The New England Mobile Book Fair is a beautiful place. I picked up a book on Tai Chi and John Forester's Effective Cycling for dirt cheap. I'm actually getting more enthralled by bicycles the longer I spend with them - they're wonderfully mechanical, biomechanical, manufacturing-happy, and useful in so many different ways. Carl, the guy who runs Bikes Not Bombs, is awesome. He really knows how to work well with volunteers, get you involved, let you really do something. I need to learn how to mentor like that.

Had a neat talk with Allen today about the availability of census data and our (Andrew's, now expanded to Mark and myself) idea to make statistical information easier for the general public (but more specifically, policy researchers, debaters, and the like) to access.

Thanks to my rash of bloody noses for the past few weeks, my favorite set of bedsheets (mostly the pillowcase) is now permanently stained with ugly brown spots. Or maybe not permanently. I shall have to see. I mean, there are a lot of solvents out there.

Supposedly the play was great - I got back late from BNB, helped set up the food (I'm supposed to be an usher), got some food and missed the first half of the selling-of-the-food, and... generally tried very hard to make myself useful, although I don't think I actually was. But I did what I could. And Mark finally gave me his copy of the script so I could read it and follow the dialogue for tomorrow. So now I've read it, I have my pre-closed-captioning in my brain, and I shall be able to enjoy the show. Thank you, Mark. (It took you long enough!)

Vow: I shall be more utilitarian for the musical. I harbor a secret desire to try out because - well, I've never really done anything on the stage, just stuff behind it - but I know that I am not that great at acting, singing, and dancing, all three of which are required in some amount for a musical. I could probably do something, but I would be much more useful doing... props. Or music. Or something I am better at. I don't know - there seems to be this "drama-ness" that makes theatre or acting good or bad, and for the most part, I'm unable to pick up on it.

Phone conversation with the mother today. Apparently I need to act more feminine and let boys do more things for me, like pay for dinner, or ask me to the Snow Ball. ("You should take advantage of being a girl." "Mom, I armwrestle people for the check.")

In the same conversation, she's commenting on how much my little brother (who's sixteen) has to spend on his date for homecoming (lots). This is, by the way, fulfilling one of my predictions from elementary school - namely that Jason will go on a date before I do. (Right, so it's not a date-date, but he's taking a girl to a dance, and this counts in my book.) Yes, I'm 2.5 years older than him.

Disclaimer: My parents are really cool and supportive and not gender-role-y (heck, they loved that I was going into engineering). However, they are my parents. And they're conservative, Catholic, and Chinese. So.

This is not my life plan:
0. Grow up
1. Settle down
2. Marry a nice Catholic Chinese boy
3. Have nice Catholic Chinese children
4. The end

I wonder just how much my family (extended, too) worries about my eligibility for marriage in the future. To nice Catholic Chinese boys, of course. Of which there are lots in the United States.


Then again, if I'm wondering how much they worry, they're making me think about it, thus rendering any "Make Mel think about BOYS! like other girls her age" plans successful in the end. Henceforth, end conversation on topic in this post.

DENIM is a spiffy prototyping system - it's basically "Sketch your webpages! Whee! Make your images into HTML! Whee!" It's not Photoshop with lots of tables, though; it's actually designed for graphics tablet users and lets you show the link relationships between several pages as well. It's kind of like incredibly limited paper prototyping for webpages. I'd love to examine prototyping tools. You could do a whole semester worth of IS on that. DJ and I might just do that.

Just found out that Blinder needs a sub for the UOCD speech for Parents' Weekend tomorrow, so Andrew drafted Mark and myself to help him out (why? I don't know). We hacked together a skit. Mark's a user, Andrew's an Engineer, and I'm an Olin Engineer. Script I just wrote runs something like this... (we won't necessarily use it)

The Script

/AC209, Olin College. The room is full, the lights are on, and ANDREW, 20 and very professional-looking, stands at the front, addressing the audience. Several chairs are placed at the front of the room between Andrew and the door./


/As he speaks, MARK, 20, and under the burden of accumulated sleep debt, comes in and starts carrying the chairs out, one at a time. He's clearly not thrilled about this job. As he turns to remove the first chair, we see a sign labeled "USER" on his back.

/Andrew: Aha! An opportunity! (To Mark) You, sir, have a problem. I am a highly-trained engineer; I will fix it. Here.

/And with that, he snatches Mark's hand, measures it several times with a tiny ruler, and dashes out of the room as Mark stands slightly stunned. Machining noises from offstage, Andrew rushes back in with a prototype in his hand, and...

/Andrew: There you go. Automatic chair tracker, should solve all your problems, no need to thank me, you're very welcome, good-bye.

/Strolls off, very pleased with himself. As he turns away, we can see there's a sign labeled "ENGINEER" on his back. Mark pokes skeptically at the newfangled gadget, sighs, hands it to an audience member, and continues moving chairs. On his way out with the next chair, he almost collides with MEL flying in through the door. She's mildly hyperactive from having stayed up late writing a script the night before. Pinned to the back of her shirt is a sign labeled "OLIN ENGINEER."

/Mel: Mark, what are you doing? Go back to sleep.

Mark: I can't. I've got to move these chairs down to the auditorium for the play tonight. .

Mel: Huh. Would it be easier if we built something to help you move all these chairs?

Mark: Not really. This is a one-time thing to set up the auditorium. The real pain is getting all the actors in the same place at the same time. Or all your singers, for that matter.

Mel: How do you do that now?

Mark: Call them, email them, hope they show up.

Mel /scribbling on post-its and sticking them copiously to the walls/: What if you had something that'd let you gather your singers together fast? Like a handheld... pager thing. /She begins scratching out things on the whiteboard./

Mark (as Mel draws): That'd be nice. A big "ACTORS COME HERE NOW" button - yeah, that's good. It doesn't need a volume control; I can talk loudly. Can you make it telepathic?

Mel: I'm... pretty sure that's beyond our technological capabilities, but how about an automatic notification for rehearsals you've already scheduled?

Mark: Okay. As long as it tells me when it's doing that. And then...

/Reenter ANDREW, all action halts. Insert further spiel here./

It's late.

I need to do the bedtime thing early tonight. Ahh. Bedtime.