I have just returned home from a thoroughly exciting long weekend in the San Francisco Bay area…and as it was so jam-packed of activity, thought and inspiration, I’ve decided I must vacation the rest of the week to recuperate. Much was discussed, I made some new friends, and am now more eager, ambitious and driven than ever before.

Question to the masses that still read this thing: When you embark on a new relationship, do you find yourself performing “protocol exchange?” That is, do you have meta discussions regarding the sorts of things you’re looking for in a relationship with someone? If so, when – on your first date/email/IM/etc? On the 17th date? When you decide to get married (e.g., Catholic pre-Cana)? Is it too geeky of me to propose a standard for verbal communication of such things, one that doesn’t feel like you’re filling out a form for a dating service?

the anticraft of knitting

I like lovely things, but I tend to go for dark, saturated colours or greys. Thank heavens for the AntiCraft. I’m already pondering a project or two from it, and another one based on some yarn Monica tipped me off is on sale. I ain’t makin’ no dog-or-cat-sweaters, but I sure like me a nice something to keep me warm.

a rave, defined

J, (A and R’s brother) stopped by last weekend to tell me about a rave he’s going to tonight, and a film project he’s working on. It sounds like he’s got ambition, and I hope he meets his personal deadline. To witness a half-blind director making movies of stories about his world is really, really cool, and judging from his taste in films and TV shows, I can’t wait to see what he puts out.

I ran into O, an old friend, by chance last night, that was weird! I was in a car with a friend (a rare occurrence in itself) and he’s just on the sidewalk, crossing Spadina on Queen. He said he’d find me through LiveJournal – hopefully his LJ email goes to the right place, as I decided to send him a note as well. O, drop me an email!

After reading his journal, I find that a group of people with whom I was social a couple of years ago is going to this thing too! It’s weird to see all of these disparate social circles intersect, but I shouldn’t be surprised – after all, I met most of these folks through a single individual.

In the process of thinking about going, I realized that I’ve burned out on social scenes that make me feel like I must be someone who I am not…and within which I find it extremely hard to just be myself. Stepping out of the public eye has been the best thing that’s happened to me in ages; it’s given me the focus to place my energies where I find they do the world – myself, other humans, other life, and our cosmos – the best quantifyable, measurable benefit. And, in the end, isn’t that the best thing I can do to preserve fragile human society?

Anyway, I keep pondering going tonight. I’ve been invited to come along by both active friends and older buddies. I shouldn’t, but I also have been looking for the right event to tell all of those people two key things: that I hold them no ill will, and that I have no desire to involve myself in their social scenes. I have been trying to find a way to show them in the same breath that, though I was uncomfortable at times, I do not feel harmed, and that I endeavoured at every chance to ensure my own actions never caused others any harm. I also want to wish them the best in their lives, and to ensure them that I respect their boundaries as I hope they respect mine. And I want to wish them all well in whatever direction they go, whether it’s mine, theirs, or some mutual direction.

Problem is, I’m not sure a rave is a good place to express any sort of sentiment, subtle or not, to another person, unless that sentiment is “Hey! I know! Let’s go out to a loud place with LOTS of people and dance until our legs fall off. We’ll drink water, eat candy, listen to some techno music and possibly do drugs. We’re doing it just to have fun.” And, to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I’d enjoy all of that tonight, with or without friends at my side. The rain has sent me scurrying to my wool blanket and knitting needles. (Damn you, sporadicity!)

So instead, I decided to blog what I would have said in person. I guess I’m not going out tonight, my friends of yore, but I’m there with you in spirit. Dance on. Have fun. Be happy – I am!

cherokee, revisited and relinquished

November 4, 2005

Cherokee Nation
Attn: Cultural Resource Center
PO Box 948
Tahlequah, OK 74465

Dear Cherokee Nation Cultural Resource Center,

It was thirteen years ago today that, in the midst of studying Cherokee antiquities at university, I received a grant to develop a computerized Cherokee font. With the $300, I purchased a font creation program, spent some time learning how to use it, and by the summer of 1993, completed the work. Unfortunately, my class had already ended, and other than my own personal research, I no longer had a direct need for my own work. I released it to the public domain, and put up Gopher and Web pages offering downloads and syllabary charts. It proved to be far more popular than I had expected. I’ve made many friends and acquaintances through the letters I’ve received regarding the font over the years.

Shortly after the release, Michael Everson took an encoding of Sequoyah’s font for the Cherokee language to the Unicode committee, including my work in his initial proposal. As a nineteen year old, it was a morale boost to know I could help the computer world grow, but even then I knew I could add nothing more to the discussion of code pages and preservation of cultural heritage that was not my own. Michael’s work has ensured that Cherokee has obtained its rightful place in the international UTF-8 standard.

It was with great joy and reverence that I then learned of the Nation’s own efforts, culminating in the release of your official font in 2001. Having taken hundreds of hours to produce my font, I respect what must have been the thousands of hours put in by the Cultural Resource Center to correctly design a keyboard layout. It was absolutely what the next generation Cherokee computer user interface required: attention to detail by the very people who speak and use the language daily.

About three months ago, I received a letter from a private publication, asking me about my font. He wanted to know who used it, and whether I thought it was suitable for current language research. Without hesitation, I told him that it was part of an old research project, and that I didn’t think it was suitable for anything these days but ornamentation and the odd tattoo. I directed him to your website, and to a Unicode Cherokee font listing online. I also asked him permission to publish that response on my website, but received no reply.

Rather than continue to wait for a reply, I am sending you this letter today. With all of the erosion of your language to date, I do not wish to muddy the waters any longer. I write to you today not only to offer extremely late congratulations on your font’s release, but to make it clear to you, and to my website’s visitors, that I am not Cherokee, and I do not pretend that my font is the best solution for any serious linguistic needs. I’m pleased to offer it to those who need a toy implementation, but for real language work, people should use your font, or a font using the UTF-8 standard encoding. As of today, I have revised the text on my website to include the text of this letter. I would have done so sooner, except that it struck me that anyone serious about the language would already have found other resources closer to the Nation on the Internet already.

As I turn to future endeavours, it is my selfish regret that I was unable to work with you and your team in the 1990s to hand over my work to you sooner. I attempted to contact the Nation back then, but ultimately nothing came of it. In the end, you have determined future on your own terms, drawing from your own world experience; I can think of no better outcome.

Joan Sarah Touzet

P.S. For many years I have gone by the nickname wohali, the origin of which is detailed on my website. I realized shortly after adopting the nickname that it was an incorrect translation of “eagle,” the correct translation being uwohali. And while the name was given to me by someone of 3/4 Cherokee blood, I never inquired directly of someone associated with the Nation whether the name was correct, nor whether it was appropriate for me. My sincerest apologies if any action I have taken has offended you or any members of the Cherokee Nation.

cc: Dan Agent, Editor-in-chief, Cherokee Phoenix
cc: Cherokee Nation Webmaster

another dirty gin martini, please

Software companies, listen up. If you’re not going to make your products open source, at least have the guts to allow independent evaluation of your technology – especially when you service the public sector. First it was Diebold with their horrible, horrible scandal surrounding voting machines. Now, it’s all about a breathalizer system used in Florida.

Grow up, Diebold and CMI. Your antics make you look less mature than the people actually committing voting fraud and DUIs.