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Category: You’re Welcome

Introducing the Surrain Pickleball Scoring System (SPSS)

I played Pickleball for the first time two days ago and thought the scoring system was aesthetically clumsy. I propose the following.

The Surrain Pickleball Scoring System

Only in doubles on the second server’s serve, say, “the,” then…

Once both sides have at least nine points, stop accumulating points and…

  • if tied: say “deuce”
  • if winning: say “sun”
  • if losing: say “moon”


  • Find a word from the following table by choosing the row that matches the higher score and the column that matches the lower score.
  • Say “back” if you’re losing.
table of words

Winning? Next is down. Losing? Next is right, with “back.”


0-0-2“the valentine’s”
5-2-2“the apple”
2-5-2“the apple back”
10-9-2“the sun”

The Short Version

["the" if 2nd server]
if both players have 9
  tied: "deuce"
  winning: "sun"
  losing: "moon"  
  [word from table] ["back" if losing]

Bonus for Winners!

Use the losing player’s score to determine how to refer to the game. For example, if you shut out your opponent, congratulations on a diamond game.

9 or morecosmic

An All-Scores Version of the Words Table

Note that when you’re winning, the class of word stays the same but the first letter of the word is different. During a comeback, the class of word changes but the first letter of the word is the same until you’re tied again.

To read this table, choose the row that matches your score and the column that matches your opponent’s score.

0valentinesemerald backivory backruby backopal backamber backtopaz backcrystal backpearl backbloodstone backsapphire back
1emeraldflowersiris backrose backorchid backazalea backtulip backclover backpansy backbluebell backsnapdragon back
2ivoryirisfruitrasperry backorange backapple backtangerine backcherry backpeach backbanana backstrawberry back
3rubyroseraspberrytreesoak backaspen backteak backcedar backpine backbirch backsequoia back
4opalorchidorangeoakpredatorsalligator backtiger backcobra backpirhana backbear backshark back
5amberazaleaappleaspenalligatorspicesthyme backcumin backpepper backbasil backsaffron back
6topaztuliptangerineteaktigerthymelinenscotton backpolyester backbamboo backsatin back
7crystalclovercherrycedarcobracumincottondancepolka backballet backsalsa back
8pearlpansypeachpinepirhanapepperpolyesterpolkametalbronze backsilver back
10sapphiresnapdragostrawberrysequoiasharksaffronsatinsalsasilversun(impossible score)
table of words
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Ronin of Catan

R.I.P. Klaus Teuber

We’re not big on The Robber in Settlers of Catan for a few reasons, so we tried a few different alternative rules and think we’ve settled on some we like.

The Ronin still blocks the tile they’re on from producing normally.

So you rolled a seven…

  • Don’t steal.
  • As usual, discard if applicable.
  • Move the Ronin a number of tiles equal to the lower of the dice rolled without doubling back or ending on their starting tile.
  • Take cards from the supply equal in number to the lower of the dice rolled limited in kind and proportion to the kind normally produced by the tiles traversed.

For example, if you roll a five and a two, you must move the Ronin two tiles. If the Ronin is on a forest tile, and you move it to another forest tile with one hill tile between them, you can take either two wood or a wood and a brick from the supply, but not two brick because only one hill was traversed by the Ronin.

So you played a knight…

  • Don’t steal.
  • Move the Ronin exactly one tile.
  • Take from the supply one card of the kind normally produced by the either the starting or ending tile of the Ronin’s path.

Other adjustments

We’ve only been testing this with two players, but we’re enjoying it when we play to thirteen instead of ten.

How to zinc the mule’s ass

From what I’m reading, claims that zinc is good for the immune system are holding up under empirical scrutiny, but it’s expensive in pill and liquid supplements and when bundled in a multivitamin its absorption can be thwarted by citric acid. We found you can get it in a powder for super cheap, but it’s hard to eat that way. It sinks quickly to, and then sticks to, the bottom of a glass of water—but we figured it out! sprinkle it onto your almond yogurt breakfast! I tried it today and was reborn, literally. 🐣 Bring it on, coronavirus. The Surrains are ready for you.

Introducing the Surrain Log Date Format (SLDF)

Surrain Log Date Format is a short, easily human readable, sort-friendly character date format.

  • 2-digit year
  • 1-digit month, hex (9 is September, a is October…)
  • 1 hyphen
  • 2-digit day

November 5, 2019:
19b-05 - toaster not authenticated - 403

Boo! macOS sorts 19a above 199.

macOS alternate:
19-b-05 - toaster doesn't sort - 501

Introducing the Surrain Prize Structure (SPS)

Winner proposes a distribution of all prizes. If either first or second runner-up assents, distribute the prizes; otherwise, first runner-up conterproposes a distribution of all prizes. If either winner or second runner-up assents, distribute the prizes according to the counterproposal; otherwise, distribute the prizes according to the winner’s original proposal.

Introducing the Surrain Going Places System (SGPS)

When giving directions, say only the names of the streets in the order they’ll be encountered with two exceptions: For left turns prefix the name of the street with “l'” the way the French use a definite article before words that start with a vowel. For anything more complex than a simple right or left turn, just explain it. For example, walking directions to my house from Porter Square: Head Northeast on White, l’Elm for just a sec, Hancock, l’Charnwood, Willow, l’Hawthorne.

Introducing the Surrain Doing Decimal System (SDDS)

When someone asks how you’re doing, answer with two numbers. The first reports your big-picture wellness and privilege; the second, your mood. Zero is the worst; Nine, the best. If you’ve lived the world’s picture of a charmed life and just won the big game, you might answer 9.9 pronounced “nine point nine.” Car towed? 9.3. Close friend dies? 8.0. Doctor says you’re next? 4.0, but tells you a good joke, 4.6—you’ve had a good run.

Introducing the Surrain Augmented Thumbs Scale (SATS)

The Surrain Augmented Thumbs Scale (SATS or “Sats”) is a new rating scale based on the Thumbs Up or Down Scale (TUDS or “Tuds”) that is easy to use for the rater and less ambiguous to consume than the Counted Star Scale (CSS or “Cuss”) or its aggregating counterpart ubiquitous in restaurant and media reviews: the Counted Whole or Partial Star Scale (CWPSS or “Cow puss”). SATS is extensible and scalable but adds concise precision to the rater’s toolbox even in its base configuration. SATS is joy to the opinionated and ignorant alike.

SATS begins with TUDS—a binary Thumbs Up (U or “thumbs up”) or Thumbs Down (D or “thumbs down”) recommendation—then augments TUDS with positive qualifications to the recommendation (+ or “Garlands”), negative qualifications (- or “Dings”), or both. Garlands and Dings are optional (OGDs or “Oh, Gods”).

SATS in Extension

The recommended configuration (SATSRC or “Sats Rock”) further extends SATS two ways. Firstly, SATSRC encourages elaborative text “Fors” (TFs) to each Garland (“Garland For”) and Ding (“Ding For”).  Secondly, SATSRC modifies TUDS by codifying the third no-thumb option (N or “meh”). SATSRC is trivial to render and autoerotic to decipher.

SATS is improvisationally extensible. Try SATSRC with RBT TF pre-OGDs.

SATS is free as in beer, speech, and a bird, e.g., eagle.

SATS in Action

To execute a SATSRC assessment (SATSA or “Satsa”), begin with the Recommendation by Thumb (RBT or “Ribbit”) to answer the essential question: would you recommend, pose aloof to, or not recommend the SATS target (T)? Following the opening thrust, step 2 qualifies or amplifies the RBT of T with OGDs. Each SATSRC OGD TF should consist of at least one word of elaboration to indicate what each OGD illuminates.  SATSRC presents these together as OGDWTFs, or in short form (SATSRCS or “Sats Ruckus”) separately as OGDs and TFs. SATS is never boring (NFB).

SATS in Diagram

SATSRC = <RBT> [(“ neat”) | “ with ” [<OGDWTF> | <OGDWTF> (“, ” < OGDWTF >…) “ and ” <OGDWTF>]]

RBT = [“thumbs up” | “thumbs down” | “meh”]

OGD = [“garlands” | “dings”] (“ for ” <text elaboration>)


SATSRCS = <RBT> (<OGD> (<OGD>…) (<TF>))

RBT = [“U”|”D”|”M”]

OGD = [“+”|”-“]

TF = “ for ” [<text elaboration> | <text elaboration> (“, ” <text elaboration> …) “ and ” <text elaboration>]

SATS in Example

You can use garlands to amplify a recommendation (or qualify a recommendation against). No one makes better tibs and wats on injera than Ras Dashen Ethiopian Restaurant in Chicago: thumbs up with garlands for superior quality or U+ for superior quality.

You can use dings to qualify a recommendation (or amplify a recommendation against). Boston, Massachusetts is lucky to have FOMU vegan ice cream, but one time my wife and I dropped by their retail location before going to dinner somewhere else and asked them if they’d be open in an hour.  They said they would but then closed early and wouldn’t serve us even though we came back when we said we would, before their posted and stated closing hours: thumbs up with dings for mendacity or U– for mendacity.

You can improvise on SATS and use Garlands and Dings in combination to simply explain yourself, observe tarnishing quintessence, acknowledge the strides of the striving or all of the above. Cancun Mexican restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts uses chicken broth in the items on the vegetarian section of their menu. If you find out by overhearing other vegetarians interrogating their waiter after you’ve already eaten most of your burrito, they’ll comp your meal even before you start dry heave-weeping at the table: thumbs down for chicken in the vegetarian menu and dings for explaining and asking for vegan-ness not waking up our waiter with garlands for at least letting us walk or D-+ for free dumb.

SATS in Conclusion

The SATS family of scales promises to clean up the littered landscape of hyperbole that is the legacy of CWPSS on the internet. SATS observes one person, one thumb as nature intended. SATS is true. SATS flies solo. SATS is satisfaction.