Sunday, April 01, 2012

What, you don't speak Alienese I OR II? (100-day, etc., Star Wars Blogathon plus A To Z Challenge, "A")

In case you really don't read Alienese I, which is what that above is written in, I will translate for you:
Welcome to the first day of the A To Z Blogging Challenge here on The Best Of Everything, a day that coincides with day 39 of the 100-day, 100-question Great Star Wars Blogathon, and is also 1/2 way through the second of the Biweekly Blogfest Challenge (details on that below.)

Having written a poem about our alphabet, and having posted not one but two lists of word-association about our alphabet, and having, for some reason, the jingle for "Super Sugar Crisp" in my head

*can't get enough Super Golden Crisp, it's got the crunch with punch*

That's how I remember it, anyway, I can officially say, since those three things are true that
I am sick of our alphabet.

And also, I want some Super Sugar Crisp, which I am calling it that deliberately because I'm tired of all this PC nonsense where we can't admit that Honey Nut Cheerios has the exact same nutritional value as Fruity Pebbles. (It's true. I looked it up.)

Anyway, having grown tired of our alphabet, I've decided that the next 26 days of the Blogathon/A to Z Challenge will celebrate Alien/Sci-Fi Alphabets!

And the first up is one that begins with A: Alienese from Futurama. According to IO9, which, like me, found Jumping Frenchman Of Maine disease to be fascinating thereby proving that they read my blog, Futurama came up with not one, but two Alienese languages. The first was a simple letter-replacement language used to post inside jokes: each Alien Symbol corresponded to a letter of our alphabet. The paragraph at the beginning of this post is written in Alien I.

When fans figured that out, which, honestly, who has that kind of time?

Let me say this: I do not like my entertainment to be work, and I like all my entertainment in the same format. When The Office did Webisodes a few years back, I watched one and then gave up, so I'm sure there were a bunch of stories or jokes that I didn't get. When Lost premiered and people were supposed to go all searching the Internet for clues as to whatever the thing was that was running the show, I vowed not to watch that show, so annoyed was I by the fact that you were making me work for my entertainment. (I later watched the show because I got a free download of the first episode on my iPod and so I gave it a whirl, because: free.)

So I don't go decode languages I see (although I was pretty sure that the Alien Symbols in Futurama meant something) and I don't look for "Easter Eggs" on my DVDs; I do none of that. If I'm watching a TV show, I want it all to be on TV.

Imagine, for example, if you went to a symphony. First, why? Is there something about the symphony that cannot be recreated on an audio recording? The musicians are just sitting there; they don't even have a laser show.

But assuming that you for some reason did actually go listen to an orchestra play something even though the experience would be indistinguishable from sitting at home listening to that on your iPod: Let's say you went to the symphony and the conductor said "To really flesh out our interpretation of Mahler, every fourth note can only be heard by going to Please feel free to visit that site after the show."

What would you do then? Well, being the kind of person who goes to the symphony, you probably only use the Internet to bulk-order your pince-nez, so, nothing. But you get the point.

Anyway: Futurama fans figured out Alienese I, and so Futurama writers who didn't have enough to do created Alienese II, in which the letter replacement is done via a far more complicated system of numeric values plus prior numeric values which apparently was also figured out by people, and now you know what's been holding back our economy.

So: here is A from Alienese:

If you'd like to make your own Alienese message, you can do that here, on a site called "Can't Get Enough Futurama", which explains why that jingle is in my head. Although I have to point out by way of being a jerk who is also right: this isn't really an alien language. It's just a code, as IO9 also noted. While each letter is replaced by an alien symbol, you could achieve the same effect, really, by turning our alphabet upside down:

Today's question also has to do with the letter A:

Star Wars character's name, correctly translated, means "selfless servant"?

And that is a WHAMMY! question, so DO NOT leave the answer in the comments; instead, Click here to Email me your answer(or, if that doesn't work, send it to "thetroublewithroy[at]". The random numbers have said that the third answer received will WHAMMY! and lose their points.

AND: don't forget the Haiku Blogfest Challenge! With this A To Z Thing, you could make H be for Haiku... I think that works out that you could get it in by April 8.


Lara Schiffbauer said...

I'm with you. I like my entertainment come to me! I think that's why I like non-literary books. All that thinking to try to understand what the you-know-what they're talking about is no fun.

Since I didn't wager on the same post everyone else did, am I still able to play the Whammy question? I sent it to you anyway. If it doesn't work out, live and learn!

I think I need to go beg Michael Offutt or Alex Cavanaugh to comment for me!

Andrew Leon said...

I like Easter eggs as long as someone tells me how to get to them. I'm not going to sit around trying to work something like that out for myself.

That was a good question. I knew it without looking, because I just figured that was it, but I had to check to verify.

@Lara: I think Alex may be taking bribes for whom he comments for at this point. Good luck with Michael.

Andrew Leon said...

Oh, and I really like the alien language theme!

Andrew Leon said...

@Lara (again): oops... Rusty actually managed to get Michael! That's amazing!

Lara Schiffbauer said...

Awww, bummer ;) I'm going to finish this challenge without any points!

Rusty Webb said...

You know, I'm double thrilled that Michael gave into the pressure to comment. I may have to hit him up for Amway next.

And, if I recall correctly, the story goes that by the time the premiere episode of Futurama was over that the language had been deciphered.

Of course, that one letter = one symbol thing is way too easy to crack. Anyone can do it within a few minutes if you sit down to figure it out. That's why those word ciphers in the newspapers were always so easy. The Romans were using way more sophisticated encryption thousands of years ago (someone should have just told them to use Latin, that's a pretty tough code to crack).

Anyway, I'm glad they went back and made it at least a bit tougher, where it took some real thought to figure out what they did.

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