Print Story Future Proof
By Kellnerin (Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 09:08:38 PM EST) (all tags)
Brief notes cascading from ana's coining of the term WTFC.

SINCE IT'S BEEN INTIMATED by some that stories about my co-workers are more interesting than me, I'll start with that one.

We use IM a lot at work; we are introverts who are adept at expression via keyboard. Even Kate, who is pretty outgoing and sits right next to me (see previous diary), IMs me constantly throughout the day, though sometimes that's to cut-and-paste something to me, or make silently snide comments.

One time, she copied a line out of her email to me (I forget what it was, but it had that Outlook-generated smiley at the end that translates to an L in most normal fonts.) This was followed by:

Kate: what
Kate: wtf
Me: ?
Kate: can you see that?
Me: see what?
At which point (or perhaps shortly thereafter, after some more of this exchange), she said "Double-you Tee Eff" out loud, and I finally turned around to ask, "What?"

Turned out that the smiley-face paste had changed her font in AIM, so she was now typing in Wingdings, though it came through normally on my end (which is yet another reason to use Pidgin, bitches).

So I watched as she typed "wtf" and some other choice acronyms and four-letter strings, generating sequences of mysterious symbols. (At no point did she just start mashing the keyboard. She's a writer.)

"What's WTF again?" I asked.

Kate demonstrated:

little diamond big diamond crossbow

"So it's ... 'little diamond big diamond ...' what is that? A crossbow?"

"I don't know."

"It looks like a crossbow. Or maybe an anchor. Turned the wrong way."

Inspired, Kate fired up Word to get the definitive Wingdings alphabet -- thinking, I guess, to use it as some sort of cipher so that we could speak to each other in code, sort of like when parents spell words out to each other. But when she got to W, T, and F, she discovered something distressing -- WTF actually looks like this:

dream catcher snowflake pointing finger?

Which was not only not little diamond big diamond whatever, but definitely not as cool.

"What? Are Wingdings not standardized?" she exclaimed, incredulous. "This is not OK."

Of course, typography geeks among you have already realized that she'd switched case when creating her ASCII-to-Wingding mapping. When she discovered this she created a map of both, and put it up on her whiteboard.

"I'm really glad that you're making the effort to optimize your Wingding writing," I commented.

"I spent far too much time on that," she admitted.

Despite that, however, the phrase "little diamond big diamond crossbow" never quite caught on.

AS A COUNTER-EXAMPLE, the other thing that the formulation "WTFC" brought to mind was the fact that, when I was in college, a few of us started using the phrase "In what furnace was thy brain?" as a rough analogue for WTF. Being a rather cumbersome phrase to toss off in a fit of frustration, it was often truncated to "In what furnace!?" or simply "Furnace!" (For full effect, you'll have to imagine us doing our best Alicia Silverstone.)

Weirdly, this usage gained more currency than  , although this is probably because, as a group, we were much bigger dorks.

IN OTHER NEWS, Firefox did not eat my diary, even though I accidentally quit it halfway through writing this. That crossbow-tilted-square-radiator-ampersand-really-tight-belt-black-square-delete-this rocks.

< What I need to live on for three months | It's a Sad Day when I am forced to install Fedora >
Future Proof | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
(Comment Deleted) by ad hoc (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 09:45:03 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by ad hoc

Firefox strikes again! by technician (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 10:18:51 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Glyphs by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 09:49:46 PM EST
the crossbow is Sagittarius
your "radiator" is a Virgo
"really tight white belt" is Pisces
I'm not sure, but the last one looks like a sort of world weary Capricorn. But it also could be an unknown B side of Led Zeppelin 4.
oh, sure by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 07:18:47 AM EST
Go ahead and ruin my fun with your "knowledge."

That last symbol is crying out for some musician to adopt it, though.

"Late to the party" is the new "ahead of the curve" -- CRwM

[ Parent ]
We get the following call signs: by technician (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 10:25:34 PM EST
1) whiskey tango foxtrot, over.
2) afu ("I have to determine if the NIC is all afu" is Holly's favorite, which is a redundant A but she's cute so she gets away with it)
3) Tango Uniform, from our British friends, as in "that unit is Tango Uniform."
4) We also hear "whiskey tango hotel" from some Mormon types, and "whiskey tango foxtrotting foxtrot" from folks like me.

None of them have your associated crypto.  I may adopt your mechanism in my future reports, see what NRO says.

foxtrotting foxtrot by Kellnerin (4.00 / 2) #8 Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 07:43:57 AM EST
I never got the hang of self-censorship. Kate notes that I've developed more of a potty mouth since hanging out with her, but I never learned to tone it down, so if I'm going to drop the F-bomb I just let it fly. I think my reputation/persona is such that it's either shocking or so inconceivable that it doesn't register.

There was one time D and I were hanging out with some friends and they mentioned how someone at their work had posted a notice on the fridge in the kitchen saying that it's not nice when people say hi to you in the hall and you don't respond in kind. Apparently some folks were quite hurt by the disregard some people had for the niceties of intra-corridor conversation. So I started to mock-yell, "Hey, you! I asked 'how are you?' When I say 'how are you,' you stop and you tell me how you are! Hey! You! Come back here, bitch!"

The idea of me screaming "Bitch!" at someone in the hall at work blew their mind. And in truth, it hasn't actually happened yet.

"Late to the party" is the new "ahead of the curve" -- CRwM

[ Parent ]
Wile I'm not one to by technician (4.00 / 1) #14 Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 10:05:46 AM EST
self-censor, I like the foxtrotting phrase. 

I can see people being shocked at your turning all sailor on them.  Me, they expect it.  You, not so much. You should randomly go all tourettes on people, just for fun.  "Hey fuck hell damn son of a bitch how's your day?"

[ Parent ]
SITREP: Delta SIerra, Over. by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #11 Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 08:20:47 AM EST

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Also: Charlie foxtrot. by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #12 Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 08:21:17 AM EST

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Tango uniform by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #16 Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 11:59:56 AM EST

is tits-up, I imagine.

[This has been a public service announcement for those not fluent in limey.]

Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
Yep. by technician (2.00 / 0) #18 Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 04:16:47 PM EST

[ Parent ]
furnace! by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 11:22:34 PM EST
 Oooh. "In what furnace is thy brain?" may replace "Fumez-vous de crack?" in my personal lexicography. Or is that iconography. I get those confused. 

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

if you speak in Wingdings ... by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #9 Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 07:48:54 AM EST
it's both!

"Late to the party" is the new "ahead of the curve" -- CRwM
[ Parent ]
Oh, the profanity by gpig (4.00 / 2) #6 Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 12:10:22 AM EST
My most curse-laden workplace taught me the following triptych of useful expressions:


In particular the second one was used to label broken (or working, but awful) pieces of code. By the end of my time there people were pronouncing it 'tsif', with holy wars breaking out as to whether the 't' was silent.
(,   ,') -- eep

you know what they say ... by Kellnerin (4.00 / 3) #10 Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 07:51:50 AM EST
"Broken gets fixed, tsif is forever."

Oh, and silent T? Unacceptable.

"Late to the party" is the new "ahead of the curve" -- CRwM

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 1) #13 Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 09:04:34 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by xth

[ Parent ]
None of those by gpig (4.00 / 2) #15 Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 10:17:19 AM EST
However, when asked to explain by management, someone once commented that it stood for "This Software Is Flawed." He was not believed.
(,   ,') -- eep
[ Parent ]
What immortal hand or eye by coillte (4.00 / 1) #17 Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 02:18:14 PM EST
dare frame thy fearful symmetry.

They don't rhyme. Not even if you are in the grip of tremulously fearsome and mystical visions do they rhyme. They don't rhyme in Heaven, or in Hell. Neither in Innocence nor Experience.

I mean little diamond big diamond crossbow was he thinking.

Arms my only ornament...
the only thing i could think of by LilFlightTest (4.00 / 1) #19 Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 06:21:31 PM EST
was that he was trying to pronounce symmetry so it ended like the word "try". it still doesn't rhyme, but it's closer.
if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake
[ Parent ]
that's how I pronounce it by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 08:00:44 PM EST
When I'm reading the poem, anyway.

But seriously. Dude couldn't even spell "tiger."

"Late to the party" is the new "ahead of the curve" -- CRwM

[ Parent ]
I know by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #21 Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 08:04:59 PM EST
In what furnace was his brain?

"Late to the party" is the new "ahead of the curve" -- CRwM
[ Parent ]
Future Proof | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback