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In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Thursday, April 26, 2007

U.S.A. Patent 5199906

That there to stage right (house left!) is a gender changer, which is very useful when you have two male or female ends of a VGA cable that need, somehow, to form a family. Think of it as Oregon's legislature, if you must.
It's incredibly important for AV geek work, as I spent much of last week doing (well, 51 hours of it, anyway), and I spent much of that week carrying around several of the damn things in my pocket. I now give them out as gifts.

You will note that the patent number given in the title doesn't match the one in the picture. This is due to the fact that they come in many different sizes, and they all seem to have different patent numbers, which I find strange.
You'd think there would be just one; and I know that there are as many as there are sizes, since if you do a Google Image search on 'gender changer', you'll find many pictures of the above device, and I never did find how far one needs to go before seeing pictures of what I suspected one would find if one did a search on those particular words.

As you may imagine, a national conference on child abuse and neglect brings a lot of interesting types to a convention center. After I found out that the proceedings were being recorded (something I really should have been told in advance) for posterity (and sale!), I ended up speaking to a recordist (named 'Jane Heaven', oddly) while sitting on a joyless little couch near a water cooler.
"Some of the things you hear in these meetings," she said, "really blow your mind. Did you know that predators groom their victims? And their families, too!"
Aside from providing me with an unwelcome image of someone going after children with a horse brush, this struck me as not especially noteworthy. Of course your average child-rapist isn't going to be hanging around playgrounds. They're friends of the family, they're relatives, they're little league coaches and yes, clergy.
As she spoke, I was examining a new bruise on my arm that I'd acquired the previous day, wondering where it had come from. "Oh, I'm sorry," she said, "is this a sensitive subject for you?"

The next night, Bee and I shared some drinks on the roof of the hotel across the street. I loves me some rooftop bar, and I recognized the person nearby as a conference attendee. She was the only one there wearing a yarmulke.
She was soon sitting with us, and we were talking about whether or not there is such thing as 'good' and 'evil', the comforts versus the drawbacks of religion ("...because THERE IS NO GOD!", I was able to literally shout from a rooftop), and why Judaism, of the Big Three monotheistic religions, rocks.
Actually, we first needed to discuss whether or not Christianity can really be said to be monotheistic (I think it can said to be so, despite much debate and actual bloodshed surrounding this topic): Jesus is still kinda god, and the Holy Spirit remains a delicious mystery.
And I finally got that chance to quote Maimonides I've been waiting for! On the subject of Jewish views regarding The Messiah: "The Messiah will come, but he may tarry." This caused our table-mate to laugh uproariously, which made me think of Gore Vidal's observation that the little implied shrug at the end of that sentence forms the basis for all Jewish humor leading all the way to Woody Allen.

She also used the sentence; "It's all I can do, each and every day, to get through it without crying." Normally, sentences like this cause me to foul the nearest floor with the contents of my stomach, but in the case of a social worker, this is pretty apt. One of the presenters at the conference needed my help with her PowerPoint, and it was pretty simple. She thanked me profusely, and I gave her the whole 'just doin' my job, ma'am' number. But she went on and on, pointing out that it made her feel bad to have someone have to help her.
"But you shouldn't," I said, "it's fine."
"Yeah, but everything makes me feel bad. It's a social worker thing."
"That must do wonders for your self-esteem." We laughed.

My fellow workers were techs like me, and that's to say, dirty little bastards. When things were winding down, and we were all sitting around together, I routinely had to shut the door for fear the attendees would hear the jokes we were making. But that's what happens when you get to spend all morning taking care of the room where Shaken Baby Syndrome is being discussed; you get a sort of gallows humor about the whole thing, and before long, Shaken Baby Races are being discussed.

After that? Well, Bee got her bike back, which meant a trip to court, and then the property room, which was weird enough, but also a visit to the Elmer's where the 'Mounds of Delicious Pancakes' thing was being held (we sat outside the room, and eavesdropped. This was the first thing in a long time that I've seen where an overhead projector was used), went to The Grotto, which is a Catholic shrine on the side of Rocky Butte, thence to the shooting range (reasonably named 'A Place To Shoot'), where Bee shot her first gun.
All in all, good stuff. We're going out to EO today, to see the She Bear, even though I can't reach her on the phone. Travel observations to come.



Blogger Scoobay said...


8:39 AM  

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