Saturday, September 08, 2007

So I decided to put up my feet, take a break, and find out what FUTAB means

So I Decided to Put Up My Feet, Take a Break, and Find Out What FUTAB Means
For some of us, living in a wired world, exciting as it can be, may often mean feeling completely out of it ...

Like me, yesteday afternoon in the office: Time to put up my feet and take a break -- a Flickr break, which has come to replace the smoking break I used to take out by the trash dumpster back when I was a smoker. Basically, it's meant replacing one social network with another -- a ragtag group of smelly addicts with a ragtag virtual group of visual, verbal people.

Lately I've been noticing that some of them have been tagging some of their photos with the acronym FUTAB, often on Friday. I'm usually the last to hear new Internet buzzwords, and I have no idea of what this term means, although the opening "F" and "U" seem suggestive. Is this really a workplace-safe term, especially if accompanied by a photograph? Is it safe to look at a FUTAB photo? What if my boss walks by?

So I turn to Google. Immediately my worst suspicions are confirmed. Sprinkled across the screen, I see the words forming the acronym spelled out several times: "F-Worded Up The A-Word Backwards." Sounds strenuous, probably pornographic and no doubt painful. My first thought was, good thing I looked that up.

My second thought was, this can't be. Surely not all those Flickrites were using off-color tags on their photos. Besides, what about all those feet that showed up in their photos? I decided to look further and checked the online Urban Dictionary. Yes. Turns out there are two meanings of the term. The oldest is the one I was concerned about, and it seems to be fading fast. The newer meaning seems to have gone viral just this year. Of course: "Feet Up, Take a Break."

Friday, September 07, 2007

Beacon of literacy illuminating the night

Beacon of Literacy Illuminating the Night
This is the Sequoya Branch of the Madison Public Library. I love that place, especially at night -- it's open weeknights until 9:00, making it a convenient place to pick up my reserved books after work. Just pull into the strip mall where it's located, run in and go home and enjoy! It looks especially welcoming after dark, when the window just seems to glow with the light of the accumulated knowledge stored within. (The flashy light is a recent touch. I think it's meant to let people know that they're still open, despite the rather intimidating forest of construction that nearly surrounds it -- and which will in a few months result in a new, larger home for this branch.)

And thank you, MPL -- I've never been able to spell "Sequoya," let alone imagine how to spell it, but posting this has finally forced me to learn. S-e-q-u-o-y-a -- oh, that's how it goes. Cool.

Reflecting on Black Hawk's legacy

Reflecting on Black Hawk's Words
Rock River was a beautiful country; I loved my towns, my cornfields, and the home of my people. I fought for it. -- Black Hawk
I came across this scene yesterday while looking for something else. It's just off the Rock River, near the intersection of Highways 26 and 106. The Rock River is a 285-mile tributary of the Mississippi River that flows through southwest Wisconsin into Illinois on its way to the Mississippi, draining the Yahara River that connects Madison's lakes along the way. It runs through some of the richest agricultural land in the world, and as the quote reminds us, European settlers were not the first people to farm here or to fall in love with the beauty of the land. I've written earlier about the tragic and misnamed Black Hawk War -- misnamed because it was less a war than a flight and a pursuit ending in a massacre -- that settled these competing claims once and for all 175 years ago this year. This is the most recent post and links to others.

History is often written with a pen dipped in bitter irony, and there's no better example than the fact that today the legacy of Black Hawk lives on in place names and the names of organizations and country clubs throughout his people's former territory.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Got a letter from the mayor today attached to a great big plastic bin

Got  a Letter from the Mayor Today Attached to  a Great Big Plastic Bin
It wasn't any old bin. Mayor Dave explained that it was our "new tan refuse cart" (to go with the new trucks with the robot arms). To make sure I knew the message came from him, he attached his picture. He has a nice smile, one that would enhance any refuse cart.

Turns out it wasn't just a letter. That was just page 1 of what was actually Cart Chronicle, a trash cart newsletter and user's manual. Not a lot there that was unexpected, but I did find out that the city will have fewer trucks out collecting trash now that they all have robot arms. How many fewer? Mayor Dave's letter said "there will be 4 fewer trucks on the road every day collecting trash." But according to "Big Blue Trucks Do Double Duty" (quite an alliterative binge there) on page 4, "our old system needed 49 trucks for refuse and recycling. Our new automated fleet will require only 37 trucks." Must be the new math.

Oh, and if you're tempted to save the collection fee and get rid of that old computer monitor or microwave by depositing it at the bottom of your cart under all the trash bags -- forget it. The new trucks have cameras to record illicit waste and the carts have serial numbers (which should face the street). Just thought I'd pass that on, in case you were wondering.