lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Name:
Location: Kolkata, India

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Great Dictator

"Lali, do you have your pad nearby?" I looked up from the excruciatingly bad book I was trying to read and said yes. "Just jot something down for me, will you? I don't want to go to my computer now." I was glad to put the book aside. I picked up my pad and pen.

"Aitch en ess en ampersand."
"Um. Honey, is it capitals or lower case?"
"It doesn't matter. Transliterate in Telugu if you want, just jot it down, okay?"

Jotting down gobbledygook isn't easy. It is always easier to take dictation when you can make sense of it. But Missus Em is intrepid, so I wrote it down.

"Larrow."
"What?"
"Larrow. It means left arrow. This is LaTeX, Lali"
"Oh. Okay, larrow."

You see? How can you write down stuff you don't understand?

"Larrow hyphen tee ampersand."
I dutifully jotted that down.

"Aitch en arpeeyen arrow dash dee ampersand."
"Ampersand, ampersand. You have ampersands on your brain, honey."
"Ampersands mark out columns, Lali."
"Reminds me of the Lulu song, " I said. "Ampersand ampersand when you are near, ampersand ampersand loud in my ear, pounding away pounding away won't you be mine, ampersand I love you." I sang.

"Stop that," he said sternly. "This is serious. Aitch en minus one arpeeyen ampersand," he went on. I sighed and wrote that down.

"Dots."
"Dots?"
"Yes, dots."
"You don't say ellipsis?"
"No. Dots."
"Okay, dots."

It is funny how those three dots, the ellipsis has changed. An ellipsis is omission of some kind, an auxiliary verb instead of the full form, or omitted text in a quote. But nowadays it is used to indicating trailing off and incomplete sentences.

"Arrow hyphen dee aitch zero arpeeyen ampersand."
"Ampersand again, here we go."
"Oh, maybe not ampersand. Just hold on."
"Make up your mind, honey."
"Yeah. Ampersand."
"Okay, ampersand."

"Make that aitch zero."
"That's what I wrote. Do you mean one?"
"Don't be funny. Aitch zero arpeeyen line break. Scratch that ampersand out."
"Why? I am rather enjoying writing ampersands. I never wrote this many before."
"It's not necessary, that's why."

"What was that about? What did we achieve?"
"We have achieved a diagram."
"Really? Ampersands galore in that, then?"
"Yeah. Paul Taylor wrote this diagrams dot style package for LaTeX, to produce commutative diagrams. A really useful thing."

"If you say so. I am going to blog about this, you know?"
"Bah. What will you call the post?" He scoffed.
"Ampersand I love you, of course!"

Cheers!

16 Comments:

Anonymous Ash said...

Larking again? Lovely post Lali.

8:21 pm  
Blogger Alien said...

wonderful thing this LATEX is.. made life so simple when I wrote my thesis few months ago!!

8:33 pm  
Anonymous rajesh said...

K posts are fun but you do this kind of posts just when you aren't all ok. Now what? And just how bad is it?

9:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

strsifwx
Your word verification is awful, Lali. But LaTeX is cool.

Sincerely,
Secret admirer #2

9:47 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Ash- What, no quibbles? Thanks.

Alien- You use LaTeX? Lovely, ET.

Rajesh- Don't ask.

Anon- New, bad, mesmeric torturer is an anagram of secret admirer number two. Shoo. Get a name, already.

10:03 pm  
Blogger dipali said...

K gets away with all this dictating, lucky man!
By the way, you are tagged.

10:51 am  
Blogger M S said...

By Toutatis! These Taylor diagrams are crazy!

Sigh! I didn't get the premonition that the post is related to Math. Do you always end up with Math, one way or other,when you converse with Mr K? :-)

1:45 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Dipali- K gets away with anything, he has a docile wifey, after all.
What do you mean I am tagged? It was just a month ago I did a tag. Anyway, everybody knows my quirks and obsessions.

MS- By Belisama! You do Taylor diagrams too?

No, it's not always Math. Sometimes it is music, songs, HIndustani versus Carnatic versions of ragas, or sometimes it is just conversation. :-)

3:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

big deal your husband works with latex and you major in whining.this blog is stupid and pointless.
Johnnie

11:08 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Dear John,

I suggest you stop reading me. My husband has nothing to do with the rubber industry.

Thank you,

Ze Lark

9:22 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your toyboy lies to me miss.larking, regarding matters concerning u. y is it so? and what shud be his punishment?

6:36 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Anon- Depends on which toyboy, no? There are punishments and punishments, after all. And please learn punctuation, for pity's sake. Try to use whole alphabet too, while you are at it.

11:45 pm  
Blogger M S said...

Taylor diagrams? Me?
No to the power of googol. :-O

Good brand recollection in Selective Amnesia. :-) But the post ended too suddenly. Sic? :-(

1:27 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

MS- Thanks. You think it ended suddenly? It was getting too long, and SelAm doesn't do long posts, no?

10:36 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes ma'am! :)
the N.R.M.

10:53 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

Anon- Sheesh! I knew it was you. I lost your new number by the way, send it again. :-)

12:00 pm  

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