Statistically Unlikely

I’ve been playing solitaire Mahjong on my laptop a bit lately, and I’ve noticed something odd about the way the computer sets up the board. In the solitaire “turtle” layout, the middle is four columns of tiles, with a tile centered on them pyramid style; you can’t move any of the four tiles on top of those columns until that fifth tile goes away.  In the last 30 or so games I’ve played¹, there has been one in which one of the four tiles under the centered one isn’t one of its matches–that is to say, if the centered tile is 6 of spots, so is one of the four directly under it.

There are 136 tiles in a Mahjong set; any given tile has 3 others that it can match with.  So you’ve got the top, centered tile, which has three possible matches; for each of the four spots under it, there’s a 2.2% chance that they’ll be one of those matches–just over one out of 50 times.  I have forgotten precisely what transformation to apply to get the chance one of them will come up given four tries, but I’m fairly sure it should be less often than 29 games out of 30.

I have no idea whether this is a deliberate feature of the way the computer makes its layouts, and if so what purpose it serves other than to taunt the player with the knowledge that one of the most vital tiles on the board is blocking one of its own matches…

1: I haven’t kept track precisely.


Shakespeare Fanfic

I wrote this a little while ago and forgot to post it here.

“And I am sunburnt,” Beatrice says; she thinks
the Prince is making fun of her, or worse,
he’s looking to indulge his princely kinks
with Leonato’s niece. She’d laugh, or curse–
what does he think he’s doing, sitting here,
and talking like her brother or her friend?
Though sharp-eyed she can spot no frown nor sneer,
a flip remark will bring this to an end.
But “Wouldst thou have me, lady?” and she gapes
for just a second; can’t have heard that right.
A joke, then, but a gentle one, in case;
offending him would only cause a fight.
She wants someone to match her wit for wit;
Whoever might be, Pedro isn’t it.

Have Needles, Will Travel

I’m going to be at Pennsic in about a month–otherwise known as a huge collection of people who have reason to be interested in hand needlework.  And I’d like to make some money out of my mutant power; at the moment I’m in the middle of a project for KnitPicks, but it’ll be done by the time I head for War.

So what I’m wondering is if it’s worth the money to make some business cards.  And if so, what should they say?  Professional cards–expensive, but nicer–or print my own?  And that’s not even getting into the question of what I should charge for things, assuming anyone wants to hire me.

Business is hard.  Let’s go shopping.

Weather Happens

Much as I would like to be working on garb right now, it’s too darn hot to be running a sewing machine.  I expect it’ll be cooler shortly, and then I might be willing to bust out the Singer, but for now I have pieces cut out and I’m going to call that a win.


One always needs more garb.  Fortunately I discovered the stola last year, and as a result sewing for myself for Pennsic consists of making a tube with ribbons sewn into the shoulders¹.  But Liam wants a sorta-Chinese robe thing for cool nights, and there’s actually some tailoring involved–plus, pretty much no one makes Chinese-inspired patterns to fit a guy who’s 6’3″ with a 52-inch chest.  I have to do rather a lot of extrapolating from the pattern I do have.

That said, I’m looking forward to War this year more than I have in a while.  People to see, and all that.

1: I bought fibulae, but they have gone missing.  Having the ribbons sewn in is not terribly period, I admit, but it looks pretty good so I’m running with it.


Most of my close friends are male.  Most of Liam’s close friends are female.  This pattern is pretty consistent among people I know, When Harry Met Sally… to the contrary.

And you know, it occurs to me there might be a reason for that, namely that I’m straight, and most of my friends are straight.  When you look at it that way, it seems somehow less confusing that a woman would choose to hang out with mostly men, and vice versa.  I mean, that way you get to have the friends and eye candy at the same time; what’s not to like?

Sadly, I don’t have any gay friends I can ask if this seems realistic.  I don’t think I’m just being heteronormative or otherwise subtly homophobic, but I could be wrong, being a member of the privileged majority…


My old blog is going to be going away sometime fairly soon–I think at the end of this calendar year.  And there’s a lot of content over there, at least 1500 old posts.  I’ve transferred maybe 50 of them here, suitably backdated.  It’s tedious work, for a lot of reasons–filling in summaries, changing dates, adding tags to the old posts that didn’t have them (the vast majority).  There doesn’t seem to be any way at all of doing a mass grab-and-convert operation¹, either on Blog City’s end or WordPress’s, so if I want to save things I have to do it manually.  And I’m beginning to wonder if I have the energy for it.

I don’t want to lose all that old writing, but I don’t know how much of it I’m going to get in time.  Perhaps what I should do is go through and target the most important-to-me posts first, and then fill in?  That seems less efficient than just going straight through chronologically.

1: There is a way to have everything put into a file for me, but that won’t actually give me posts I can put here.