself to work as well. I may not like what I do for a wage, in fact, I loathe it. However, it directly provides the financial means to improve my tomb, and bankrolls the game I love to play, Geocaching.

All the other activities I was engaged with didn’t further any of those priorities. Since COVID-19 global pandemic started in 2020, and continues to rage across the planet, I remained focused on them.


That’s why I’m starting with me
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

With those apex priorities, I purchased a newer vehicle to be my daily commuter, yet have the ability to drive to trails to hike, bike, camp, etc. The famed Sapphire Sled had long exceeded it’s economic life, and symbolic need for me: girl magnet. Women over 30 are not impressed with your vehicle, they are impressed with your reliable transportation.

On January 1, 2021 I peered at my newer phone I had purchased iPhone 12 PRO that I named Blu [Pacific Blue] For the most part, it was quiet. Free of drama, free of notifications from work, and peaceful.

So … is this what happens when I enjoy a paradigm shift in priorities? I should’ve done this sooner.

‘los

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