The whiteboard salesman

Monday 5 November 2001, 18:57

I do not fully understand how the whiteboard salesman became what he was. It's one of those jobs, like laboratory technician or the actuarial profession, that little kids never want to be when they grow up. I don't mean that it's low status, because kids don't care about that. Who of us doesn't remember a kindly garbage collector from our formative years, which of us never wanted to do that? But the whiteboard salesman's job was just not visibly important. If he ever told anyone why he chose the career he did, then that person never told me.

Cantor vernacular petrify unfledged

Saturday 3 November 2001, 05:28

There are no meaningless words: for every sequence of sounds there exists an entry in the Great Dictionary. There are no wasted names. Although some unfortunates must walk unnamed eternally without a finite name, indeed, by the measure of infinity, all but a vanishingly small countable number of us, on the other side every possible name identifies a being. Though we may seek to drown significance in the psuedorandom noise floor, or to create fictional characters entirely disjoint from the world we know, it is a doomed procession into the infinite distance - for every word we speak implies the language that defined that word, and names the first person who spoke that language.

Projector's credit union

Friday 2 November 2001, 07:02

I went to open an account at the Projector's Credit Union. The PCU branch was tucked away behind the flashy modern CIBC branch, so that one would have to drive through the CIBC parking lot to get there. It was a small square building that looked like an old converted house, sitting at the edge of the parking lot among some scrubby blackberry bushes. I had chosen to deal with the Projector's Credit Union largely on the recommendation of my sister, who had told me that the tellers there were cute girls.


Thursday 1 November 2001, 12:04

This is a secured semi-anonymous connection. We know who you are, and can authenticate that. You don't know who we are specifically, but you can easily guess in general terms. Nobody else needs to know what's discussed on this connection, or that we ever had this conversation at all, unless one side chooses to reveal it.

The Terrible Secret of Livejournal: archived comments

Thursday 9 August 2007, 04:00

Link to Part 1.

When I posted my item on "The Terrible Secret of Livejournal" in 2007, it attracted a lot of comments. I've since changed the code that runs my Web site, and it's not easy to import those old comments as regular comments in the new code; but I wanted to preserve them, so I'm posting them here in the form of another entry. New comments are disabled here; you should add them on the concluding page of the article.

The Terrible Secret of Livejournal, part 3: what to do?

Thursday 9 August 2007, 03:00

Link to Part 1.

It should not be thought that Six Apart have completely clean hands here. I'm not by any means a big fan of Six Apart.  It's partly because I'm not a fan of Six Apart that I've left Livejournal and given up my paid account.  Nothing in the previous section should be taken as my saying that Six Apart are perfect.  I think they're basically doing the right thing, but what have they done wrong?

The Terrible Secret of Livejournal, part 2: avoiding notice

Thursday 9 August 2007, 02:00

Link to Part 1.

In the previous section I mentioned that fandom itself is considered a perversion. I don't think most people in fandom are willing to admit that they know that. It might be another terrible secret - the terrible secret of fandom. The thing is that fandom is about creating a line that separates Us from Them. That's the point. That's why you joined - remember? You wanted to be among your people and escape from the ones who aren't your people. The trouble is that when we separated ourselves from the mainstream, we created a really good reason for the mainstream to separate from us too.

The Terrible Secret of Livejournal, part 1: the Secret

Thursday 9 August 2007, 01:00

I'm hearing another round of rumours about Six Apart, the company that runs Livejournal, and its deletion of Livejournal users.  It sounds like they've changed their code to make it less obvious when a user has been deleted (by hiding usernames or something, instead of showing them in strikethrough), and they're continuing to not follow their stated policies of issuing warnings and conducting reviews and so on.  The fandom community is up in arms, and the current situation is seen as an example of Six Apart not sticking to the promises it made last time there was a round of deletions.  I think the time has come for me to reveal the terrible secret of Livejournal - the one big issue behind this situation, that neither side wants to admit even to themselves.  Because of this one big issue, I think that fandom is making unreasonable demands of Livejournal.  This is a sort of open letter or reality check for the fandom community:  you can't expect Six Apart to give you what you're demanding, and you need to recognize why.

Why astrology?

Sunday 11 April 2010, 07:55

Revised version of a Livejournal posting of 27 August 2005.

I consider astrology to be primarily a form of art.  It's a way for us to express our creative powers.  From that point of view, asking whether celestial forces influence the tenor of our lives becomes somewhat like asking whether The Starry Night is an accurate portrayal of how some real starry night physically appeared, such as might be produced by a skilled but not particularly artistic photographer.  It's just not an interesting question.

The law is not magic

Friday 3 August 2007, 21:00

People have the wrong idea about the law. They think it's magic. They think that the law consists entirely of arbitrary rules, technicalities, and loopholes, and that dealing with the law is primarily about getting around the challenges the system creates. The idea that there might be real standards of conduct with a point to them that you're supposed to actually follow instead of getting around, doesn't count for much. I think it's partly the fault of the media, in showing us ten examples of dysfunctional nonsense in the law for every one example of the system actually working as it's meant to, so that we think the dysfunctional nonsense is what it's actually meant to be about. It's also the fault of the legislators, courts, and lawyers, for putting way too much dysfunctional nonsense into the law in the first place. But it's not all dysfunctional nonsense. The law generally does have a point to it, and the system is meant to actually work and to be for real.