Monthly Archives: July 2022

Roomba Ants

When I was a kid — probably pre-teen through late teens — I would spend parts of some of my summer days watching ants. The ants I watched most lived on the south side of my childhood home, under the fragrant rose bush. I was fascinated by their constant movement — they never seemed tired.

I remember one year when my family and I went on vacation and returned to find what had been a whole peanut on the kitchen floor, now reduced to near powder and a line of small ants carrying bits of that peanut powder several feet to the back door and outside. So much work for something so small.

Yesterday while taking care of business in our powder room, I noticed movement on the floor near the door. I looked closer and saw several ants working to maneuver what looked like a corn chip crumb into a tiny hole on the intersection between the door’s threshold and woodwork. I saw that the ants were coming from outside the powder room and followed a line of ants to under our kitchen table.

Please take note that sweeping and washing the kitchen floor was on my to-do list yesterday so no judging please but it was obvious that there was a smorgasbord of food under the table and the ants were taking advantage of it.

Since I had a lunch date with my friend, Suzanne, I ended up not sweeping the kitchen floor and left the ants go about their business.

This morning there are fewer ants and fewer crumbs. They are quieter than a Roomba, don’t get stuck under the refrigerator, and don’t need charging. I think I’ll keep them.

Buttons

When I was a child my mom sewed a lot. She was also frugal, so she reused buttons. I always remembered a large jar of buttons in the linen/sewing closet in the hallway connecting our bedrooms with the bathroom. That large jar came home with me after my mother died.

When mom sewed I sometimes played with the jar of buttons. I had my favorites — my very favorite was a translucent pink, round, concave button that always tempted me to put it in my mouth because it looked like a delicious piece of candy. Okay, most of the time I did put it in my mouth. I can remember the smooth taste of nothing. I wasn’t disappointed it didn’t taste like candy because I knew it was a button, but, if I had that button now I would definitely put it in my mouth.

Buttons!

I just dumped out the entire jar of buttons looking for the lozenge-like button, but mom must have used it for something because it’s not there. However, some other buttons I remember were there. The pink buttons have four glass diamonds on the front — I should have made sure to take a photo of the fronts! The long black one was from an old p-coat. The round black one was from my dad’s navy dress clothes or coat. I think the dome-shaped silver button was from one of my winter coats. I am pretty sure I put that in my mouth more than once too. The big round red button was from my mom’s coat, I think. The others I just remember, but don’t know where they came from.

My button friends

WordleBot is a smug, pompous, conceited botsplainer

Sure, after I finish playing Wordle I do not have to check WordleBot’s egotistical analysis of my daily attempts but I do anyway. Call it hopeful (maybe WordleBot will praise me) or maybe self-destructive (WordleBot often shames me for not using the same guesses as it does), but I check in with WordleBot about 95% of the time. The only times I don’t check is when I’ve made a very stupid guess.

The NYT WordleBot introduction page has this to say about WordleBot:

“WordleBot is a tool that will take your completed Wordle and analyze it for you. It will give you overall scores for luck and skill on a scale from 0 to 99 and tell you at each turn what, if anything, you could have done differently — if solving Wordles in as few steps as possible is your goal.”

Josh Katz and Matthew Conlen, New York Times

The thing is, WordleBot never loses. But WordleBot doesn’t play the hard version either. It’s always using words that do not have the letters previously uncovered. I always play the hard version.

Another gripe I have with WordleBot is that it’s happy to give me positive reinforcement if I do worse than it, but if I get the correct word in fewer tries than WordleBot it tells me I was very lucky. Not “Congratulations, you beat me!” but more like “Eh, lucky guess.”

Today, for instance, I guessed the correct word in two tries. WordleBot guessed it in three. Here’s what WordleBot had to say:

“You got it! But, with 10 solutions still to choose from, this was a very lucky guess.”

WordleBot July 19, 2022

I am not alone in my criticism of WordleBot. Back in April (before I knew about WordleBot), Christopher Livingston over at PC Gamer wrote an amusing article with an equally amusing title, The official Wordle companion bot is here to tell you how bad you are at Wordle. Also in April, Mashable’s Cecily Moran wrote NYT’s new ‘WordleBot’ will passive-aggressively insult your strategy. Finally, Alice O’Connor, associate editor at Rock Paper Scissors wrote an article about WordleBot called Wordle’s official WordleBot analysis make me feel even more foolish.