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October 1st, 2009

~Thursday~  I was behind schedule this morning and really had every intention of getting into my car and riding over to the Avent Ferry Food Lion to catch the Wolfline.

However, when I stepped out of my townhouse, it was 8:19, and rarely the bus come by 8:20, but more so by 8:25, so I said, "What the heck?" and walked over to the stop.

Just as I was approaching the stop, the bus pulled up to the nearby corner. I basically just walked right on. There was a piece of paper taped over both the insert slot and the slider slot, that said, "Free Today." Oh yeah, part of Try Transit Week.



For the past couple of days at work I've been in working-on-action-items-one-to-two-hours-before-the-meeting-they're-associated-with mode, which is not a mode I like to work in.

However, that was the case this morning, as I worked on a communications review of project worksheets for an agenda item that I had at a 1:00 meeting.



I grabbed a quick lunch at the sandwich place across the street on campus in the Brickyard Atrium, and I met my colleague, Jen, on the way. She was heading for the same place.

She was a little frantic, as her iPod had stopped working for some unknown reason, and she was anxious to get back to her desk to see if plugging it in would help it.



The 1:00 meeting was productive, and my agenda item went well.

I went directly from that into our 1.5-hour weekly working staff meeting, which was also highly productive and fun to boot, in spite of a sparse selection of food. I brought caramels and Rhonda had some Starburst.

We spent the first hour going over some procedural documents for another department, and the last half-hour, actually going over a little, which we rarely do for this meeting, but we were on a roll, we covered style issues organized for review for us by Rhonda.

We had a spirited discussion about things like the use of serial commas and the age-old technical communication style debate—in writing for IT, software, and hardware procedural or product documentation—around: login, logon, signin, and signon. We were able to agree that we would use login out of those choices. What we didn't settle by the end of the meeting was the way to write sign in when it's a noun versus a verb phrase verses and adjective or adjectival phrase.

Back at my desk, I tweeted this:

Doing intellectual masturbation on "login" vs. "log in" vs. "log in to" vs. "log into" vs. "log-in". Nouns, verbs, and adjectives, OH MY!

I got several amusing comments back on that, both on Twitter and on Facebook.



Yesterday on Twitter I "followed" @YosemiteBob after hearing the podcast about him while walking the other day. I tweeted to him:

@YosemiteBob Hi Bob. Catching up on my podcasts and just heard you on NPR's SOTD from August. Thanks for sharing your work. Enjoyed it!

Today, he "followed" me back with this tweet:

YosemiteBob Thanks for your comment!



The weather was absolutely stellar today, and I did the 3-mile trek around Lake Johnson. I started just a little bit late, and the combined with it getting darker earlier, meant my last quarter of the walk was in the dark—which was fine, and I definitely was not alone.

I listened to April 10, 2009 episode of This American Life, which was very, very interesting. About 15 minutes into the hour-long podcast, I remembered Robert telling me about this episode when he'd heart it on the radio.

When I first heard the title, I was sure it was going to be about using the passive voice, as it's the classic "no blame" voice. But as it turned out, it wasn't about that particular rhetorical device, but did proceed to be a quintessential instantiation of another of my favorite rhetorical devices: the unreliable narrator. Dare I say it, I think it rivals what I previously thought was the quintessential study of the unreliable narrator: Henry James' The Turn of the Screw.

354: Mistakes Were Made

It's the late 1960s, and in the new technology of cryonics, a California TV repairman named Bob sees an opportunity to help people cheat death. But freezing dead people so scientists can reanimate them in the future is a lot harder than it sounds. Harder still was admitting to the family members of people Bob had frozen that he'd screwed up. Badly.

Prologue.

Host Ira Glass talks about the way most political apologies go, and chats with a man named Derek Jones about similar sorts of apologies among preteen girls and King David, in the Old Testament. (8 minutes)

Act One. You’re as Cold as Ice.

In the late 1960s, a California TV repairman named Bob Nelson joined a group of enthusiasts who believed they could cheat death with a new technology called cryonics. But freezing dead people so scientists can reanimate them in the future is a lot harder than it sounds. Harder still was admitting to the family members of people Bob had frozen that he'd screwed up. Sam Shaw reports. 26 minutes)

Song: "So Sorry," Feist

Act Two. You’re Willing to Sacrifice Our Love.

There’s a famous William Carlos Williams poem called “This is Just to Say". It’s about, among other things, causing a loved one inconvenience and offering a non-apologizing apology. It’s only three lines long, you’ve probably read it...the one about eating the plums in the icebox. Marketplace reporter (and published poet) Sean Cole explains that this is possibly the most spoofed poem around. We asked some of our regular contributors to get into the act. Sarah Vowell, David Rakoff, Starlee Kine, Jonathan Goldstein, Shalom Auslander and Heather O’Neill, all came up with their own variations of Williams’s classic lines. (6 minutes)

Song: "Cold as Ice," Foreigner


At home, I watched the premiere of a new show called Modern Family, which Steve recommended during our dinner on Wednesday, and the full episode of which I found on hulu.com. Hilarious.

At the risk of sounding like a TV whore, I watched The Wire, Season 1, Episode 11: The Hunt. There was an excessive use of the word "Yo" in this episode. :-) Dominic West exposed his chest in this episode. Whew.

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