tablesaw: An indigenous American crucified on a cross crowned by a bald eagle. In the background stands a Mesoamerican temple. (América Tropical)
Saturday: I went with [personal profile] temptingcuriosity to LACMA for the Drawing Surrealism exhibit. The raw imagination on display reminded me very strongly of the underground indie aesthetic championed by Anna Anthropy in "Rise of the Videogame Zinesters." There's a lot of interesting connections to be made there, with the Dadaists and surrealists using games to promote automatism in creation, the use of collage (reusing sprites), and even a possible connection to the Futurist obsession with machine art.

Sunday: Virtually attended the planning meeting for the MIT Mystery Hunt next weekend. It's always good to see everyone, even the camera was mostly on [personal profile] tahnan doing his one-knee-on-a-chair pose.

Monday: I said goodbye to the Xmas tree immediately after the Epiphany. That almost never happens.

Tuesday: Made it out to a boardgaming night for the first time in a while. Played Chaos in the Old World to completion for the first time, and actually eked out a win. I've had a hard time with this game before, because the extremely asymmetrical roles can make it hard to figure out how to do things, but I finally pushed through. Still not entirely my game, but I won't be so quick to avoid it, either. I also got to dazzle everyone with word knowledge when playing and generally refereeing Bananagrams.

Wednesday: My main glasses broke a little while ago, and my backups are threatening to quit too, so I scheduled a new eye exam. I also made a quick jump into Sherman Oaks to pick up last year's prescription, just in case I need to make an emergency run to Lens Crafters for a cheap replacement. Having two hours to kill, I went to one of my favorite restaurants, Toshi Sushi. It was a great evening, as I was joined at the sushi bar by three lovely women who over-ordered and were pleased to hear of my birthday so that they had an excuse to foist some of the food onto me.

A cameraphone picture of a plate of sushi, all slightly different, with an assortment of fish, rice, sauces and toppings. They all taste delicious.

Heading to bed now. More birthday stuff later.
tablesaw: A twenty-sided die glows with the power of the Great Old Ones. (Cthulhu Icosahedron)
As the players both stand foot to foot, face to face,
One should aim to go east while the other goes west,
Though they're out of the game if they step out of place.

Player one starts a volley by making the case
Why the other one budging would really be best,
As the players both stand foot to foot, face to face.

The opponent can then, if they choose to, embrace
This persuasive protreptic profoundly expressed,
Though they're out of the game if they step out of place.

So instead, they must fully expound the disgrace
That would fall upon them should they meet that request,
As the players both stand foot to foot, face to face.

Player two then returns a demand for the space
To move forward. The foe may choose not to protest,
Though they're out of the game if they step out of place.

Then repeat and repeat in a motionless chase
Where the mulish participants grow more obsessed1
As the players both stand foot to foot, face to face,
Though they're out of the game if they step out of place.
1For a more somber game, replace "obsessed" with "depressed."

Probably Much-Needed Context )
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Last night I came home with a headache, and I ended up falling asleep early, sleeping with the lights on. That's always disorienting (I couldn't figure out what day it was when I woke up), though I caught up with the sleep I needed, and I'm feeling much better.

Thanksgiving was a quiet day with family and Gelson's food. It's been gorgeous in LA, recently and Thursday was no exception. I got to see my neice again, who is now walking and occasionally saying syllables.

On Wednesday, I saw The Muppets at the El Capitan, which was cool because the El Capitan is the location of the Muppet Show in the movie itself. As we walked in, the audience received wristbands with jingle bells on them, to accompany the stage show of Kermit and Miss Piggy singing winter holiday songs. As the previews began to play, the audience developed a spontaneous tradition of jingling before the preview played, during the screen containing the MPAA rating.

Working the days before Thanksgiving, I was a wreck, though. As my department gets ready to be transferred to the new company, everyone's been trying to run out their sick days before they lose them when we get cashed out. As a result, we've been horrifically understaffed, with more than half the department gone at any given day. Especially when combined with the holiday. I've been carrying a lot of stress home with me. My holidays are postponed until the end of the month, when I'll get a four-day weekend from November 29-December 2.

On Saturday, I went over to Dave's for his birthday celebration, playing The Secret of Mana to celebrate his 30th birthday. It was a lot of fun. I'd been itching to play videogames for a while, but somehow not managing to sit down to do it when at home. Spending a few hours wandering around on an SNES game was just the ticket.

Earlier that morning, I took part in the LA Homewalk for the United Way. Thankfully, it wasn't raining (it would rain on Sunday), and so everyone stayed dry. The most surprising thing was that according to my GPS, the length of the walk was more than the 3 miles/5 kilometers announced. When I was finished, my GPS said 3.98 miles, well over 6 kilometers. That explains why it took so much longer than expected. In all, I raised over $400 for the United Way.

On Thursday, I saw The Language Archive at the East West Players. It was a really good show, and it hit a bunch of emotional buttons for me, between a painful breakup and the loss of language between generations. There was a question-and-answer session after the show, and the director mentioned that among the ten people at one early production meeting, seven had experiences not speaking the language of their grandparents, including Japanese, Korean, Yiddish, and Lakota. The show continues through this weekend, and I recommend it, if you can make it.
tablesaw: An indigenous American crucified on a cross crowned by a bald eagle. In the background stands a Mesoamerican temple. (América Tropical)
I've been meaning to post this for a while, and I'm going to do so now, if for no other reason than I won't have to keep looking for it. I think Bonilla-Silva may have rephrased this more precisely in later revisions, but this is the version I have.
This argument [racialized social structures] clashes with social scientists' most popular policy prescription for "curing" racism, namely education. This "solution" is the logical outcome of defining racism as a belief. Most analysts regard racism as a matter of individuals subscribing to an irrational view, thus the cure is educating them to realize that racism is wrong. Education is also the choice "pill" prescribed by Marxists for healing workers from racism. The alternative theorization offered here implies that because the phenomenon has structural consequences for the races, the only way to "cure" society of racism is by eliminating its systemic roots. Whether this can be accomplished
democratically or only through revolutionary means is an open question, and one that depends on the particular racial structure of the society in question.
—Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, "Rethinking Racism: Toward a Structural Interpretation.
tablesaw: Machete reveals his personal armory. "They just fucked with the wrong Mexican." (Wrong Mexican)
My ire was raised today reading [personal profile] kate_nepveu's writeup of her Arisia experience, specifically being on the panel of "Idols with Feet of Clay."

But specifically, I want to address one particular argumentative tack, seen in Ian Randal Strock's own recounting of the con and the panel:
On the programming side, I was on five panels (I was scheduled for two more, but missed them due to traffic). The most lively was the first, "Idols with Feet of Clay". It was a discussion of the question: "Can you still read the works of someone with whom you are on opposite sides politically?" The panel write-up specifically mentioned James P. Hogan's Holocaust denial and Orson Scott Card's opposition to homosexuality. Of the five panelists, I was the only one who said one ought to be able to divorce the art from the artist, and read the fiction regardless of one's view of the writer.
(Emphasis mine.) The phrase "divorce [or separate] the art from the artist [or vice versa]" is pretty key in these debates, and it is singled out on both sides of the debate. For example, [personal profile] nojojojo responds
Naturally he would be shocked, shocked I tell you, that people who are harmed by bigotry might not be able to divorce art from its artist, or "artistic" bigotry from its real, dangerous effect on the zeitgeist and law.
Nojojojo also links to an old post by [personal profile] catvalente which sarcastically says:
Oh, but it should be about the art, shouldn't it? We should separate the art from the artist.
But here's the thing: I think the phrase is a smokescreen.

I mean, when I think of "The Death of the Author," I'm thinking of an outlook that is designed to fundamentally empower readers over authors. So when it comes to, as Yuki_Onna calls it, fuckmuppetry, why is this pulled out as a defense of authors?

Clearly, these writers aren't referencing the same theory I'm thinking of. In fact, they're calling back to New Criticism. New Criticism also plays with the idea of the Intentional Fallacy, but it couples this with the Affective Fallacy, which says that an individual's reader's impressions have no place in interpreting art. Thus interpretation of art is decoupled from both the author and the reader (and history and a whole host of other things) so that it can just be capital-A Art.

And thus the sleight of hand. When writers like Strock call for everyone to divorce the art from the artist, they're actually calling for everyone to divorce the reader from the art.

Now, one can argue that this is appropriate when constructing formal criticism (though, be careful if you do so here, because there are some pretty heavey hitters reading). But the real problem is that the context of all of these previous statements—and of various other discussions regarding social justice issues and author fuckmuppetry—is not of criticism but of reading. The actual physical act of reading, and of the concommitant decisions of what books to buy or request. Reading is not a context from which one can divorce the reader.

And so this is why I'm officially calling bullshit on the "separate the art from the artist" line in these discussions. And I call for others who agree with me to not buy into the framing of our opponents, and call this tactic what it really is: separating the reader from reading.

Am I being unfair to Strock in particular in this analysis? I don't think so. From later in Kate Nepveu's report:
And then—well, I'm pretty sure I didn't actually shout this time. But Strock said something about sensitivity training and how it's supposed to keep people from saying offensive things, and he thinks that maybe we should having training in how not to be offended at things people say, because it just gives the speaker the power to upset you, so why not just ignore it, why get upset.
I mean, this is just the logical extension of divorcing the reader from the reading—divorcing the listener from the listening. I mean, surely, there must be some sort of instruction that may be given such that, in communication, one may receive the communication without reacting to it. That's how the brain works, after all.
tablesaw: The Mexican Murder Rock from <cite>Warehouse 13</cite> (Mexican Murder Rock!)
I had my laptop throughout the workshop, so I was collecting the links as they came up. Most of them are from the speaker (Bruce Love), but others were from other people at the workshop or ones I located on my own while we were working. Here's my collection of links with descriptions of each.

Mesoamerican Society of CSULA: The hosts of the event, with announcements of future events.

Friends of the Maya: A group Love is associated with that teaches Maya hieroglyphs to modern Maya.

Mesoweb: A collection of Mesoamerican resources, including books.

Night Fire Films: Filmmakers of Breaking the Maya Code, a documentary about the history of Maya script decipherment.

Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI): Has various research including the Kerr photography collection of Maya ceramics

Maya Vase Database: A site run by FAMSI with the Kerr photographs.

K6997, K1837: Kerr photographs of ceramics shown in the workshop.

Peabody Museum Corpus of Hieroglyphic Inscriptions: Photographs and line drawings of stone inscriptions arranged by location.

Tonina Monument 69: One of the carvings that we worked on during the workshop.

Maya Decipherment: Mayanist David Stuart's blog on Maya script and updates to decipherment.

Online Dresden Codex: This link goes to a post on David Stuart's blog with a link to, and instructions for accessing, online photographs of the Dresden Codex on a German website. The Dresden Codex is the most significant and well-preserved Classical Maya codex.

Maya News Updates: Eric Boot's collection of news links related to the Maya.

Mesoamerica in Aztlan: Youtube channel of a student who made a minipresentation on Day 3, examining Mesoamerican cultures today.
tablesaw: The Mexican Murder Rock from <cite>Warehouse 13</cite> (Mexican Murder Rock!)
So not a funerary urn. It's a hot chocolate mug. With the king's name on it. So nobody else gets his king germs.
tablesaw: The pixelated dog from Duck Hunt, emerging from a real field of tall green grass beneath a clear blue sky. (Duck Hunt)
Talking to somebody, in real life:
Somebody: I'm staying with a . . . friend.
[personal profile] tablesaw: A dot-dot-dot-friend?
Somebody: You know, a Friend. With a capital F.
[personal profile] tablesaw: I see.
[personal profile] tablesaw: You're staying with a Quaker.
tablesaw: "Tablesaw Techniques" (Techniques)
Language Log has a post about the most commonly used word in the English language:
Not surprisingly, first-person singular (FPS) pronouns are used at very high rates in everyday speech. Across thousands of natural conversations that we have recorded, transcribed, and analyzed, the word "I" is consistently the most frequently used word (averaging 4.73% of all words, compared with 0.56% "me" and 0.69% "my").
James W. Pennebaker, "What Is 'I' Saying?"

The post starts with a link to an "I-Exam" that tests your knowledge or instinct of when I is used more often (I scored 8/10), and continues with further insight into when and how I is used in speech.

I think it would be of particular interest to the writers I have on my reading list right now.
tablesaw: Run Away (to the ocean, to the country, to the mountains . . .) (Runaway)
Top Five Linguistic Misconceptions (from [personal profile] yhlee)
  • The "passive voice" is evil. (This is particularly annoying among the lawyers who usually have extremely good reasons for using the passive voice.)
  • "They" can't be used as a singular pronoun.
  • It's possible to not have an accent.
  • Accents or dialects (like African American Vernacular American English) indicate laziness and low intelligence.
  • Languages other than English are a threat to the United States.
Top Five Quotes from John Hughes Movies (from [personal profile] lqc)
  • Pardon my French, but Cameron is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you'd have a diamond.
  • Why are we wearing bras on our heads?
  • Keep the change ya filthy animal!
  • This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun.
  • I don't have to runaway and live in the street. I can runaway and I can go to the ocean, I can go to the country, I can go to the mountains. I could go to Israel, Africa, Afghanistan.
Top Five Delightful Anagrams (from [personal profile] chris)
  • 6 4
  • 5 5
  • 3-3 4
  • 3 4 3
  • 3 4 (3)
Top Five Things to Do on a Rainy Day (from [personal profile] dine)
  • Lie in bed, tight under covers, listening to the rain outside.
  • Start a jigsaw puzzle in the grey light from the windows, moving lamps to the table as the day passes.
  • Read a book you loved when you were a child.
  • Order in, and tip heavily.
  • Walk outside barefoot, soaking the hems of your jeans.
Top Five Culinary Spices (from [personal profile] elusis)
  • Lawry's Seasoning Salt
  • Goya Adobo con Pimienta
  • Chocolate Mint (peppermint cultivar)
  • Cinnamon
  • Sage picked wild in the Santa Monica Mountains

The poll is still open, and you should be able to fill it out using an Open ID (like your LiveJournal account).

Poll #964 Top Five! More Dead Than Alive!
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 10

Suggest a Top Five list for Tablesaw:

tablesaw: -- (Default)
Word Wars: The E-Card )

Word Wars (link changed 8/2/11; originally "") is a movie about the championship Scrabble circuit. It's been described by one of the directors as "Spellbound with drugs and hookers." Come on! How can you resist!?

Eric Chaikin, one of the directors, and a regular attendee at local NPL meetings, informs me that distributors for the rest of the country will be watching to see how well the film does in New York this weekend. So, New York bloggers, go see this movie. This weekend. Twice.

Here's some of the information from the recent e-mail announcement:

**Word Wars NYC Premiere**
The award-winning documentary "Word Wars: Tiles and Tribulations on the Scrabble Circuit" will open at the Cinema Village in NYC Friday, June 11th. Directors Eric Chaikin and Julian Petrillo, and top players G.I. Joel Sherman and Marlon Hill, will do a Q&A after the 8:35 show. Author Stefan Fatsis will be signing copies of his best-seller "Word Freak".

After party will be held at "Central" 109 E.9th Street (between 3rd and 4th Avenue) starting at 10:30pm. Open Bar from 10:30-midnight w/ ticket stub.

Tickets available online at or

**NYC Play The Experts**
We will be holding a "Play the Experts" exhibition on Thursday, June 10th and Friday, June 11th in NYC Parks.
11am-1pm Bryant Park
2pm-4pm Tompkins Square Park
5pm-7pm Washington Square Park, NW corner
11am-3pm Washington Square Park, NW corner

The public is invited to try their luck against Marlon and Joel, who will play multiple games at once. Every hour, we will give away a pair of tickets to a lucky person who can Stump the Experts with an anagram. Stefan Fatsis will be in attendance Friday to sign copies of his book "Word Freak". Public is encouraged to bring Scrabble paraphernalia for Joel and Marlon to sign. Media is encouraged to attend (Friday preferred).

**Also This Weekend**
Boston: Opens Fri 6/11, Coolidge Corner Cinema, Brookline
Salt Lake: Opens Fri 6/11, Tower Theater
Atlanta: Plays Sat 6/12, Atlanta Film Festival
San Francisco: Now Playing, Roxie Cinema
Marin: Now Playing, Rafael Film Center

Help this film! Go see it this weekend!
tablesaw: -- (Default)
And now it's time for everyone's favorite game: Internet Headline or Random Nouns?
Crash Mars Iran Quake Rescue Bid
(pointed out by [ profile] jrw)

Also, I am claiming creation of the words "philosotheory" and "commassacre". A commassacre is a flood or drought of punctuation that completely kills the meaning of a printed text. I don't know what the other one means, but it's mine. MINE!
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Two days ago, I put up a poll to look at differences between British English ("BrE") and American English ("AmE"). My Thoughts . . . )

If you have any thoughts or insights on the questions, the answers, or the poll results, feel free to post them. I'm certainly interested in them.

FriNYTX: 26.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
The following poll was inspired by some conversation on [ profile] ifmud about questions on the Cambridge exam for the Certificate of Proficiency in English.

Please don't look at the answers of others before you submit your own. Also, do not use any references. if you don't know an answer, just make your best guess or write "I don't know" as appropriate.

[Poll #299625]
tablesaw: "The Accurate Tablesaw" (Accurate)
So, one of my coworkers just tried to send out an e-mail. The settings for Outlook causes a spell-checker to run when a message is sent. This time, a misspelling of the word "inconvenience" was flagged. However, the coworker accidentally accepted the first suggestion, and the e-mail was sent before she could change it.

The message was sent out with the final sentence:
Thank you and I apologize in advance if this causes you any incontinence.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
"All Facilities Charges anal Bonded Fees . . ."
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Which of these sounds more natural to you:
[Poll #273176]


Feb. 18th, 2004 07:48 am
tablesaw: -- (Default)
As you may know, I am a proofreader at a law firm.

Proof that I deserve a raise. [Linked changed 4/3/11. Original link was]


tablesaw: -- (Default)
Tablesaw Tablesawsen

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