Typing Confidently

“You have undertaken to cheat me. I won’t sue, for the law is too slow. I’ll ruin you.”
-Business letter
-Typeracer Quote

This isn’t supposed to be a braggadocios post but my typing speed is a solid 70 WPM. Really in the grand scheme of things that isn’t that impressively fast. Yet, in comparison to my typing speed and accuracy 1 year ago, this is insanely fast.

To give some backstory, I am a computer science major so I have the need to type and interact with computers constantly. My typing speed was a whopping 40, without punctuation. Believe me, 70 isn’t super fast, but 40 is definitely slow.

In high school I knew this very well because my brother was a pianist and also a nerd, so he had a good typing speed. I tried once to increase my typing speed but I was in a programming class and reworking my whole technique was going to hinder my bad typing technique even further. I wasn’t willing to take the short term loss for long term gains.

This went on, and I knew my typing was crap, but I had no desire to change that anytime soon. And then… one day I walked into class and saw a teacher type and said, “You know what? Today is the day that I start learning to type better!”

So from there I went to typing.com (Not a sponsor). I went through most all of their lessons, and learned how to use proper technique, which is definitely the backbone to fast typing. This took a while to get through the lessons and feel confident. The rest was just practice.

The place where I practice my typing is typeracer.com (Still not a sponsor). Maybe there is a way to increase your typing speed super fast… I don’t know it. All typeracer does is give you quotes to type, so for me the process is simple:

  1. Go to Typeracer
  2. Type a bunch of quotes
  3. Repeat

The trick to typeracing is to not worry about racing, just worry about typing the passage as fast as possible. I still lose plenty of races, I don’t let this bother me though, because at the end of the day all I am trying to do is improve myself.

If you want to know how many passages I have typed on typeracer, as of this post it somewhere around 2900. The quote listed above is definitely my favorite.

Xylophone and the Next Great Endeavor

It’s storytime boys and girls so buckle up.

When I was in high school, I was in fact a band nerd. More than that, I was a percussionist, so I played everything that wasn’t a wind instrument. And even more detailed, I mainly practiced mallet instruments. If you remember the little toy multi-color xylophone you played with as a child, then imagine that but 10x bigger, that is what I played in band.

I was in band for 6 years and during that time I had the opportunity to get pretty decent at vibraphone, marimba, and xylophone. Then when I graduated from high school and I went to college I had the opportunity to be in college band. I decided against it though because I really wanted to focus on my degree rather than still be the band kid I had been for the past few years of my life.

This decision has filled me with just a little bit of regret ever since.

Mallet instruments aren’t cheap. Because of that the only realistic way I could have kept practicing and playing would be by playing in the college band. And since I hadn’t been in college band I haven’t been able to play… until recently a very strange thing happened.

A month or so ago I was at work and I was talking to one of my co-workers about high school band. If you want to know what the easiest most fluid subject you can talk about to any band kid, it is band. Turns out my co-worker was a band kid, and he played euphonium, he then asked what I played. I explained to him that I was a percussionist and I mainly played the mallet instruments, and how I really wish I was still playing but those instruments cost a lot of money so I don’t play anymore.

This is where it gets interesting. Once I explained what I used to play he told me how his dad was a band director and percussionist. Then he went on to say that he thinks there might actually be one in his garage that he is trying to get rid of and if so, I could have it.

Turns out, that is exactly what happened. A couple of weeks ago he handed me the frame and keys and resonators to a xylophone and explained that there wasn’t a stand for it. That’s fine, I can easily build it.

And with that I built the frame.

And when the frame was built I put it into my closet (which is surprisingly spacious).

And now I have a xylophone I can readily practice on and hopefully master, which brings me to my next big endeavor.

For at least the rest of Summer starting next week I am going to try to upload a video a day of xylophone. All the videos are probably going to be short melodies that I’m getting from a book of melodies, and hopefully by the end of Summer I will be much better than I am now. The link to that YouTube channel is here.

It’s a strange thing, because I know if I was watching a movie and this happened to the protagonist I would be in utter disbelief and probably call the movie unrealistic. But here I am now, the newest owner of a xylophone.

Weekend at Psychopath’s

Bernie Lomax would be the perfect host except for one small thing… He’s Dead. His two psychopathic employees try to still have a party once they find his dead body.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed watching Weekend at Bernie’s. It’s funny, it’s goofy, it’s charming, it’s a late 80’s early 90’s classic. The thing is though, it’s not quite right.

If you haven’t seen Weekend at Bernie’s I would suggest doing so, it is a pretty funny movie and as weird as it is you will definitely get a laugh. That said, if you have no intention of seeing the movie and would rather read my plot synopsis and critique then be my guest.

The plot is essentially this:

  1. Two accountants find a 2 million dollar inconsistency in the ledger.
  2. They take it up to their boss, who is the reason for this inconsistency (unknown to them)
  3. Their boss, Bernie Lomax, invites them to his beach house to kill them
  4. The mobsters that Bernie works for decides to kill Bernie instead (don’t worry, there are reasons, not particularly great reasons, but reasons)
  5. The two employees show up and find their boss dead
  6. Instead of reporting it to the police, they decide to relax at his beach house for a weekend and slap some shades on Bernie so nobody thinks he is dead.
  7. A bunch of scenes where the mob is confused about Bernie still being alive
  8. A dead body defeats the mob

Now here is where it gets weird. Who in their right minds would see a dead body and go, “Oh, let’s hang out with that dead body and keep throwing parties and have a great weekend.”? Psychopaths, that’s who.

What does the movie do to justify this behavior? Glad you asked. It defines the two characters by two different things. One of them is just trying to have a relaxing and enjoyable weekend at a beach house and is defined by his erratic behavior the entire movie. The other character seems completely normal, hard working, middle-class American male, who would be very likely (as in actually attempts) to report a dead body when he sees one.

So when it finally comes time and the scene happens where they see the dead body, the erratic one immediately sees the body as a ticket to having chilling in a beach house and throwing parties all weekend, AKA complete detachment from death. The other protagonist acts accordingly, kind of.

The normal(ish) protagonist tries to hold up an argument of morality by suggesting (as he should) that they shouldn’t defile a dead body for a weekend of fun at a dead man’s beach house. What this protagonist learns though is that the girl of his dreams just happens to also be at that beach and quickly changes his position to that of his friend.

The whole movie plays it off as a lighthearted comedy. As they continue to fling around the dead body they can’t stop making dead person jokes, which although in any other context would be tasteless, actually appears pretty funny. All in all, the movie does a good job about hiding the morbid fact that it is about two psychopaths who would stop at nothing to have a fun weekend.

Just remember if you watch it, take a step back and think. Do you know of anyone who would fake a dead body being alive to hang out at a beachfront house and party for a weekend? If so here is my wise words of advice, DO NOT DIE AROUND THEM.