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: Mallory: "Mallory," a near-future sci-fi tale by my husband Leonard, is published at Futurismic. I absolutely love it and hope you do too.

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: Huh: I just saw stick-figure whiteboard diagrams and thought for a moment that they were an xkcd.

(6) : 19th Century Slang Help Request: I'm reading Trollope's autobiography and need help understanding this passage:

The [clerical] critic, however, had been driven to wrath by my saying that Deans of the Church of England loved to revisit the glimpses of the metropolitan moon.

What's a "metropolitan moon"? Ever since I heard that you can anagram "subtext" to "butt sex" I feel slightly more foolish for assuming things I don't understand are about sex, but -- is this about sex?

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(2) : Words Flagged As Misspelled: in an email I just sent:

DTs, SEs, Meetup, WebGrrrls [actually WebGrrls], LinkedIn, WTF, hackathon, Twitteriffic [actually Twitterrific], miniconference, nametags, MoMA, PMing.

I wonder if you can deduce what the email was about.

(2) : Trivia, Drugs, And Profit: Yesterday, in the back of the M60 bus coming back home from Columbia, I overheard a group of people discussing hair, phones, cable companies, the wireless auction, etc. I offered a factlet about rotary dial phones and how area codes got assigned initially, and before I knew it they were asking me whether I freelance. This reminds me of two other stories.


An acquaintance of mine was at a party. She met someone and started talking. "Do you freelance?" he asked. "Sometimes," she replied. He pulled out some cocaine and offered to share it with her.

So now "freelance" is a back-formed analog of "freebase"?

She said, "no, I meant websites," and basically begged off with "thank you, you're too kind, I couldn't possibly."


One spring day at UC Berkeley, I went to an engineering career/internship fair in Pauley Ballroom, in the MLK student union, just upstairs from the Open Computing Facility. I got professionally branded swag from the professionally staffed booths with the professionally made banners -- Intel, Microsoft, and companies that are huge or defunct now, all blurred together in my memory. Then I saw a space that looked empty, except for the fact that two people were sitting there, and index cards were taped to the front edge of their table.

The cards had tech acronyms and abbreviations on them: VoIP, DNS, HTTP, and so on... and RTFM.

I looked up from decoding them all and said, "RTFM?!"

One of them said, "You're the first one who's noticed."

And that's how I got a tech writing internship that summer.

(1) : Escapism: I can't wait to be done with school so I can travel, see friends, get back into How To Design Programs, and generally relax and catch up. Near-future plans of this type include:

I would rather plan funtimes than think about cost-benefit analysis. Evidently I would also rather take constitutionals with my husband in the lovely weather, watch Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, and Arrested Development, start putting together a slideshow from the Broadway walk, and read Trollope and Lem. Maybe I can use my revealed preferences as an example in the term paper.

: Quarter-Baked Ideas: Leonard's daily conference call just now sounded like You Look Nice Today. Thus, I thought of an idea for another comedy podcast: a parody of a daily or weekly conference call. Think The Office.

Also last night I thought the five Pandava brothers would make a good boy band.

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: Transfoooooorm!: I now grok feedback I've been getting from my superiors for weeks. I need to improve my listening skills and help other people feel comfortable in difficult discussions. Time to reread Carnegie!

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(1) : Last One: Fictional Celebrity Jeopardy?: If you miss Spamusement, then spamuse yourself by guessing the subject lines that led to these comics.

Speaking of trivia quizzes, Leonard and I played this periodic table quiz and some other quizzes from that site last night. We missed embarrassingly many elements, no planets, no states, several countries in Europe, and just a few early Presidents. How could we forget Monroe!? He had a Doctrine and a great campaign song!

: Stretching: During yesterday's class, as part of a puzzle-solving team, I wrote a Python program and a comic skit. That was really nice.

: Anti-Grumpiness Tips: Peppy music (e.g., Barcelona, certain campaign/labor/war songs), handball in the morning breeze, getting documents written and sent, working outdoors on a beautiful spring day.

: Questionnaire For Vendors: We got a demo of a fancy new web-based software tool -- project management, task tracking, bug tracking, collaboration, Agile, Extreme Programming, a singing, dancing, iterating revue. I know a little something about the tradeoffs that creators of collaboration tools have to make. So I could ask pesky questions like:

I don't think the vendor liked that I was asking these questions. I got the nervous-laughter/"That's a very good question" combo twice. Good sign.

I can come up with more such questions for vendors in case anyone feels like lengthening their checklists. Share yours in the comments.

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: Cleaning the Lint Screen: Twelve inches does not seem very long, and yet a twelve-inch sandwich is pretty big.

My marching band CD is helping me work and keep my mood up. I wonder why I find marches less annoying than techno.

Today's Starslip Crisis was hot enough to warm my cheeks, which surprised me! So if the lack of eros is all that's stopped you from reading it, you should start. If you liked Firefly then you'll like Starslip.

My classmate's wife just had a baby girl. He came to class and showed off a picture, and people congratulated him. No one said, "too bad, maybe it'll be a boy next time," or anything like that. I wish every new daughter in the world got that treatment.

: Acting As If: As a matter of course I wish to direct you to http://del.icio.us/leonardr/sumana for random links I run across while dallying on the Web. Example: the hilarious "I consume, but then analyze!" which is by the alternate universe Sumana who got into makeup as a teen. A few additional notes:

Leonard and I and everyone else I know who's gone have superlatively enjoyed MoMA's "Design and the Elastic Mind" exhibit, which closes in two weeks. Go if you can! I especially liked the phone handset, the oxygen generators and air purifiers, and the paper alarm clock, and the instant furniture video and artifact blew me away.

Yesterday I put on the new suit and visited the client for the first time as their project manager. The cubicles, corridors, and cafeteria sent me back to Silicon Valley during the first boom, specifically my tech writing internships at Exodus. After I got home, when I was changing into sleep attire and folding my business pants over a chair, I remembered folding my dad's gray and navy pants over hangers in Mom & Dad's tiny walk-in closet in Stockton, all those years that he worked at Caltrans on PERT analyses. For once bumping into the past was comforting. This isn't new. My dad did it and I can too.

I'm thinking of adding myself to this list of women who welcome invitations to speak at conferences. I'm ruminating on an eminently conference-y IT analogy right now: software development is more like agriculture than it is like manufacturing.

Now, to work on cost-benefit analysis, then watch the original Bedazzled for free on Hulu.

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(2) : This is Ridiculous: MyDomain, a.k.a. 000Domains, treats my domain, brainwane.net, differently because I registered it more than five years ago. So now I have to call them up or suchlike to renew the thing. Blah. What registrar are reasonable people using these days?

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