Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

21 Oct 2001, 1:34 a.m.

Is a puzzlemint.

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Puzzles. This is the first time in ages and ages that I'm hearing Weekend Edition Sunday for any length of time, and therefore the first time in ages and ages that I'm hearing the Sunday Puzzle with Will Shortz. I guess I did really like puzzles once upon a time; I remember sitting in my room in Stockton trying to solve the puzzles along with the hosts and the guest. I was pretty good at it, as I recall, almost always as good as the guest. Perhaps practice would help me get back up to that level so that I would not find humiliation in the kiddie section of Leonard's copy of Games Magazine.

I only have the radio on this morning to wait for "A Prairie Home Companion" to come on at 11. But that means I have to listen to "Car Talk." Ew. I'll turn it off and trust myself to remember to turn it back on at 11.

But here's the NPR Weekend Edition Sunday puzzle. Take the letters N Y X M. What comes next? It may or may not be a letter of the alhpabet, and, as it's an "international" puzzle, doesn't rely on the English language. Send an email to -- 1 entry per person -- by Thursday, 3pm Eastern time (USA), with your name and daytime phone number.

Weekend with Seth. Friday night I went to a party or two. I'd have had more fun if I hadn't been so severely sleep-deprived from staying up late that night with Katie. Goodbye, Lia, and best wishes to Laura, and I have to go now to sleep.

Seth and I went to San Francisco the next day and I read the second half of Existence and Uniqueness and was very impressed. As I told Seth later, if I had a copy of his poem at my house, I would probably read little bits of it as often as I read little bits of Cryptonomicon. Certainly it affected me and triggered many thoughts regarding love and my personal history.

Duncan was kind enough to drive us to Sixth and Mission or so, where Seth and I ate dinner at a recommended Vietnamese restaurant, "Tu-Lan."

We went to a Dar Williams concert at the Warfield, nearby. The security searched my bag briefly -- the first time since Russia that an authority figure has searched me or my stuff. And I saw Darin there! Darin, who wheedled me into joining the OCF, and whom I met one day on Dwinelle Plaza by complimenting him because he was wearing a PGP shirt (I think).

The opener, one Matt Nathanson, was really a stand-up comedian disguised as a rock star, or, as I put it, a rock asteroid.

"This song, like many of my others, has lyrics that don't really make sense. I do that a lot. I mean, lyrics not making sense -- that's rock. That and signing breasts. And since I don't do any of the latter..."
Both Nathanson and Williams play the guitar, which reminds me of Leonard, and reminds me faintly of some musical criticism that Dan and I once did of "The Kids Ain't All Right" by The Offspring. Also, a few people in my high school journalism class -- of which I was reminded recently by looking through my sister's high school yearbook and seeing pictures of me and stories I wrote -- sometimes hung around and played the guitar instead of working. I've always been a sucker for an acoustic guitar.

"You can guess this one, since all my songs start in G."

There were a lot of other fun moments at the concert and I might refer to them in a later diary. I like Dar Williams's low-key sense of humor, and her songs made me want to write more poetry. I'll be posting my first sonnet in years here in a few days.

Plumbing. My toilet has developed a clogged drain thanks to (I assume) an overdose of toilet paper. Plunging and drain unclogging chemicals don't seem to work yet. Next step: calling the manager of the apartment complex.

Reading. I'm not yet done with Newton's Cannon, and I'm almost halfway done with Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. This is the third time that I've picked up Good Omens, and I hope this time I'll finish it. Other stuff always gets in the way, somehow. I really like Good Omens and I'm starting to see why people rave about both Gaiman and Pratchett.

Link. John pointed me to Seanbaby's dumb-lawsuit expose. I'm assuming he especially liked the preposition-buzzword form on the first page.

More both-and thinking. "Make love AND war."

"A Melody Out of Darkness" is the one-man show by my new friend David Poznanter, whom I met at Katie's friend's party on Thursday night. Neat fella. It's "about a young man struggling to come to terms with his family's Holocaust experiences as well as his own experiences with anti-Semitism." Traditional Yiddish folksongs and music performed by Estradasphere accompany the drama. It's Friday, October 26, at 8pm, at Porter College Dining Hall at UC Santa Cruz. Cost: less than $8 for most of y'all. More info at 831-459-2857.

Originally published by Sumana Harihareswara at