Monday, January 5, 2009

asdf!@$%

Today was the first day of class after the Christmas holidays. It was certainly nice to see all my classmates again, and there were uncharacteristically few lectures, but school is still just that. I noticed many people ready to pass out by the third hour.

As I fought to maintain attention, I leaned over and wrote "asdf" on Kushima's notes. "What's 'asdf'?" Kushima whispered. I'd always considered this a somewhat universal expression, but interestingly enough, Kon had asked me the same question just a week or two back during an MSN conversation... I briefly pondered how best to respond, then leaned over once more and added an exclamation mark ("!"), followed by a commercial at or asperand ("@"), followed by a five-pointed star, followed by a stormcloud. "Huh?" replied Kushima.

Outside class, Kushima and Stewie continued to ponder the meaning of "asdf." "Maybe it's a new drug," suggested Stewie, "One twice as strong as Speed. Wait... what's Speed again?" Our attention shifted as none of us could remember what kind of drug Speed was a street name for. The answer is Amphetamine, by the way.

But what about the enigma of "asdf"? It's a simple expression of frustration - similar to Sarge's symbolized expletives in the cartoon strip Beetle Bailey (hence my !@{star}{stormcloud}). It's the kind of random assortment of characters that you come up with when pounding down haphazardly on your keyboard in frustration. All this confusion, however, had led me to doubt myself. "Am I the only one who recognizes this expression?" I wondered. I had certainly seen it before.

Thankfully, trusty Urban Dictionary exonerated me. I found the following pitch perfect definition down at #4:

  1. Usually a mannerism for displaying frustration (e.g. what the heck)

  2. four letters on the home row struck by the left pinky, ring,middle, index finger (respectively)
1. omg, asdfasdfafdasdfasdf
2. a-s-d-f

The resumption of classes was certainly not the only annoyance of the day, however. My mother had been nagging me for about a week to go down to the subway station and pick up a January Metropass (the monthly transit card). For my part, I didn't really see the point of making an extra trip down to the station when I was going to have to go there on the first day of classes anyways.

As it turned out, I stopped by the subway station yesterday evening when we were dropping my sister off (who was taking the subway down to the train station) only to find that Metropasses were completely sold out! Today I paid a regular fare and stopped off at Davisville station, which is where one of the two TTC offices is (and hence, is supposed to carry Metropasses until the 15th of the month). They were sold out too! The collector ushered me back through the turnstiles and told me to see if they had any left at whatever station I was getting off at. I got off at Queen's Park and ran by the collector's booth to see a (now familiar) "Metropass is sold out" sign. Bollocks...

Now I would like to stop for a second and make the comment that it's extremely poor planning for a transit system to be out of fare cards all over the system. But then, I guess it goes without saying that the TTC is a pretty cruddy transit system. They wouldn't even have to manufacture these cards let alone run out of them if the administration weren't a bunch of dinosaurs and were more proactive in adopting the Presto transit smart card being implemented in a half-dozen transit systems across the GTA. And I'm more than a little miffed that they're going to start charging Metropass holders for parking starting in April.

But I digress - back to the story. After class let out, I began to ponder all sorts of clever schemes to locate a station with leftover Metropasses. It was my plan to walk over to College station and see if they had any Metropasses there, and if they did not, to walk North to Wellesley and maybe to Bloor to check there. Yuffie suggested that I ride the subway along my usual route but get off at each station to check if they had Metropasses. Yet another friend suggested I call ahead to each station and ask them if they had Metropasses.

I decided to stick with my original plan and walk to College, but as I began my trek I decided that St. Patrick (to the South instead of to the East) might be a better bet. After all, if St. Patrick didn't have Metropasses, I could easily hop down to Osgoode or St. Andrew, which are both also unpopular stops. Their analogues on the East side (Dundas, Queen, and King) are major commuter stations (for work and shopping) and would very likely be sold out.

Just as I was about to cross College St. to walk south, the streetlight turned red, so I decided to go underground through Queen's Park station to get to the other side. As I walked through the station, I noted that the "Metropass is sold out" sign I had seen in the morning seemed to be absent. Sure enough, they had gotten a new batch and I was able to pick one up for a whopping $109. I guess all that planning was for naught... Not that I mind - it sounded like quite a pain.

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Blogs desire to be read, Videos to be played

While I was talking to Kushima (one of my most avid readers) today at lunch, he mentioned that he tends to skim entries that aren't about my life - glossing over entries about television, movies, and current events because he's unfamiliar with the content.

Now I realize this is true for many people. However, the reason I enjoy writing about these unfamiliar topics is to share something good and exciting - in the hope that someone might say, "Hey, this Battlestar Galactica sounds pretty neat. Maybe I'll check it out."

When I make a reference or use a term I realize may be foreign to many, I painstakingly link relevant websites (or past blog entries), so that the reader - if they are so inclined - can in one click recall or appreciate what I am talking about. I mentioned this to Kushima in our aforementioned conversation, and he commented that he had in fact tried my link to the Korean version of the movie My Sassy Girl on Saturday, and it didn't work. This, of course, shocked me because it was a relatively important link; but it was plausible, since I don't test all my links by clicking them anymore. We opted to make a bet and check it right then and there, so we proceeded to the computer lounge to try it - a Starbucks coffee riding on our accuracy (a Tall, none of that Short nonsense). The link works, and I won a coffee.

The moral of the story? Words desire to be read and comprehended, videos desire to be watched, and you should check out My Sassy Girl.