Geek Badges

These are the virtual merit badges I have earned during my hard-fought transition from “I’m a writer with some tech skills” to “Don’t touch my code!”

Scoffs at the WYSIWYG: Here’s where I crossed the Rubicon. We had a new content management system on our website. Given the choice between a buggy and annoying WYSIWYG interface and a “just put your HTML here” option, I chose the code interface.

Invokes Linus Torvalds: Classical radio announcers get accent-affected-expressive when saying Italian names like “Cecilia Bartolli”. There’s r-rolling and i-lengthening and saying “ch” instead of “ss”, all carefully con brio. This is a peeve, because no-one gets all concerned about pronouncing “Linus Torvalds” or “Arnold Schwarzenegger” in their native idioms. (It’s a badge because the first non-Anglo/non-Italian famous person who came to mind was Linus Torvalds.)

“Man, SourceForge is really slow today”: That’s it, really. Just the utterance.

The Great Punctuation Shift: I’m a grammar/usage/punctuation stickler. Commas and periods go inside quotation marks[1] (unless the quotation is followed with a parenthetical expression). Semicolons and colons go outside quotation marks. You’ll note that I no longer apply the comma/period rule. True, we’re in informal-writing-land, but at one time my fingers would have strangled me before willingly typing a comma outside a quotation mark.

Hat Trick—Geek, Nerd, Wonk: Another utterance badge, this one for exclaiming aloud, “Hey, you can get a Creative Commons license in Magyar!” to which Ehren replied, after a pause, “Okay: that wasn’t English.” (It was Will who pointed out that it was a three-in-one winner.)

Crafts badgeFlash Drive Earrings: Do I need to explain this?

Giggles While Scripting: While cleaning my desk I came across printouts of the last batch of navigation scripts I wrote in FileMaker, and I laughed, in an “Oh goody!” kind of way. (That was today.)

Those are the only ones I remember, which means they might be the only ones I have properly earned.

[1] Of course, strictly (and pedantically) speaking, I haven’t been using actual quotation marks (“ ”). I’ve been using dumb (or “ambidextrous”) quotation marks, because I’m lazy. But I’m also twitchy enough that I have half a mind to go back through the blog and fix all the punctuation. I guess it’s time to go home…

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