Print Story Pervasive Grasp
By Kellnerin (Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 11:46:39 AM EST) (all tags)
I don't know why I bother trying to write intros anymore. This is one of those more fragmented entries.

A card circulated around the office this week for an upcoming party. I find I never know what to write for these things, whether it's a birthday, farewell, or some other occasion. We like to celebrate a lot, and thus one of these cards seems to come around at least once a month.

I dimly recall that at a former job someone had an all-purpose catchphrase that s/he would use for these situations. Like "Cheers," or "Rock on!" or I don't know what. But I think that office may have had less of a tendency to circulate cards, so the repetition might be less likely to be noted. Or one's card signing performance may be less important.

Or possibly this didn't really happen and was just something I read in a novel, or should be in a novel someday.

D has had a persistent problem with his laptop's trackpad, namely that if he zigzags his finger to the left and then to the right while in a web browser, it acts as if you've hit the "back" button, and he loses whatever he might have been typing in a web form. It's not a gestures plugin or anything enabled on the browser side.

The other day he had a breakthrough and realized that it was a horizontal scroll feature that was enabled on the trackpad itself. Why anyone would want such a feature is beyond me, but some after a bit more digging he managed to turn it off. He IMed me at work to tell me this earthshattering news.

D (4:52:18 PM): This is a truly great day in computing.
D (4:52:25 PM): I might actually use the trackpad more

"Homes and haunts." Whoever came up with this, I want to shake his hand. If, you know, he's not dead. Or creepy, or something.

Yesterday at lunch, L says, "The guy with the mustache at the deli is confusing me. He always wears a Yankees cap, but today he was wearing a Boston cap. I thought about giving him shit about it, but decided against it. Wonder what's going on there, though."

"Maybe he has had a change of heart and finally come over to the side of righteousness."

"Maybe. Or maybe he got told to wear something else by the deli."

"Like, 'You're ruining our image, man.'?"

"Something like that."

"But you'd think, if that were the case, he'd just switch to a neutral cap instead."

"Anyway, if I see him wearing a Yankees cap next time I'm going to totally give him shit about it. I was just too tired to do it today."

In slowing traffic, I vaguely noticed that the car in front of me had livery plates, which surprised me. It took me a few seconds to figure out why: it wasn't the usual Lincoln Continental or whatever, or anything remotely resembling that shape. On closer inspection, it was a Prius. Cool.

D's been getting odd emails lately. Looks legit on the surface, except that it's from nobody he knows and is completely unintelligible despite being in English. It's not selling anything, has no links or attachments. This is what he got yesterday:

don't know whether it's just lying there or slowly killing you. Or you could
     By the end of three months Jonathan had six other students,  Outcasts looked  into the open doors. At first I couldn't see anything because of the
     Here he came this minute, a blurred gray shape roaring out of a dive,
And today:
without question. If someone starts fumbling or asking questions I'll hit globe and you start firing bullets into it. The bullet holes would lie on "Ask the scientists," I said, and slid behind the bathroom door. And now comes Roadside Picnic. . . . In the so-called Golden Age of
Why am I strangely fascinated by this? I am actually jealous that he is getting these and not me.

In the parking lot at the train station the spaces are numbered, and then you pay by pushing money through a slot with the corresponding number. In the summers, when I get there early, the spaces in the early 400s are still available. As someone who spends entirely too much time on the Web, it amuses me to park in spot 404.

This morning, 404 was taken, so I settled for 403 Forbidden. Since I park in a different spot nearly every day, depending on what's open, I have to remember its number between leaving the car and stuffing the money in the slot. I'll cross the lot repeating "four oh three, four oh three," in my head in rhythm with my shoes hitting the asphalt, often continuing even after I've already paid, and I have to engage in conscious earworm removal.

This morning, NIN's "Only" was on the radio just before I pulled into the lot, and the song's chorus sort of merged with my silent mnemonic chant into something like "There is no you, it is four oh three/ There is no you, it is four oh three...."

On the train, sat next to a woman who smelled of mothballs. She was eating what at first I took to be a strawberry, but turned out to be a cherry tomato.

A book I was working earlier this week, a biography, had a page reproduced from one of its subjects' notebooks, and went on to analyze the notes jotted there, and ponder what they indicated about his thinking, motivation, inspiration, and so on.

Note to self: burn all notebooks lest someone spend too much effort trying to attribute significance to the line, "mothballs cherry tomato."

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Pervasive Grasp | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden)
card signing when someone is leaving by fleece (2.00 / 0) #1 Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 01:01:58 PM EST
I write "I've always loved you from afar" and then put someone else's name to it. Like the quiet guy or the fat receptionist

best going-away card ever by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu Jul 13, 2006 at 05:53:56 AM EST
was a huge golf umbrella that the company had given to all employees as Christmas "gifts" in a previous year. Everyone signed in Sharpie pen, and there was no need to be witty or even nice, because it was pretty much guaranteed to be illegible (or if it wasn't to begin with, it soon would be).

Also best use of crappy company swag ever.

"later" meant either "when you walk around the corner" or "oatmeal."

[ Parent ]
Sign... by ana (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Jul 13, 2006 at 06:03:21 AM EST
the underside of the umbrella. That way it won't wash off, and the user gets to admire your sig.

Can you introspect out loud? --CRwM

[ Parent ]
is it really true by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu Jul 13, 2006 at 06:29:54 AM EST
that the underside of the umbrella doesn't get wet? It gets less water flowing over it, yes, but I thought it was just surface tension or something that keeps it from going through, and channels it to drip off the edges instead. If the better umbrellas are in fact completely waterproof, I think it can safely be assumed that this was not a better umbrella.

"later" meant either "when you walk around the corner" or "oatmeal."
[ Parent ]
responses: by BlueOregon (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 01:05:27 PM EST

Trackpad: a prof had a laptop that -- whenever you got near it -- would enact an arbitrary click and drag of some sort ... which usually meant that when using a word processor (and she was an editor) it would select random passages of text ... and cut them. No rhyme or reason. It (a Micron) was returned twice to the factory and each time it returned as broken as before. Using a mouse was the only workaround.

Category: a friend today recommended that I write a blog and call it "I favor curry." Guess you had to be there.

Spam: are you sure D is not being emailed by Wolf At Large about the 7th, 8th, 9th or later form of ugly?

Notes & Notebooks: I will destroy them all, except anything I have previously edited for publication. In the future, it is not notebooks we have to fear, but backup CDs/tapes (or future analogues) and Word documents and the like with stored revisisions.

reresponses: by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Jul 13, 2006 at 06:05:22 AM EST
arbitrary cuts: That's evil. Yet another reason that I do not do not do not believe in editing "digitally," with the possible exception of something that's intended for online publication. Of course, at some point someone's got to enter the desired changes into some kind of electronic file, 'cause that's how we roll in this century.

blog: I like it, but suggest that you also register the name "I flavor curry" in case someone wants to get clever and parody your site. Or maybe you should leave it available for just that reason.

ugly: Good point, or possibly it's a x-post of a comment to same.

backups: You may be right, although in the future we may not be able to read such antiquated formats anymore, or even get the bits out of whatever storage media they've been written to. For ease of access if nothing else, it is hard to beat dark marks on light surfaces. Although given the general decline of humanity's ability to wield dark-marking-sticks with any kind of legibility, maybe this will become obsolete faster than .doc.

"later" meant either "when you walk around the corner" or "oatmeal."

[ Parent ]
yeah by komet (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 01:59:06 PM EST
there is quite high spam activity of late, and it seems like they hijacked some literary random text generator for the purpose.

I suspect an atheist plot. When Jesus returns to the Earth and emails out his messages, they will be deleted as spam because of this.

<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.

spamity spam by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 06:00:07 PM EST
i get those too...they're weirdly poetic.
Dance On, Gir!
dangit ... by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Jul 13, 2006 at 06:06:06 AM EST
mothmato by alprazolam (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 06:47:33 PM EST
cards are pretty easy, just write something genuine and if you don't know the person well enough, just be polite.

i wonder if the spam aren't like the crazy guys in trains around the world having conversations. if you put all the spams together they're probably the great american novel.

yankees or red sox...that's like either being a baby murderer, or somebody who tortures kittens. either way there's nothing that can overcome that particular negative personality aspect.

I do think by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #11 Thu Jul 13, 2006 at 06:09:10 AM EST
that if we can assemble all the spams, arrange them in the proper order, and then read every nth letter, that we may discover the meaning of life.

"later" meant either "when you walk around the corner" or "oatmeal."
[ Parent ]
spam by 256 (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu Jul 13, 2006 at 06:06:57 AM EST
misslake and i both get those.

misslake is hypnotized by them. i think she likes them better than email from real people.

i'm pretty sure that they are a form of counter measures by the spam people designed to break spam filters. the idea being that if they send all these emails that have no discerning features to differentiate them from real emails and people start marking them as spam. why, then their bayesian spam filters will soon start misclassifying legit emails as spam. and false positives are intolerable in a spam filter. so people will have to either start trolling their spam folder, or turn off the filter.

either way, they will be exposed to the real spam and thus, the spammers win.
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

I'm glad I'm not alone by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu Jul 13, 2006 at 06:26:28 AM EST
in the fascination, anyway. I still seem to be alone in not getting them. Maybe they are mesmerizing because they almost seem to hold meaning, as if someone is trying to communicate something, yet there is no obligation to reply. It's like a little koan in your inbox, gratis.

Your explanation does sound like a plausible plot, but I'm not sure if it's working. D noticed that his spam filter already flagged the second one with 60% chance of being spam.

That said, if I have to manually tap "Delete" for each spam I don't want then it will be an annoyance, but I have always had trouble with the idea of spammers "winning." I've never quite been able to understand how anyone plans to turn a profit from sending crap to people that don't want it, but I guess there's a sucker who gets an AOL CD every second.

"later" meant either "when you walk around the corner" or "oatmeal."

[ Parent ]
most products can't be sold through spam by 256 (4.00 / 1) #16 Thu Jul 13, 2006 at 06:34:38 AM EST
but some can. particularly products that people might be too embarassed to seek out on their own.

and of course there is the well known low cost of spamming.

so, even if only one in a hundred thousand emails results in a viagra knockoff purchase, well that's still a win.
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

[ Parent ]
on frequent cards by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu Jul 13, 2006 at 06:20:46 AM EST
Just write illegibly. Then nobody will know if you are being repetitive.

ah by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu Jul 13, 2006 at 06:32:32 AM EST
The gerunkensplunk solution. This is great for editors who, it seems, are almost expected to have illegible handwriting. Copyeditors, on the other hand, do need to write intelligibly.

"later" meant either "when you walk around the corner" or "oatmeal."
[ Parent ]
Pervasive Grasp | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden)