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~Monday~  I had my alarm set to 7:00, which is when my doctor's office opens, and I called to tell them I wouldn't be making my 7:30 appointment to have lab work done, and rescheduled it for this coming Friday when I'll be working from home.

I caught the Wolfline #9 Greek Village bus in to work, and in the back, upper area of the bus I could see Li'l Dino. It's always unsettling to see my city buscapade characters on the Wolfline buses, but she's probably the one I see the most on them. I couldn't see the guy sitting on the other side of her, but I could surely hear him.

OMFG. He spoke way too loudly and talked non-fucking-stop. He talked to Li'l Dino and all she did was nod and listen, then he got a phone call and talked through that, a one-sided conversation—his side. Then he hung up and started right back up with Li'l Dino. And I thought, "STFU!"

Then Li'l Dino got off the bus, and he immediately called someone on his phone, to whom he never stopped talking to give the person at the other end a turn. I got off the bus thinking, "Has it ever even occurred to you that it is okay to not be talking at any given second of your life? Goddamn."



I put my stuff down at my desk, turned on my computer, and walked across the street, first to the library coffee shop to buy a bagel, and then stopping at the Brickyard Atrium Food Court to get a cup of coffee to go with it. You know I wasn't going to buy the $1.35 cup of coffee at the library when I could get one 37% cheaper right next door even if it did entail an extra stop.

I had an e-mail in my work inbox from a guy who's currently in the Master's program from which I graduated, and it was in response to a posting that I'd made on a listserv about an upcoming event here at the university. This is what I'd posted:

I remember studying a little about Dr. Turkle's work in the MS program. I think this seminar would be of particular interest to those who took (or are planning to take) the Usability course, as a good examination of "affordances" goes on in that class. That aside, I would think this topic would be of interest to any current, or future, technical communicator.
 
In her address, "Alone Together: New Intimacies and Solitudes of the Digital Age," Dr. Sherry Turkle will discuss how technology is seductive when its affordances meet our human vulnerabilities. And as it turns out, we are very vulnerable indeed. We are lonely, but fearful of intimacy. Our new, always-on and always-on-us devices may offer the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship. We can’t get enough of each other if, if, we can have each other at a distance, in amounts that we can control. A new sensibility is encouraged by contemporary culture; what is its promise and its limitations?

November 4, 2010, 4:00-6:00
Stewart Theater in Talley Student Center
Keynote speaker (Turkle) followed by panel discussion (Szabo, Roberts, Gruber)

And about that, Neal's e-mail said:

Hi John,

Dr. Shelly Turkle was on the Newshour last night. Here's a link to the video. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/science/july-dec10/robots_10-29.html. I thought it might be informative.

Neal

After watching that clip, I wondered about Dr. Turkle's take that "relationships" with robots would diminish "real human" relationships. That seems like scarcity mentality thinking to me, as opposed to her colleague's take that we have all kinds of relationships and we're smart enough to discern one kind from another, which is abundance mentality thinking. I definitely prefer to choose an abundance mentality worldview, myself.

All that mental masturbation aside, the four-legged robot in that clip is wild. To me, it so looks like two people bent over carrying something on their shoulders, particularly in the scene on the ice when it's trying to regain its balance.



Today I thought of a few things that I've enjoyed about having an office to myself, however temporary it might be:

  1. Being able to shake my leg as long and as hard as I want to without hearing, "You're shaking the whole building."

  2. Not worrying that my hard-boiled egg, one of which I have about every morning, smells like someone's passed gas.

  3. Playing Pandora in the background on my computer all day long.

  4. Not having to be sure that my office key is in my pocket every time I leave the office.

  5. Being able to clip my fingernails if I want to without comment.

My colleague, Henry, brought by his regular pile of comics that he likes to share, and one of them was so my kind of humor that I wanted to capture it here.

It's a Gary McCoy one-frame strip with a guy dressed in fishing clothes standing in front of a glass case with a salesperson behind it wearing what could be a tuxedo. The fisherman is saying to the salesperson: "You advertise a sale on night crawlers and don't have any. Sounds like a bait-and-switch bait-and-switch."

OMG. I love that.



I attended the NC State student chapter of SIGDOC at Mitch's at 7:30. The student leader, Sarah, led the meeting, during which I signed up to do a presentation next week on what it was like preparing for ENG 675, which is the Capstone Project class that everyone has to take at the end of the Master's degree program. It's the class during which you work on a project that showcases everything (or as much as appropriate for the project) that you learned in the program.

Then, once you complete the project, you give a presentation about it in front of the faculty, advisors, and the other students in the program, during which you "defend" the work you've done as people ask you questions about it. It's what's done in this program in the place of writing a thesis.

We also brainstormed as a group the ins, outs, and potentials of putting on a technical communication conference in the spring.

My dear friend Jen gave me a ride home. Thanks, Jen!

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