Tag Archive | meme

Getting to know y/o/u/ me

I haven’t done a questionnaire or similar post in a while…

Name: Gene

Where are you from? The U.S. Narrowing it down further: ten elementary schools, four states. My father worked in the petroleum industry, so while I was born in northwest Colorado, and we returned to that same small town by the time I entered middle school, we lived in a bunch of small towns in Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Utah…

Favorite colours? Purple! Violet! Plum! Aubergine! Lavender! Lilac! Also various shades of pink, orange, and teal. And did I mention purple?

Write something in capitals: NASA

Favorite band / musician: As in many things, I have lots of favorites. I love, love, love Scissor Sisters, and wish that their “hiatus” would end sometime soon. Rufus Wainwright, Mika, Pet Shop Boys, Taylor Swift, Will Young, John Grant… and don’t get me started on the divas!

Favorite number: My favorite integer is 5. Which is also my favorite rational number. Though 3/5 is also good. Favorite algebraic irrational is the square root of 2. My favorite transcendental irrational is e. My favorite indeterminate form is ∞0…. I could go on (I majored in Math at university, can you tell?)

Favorite drink: In the morning, coffee. Afternoon, tea (especially Earl Grey with lavender). Current favorite cocktail is a Manhattan, straight up. But my old stand by is an extra dry martini (a real martini with gin; people who call vodka drinks martinis should be shot). Favorite wine is Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Coconut water and Dry’s Lavender soda are also big faves.

Tag 8 people you want to know better: Everyone! Seriously, if you see this and you wanna post your answers, go for it. If you don’t, no worries!

Explaining my job using only the 1000 most commonly used English words

A few weeks back the xkcd web comic posted a cartoon illustrating how a rocket works using only the 1000 most commonly used words in English. This kicked off the Up Goer Five challenge: describe your job using only words from that list. It’s a lot harder than you might think:

I write and draw to explain hard-to-understand things like computers.

I talk to people who make the hard-to-understand things and figure out how to explain the things to people who have to use the things. I talk to people who have to use the things to find out how they use the things. I show the people who make the things how to make the things easier to understand and use.

I figure out how to write stuff and draw stuff once but use it in many places in a way that if we change it one place it changes at all the other places. I figure out how to make the stuff we write and draw once that appears in many places change in ways that make sense in each place it is used, but not change when it isn’t supposed to.

I figure out where the stuff we write and draw is seen. I figure out how to make the stuff we write and draw be in the places it should be without us doing it each time. I figure out where people who need the stuff we write and draw will look for it. I figure out how to make the stuff we write and draw be in the place people who need it will look for it. I figure out how to keep the stuff we write and draw that most people don’t need out of their way but still easy for the people who need it to find. If figure out how to put the stuff we write and draw where we can find it quickly when we need to change it.

I make the things that makes all the stuff we write and draw do all these things. I keep the things I make working. I fix the things I make when they don’t work. I figure out why other things made by other people but that we have to use are not working, and then figure out how to make them do what we want even though they were never meant to do that.

I do things with words most people don’t know that words can do. If I do it right, the people who use them don’t even realize the words are doing the things. My job is not to make the things I do be noticed. My job is to help people who use the hard-to-explain things know how to use them without knowing they are learning.

This was hard because what I do is extremely meta. The words “information,” “arrange,” “organize,” “design” can’t be used. Even the word “itself” is unavailable, so when I wanted to write that the things we write and draw change themselves depending on where they are being seen, I couldn’t. Oh, and “tool” isn’t allowed. Anyway,

You can try it yourself here.

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