On footnotes

Just finished with Anthony Grafton’s nonfiction book The Footnote. I think someone gave me this as a present a few years ago, but I forget who; sorry about that. I’m also sorry to report that I am not the right audience for this book. I’m mostly not the right audience for nonfiction books in general, […]

Even more free books!

Books! Free to a good home. Let me know if you want any of these. Also some CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes. (All at the end of this post.) This list contains many more books than the previous list I posted (a few months ago). About 325 books here (minus however many have been claimed […]

Yet another attempt to install a command-line tool

Me: Hey, cool, there’s a tool that checks ePub files for accessibility! Me: …Uh-oh, it’s a command-line tool. Me: [Downloads and installs node.js, as required by the accessibility-tool instructions.] Me: [Figures out that a certain command must be run as superuser, which isn’t clear from the cryptic error message.] Me: [Runs npm command to install […]


As of today, I’ve been employed by Google for fifteen years. As I’ve written on past anniversaries, I had never previously stayed at any one company for more than five years. And when I started at Google, it wasn’t a very good fit. (For example, at the time, I liked to refer to the company […]

Some notes on exoticizing real-world cultures in sf

I have some thoughts that I feel like are connected to each other, but they’re not quite cohering into an essay. So here are some not-quite-cohering thoughts. (Content warning for descriptions of various forms of exoticizing/Othering.) Mary Anne wrote an interesting post recently about (among other things) whether non–Sri Lankans are reading the Sri Lankan […]

n love languages

Gary Chapman’s five love languages paradigm categorizes the kinds of things that make people feel loved/valued. Here’s the original list: receiving gifts quality time words of affirmation acts of service physical touch I find this general paradigm useful—the idea that different people have different modes and approaches that make them feel valued—but I want to […]

Alex and testosterone

At some point in the early 1990s, I spoke with my college friend Alex on the phone, and was surprised that his voice had dropped in pitch by at least an octave since I had last talked with him. I think he told me something about having belatedly gone through puberty. It turned out that […]

The anniversary that I missed

(Content warning for discussion of a suicide.) A little under two weeks ago, around the start of Labor Day Weekend, I had an anxiety spike, which was made worse a couple days later by various things around the statement from the Tiptree Motherboard about the award’s name. At the time, I couldn’t figure out why […]

The old message

In 2008, I stayed at the Howard Johnson in Springfield, Pennsylvania. I had a bad experience there; the card-key reader on the door of my room stopped working in the middle of the night (so I was locked out of my room), and the staff couldn’t do anything to fix it, and the owner handled […]

Carrying the mic

Two years ago, the first time I attended an all-group meeting for the Cloud Documentation group at my day job, I noticed that people in the audience were asking questions that were largely inaudible to much of the rest of the audience, including me. (And completely inaudible to people who were attending the meeting remotely, […]