Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

July 2007 Archives

Links list: 07.23.07.


A good use of a weekend.

This weekend I:

  • Got a refund on The Wrong New Apartment.
  • Put down a check for The Right New Apartment(?).
  • Dinged level 29 with my new Dranei mage in WoW.
  • Went to the midnight release party for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
  • Started reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
  • Finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
  • Basked in the afterglow of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

If it weren't for one staggering thing, it would have been a perfect weekend – Misty, the pony that my parents acquired when I was 2 or thereabouts, passed away late last week. She went peacefully, passing in the night, and in pony years she must have been nearly 100, but it still doesn't seem quite real. Later this week I'm flying home for Talon's bachelor party (a Jimmy Buffett concert in Cincinnati) and it's going to feel deeply odd to see that big, empty pasture.

Aside from that, though, life right now is really excellent. I can't wait to move into the new place (I love our current apartment, and it's been a great home for two years, but the new place is really charming) and my job is fantastic. I'm in the middle of a list of great books at the moment (White Night, the latest Harry Dresden adventure; Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves' Interworld; the second Bartimaeus book, The Golem's Eye; and I'm anxiously looking forward to the new novels by Warren Ellis and William Gibson) and movie season this summer has been absolutely delightful – and Stardust, The Bourne Ultimatum and (for me) Live Free or Die Hard still have yet to be seen.

I still owe several dozen people several hundred emails, or so it seems. I hope you're all doing well out there and enjoying the summer – I'll try and catch up with you individually soon!


The boy who lived...

I'm writing this on my iPhone while waiting in line with Laura at the Harry Potter release at the Barnes and Noble in Burlington, Massachusetts. We've been here since around 9:30 and there's gotta be about 1500 people here. It's insane! There's a bunch of girls in full garb near us that are singing bizarre Potter-related cheerleader-style songs, a bunch of little kids zooming around on those sneakers with built-in skates, and two high school nerdy guys and a girl dressed kinda like a hoochie mama in line in front of us. A weirdass crowd, but inarguably a crowd, what some people are calling a once-in-a-lifetime book event. I suspect this is what it was like when the new Dickens books came off the docks... And I wonder what the next literary-lineup event will be.

Wow. I wonder of there's an article in this?


Alas, poor weekend...

I was about to write something along the lines of, "Oh, poor weekend, we barely knew ye," but then it dawned on me that no, actually, this weekend was incredibly productive. This weekend I got a price quote on the new glasses and contacts that I need, ran a batch of Singaporeans back to Costco (and bought four cases of Red Bull on the lab's dime, niiiiiice), whipped up a batch of Butterbeer (one part butterscotch shnapps to seven part cream soda, mmmmm), went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (which was quite good but felt more like an extended TV episode than a film of its own right, which, I suppose, isn't that different from the general feel of the book), went out to Sunday brunch at Bruegger's Bagels in Belmont Center, looked at ~10 apartments, dropped a realtor's fee on one of them to get the ball rolling (grateful that perhaps this hellish process can stop anytime now, kthxbye), and went out to dinner with Laura and the Fords at Maggiano's downtown.

Why does it feel like I barely knew this weekend? Because it was so jam-packed, that's why. I could have done with a little more downtime, but I ain't complainin'.


AIM statuses I have known.

I'm settling into my new office here on campus, and it's freaking amazing. Now, of course, my mind is turning to optimizing my workflow here in this new environment, and I'm contemplating using AIM as an interoffice communications tool. iChat is surprisingly evolving into a real staple of my day, much faster and friendlier than email, not to mention having the potential to reflect my general state of mind and availability.

That said, I now need to prune down my list of status options that I'd been plunking into iChat while in thesis mode. Rather than just whisk them off to oblivion, I thought I'd share some of them with you.

Available Messages

  • Bang bang, hammer hammer

  • Writing like a mad bastard

  • The Venn diagram of my geekiness is huge.

  • zomg coffee gooooood

  • Storytelling.

  • Miscellaneous


  • get back jojo


  • yay, work time

  • sweating like a stuck pig

  • teh tired

  • I don't like Mondays

Away Messages

  • Clients only, please

  • Artsy-fartsy

  • Car wrestling. Be right back.

  • zomg zzzzzzzzzzz


  • Just playin'.

  • Fearing the crow of the cockadoodletron.

  • Foraging for sustenance

  • Rub-a-dub dub

  • The Jack Bauer Power Hour

  • Henry Jenkins: Seedy Fringe Theorist.

  • Cranky

  • Not cranky!

  • Meeting

  • Rollin' with Clooney

  • Working

  • o god it's morning

  • Mondays need to die

Thesis-Related Away Messages


  • THESIS SCORE: 9,192

  • THESIS SCORE: 9,481

  • THESIS SCORE: 10,161

  • THESIS SCORE: 13,603

  • THESIS SCORE: 17,897

  • THESIS SCORE: 20,979

  • THESIS SCORE: 22,944

  • THESIS SCORE: 23,190

  • THESIS SCORE: 24,302

  • THESIS SCORE: 26,855

  • THESIS SCORE: 28,129

  • THESIS SCORE: 28,172 or 19,789...?


  • Dante must've gone to MIT

  • Birthing Athena.

  • THESIS SCORE: 40,649

  • THESIS SCORE: 44,558


What I love about that list of thesis-related away messages is how it serves as a mile-high diary of the process: plodding away, working in reasonably small increments, and then having the total panic attack of Henry and William's intervention, followed by the abrupt addition of an additional 30% of new content... Heh. I thought I had another one in there to the tune of "Committee tested, thesis approved!", but I suppose it fell by the wayside already.

All right. Back to work-work...


A little art.

It's nice when I can make a little art over the course of my workday, such as the new illustration for the MIT Convergence Culture Consortium: Affiliations page.

Five minutes I haven't had in a year.

Well, this is representative of the state of things in my life recently: I just grabbed five minutes to update my homepage. Now it actually says 2007 instead of 2006.



A snippet.

I've been trying to return to my writing lately, sitting down at the keyboard and banging away in the mornings before work. It's been sort of working; although I'm still quite rusty, the things that are beginning to appear have some promise. This is what came out this morning.

There are reasons, I suppose, why everyone does everything – even the worst thing.

When I was fourteen, my grandmother made me a promise – that if I could go for a week without uttering a single swear word, she’d bake me anything I wanted. You have to understand that my grandmother was no slouch in the kitchen, and that I had a mouth gifted with a knack for blue language. Anytime anything ever went wrong, it was f– this or g-d– that, only with a more poetic flair for interpretation. Allusions were made to genitalia of both sexes, along with extremely explicit instructions as to what could be put where, often involving animals that may be living or may be dead. I’d made swearing a sort of hobby, which was understandable since there was so little else to do out in the neck of Florida that my parents and I called home.

I took my grandmother up on the bet, of course, and, of course, I’d lost within six hours.

What that made me realize is that I had a problem. Fourteen was a little early for this kind of introspection, but I was a weird kid. Even my mother used to look at me funny when I was having one of what she called “my off days”. I’d wander around in a kind of haze, looking at things and wondering what they were, why they were, why they weren’t something else instead, and how they might be turned into something else. Like all kids that age, I was all neck and elbows, but instead of the normal kind of teenage boy fumbling-stumbling, the gait of a foal learning its legs for the first time, I had spent an afternoon sitting still on a giant rock in the neighborhood park, staring at my arms and legs and thinking about them. When I got up three hours later, I was a little stiff but I was suddenly gifted with a kind of grace that even the basketball coach called supernatural. I was suddenly being drafted by everyone from the basketball team to the Florida state ballet, but I had no interest in any of that. Such extracurricular activities would have just gotten in the way of my off days. Understandably, the one-two punch of my being weird and turning my back on both the sports and the arts didn’t make me any friends at all, which I suspect is what led to my knack for cursing.

When I lost the bet, I returned to my grandmother and owned up – I may have been weird but I was also a good kid – and then instantly suggested a double-or-nothing. Two curse-free weeks, two choice baked goods. We shook on it, I took my leave, and I headed for my rock in the park. This time it took a little longer, but I was armed with more than just my thoughts: under my arm I carried the dogeared, battered unabridged Webster’s dictionary that had been gathering dust in the living room since Mom had received it as a high school graduation gift decades ago. This time I sat and leafed through the pages until it was too dark to read, then headed home, went straight to bed, got up with the sun and headed back to the park with my dictionary. I stayed there, meditating on the different types of language, until it got too hot to bear and then I went home and took a nap. When I woke up, words worked differently for me. I no longer needed to swear. I no longer needed to say a lot of things. The more mundane words, like like and awesome and cool tumbled from my vocabulary like the scales from my namesake’s eyes. They were replaced largely by silence, a smaller form of meditation that was actually just a patience for the right word to arrive.

I chose pies. My grandmother made the most amazing apple and peach pies.

My name is Saul Jonas Shane, three first names for the price of one, and this is how I did the worst thing...


Happy Independence Day.

Swiped from SarahScott:

You both crossed the Rubicon yesterday. Which one of you chose the route no longer matters. Which is the ventriloquist and which is the dummy is now irrelevant. But that you have twisted the machinery of our government into nothing more than a tawdy machine of politics, is the only fact that remains relevant.

It is nearly July Fourth, Mr. Bush, the commemoration of the moment we Americans decided that rather than live under a king who made up the laws, or erased them, or ignored them, or commuted the sentences of those rightly convicted under them, we would force our independence and regain our sacred freedoms.

We of this time, and our leaders in Congress, of both parties, must now live up to those standards which echo through our history: Pressure, negotiate, impeach. Get you, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Cheney, two men who are now perilous to our democracy, away from its helm.

And for you, Mr. Bush and Mr, Cheney, there is a lesser task. You need merely to acheive a very low threshold indeed. Display just that iota of patriotism which Richard Nixon showed on August 9, 1974: Resign. And give us someone, anyone, about whom all of us might yet be able to quote John Wayne and say, "I didn't vote for him, but he's my president, and I hope he does a good job."

Good night and good luck indeed.

Links list: 07-04-07.


Links list: 07-02-07.

Gotta close some tabs before digging into work today...