Compartment3 — June 2003

Friday, June 20, 2003
 
Part of the reason I did my blog entry on déjà vu yesterday was to play around with funky HTML characters like e acute "é" and a grave "à".

It's kind of a pain to do it "by hand" in Blogger, the software that I use to format my blog. Microsoft Word takes care of all that for you. Type "deja vu" and Word automatically changes it to "déjà vu" for you. Neat. It also changes "teh" to "the" which is a common typo that I make. You can program it to do other words for you.

There is something vaguely Big Brotherish about this though. What if it were programmed to change the meaning of your text? What if it could type whatever it wanted? What if ŒœΩω

Microsoft is great. Microsoft is good. Bill Gates is God.


Thursday, June 19, 2003
 
My new job is in the same building that I worked in seven years ago. Even some of the same people are there. I am constantly being punched in the stomach—it's almost that physical—by a feeling that has to be déjà vu. But what is déjà vu exactly?

I went to my old beat-up dictonary, The New Scribner-Bantam English Dictionary to look up the term. Funny, turning to the worn thousand-page paperback also gave me that feeling.

dé·jà vu n sense of having witnessed scenes being lived through at the present time

How many times have I looked up words in that dictionary? I think I've had it since college, maybe high school. I don't know what year it was published because the cover and first eleven (or more) pages have long disappeared. Fortunately, the first entry is still intact:

A, a n (A's or As, a's or as) first letter of the English alphabet

It's protected by two dozen or more pages of the sporadically interesting chapters, "A Guide to the Dictionary," "Pronunciation Key" and "Abbreviations." The price may be some guide to how old the book is: $2.25. Now, no book is $2.25, not even the cheapest paperback, which, on the Washington Post's bestseller list is $7.99. Life of Pi by Yann Martel, at number one, is $14. So the dictionary is old.

Maybe we can tell how old it is by what's not in the dictionary. Internet...not in. Personal computer...nope. Disco isn't listed, but that might just be good taste.

Ah, here we go. There are a limited number of biographical entries. Reagan, Ronald...not in. But...

Car·ter, Jim´my n (1924— ) 39th president of the U.S. 1977—

So I would bet I bought it around 1980 when I started high school. It was probably a required purchase at DeMatha, and jeez, I've been looking things up in it for over twenty years. Déjà vu, baby!



Tuesday, June 10, 2003
 
Hello, faithful readers (reader?). I'm back at work, which is definitely good for my wallet, but not so good for my blogging. I promise to inflict some more bloviation on you soon.

Meanwhile, take a look at this really neat Honda ad. Turn the sound up. (Be careful if you have a slow connection.)