Words & Stuff

A: Now I Know My (Reader Comments and Addenda)

(10 January 1999)

Thida Cornes, Sarah Liberman, and I went tripping, and we took acid, beanies, coke, downers, ecstasy (and ethanol), flying ointment, ganja (and glue), Haldol (and horse, and heroin), incense, junk, lithium (and LSD), marijuana, nicotine, opium, PCP, quaaludes, rum, sinsemilla (and smack), tea, uppers, Vivarin (and Valium), willow bark, X, and yerba buena. zowie!

(I'm obliged, for various good reasons, to say that we actually engaged in no illegal activities whatsoever; we merely played a word game on the way down to LA.)

A few days later, Sarah and I went to an international salad bar. We weren't very hungry, though, so we didn't get salad; just stocked up on sauces, dressings, side orders, and condiments. We got asiago-cheese dressing (with applesauce), bacon bits and barbecue sauce, Cheez Wiz (with capers, chutney, and cottage cheese), Dijon mustard, egg salad, French dressing, gorgonzola, hollandaise sauce and honey, Italian dressing, jalapeño peppers, ketchup, lemon wedges, mayonnaise (mixed with maple syrup, marmalade, and marinara), nonfat yogurt, olives, pepper, salt-cured limes, Tabasco sauce, ube paste, vinaigrette, wasabi and Worcestershire sauce, extra-virgin olive oil, yellow watermelon, and Zest.

Then we went to SIGGRAPH, the big annual computer graphics conference. (Note: the following list of what we did has only a slight relation to reality; in particular, company names are mostly chosen for initial letter rather than for relevance to the product mentioned. Do not interpret this list as indicating any company is connected to any particular product.) We animated an anti-aliased ant with Alias|Wavefront software, bought a beta-test version of BLISS.COM on a Broderbund CD-ROM, coughed up lots of cash for a CRT, dawdled with a delegation of designers from Digital Domain and Disney, evaded a computer model of an elephant in the external elevator outside the Electric Garden, fondled a fabulous flat-panel display from IBM, gawked at a gorgeous group of graphics gurus, hung out while holding a hologram (in a two-inch crystal cube) in our hands, ignored the Indigo2 workstations (which didn't, ahem, leave much of an Impact), joked, jested, and jibed about the Java3D spec, kickboxed using inverse kinematics at the Kinetix booth, limped to the Creative Application Lab and languished there awhile, were mesmerized as we meandered past a motion-capture demo, noodled around with Newfire's NURBS system, ogled an O2 (and obtained it for the special price of only $5000), preferred Protozoa's animated people to ParaGraph's, queried the Apple folks about the quality of QuickDraw3D, ridiculed various renderers and rasterizers, saw snazzy Silicon Graphics systems all over the showroom floor, talked with various folks about time spent in the theaters and looking at 2K by 2K displays, used and tried to understand UNIX, viewed various visions of VRML, worried about working with Windows NT, examined new Xaos Tools job postings, yakked about next year in Orlando, and zipped over to the LA Zoo for a party.

A couple of days later, Sarah and I went to the hospital. We (mostly Sarah) were diagnosed with anthrax, bubonic plague, the common cold, diphtheria, ebola, the flu, gout, hepatitis, impetigo, jaundice, Klinefelter's Syndrome, lumbago, mumps, narcolepsy, ovarian cysts, pertussis, quinsy, rubella, a staph infection, tetanus, a urinary tract infection, varicose veins, worms, a broken xiphoid, yellow fever, and zits.

Quite an adventurous week. Good thing it's over.

There are a fair number of trademarked terms among the above items; all are trademarks of their respective owners.

Samuel Goldstein writes that some people use a phonetic "alphabet" for hexadecimal numbers:

one
two
three
four
five
six
seven
eight
niner
ace
baker
charley
dog
easy
fox

As Samuel points out, this list "is somewhat odd, given that 'eight' and 'ace' sound alike..."

Master Corporal Rogers notes that (at least in the Canadian military) the decimal numbers have one further difference I didn't mention: "sefen" for "seven." I'm guessing that means unvoiced sounds are easier to distinguish on a noisy radio channel, but I don't know for sure.

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Jed Hartman <logophilia@kith.org>