The Plural Project

June 8, 2005

Acronym Deployment Services

I am at Microsoft's TechEd conference in Orlando this week, where you can learn about XML, ADO, SPS, WSS, MOM, AD, or SMS, but there is really only one thing they are all about: ADS, or, Acronym Deployment Services.

There are many hundreds of vendors and it is a bit like Halloween for techies, because they are all giving out t-shirts, free CDs, slick handouts, squishie-balls, baseball caps, frisbees, staplers, calculators, blinking badges, expensive laptop bags and if you are very lucky an iPod Shuffle. I am politely listening to what each vendor says but I am also looking out of the corner of my eye to see if they have any good freebies. I have listened to a few schpiels for products that I had no intention of buying nor any understanding of what they did, but because they had cool t-shirts. By the end we will all look like race car drivers, enlogoed from head to toe.

For the plural project: A Convention of Techies. Some would say a Convention of Nerds but I maintain that the proper plural for nerds is a Dungeon.

Posted by Chris on 06/ 8/05

I believe that the term for all of that crap that you pick up at such conferences is called "Coprorate Schwag."

Hope you get some nice stuff!!!

Posted by: Big Fat Brian at June 9, 2005 9:50 AM

My temp job last week was calling people attending the conference and try to get them to sign up for a series of "round-table discussions" held by Microsoft during the conference. Participants got the MICROSOFT TECH ED 2005 Jacket. You would have thought they were giving away gold. Sorry Chris, I only called names A-F.

Posted by: imoan is naomi backwards at June 9, 2005 2:03 PM

June 1, 2005

The Plural Project #3

Another entry for the Plural Project.

There's a park nearby that has weekly lawn bowling, a strange outdoor pastime where everyone wears white or else. Previously this struck me as the sort of quaint activity that might be enjoyed mainly by an elderly set, but one Sunday I was corrected in this thinking when a group descended on the field that was, to a man and woman, extremely perfect and young and shiny and totally hot.

So uniform was the perfection of these college kids, with their beautiful hair, their perfect breasts, their tanned and toned muscles, their expensive sun glassery, their skill at making the all-white fashion stricture just really work for them, that at first I assumed a magazine shoot was going on.

There were not even a few token homely people orbiting this group. This was a carefully screened outing.

So either lawn bowling is the hip thing for rich kids to do in Santa Monica or this was a roving social group that actively seeks out kitchy things to do the summer before they go to Yale. If they weren't lawn bowling again the next week then I bet they were down at the bowling alley or having a fondue party at one of their parent's mansions.

And it was grating to watch their social dynamic, because 1) it was so predictable, and of course 2) I could never be one of them. Even though there can't be much exertion required to lawn bowl, the males of the species were hooting, brachiating, and strutting at levels I'd have thought reserved for that Scottish sport where you pick up and throw trees. And yep, you can always spot the Alpha because in no time he'll go shirtless, revealing his dedication to the art of the sculpted chest. The girls slyly drank beer out of plastic cups, conferred with one another, and were not shy about getting out there and playing the game. Most came pre-paired with a male but I sensed a bit of interchangeability in the couples, or maybe I had been staring too long and my imagination was running away.

There were a lot of other people in the park, but the college kids were all completely engrossed in themselves. And to be fair, the rest of us were obviously on a much lower social plateau, as evidenced by our comparitively ugly appearance. The beautiful lawn bowlers acknowledged only their own, as nature intended. They were so aggressively preening for one another that after an hour I wished they would just go somewhere lavish and mate, for the love of God, and leave me alone to wallow in my crapulence.

There was nothing particularly inappropriate with their youthful self-absorption, and we all do it to some extent. But it occured to me as that pocket of privilege and beauty moved through the park that they would probably, for the whole of their lives, do all their socializing and breeding and interacting in that same exact social group. Like all cliques, they were a little island to themselves.

What I was witnessing was a very expensive, very rarified strain of DNA making arrangements to pass itself around, but not very far. In 100, 200 years this group will have produced the most breath-takingly gorgeous, wispy, well-educated and well-spoken child, but little Dakota will have to be careful on the playground because her blood will have lost the ability to clot. So I coined today's plural:

A Galapagos of hotties.

It doesn't roll off the tongue but it fits perfectly.

Previous entries in the Plural Project:

A Hysteria of Project Managers & others

An Explosion of Lesbian Kissing

An Irritation of Telecom Techs

This is the very first blog I have ever read and I am hooked! Thanks Chris for writing what the rest of us are thinking. You make me smile.

Posted by: Vickery Salomone at June 2, 2005 9:18 AM

Maybe it's part of an overall trend toward unathletic sporting activities previously acceptable only to the geriatric set. In the 90's it was golf, in the 00's it's lawn bowling...Any predictions for 2010?

They really wore white trousers? Were there no fashion police issuing tickets?

Posted by: simon at June 2, 2005 10:37 AM

They were in every fashionable variant of white clothing imaginable. There were a lot of white shirts unbottoned over white muscle Ts for the guys, lots of short white skirts for the girls. If only I'd had my camera...

Posted by: Chris at June 2, 2005 11:24 AM

would you have remembered to white balance?

Posted by: simon at June 2, 2005 11:44 AM

You know I prefer a more free-floating approach to color standards. You can always fix it in post. (sometimes)

Posted by: Chris at June 2, 2005 1:12 PM

March 9, 2005

Please Do Not Speak to the Telecom Tech

I have a new entry for the Plural Project:

An Irritation of Telecom Guys.

Who knows what those guys with the vans and hardhats and fancy phone equipment are doing? They sure don't seem happy about it, whatever it is. I'll give you some insight: they're NOT. I just had to go ask one a question down in the phone room of our building, and they really don't like it when you do that.

He had his Fancyphone clamped to his ear the whole time, so I waited to ask him my question. When it was clear after several minutes that he was just holding it there and not really "toning the line," I went ahead and spoke. He didn't like it.


Posted by Chris on 03/ 9/05

April 15, 2004

An Explosion of Lesbian Kissing

Just read the review of the "abhorrent" film "The Girl Next Door" over at, where they cite

...plenty of sexual situations, foul language, and nudity; some strong homosexual content; at least 83 mostly strong obscenities, nine strong profanities, 15 light profanities, and two obscene gestures.

Now, I'm fine taking a pre-teen to a movie that has, say, 80 or so mostly strong obscenities. But 83? Forget it.

I'm all for guides that lay it out for parents like this, because the MPAA rating system is hopeless, but I always wonder how someone goes about getting such an accurate count of a film's transgressions this way. It's no small task for the reviewer! They've got to be able to make an instantaneous call of whether something is strong vs. light profanity, whether that was an obscene gesture or just lewdness, be able to scribble it in the dark in what must be a very detailed shorthand - and scribble QUICKLY because those obscenities are coming fast and furious! - all the while retaining some memory of the plot and whether it conforms with the teachings of Christianity.

Maybe there's no shorthand at all. Perhaps Michael Medved has marketed some sort of Obscenity Abacus, and when a character discusses "safe sex" without condemnation in the film, you just clack another red bead over a notch.

Probably less difficult than making split-second calls on the severity of a profanity is determining just how the long arm of Bill Clinton's corruption has manifested itself in the film. Since the answer is basically, everywhere:

Regrettably, because it is such an entertaining movie, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR may attract many young people at the local multiplex, resulting in a further loss of innocence and purity among our youth. In recent years, because of a popular Presidentís personal peccadilloes, Americans have seen an increase of oral sex among young people.

The review goes on to describe two other celebs that have contributed to corruption in Our Youth, but since they are not Clinton, they obviously only rank as ordinal threats:

Also, in the last year alone, high school campuses in America have seen an explosion of lesbian kissing after Madonna kissed Britney Spears on national TV. Donít be surprised, therefore, if you find your sons and daughters making secret porn movies at their schools in the wake of this new movie.

(That's another one for my Plural Project - an "explosion" of lesbian kissing.)

Predictably, the review ends with the complete contact information of the studio head, to make it easier when sending the reflexive letter of protest.

Posted by Chris on 04/15/04

you'd love mandarin. every noun requires a "noun collective" aka "meausre word." even singular nouns.

Posted by: kjk at April 16, 2004 12:42 PM

Shouldn't the puritans be applauding and encouraging the explosion of oral sex and "bi-curiosity"? After all, neither lead to those wicked, naughty abortions.

It's entirely likely in viewing contemporary cinema you will encounter modern values and customs. Instead of revealing his age through an inability to square today's mores with his quaint old-fashioned notions perhaps it's time for such reviewers to hang up the pen, and retreat from the the soapbox.

Posted by: Isaac at April 16, 2004 1:57 PM

I have chosen to respond to this comment in Mandarin, which I will translate back into English using Babelfish:

"You are the one making with the happy wisdom which shall make others with less of a brain very sad."

Posted by: Chris at April 16, 2004 2:06 PM

January 19, 2004

A Crash of Rhinos

I just read on the elevator Captivate system that a group of Rhinoceri is called a "crash." How cool is that? This prompted a bit of a look-up, which lead me to: and

Other favorites: a "lounge" of lizards! An "intrusion" of cockroaches!

This leads me to look up other group names, or "noun collectives," because I am in a lull at work:

An "eloquence of lawyers" indeed. That sounds like something the lawyers would LIKE for us to say. I suggest instead a "smarminess" of lawyers. Or a "fee schedule" of lawyers. No offense, anyone.

Other collective nouns I suggest:

A Hysteria of Project Managers

A Latte of Yuppies

An Insolence of Customer Service Reps

A Myopia of Conservatives

Posted by Chris on 01/19/04