About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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There is an inherent and pervasive bias in pure-text communication which makes statements intended to be good-humoured sound sophomoric, makes statements which were intended to be friendly sound smarmy, makes statements which were intended to be enthusiastic sound brash, makes statements intended to be helpful sound condescending, makes statements which were intended to be precise and accurate sound brusque and pedantic, makes statements which were intended to be positive sound neutral, and makes statements which were intended to be neutral seem downright hostile. [...] Writing is hard.

Eric Lippert



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/20/2003
Most recent entry - 5/22/2018

Totals
Posts - 2498
Comments - 2574
Hits - 2,049,092

Averages
Entries/day - 0.46
Comments/entry - 1.03
Hits/day - 376

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 12:02 PM Pacific


  12:06 AM

Two readings recently. Over the weekend I went to a reading by Anu Garg, he of A.Word.A.Day fame. Anu has a new book out, a second compilation from among the words he sends out every weekday. Anu's reading was at Third Place Books, which has a reading stage as part of a large commons area.

I love Anu's daily words and have had the privilege of exchanging email with him a few times, so I was looking forward to the reading. But it was a bit disappointing. Anu had a PowerPoint presentation of different fun words, but there's only so much you can do to make a list of words into an entertainment experience, and whatever it might take was not particularly in evidence, sad to say. And I had not anticipated, though I should have, that the audience would consist primarily of self-described Word People (median age probably 55) -- namely, a cadre of, uh, enthusiastic amateurs. One woman, who was about the closest thing to a groupie we had that night, jumped up to give Anu a standing ovation, and later during Q&A was proferring to Anu her opinions on how he should be teaching his daughter Hindi. (I was moved to wonder how many languages she speaks.) And I'm sure he was quite grateful for her advice.

Then this morning I had a chance to hear Mary Roach, author of Stiff (also #), and who is out flogging her latest, Spook. IMO, one of the best benefits of working at Giganto Software Company is that, due to the efforts of a person whose enviable full-time job apparently consists of luring authors and other cultural icons to come speak on campus, we had a chance to hear pretty much anyone interesting who comes through town.[1] So today was Mary Roach.

Stiff made me laugh out loud, so when I heard about Spook, I was eager to get it. Which I was able to do this last weekend, courtesy of Costco. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to read it before Ms. Roach showed up today. But no matter. Her reading was short, especially in the actual reading part, just a couple short segments from the book. The better value was in the anecdotes she told about meeting with some of the characters in the book, in a couple of stories that had been edited out, and in her description (including quotes from emails) about the arduous process of coming up with a title for the book. She's a funny woman, in print and in person.

I must say, readings are one of my favorite outings, which probably says something less than flattering about me. I'm already looking forward to the next one, whoever it might prove to be.


[1] If you're particularly eager to hear an author, you can generally catch the author interview on KUOW's Weekday, attend the reading on campus, and then go to whatever bookstore or UW reading the author is actually in town for.

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