Tag Archives: Fun

All or None of the above

I took a half day on Friday for a dentist appointment. Afterward my wife and I enjoyed Red Robin burgers and the new movie Pixels, which was as bad as I expected, but entertaining. My wife is a very understanding person and I promise we’ll go see Trainwreck sometime this weekend.

Half days are a good opportunity to catch up on mandatory web training for work, and one training course I’d been meaning to get to for a while was A Peacock in the Land of Penguins. The full version I watched is 12 minutes but I found a 3 minute version on YouTube if you want a taste:

As funny as the video is, my favorite part of the training was the questions. The training software was obviously designed to randomize the position of the responses, one of the ways you can shake out bias in polling or test taking. The thing is, whoever wrote the software forgot to write a case for “All of the above”. This resulted in questions of the form:

  • A. All of the above
  • B. Answer 1
  • C. Answer 2
  • D. Answer 3

Or the even more confusing:

  • A. Answer 1
  • B. All of the above
  • C. Answer 2
  • D. Answer 3

From context it was pretty obvious that B actually meant A,C and D not just A. If we were taking this literally, A and B are the same. This got me to thinking on how you could construct even more confusing questions.

  • A. Answer 1
  • B. All of the above
  • C. B but not A
  • D. Answer 2

Or how about:

  • A. None of the below
  • B. Both A and C.
  • C. All of the above.
  • D. Answer 1

Or even:

  • A. Answer 1
  • B. Answer 2
  • C. All of the above
  • D. Answer 3

I imagine the test taker would more inclined to believe above meant only 1 and 2, not 3 in this case, and this could have plausibly happened with the software I was using.

Got any fun constructions of your own? 10 points for someone who comes up with a foursome in which every answer is impossible.

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See you next week


I’m here but I’m a little exhausted. Gonna read some Batman to recharge and work a little on the book before Easter. See you all next week. Happy egg seeking, chocolate rabbit consuming, and family time spending.

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5% of Five (#1) – 5 Free “Humor” Kindle Books

Damn you HundredZeros!

Thanks to you and sites like ManyBooks and the Baen Free Library, I now have more books than I know what to do with on my Kindle. I was already at the point where I didn’t have time to read all my print books, and you’ve gone and made it worse. There’s only one thing to do…

Make more snap decisions.

Introducing 5% of Five!!!!

5% of Five is the new irregular feature here at BenTrubeWriter, featuring reviews of the first 5% of five free books. Hopefully these posts will be helpful in telling you what’s worth your time (and lack of money), and what you’d be better off avoiding.

Our Rating Scale!!!!

5 – I really enjoyed this. I would (and may have already) spent money to buy other books by this author.

4 – I’m intrigued, I will have to finish this at some point.

3 – Some good parts, overall so-so.

2 – I’m glad this was free. It was pretty bad.


Today’s Books (Humor)

Kids Say The Cutest Things When They're DrunkKids Say The Cutest Things When They’re Drunk – The best part of this is the title. I was kind of expecting some bizarre narratives of weird things kids had done, but the book starts with a test on whether you’re ready to be a parent. Obvious warning signs that you’re not ready, you don’t want to clean diapers, lose all your free time (and money), and are a pedophile. If you want to read a funny book on parenting, try Mother On Fire, by Sandra Tsing Loh (Not free, but far more worth your time). Rating 1.

Silly SignsSilly Signs – I read 100% of this, in about 5 minutes. Mostly pun based humor. One or two laughs, but generally pretty lowbrow. The book is presented in cartoon format without a lot of variation. It might be worth your zero dollars, but I guarantee an instant archival after one reading. Also there seemed to be some formatting glitches (blank pages) on my Kindle. Rating 2.

Funny Jokes For AdultsFunny Jokes For Adults – By Adult they mean clean but “intelligent” humor. Probably at the level of “Humor in Uniform” or other such columns in Reader’s Digest. Nothing that made me laugh out loud, but maybe a few jokes that I’d retell with a little tweaking. Formatting is the biggest problem with this. The original document must have used very small fonts, since I had to turn my text most of the way up to make it readable. Rating 3.

Obama SutraObama Sutra – Another book where the best part is the title. I knew this would probably be pretty silly, but I was actually looking for some decent Obama based humor here. By the third page or so they were already making a Clinton joke, and most of the Obama jokes definitely came from one side of the political aisle. I bet in the right hands a more “fair and balanced” and far funnier book could be crafted with this title, but not this one. Rating 1.

The Book Of Biff #1The Book Of Biff #1 Target Practice – This book filled a need I didn’t even know I had, single panel comics for the Kindle. Biff is a bald man with some serious eyebrows and mustache who gets himself into all sorts of weird situations. Is he human, an alien, or a toaster? The Book Of Biff is an online comic by Chris Hallbeck that’s been going on and off for more than a decade. To date there are 10 collections of 100+ comics a piece, most $2.99 but this one is free! I’m not sure if I’ll buy the rest at $2.99, but I did pick up Volume 5 which is discounted at $0.99. Rating 5.

That’s it, our 5% of Five. What did you think?


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Happy 4th of July!

Enjoy the fireworks!


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Bonus Friday Post (Fractals You Can Build)

Thanks to all of you who have been following Fractal Week! Today I’ll show you how to make a 3D Sierpinski triangle made from nothing but toothpicks and mini-marshmallows! Plus we have a comic from guest artist Brian Buckley!

First stage, base of one of the four pyramids that make up the full size triangle. Our cat Dax is already curious.

Build pyramids in the three corners, leaving the middle open. Some left-over fuel to the left.

A complete mini-pyramid. The full size pyramid is made up of four of these, three for the base and one on the top. We built the base a few days ahead of time allowing it time to harden. (The Little Red Haired Girl also suggested reinforcing it with hairspray which seems to have done a good job).

The final product with one of my wife’s birthday gifts to me guiding the final construction.

View from one side, as you can see the whole middle section is removed, as it would be in the real triangle. It may come as a surprise to some of you, but Fractals with parts removed are not the most stable, hence why we reinforced it.

Most 3D Sierpinski’s I’ve seen are computer generated and have four sides. I felt this wouldn’t work for our shape for two reasons. One triangles, even ones with parts removed are stronger than squares. And two, this shape has a Sierpinski triangle on all sides, even the base.

Several hundred toothpicks and about half a bag of mini-marshmallows went into the construction of this fractal (some to fuel the builder).

The view from inside.

Friend of the blog Brian Buckley was kind enough to draw another “versus” picture for this week.

Have a great weekend, we’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming next week.

The Fractals You Can Draw posts are collected in ebook form, available now on Amazon.

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We Control The Vertical

I am spending the day off work with my wife today so we will delay our regularly scheduled programming until tomorrow. In the meantime please enjoy some recent (and not so recent) interesting posts from friends of this blog:

How To Be An Oneironaut – Learn how to explore your dreams with the lucid guidance of Brian D. Buckley.

What Is A Table – Or explore the precise definition of tables.

Narrative Structure: Breathe In, Breathe Out – A very intriguing way of looking at the flow of your story, graciously blogged about by The Happy Logophile

Making A Sandwich – A flash fiction response to Chuck Wendig’s prompts, from BJ Kerry. Liked the reveal about midway through.

100 Word Challenge “Hooked” – Buddhafulkat has been doing a number of these 100 word stories. This is one of my favorites.

See you tomorrow!


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Bonus Friday Post (Pop Culture, Weasels, Oscilloscopes)

Happy Friday!

One of my traditions on Friday afternoons is to listen to the Pop Culture Happy Hour put out by Linda Holmes and the folks at NPR’s Monkey See. The podcast has been in reruns due to coverage of SXSW, but last week’s “rehash” covered one of my favorite subjects, pop culture to share with your kids. You can find the podcast here.

In advance of having kids I am stock-piling some of the shows I grew up with including Darkwing Duck, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the old ones), Batman: The Animated Series from the 90s, Rocky and Bullwinkle and Pinky and the Brain. Some shows have aged better than others (Pinky and the Brain makes a surprising amount of 90s specific references), but I thought it would be fun to make my future kids some DVDs of episodes from each of these shows to have a similar experience to Saturday mornings like mine (including interspersing some Schoolhouse Rock and George of the Jungle).

  • What pop culture do you want to share with future generations?

Speaking of things to share, I thought I’d post a couple of drawings my friend Brian made back when we were in college. During some of our more … dry … computer science classes, my friends and I would pose a “versus” situation to Brian and he would proceed to draw the ensuing conflict. These drawings come in two “limited edition” series of about a dozen drawings each, and Brian was kind enough to honor me in two of them. You may recognize one of them as my new Gravatar.

Ben Trube vs Oscilloscope

From back when I worked for the Physics Dept.

OSU Students vs Winter

We got a mild winter this year, but not so during college.

And lastly, there are couple of new features on the site:

  • Updated the “best of” with one of the more popular “Forty-Minute Stories”, Purple Crush. Enjoy if you haven’t already!
  • Added a “You may have missed” section for some posts that may have slipped through the cracks.
  • Added a Blogroll for fellow bloggers you might be interested in. More to follow.

Have a wonderful weekend!


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