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Is R2-D2 Male or Female? March 6, 2008

Posted by Andy in robot, Star Wars.

r2d2 Star Wars has become hugely popular in my house now that my son is old enough to enjoy it. One of the more interesting characters who plays an important role in all six movies is the droid, R2-D2.

For reasons beyond understanding, I recently started wondering what gender R2 was. My son is sure he is a boy, and that was also my first reaction. When I asked him why he thought R2 was a boy, he said with the certainty of a 5 year old that “R2-D2” is a boy’s name. I asked him how many boys he knew who were named R2-D2, and he countered that he didn’t know any girls with that name, so it must be a boy’s name.

So I decided to look at the evidence from the films, and after doing so, I came to the conclusion that R2-D2 is in fact female. Here is why:

  • In most species, females are smaller than males, and R2 is smaller than most other droids (most notablyC-3P0)
  • Ships are “she’s”(“She’ll make .5 past lightspeed”) so why not driods?
  • The high noises R2 uses to communicate are oddly similar to the sound a group of 5 or more women make when gathered for coffee
  • When in an X-Wing or similar ship, R2 does not actually drive but instead offers assistance and encourages the pilot to stop and ask for directions when lost
  • R2 was working as a waitress on Jabba’s cocktail barge.

SoapBox Guide to Christmas Cards December 6, 2007

Posted by Andy in Christmas, rants.

Those of you that send Christmas cards, or holiday cards, or whatever you call them, take heed. Unless your goal is to be mocked and ridiculed by the people you care enough about to send mail to, you should follow this guide. (Not to say that I will personally mock cards that do not follow this guide. I totally will, and may even think less of you as a person, but I’m not going to say that.)

The Message

Please don’t try to persuade me of anything as part of your mailing. You may have strong beliefs about stuff, and that’s fine, and I may even share those beliefs, but a Christmas cards should not be considered marketing literature. Just wish me a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and be done with it.

The Timing

Do not send me a Christmas card before Thanksgiving. Don’t even start working on it before Thanksgiving for that matter. We’re all impressed with how organized you are, but it disrespects Thanksgiving. Don’t send it after Christmas either. No matter what it says in the post-Christmas card, the message is always “My life is such a mess that I can’t even get Christmas cards out on time.”

The Christmas Letter

If you include a letter about what you and your family did this year, please know that most of what you have to say is more interesting to you than it is to most of the people to whom you send the letter. As such, keep it short. More than 1 page is too much. Also, and this is very important, only people who can actually write should write the letter. I do not want a letter that was “written” by your baby or your dog. This might have been a cute idea the very first time someone did this, but now it just full of wrong.

The Christmas Picture

Unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere, your Christmas picture should be Christmas-y. By that I mean holly, tinsel, decorations, sweaters, even Santa hats. I don’t want to see a shot of your beach vacation last summer. Send me that for Labor Day. For Christmas, it should be a Christmas picture. The picture should include the entire family. Even if you have the cutest kids in the world, I also want to see your old wrinkly face too, if for no other reason then to help me imagine what those kids will look like in 30 years. A bit of cropping and post-processing would be a good idea. Just say no to red-eye.

Happy Holidays!

Stars and Stripes For a Little While June 14, 2007

Posted by Andy in andy roth, Flag Day, rants, soapbox.


This holiday is elegant in its simplicity. The mail still comes, nothing is closed, you don’t have to buy gifts, prepare elaborate meals, host fancy parties, sing any particular songs, or even send anyone a card. All that is expected of you is to display the flag as a sign of your patriotism and love for the US of A.

Sadly, this small gesture seems to be beyond most everyone. Looking around my neighborhood, the stars and stripes are few and far between. This is even worse when you consider that Francis Scott Key himself is buried less than 10 minutes from here. Our minor league baseball team is the Frederick Keys and the “good” mall is the Francis Scott Key Mall.

What makes me even madder are all those people that had flags coming out of every orifice six years ago. Where are your flags now, people. I guess it is no longer cool and trendy. Fair weather patriots. It is a sad commentary that someone has to blow something up to make us care about being Americans.

Oh, say, does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave? Sorry Francis, it does not.

Sopranos Goes June 11, 2007

Posted by Andy in andy roth, soapbox, Sopranos.
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One of the most highly acclaimed shows in recent history had its strongly anticipated conclusion last night. Like many others, I’ve enjoyed watching the exploits of Tony and his Sunshine Band through the years, and was very curious as to how it would end.

So, what was the big payoff, and what did I think about it? I can answer both those question with one word:

Duck Brown on the Web May 11, 2007

Posted by Andy in andy roth, duckbrown, photoblog.
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Duck Brown Web

It has been a while since I’ve done a real post here on duckbrown.wordpress.com. That’s not changing today with this post. Instead I’ll share this picture which provides a good metaphor for the state of this blog.

I Want a Robot April 12, 2007

Posted by Andy in andy roth, Gadgets, marriage, robot, Technology and Gadgets.
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The Distant Future

It used to be that if a guy wanted someone to handle household chores like laundry, cooking, cleaning, and picking up a stromboli from the stromboli store, he would get himself a wife. Though often expensive and requiring attention and maintenance, this was the best solution. It was the only solution.

The problem with getting a wife, however, is that before too long you are likely to also have children. Children are wonderful of course, but they require even more work than does a wife. Not only that, much of the wife’s attention and energy goes into dealing with these children instead of getting me my stromboli.

That is why I want a robot.

Some professor at Stanford said that it was “just a matter of time” until I had a robot. I’m going to hold him to that. After taking his school’s achivement tests for years, I think they owe me.

So, what should my robot look like? Many people seem to think robots should be basically human shaped bi-peds. I feel like there are already enough bi-peds that are basically human shaped living in this house, so I think I’d want something different. I guess that makes me more of an R2D2 guy than a C3PO guy. The problem with R2D2 is, I think he would ding up the stairs if he tried to climb them, or worse if he used his jet rocket things.

So how about a robot that could hover and float around? That would work for me. I picture it being about the size of a basketball with some sort of appendages that were strong enough to carry the Costco sized bag of dog food, but delicate enough to write “Happy Birthday Andy” on my Carvel ice cream cake each year. Love me the ice cream cake.

So, robot scientists of the world, get busy. Stop wasting time reading blogs, and go invent me my robot. Meanwhile, would someone please build a restaurant that delivers delicious strombolis to Adamstown, MD?

Hard Habit To Break. April 6, 2007

Posted by Andy in andy roth, soapbox, UPS.
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Back in Middle School we would slow dance to the cheesey Chicago hit “Hard Habit To Break”. Little did I know then, that a line from that song would resonate so well with me today:

Don’t know what you’ve got until its gone, and I find out a little too late.

I like to take pictures, or to put that pretentiously, I am an aspiring photographer. A few days ago I found out that a glitch my camera has been experiencing for a while is an acknowledged defect, and would be fixed for free. On Tuesday, I visited the Brown Santa store to send the camera to authorized service center.

From the moment it left my possession, I have been jonesing to take some shots. Suddenly everything I see I want to capture, but I frustratingly cannot. Around every corner are colorful flowers, cute kittens playing with balls of string, sunsets, creatures frolicking, balloons, dancing girls, you name it. I have to believe that if I had my camera, I’d see none of these things. At least I would not notice them.

It is the same feeling I get when the power goes out and I keep flipping light switches in dark rooms thinking it will make a difference. Sometimes life is like that. I suppose I should learn to live with it. But I don’t want to.

Beware the Asides Of March March 16, 2007

Posted by Andy in andy roth, soapbox.

I like writing in asides, which are side-roads off the main topic. Speaking of side roads, one of my favorite local side roads in Cap Stine Road, which we sometimes take on the way to my son’s school. Talk of school and Stine reminds me of a teacher I had in middle school named Mr. Stine. We all called him Bird-Beak behind his back, which I guess was pretty mean. And speaking of pretty and birds, I saw my first robin a few days ago, which is a sure sign of spring. I find it odd that we sprang forward when it is still winter. Not that I am complaining because I like that extra hour of daylight, though it is a bit darker in the morning when I take my son to school. To be safe, I’ve been staying on the highways and avoiding the side roads.

I also enjoy writing parenthetically. (Parenthetically means inside parenthesis. I don’t say that to be condescending. It is a big word and I just want to be sure that you know what I mean. (Condescending is when you talk down to someone))

What Is Your Quest? March 5, 2007

Posted by Andy in beer.
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What is your name?
What is your quest?
To seek the Holy Grail .

In the town of Fred City is a British grocery and cigar store, that among other eclectic treasures sells a nice variety of unusual beers. To celebrate my new job, the Mrs. and I stopped at this store after a tasty dinner at Firestones restaurant. Perhaps the half bottle of Kim Crawford Pinot Noir that was coursing through my veins provided me the inspiration to give Monty Python’s Holy Grail Ale a try. Either that or I just could not resist a beer that was “Tempered over burning witches”

On Saturday night, at the counting of five (I mean three) I was ready to give the ale a try. In the glass, the beer had a rich caramel color and was very slightly cloudy. The aroma was very fruity, though it did not smell of elderberries.

You don’t buy beer, even Python beer, to look at it and smell it. It was time to give it a swallow (African or European?) It was very mild and and much less hoppy then a one legged knight, with a slightly fruity finish. It would be easy to drink many of these. Alas, I had only one. It reminded me of some of the summer brews I enjoy on a hot summer day.

So, thanks to the folks of Black Sheep Ale’s for an entertaining beer.

Techno Babel January 4, 2007

Posted by Andy in CES, Gadgets, rants, Technology and Gadgets.
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CES, the Consumer Electronic Show, is coming to Las Vegas next week. This event is like a second Christmas for the geeks and gadget lovers of the galaxy. It is here that companies will introduce and announce the latest, greatest, backlit button covered, surround sound, bigger, smaller, digital, streaming, high definition, firmware upgradable, interactive, multi-processor powered devices, all complete with that new electronic smell.

I can’t wait.

I’m not in the market for any of this stuff, but I like to see how it moves us towards that long awaited future world that has yet to be realized. I mean, we’re well in the 21st century, and I still don’t have a personal jet backpack to rocket me to work. Where are the flying cars for that matter? And robots. We need more robots.

So while I have no idea what wonders will be shown in Vegas, I do know that they will make me less satisfied with my current menagerie of electronics. Life is annoying that way. The amount of time between when you buy something and when it becomes outdated is fleeting, and all the more precious because of this.