March 30th, 2004

silly, bunny ears

...and maybe they'd be happy for a while...

Computer Stupidities: Smoke -- my favorite classic moments have to include the daughter assisting her parent with installation and very calmly reporting the state of the drive, and also the monitor with red hot components.

Computer Stupidities: Stupid Tech Support -- the cheese.

My best friend Darkside and I used to sit in the computer lab together, each at our separate computer, and companionably do our separate things. Every now and then, he'd find something interesting, and he'd joggle my mouse hand to get my attention, and I'd peer over at his screen. (Peer-to-peer networking, after all...) He'd point it out, or read aloud to me. Sometimes I wound up sitting on the floor next to him, if the leaning angle was too inconvenient. I'd get his attention and he'd lean over if I found something. I can't remember which of us found these pages first, but we spent far too much time on them together. Another time one of us found a website with screen captures from bad computer errors -- such as one suggesting that perhaps the drive door on a hard drive partition had been left open, and perhaps they should close the door and try again.
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trust, best friends forever, snot-nosed brats


Back in the summer of 2002, I had a major perspective change happen to me.

It was not about anything much, really. I'd made a completely understandable, but highly bigoted assumption, about the religion of a friend. And as things go with unchecked assumptions, they can be very very wrong. And this one was.

My world shifted, so fast I got dizzy, and stayed dizzy for the five or so hours it took to process. He wasn't pagan, as I'd assumed. He was Christian. He was still my friend, he wasn't trying to convert me, he wasn't anything like the bad examples of the religious category who had gained the religion its bad name in my eyes. He was himself, as he'd always been. I was myself, as I'd always been. Nothing was different. Nothing changed.

The world spun around me as I tried to shift my mind around. Had we been less close friends, I might have run screaming. I didn't. I stayed. I learned. I held onto him and sat there stunned as things I thought were constants became unknowns again, unknowns that I would have to solve for each time now.

And nothing changed.
Nothing. Changed.
  • Current Mood
    calm calm
documentation, writing, quill

Snobbery (from a conversation with onyxrising)

Just because you can do elegant and complex stuff casually, and hold yourself to high standards does not make you a snob. Snobbery starts when you unreasonably expect others to conform to the high standards that you hold.

Expecting others to conform to reasonable standards, even if they are high, is not snobbery. And there are times and places where the standards, even high ones, should apply.

Examples from the conversation:
Whipping up a chilled curried cantaloupe soup and fresh bread for a quick cold thrown-together lunch is not snobbery, not if you're a culinary arts major and do that sort of stuff casually.
Being upset that someone else throws together peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a quick cold lunch (rather than making chilled curried cantaloupe soup and fresh bread) is definitely snobbery, especially if they're not a culinary arts major.
Holding a resturant staff to high standards when you're paying for a good lunch is not snobbery.

Examples from my real life:

  • My spelling very well and using decent grammar in my own journal, comments, and communities is not snobbery, especially because it comes naturally to me.

  • My expecting someone to spell correctly and/or use decent grammar in their own journal and mocking them for the lack thereof would be snobbery, even though I would be well within my rights to insist on spelling and grammar in that same piece if it were turned in to me as a class assignment.

  • My expectation of good grammar and usage and good spelling in a published novel is normal, and I have every right to say, "Excuse me?" to the publishing house that does Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake books, and decline to buy the next one.

documentation, writing, quill

Motorcycles... (and the power of second-language writing)

Ghost Town: a motorcycle ride through Chernobyl.

Via theferrett.

Less-polished, second-language English can also powerfully turn phrases. It highlights clichés that we're not even aware of speaking, half the time, until we see other possible English phrasings for the concept, and we become aware that the words we automatically think of, the ones a native speaker would use, have worn too thin to convey the punch that the halting, limited vocabulary of this speaker accomplishes with grace and economy.

I think it was 1991 or so when I discovered this most powerfully for myself. 1991 or after, I think. In the late 1980s, graduate students from China began trickling into the university where my father worked, and as they were strangers in a strange land, my father took it upon himself to learn some Chinese and get to know them and welcome them. (I can imitate the fruity tones of the Berlitz English phrasebook readers very well, even to this day.)

We got to be very good friends with one extended family. First my father made friends with one graduate student, and he introduced us to his wife, and eventually someone's sibling and their spouse and child came to the US as well. We spent a lot of time having cultural exchange and hanging out. My father introduced them to the wonders of sledding down icy roads in the Alaskan winter; we learned some new swear words. My father introduced getting stranded on the top of a small mountain some twenty miles out of town. We were introduced to the assorted joys of owning an ancient car in poor repair, and also some new swear words. I was introduced to hot chili oil by accident; they were introduced to what a medium-size child looks like just before she bursts into flaming tears.

One evening, while my family was visiting one of the families, quite possibly the night that the X-Files episode "Little Green Men" premiered, the mothers were chatting, my mother and the lady of this branch of the family. She was talking about some person, perhaps a mutual acquaintance, who had... she searched for the correct word. They were in the hospital. They were alive. They had tried ... "Murder self," she finally came up with.

That isn't the usual English phrasing, and yet it's so much more evocative. "Kill" is as close to a neutral word for inflicting death as the language has. "Murder" is dark passion and violence and still has the power to shock. It was a wrong phrasing for colloquial English, but ever so correct for making me shudder before I quietly offered her the word "suicide".
  • Current Mood
    indescribable indescribable
Jolly Burner

Assorted: Anonymous crushes, hot slash, DiePunyHumans World Wide Wednesday

A new anonymous crush post from miscellanny, via apocalypsos.

"Possess It Merely", hot Clark/Lex non-con slash. [FatherSir, I don't think you want to read this.] Link to archive also via apocalypsos, who originally linked me to "Kryptobiology" (also hot Clark/Lex slash unsuitable for dignified parents of mine). (Oh, gods, now I'm not just making sure it's work-safe or not, but making sure it's parent-safe...)

AzureLunatic on Warren Ellis's DiePunyHumans World Wide Wednesday -- so there, shadesong! :-P
  • Current Mood
    geeky geeky
old school hacker, bug

Is my school on crack?

Academic Attendance
From: [dean's name]

Our records indicate that you have not been in recent attendance. This is
in violation of our attendance policy. Please contact me at
[dean's name] or stop into the academics office so that we can
futher discuss this matter.
Thank you,
Program Coordinator
Business Programs

Um? I've been to every class, and most of the labs. Namely, I missed the first lab which was before class on the first day of school, which is generally optional, and proved to be not only content-free, but also teacher-free, and also forgot to swipe my ID card through the attendance machine for another lab. That was it. This is a five credit class, so I should not be looked at sideways by anyone but the teacher for two lab absences, even though the lab absences were not actual missing of material.

Then I realized. What are the odds that my schedule was entered incorrectly? Very good, given that I was enrolled for the e-College course that I actually wasn't taking, and hadn't been on the original class list for the class I was supposed to be taking...
Hi, this is Joan [last name], [school ID number].

I have been attending my CIS 410 class, which is the
only class that I should be enrolled in. If I am not
attending CIS 321 (3-something, taught by Professor
Sheldon), I was enrolled in this by error and it
should not have made it to the final schedule.


Never mind that I'm actually a Computer Information Systems student, not Business any more, not for the last year or two...
Thank you for responding. I will correct your records.

[Dean's name]
Program Coordinator
Business Programs
(602) xxx-xxxx ext. xxx

I am only to hope that this will clear things up.
  • Current Music
    Jay-Z + DJ Danger Mouse - 99 Problems
trust, best friends forever, snot-nosed brats

Phone Post: Phone Post: "To His Coy Mistress"

577K 2:36
“Andrew Marvell
To his Coy Mistress

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day;
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserv'd virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.

Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.”

Transcribed by: azurelunatic
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    loved seductive