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…


According to CNN, California and as many as 15 othjer [sic] states may soon be joining the seven states who already hold their primaries on February 5. This apparently gives CNN license to dub February 5, 2008 “Super-duper Tuesday.” WTF?! What is the average age of’s readership? 6?

This led me to look up actual viewership/readership demographics. Very interesting stuff. Check it out.


Can’t believe you haven’t seen Troops! It’s coming up on its 10th anniversary. Maybe they’ll show it at the Uptown, and people will camp out[1]. (It’s a 30MB file, way too big to email, sorry.)

[1] I am not mocking the camping people. I was a proud camping person. A community leader among the camping people, in fact. Long may they camp. (Those whose faith was strong enough to survive the Phantom Menace, anyway.)

Peeve: Jewel cases and non-standardization

I got a bunch of CDs for Christmas. Many of them came packaged as pairs—two CDs in one jewel case. I keep breaking fingernails and worrying about shattering (or at least putting dings in) my Telemann quartets because I cannot figure out how to get CD#2 out of the case.
There’s no standardization. They all open differently. I’m going to need a cheat sheet, or maybe I’ll put clues on post-it notes (sort of like the stickers I put on the copier doors to show which order to open them in when clearing a paper jam). It’s idiotic.

Welcome to Macromediocrity

What it’s[1] all about:

Simone (me) and Ehren (him) were longtime colleagues who, circa 2007, recently thought we might be separated by the vagaries of nonprofit funding and the ebb and flow of executive leadership. We decided we needed a shared blog so we could continue entertaining/distracting each other with bits of joy, hilarity, and outrage. (Mostly various degrees of outrage, ranging from the peeved to the apoplectic.)

A lot of our shared concerns arise from the growing tendency of American culture to encourage and reward mediocrity, hence the title of our blog.

The original content herein is licensed under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share-Alike license: Of course, it’ll be hard for you to attribute anything without our last names. I’m Simone Parrish. I’ll ask Ehren if it’s OK to put his last name here.

[1] I used to be able to type/write “its” and “it’s” in their respective appropriate contexts without even thinking. Now most times I write either, I have to sing the Strong Bad song (mp3).