Sunday, September 30, 2007

there's a web 2.0 startup idea in here somewhere

At the car mechanic shop last month, I flipped through an old gossip magazine from 2006. The articles were bittersweet, since I already knew the outcome.

Sienna Miller steps out her front door on Christmas Day 2005, to an army of paparazzi. She's just accepted a marriage proposal from Jude Law. Radiating with joy, she announces, "I'm the happiest girl alive."

It would be only a few short months before she's walking through the airport, hiding behind a scarf to evade the same photographers. They're trying to capture her reaction about Jude Law's affair with the nanny.

The cover, speculating on why Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston separated. Inside the magazine, there is a special section about how, despite rumors, Angelina Jolie had nothing to do with it.

I'm also amused by the byline: "Will they reunite?"

I showed the cover to Dan.

Dan: "So, did they in fact reunite?"

Me: "What? No! Brad Pitt is with Angelina Jolie now! I can't believe you don't know this."

Dan: [shrugging]

Me: "You do know who Angelina Jolie is, right?"

Dan: "Yes."

Me: [thinking] "At least you're not a total engineer-in-a-cave."

Dan: "She's Lara Croft."

I told Dan how fun it would be to make a tabloid cover for each of your friends, with the current hot topics in their life. Their work projects, and romantic interests, and struggles.

In two years, it would be entertaining to take it out again, and see how much has changed.

"you had to be there" part 2. Theme: cars

Two weeks ago, walking up the building 45 stairs to play a game of pool:

Alipé: "... the BMW 328." [Note: I made up this model number, because I can't remember the real one.]

Me: "Is that a new model?"

Alipé: "You rode in it last weekend. LG drives one."

Me: "LG drives a BMW?"

Alipé: "Yes."

Me: "That means our 20-year-old intern drives a better car than I do."

Alipé: "Significantly better."

Walking to parking lot, to carpool for go-karting off-site.

CC: "This is my rental car here."

Me: "Your rental is a Kia?"

Cc: "Yeah."

Me: [grinning] "My car is better than yours."

Cc: [rolling eyes]

Me: "Hey, I don't get to say that very often."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

so much fun!!!!

I'm watching "Eye for a Guy 2", a Singaporean reality dating show from 2005.

I love reality shows. My favorite TV shows are "MTV Real World" and "Temptation Island".

Some of you are turning up your nose in disgust at my taste. Remember: judge not, lest ye be judged.

On this particular show, ten men compete for the attention of beautiful model Denise Keller. The prize is a weeklong European holiday with Denise.

Anyway, what makes this show infinitely better is that my longtime friend Howard is on it!! He's one of the ten suitors. We knew each other from Microsoft nine years ago, before Howard moved to Singapore.

The show aired two years ago, but I just got around to watching it, after Howard was kind enough to upload an episode to my FTP site.

I cannot tell you how entertaining it is to watch your friend compete to charm a girl. Watching him meet her for the first time! Playing the guitar with a funny song he made up himself! The delightful confessions where he mocks the other men! It's monumentally fun to cheer him on, and watch the other guys screw up.

I'm laughing so hard that other people at Sugar Cafe (where I'm sitting) are coming over to ask what the show is.

I want all of my friends to go on reality dating shows!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

thanks, my friend

Standing in the lunch line at "American Table" cafe:

Me: "There are a lot of funny stories I want to share, but they fall into the 'you had to be there' category."

Dan: [nodding]

Me: "Perhaps it's just about context. If a great writer described all the context, effectively transporting the reader there, the story should be just as funny."

Dan: "No. Let's say a cocky guy is strutting down the street, and slips on a banana peel. If you were watching it, that would be really funny. But if I tell it to you afterwards, it's not."

Me: "Then it's about managing expectations. If you're not expecting anything to happen, the surprise makes it funny."

Dan: "Right."

Me: "So I just need to lower expectations first, by telling a lot of pointless stories."

Dan: "Well, you've got that part down!"

As an example of one such story...

Standing on a street corner in San Francisco, at 10pm. A taxi drives by with a huge ad on top of it, with "ORACLE" in red letters on a white background.

Tom: "Do these Oracle ads actually work?"

LG: "I could sure use some enterprise databases right about now."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

honesty week...

Honesty Week is nearing completion. My feelings on the experiment fluctuate. My social life these past five days has been a state of near-constant embarrassment, punctuated by bursts of euphoric catharsis.

Shortly after the experiment began, I told one friend that she wears too much makeup. During the next four days before she replied, I suffered excruciating humiliation every time I thought of how I broke social custom. Her response was very mature, though, and together we figured out that my real issue was actually her tendency to dwell on negative topics.

I told a couple people how much I appreciate them. That was one perk -- having a good excuse to tell friends how dear they are to me. Schmaltzy email chain letters are always preaching about how you should live every day as though it were your last, and "tell your loved ones that you care". But most of the time when you go up to a friend on a normal day and start talking about how much you love them, they just say, "What the fuck is wrong with you?"

Not so with the experiment:

niniane: i want to say, with all honesty, that you are an amazing person, beautiful and sweet and so smart and socially gifted
Sha-mayn: awwww. thank you!!!
niniane: you know it is all 100% truth, due to experiment
Sha-mayn: i love honesty week!!!!!!!!
Sha-mayn: :D

Tonight at the Halo 3 party, I ran into a guy who asked me out last year. This guy was focused on schmoozing, and asked me several times for favors relating to Google despite my reluctance.

One time, as a joke, I asked him if he read The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, a book on how to seduce women via emotional manipulation (for example, insult her to make her feel vulnerable). It reminded me of his careful motives that laid behind his actions, but I didn't think anyone was ridiculous enough to actually follow the idea.

He replied by gushing about how much he loves the book.

Tonight, standing by the chocolate fondue table:

    Guy: "I think you and I didn't click because we're too similar in some ways."

    Me: "No, it was because you're annoying."

Afterwards I felt extremely guilty.

Was there any point to saying that, instead of giving a polite answer? Can it possibly generate any constructive result, instead of just being negative?

Some of my other "radically honest" exchanges had more immediately visible benefit.

I don't know.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Last night, at midnight, I was riding the stationary bike in the hotel gym, when a Caucasian guy in a white baseball cap walked past outside.

He was 5'11", in a white sporty shirt and khakis. He stopped a few feet after passing the glass door, turned around, and gave me a long look. He waved. I waved back. He turned around and kept walking.

Over the next five minutes, he walked by the glass door two more times, and then he came into the gym.

The hotel gym is rectangular, just big enough to fit three treadmills, two exercise bikes, and a couple of weight machines. I was in the corner on one of the bikes, next to the glass door. There was no one else in the room. After the baseball cap wearing guy came in from the far door, he stood ten feet away, watching the football game playing on the television.

He started making chitchat with me. He's in town to watch a football game with his favorite team. I asked where he's visiting from.

    Him: "Colorado."

    Me: "What do you do there?"

    Him: "I work for the Department of Homeland Security."

Normally I would just smile politely. But it's Honesty Week, so...

    Me: That's a terrible, terrible organization! You are a terrible, terrible person!

But I was smiling, so he didn't take it too badly. He asked if the pool was open, if the hotel has a jacuzzi, if I would like to go to the jacuzzi with him. I said no, yes but it's closed, and no thanks. If I were truly following Honesty Week, I would have said, "It's nice having a cute guy talk to me during my boring workout. But nothing is going to happen, because I'm not up for any kind of sketchy hookup with a stranger in a foreign town."

But I didn't.

I noticed he was keeping his left hand in his pocket. I made a point to look at his hand the next time he took it out. As I suspected, a metallic band flashed on his ring finger.

It's Honesty Week. So I decided to confront him.

    Him: "Can I convince you to go to the pool with me?"

    Me: "You're flirting with me, but you're married. What's up with that?"

    Him: [sheepishly] "Yeah. It's kind of bad, isn't it?"

    Me: "Well, would you be upset if your wife was also in a gym hitting on someone, the way you are right now?"

    Him: "Yeah."

    Me: "Then yes, it's bad!"

    Him: "[mumbling] I don't know. I just saw you in here, and I wanted to come in and talk to you."

    Me: "Why are you doing that when you're married?"

    ... A few more minutes of this, during which he said he's been married for five years, and that he and his wife are separated (yet they still live together) ...

    Him: [long pause] "I guess I shouldn't bother you any more. Sorry. I'll just go now. [starting to walk away]"

    Me: "Good night. I hope you enjoyed your football game."

    Him: "Good night."

His footsteps disappeared out the far door toward the pool area. I returned back to my book, an excellent guide on writing mystery novels.

Five minutes later, I heard the door creak again.

    Him: "I've decided it doesn't matter that I'm married. I'd rather come back and hit on you."

    Me: "No! Go call your wife and work on your marriage!"

    Him: "Can't I just stay here instead and hit on you?"

    Me: "No."

    Him: "Fine. Fine, I'll leave you alone."

He walked out. The door closed.

A minute later...

    Him: [walking back into gym] "I couldn't leave. I had to come back and talk to you some more."

It began to dawn on me that I was alone in the gym with this persistent guy past midnight. A pit of nervousness developed in my stomach.

Two men in orange football jerseys walked by outside. They saw baseball-cap guy through the glass door, and made gestures at him. He left the gym to go talk to them.

I decided this was my chance to leave. I exited the door and walked through the pool area. A few steps from the pool gate, I looked up and spotted the three men in the distance. They were standing right in front of my hotel room door. I pictured what would happen if I walked into my room in their view. At 2am, I would get a knock on the door. "Are you sure I can't just come hit on you?"

I walked back into the gym and drank a glass of water. When I came out, the coast was clear. I slipped out the pool gate toward my room.

And nearly ran into baseball-cap guy, coming from a side walkway back toward the gym.

"Do you want to go for a run?" he said.

"No," I said. "I'm just going back to my room."

I then walked straight past my room, toward the lobby.

I spent the next five minutes walking in a huge circle around the perimeter of the hotel. Every couple of minutes, I glanced behind me to make sure he wasn't following me.

When I decided it had been long enough, I turned around back toward my room.

Just as I passed the parking lot, I heard a screeching of tires behind me. I turned around. A grey car pulled to the curb near me, fifteen feet away. The back door opened as the car was lurching to a stop, and a man in an orange jersey tumbled out. I recognized him as one of the guy's friends. Someone in the front seat yelled very loudly, piercing the night with his shouts, "Roll! Roll!"

I spun around and ran full-speed back to my hotel room.

So I guess I went for that run after all.

When I reached my door, during the few seconds after I inserted my room key into the lock and was waiting for the three LEDs to flash, I looked behind me. There was no one.

It was uncorrelated, possibly. Maybe his friends convinced him to give up talking to me, and play some game where they tumble out of cars. Maybe his friend was about to vomit, and they pushed him out of the car.

These theories did not ease my nervousness while I stared at the door lock. Never have I so welcomed the green flash of an LED light activation.

I was grateful for the hotel room having a deadbolt.

Friday, September 21, 2007

for all the Tom fans

Judging from comments on this blog, my brother Tom is quite popular with the readers.

Lin [Dec 2006]: Tom is soooo cute? Does he have his own blog???

girlrobot [May 2007]: As a female reader, I have to say I have a crush on your cute younger brother! Does he have a blog? :)

Xerxes_Blue [July 2007]: I always love stories about Tom and his near complete unawareness of his own. Your Tom reads like some Dickens character- a kind charicature portrait of the newly graduated. ... But "Tom" is a useful foil. Is it not human nature to have irrational faith in some philosophy?

Your desires have been answered! Tom has started a blog, "EA No Spouse" (a joke on EA_Spouse).

Post #1, "I can't sleep tonight", linked with his permission.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

tempting experiment

Tonight I read the MOST AWESOME article.

An Esquire journalist conducted an experiment based on the book Radical Honesty. I read this book three years ago. The premise is that you always tell the truth. This removes the stress of lying, and also establishes deeper relationships.

"He says we should toss out the filters between our brains and our mouths. If you think it, say it. Confess to your boss your secret plans to start your own company. If you're having fantasies about your wife's sister, Blanton says to tell your wife and tell her sister. It's the only path to authentic relationships. It's the only way to smash through modernity's soul-deadening alienation. Oversharing? No such thing. "

My jaw dropped when the journalist pulled this one, halfway through his experiment:

I have a business breakfast with an editor from Rachael Ray's magazine. As we're sitting together, I tell her that I remember what she wore the first time we met -- a black shirt that revealed her shoulders in a provocative way. I say that I'd try to sleep with her if I were single. I confess to her that I just attempted (unsuccessfully) to look down her shirt during breakfast.

After a few days, he even applied it to the author of the book himself:

In his book, Radical Honesty, Blanton advises us to start sentences with the words "I resent you for" or "I appreciate you for." So I write him back.

"I resent you for being so different in these e-mails than you were when we met. You were friendly and engaging and encouraging when we met. Now you seem to have turned judgmental and tough. I resent you for giving me the advice to break that old man's heart by telling him that his poems suck."

By the time I finished the article, I was at the highest level of excitement I've reached in many weeks. Every sentence I wrote over email or IM for the next hour ended with an exclamation point. (Poor Stuttgart... who emailed me during the zenith of this fervor.)

I am sorely tempted to do this experiment in my social life, for a week. I won't do it for anything work-related, since obviously I need to keep confidentiality. And I would also keep any secrets told to me in confidence by others. But I think it would be interesting to do for the rest of my personal life.

I told one of my best friends, who replied:

I resent you for wanting to create even more self-centered drama in your life, for ostentatiously chasing some sort of ridiculous ideal. But mostly, I selfishly resent the idea because I would never have the courage to do it. Actually, I hope you do it, because I want to see what happens, but I'm kind of hoping it's a horrible disaster that leaves you chastened and validates my cowardice.

Awesome! If that's the kind of candid conversation I'll be having, sign me up right now!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

how depressed me today

Email to a friend:

You know, you have this passion for writing. You compulsively write for at least an hour every day since you were twelve years old, in your journal and long emails to friends. You pore over a dozen books on plotlines and description. You spend hundreds of dollars on Stanford writing courses.

Then you look at any random yelp review and it's just as entertaining and well-written as your most prized creations.

Reply from my friend:

The Yelp review you quoted was editorially selected for wittiness. Yelp puts the most entertaining reviews on top (through a combination of algorithmic and editorial means).

Reply to the reply:

Good, good. I can go on living then.

Monday, September 17, 2007

just say rockwell

Drinking tea at my townhouse with a friend, last week. We start talking about a Google engineer Rockwell (* name changed).

"Group X started jovially calling Rockwell 'Mr. No', because he says no to so many of their requests."

"It's not just that group. Everyone calls him that."

"Oh really?"

"Someone even wrote a device driver in the linux kernel called /proc/rockwell. If you run it on production machines, it prints out 'No.'"

"[laughing] That's awesome!"

"Actually, nine out of ten times, it outputs 'No.' The tenth time, it writes 'We're already doing that.'"

Saturday, September 15, 2007

of skirts and absurdity (a rant)

Yesterday I overheard a male product manager say, "I used to wear nice shirts to work, but now I dress down so that my engineers will respect me more."

I turned around to look at him. He was in a very casual T-shirt and jeans.

Over the years, I've heard this sentiment frequently, usually from women. Many female engineers have told me, "I purposefully dress more sloppily than I naturally would, to be more respected as a coder."


With all the issues that women face in a male-dominated industry, now we are also curtailing our clothing choices??

Yes, there is a stereotype of the brilliant engineer with mismatched socks and ill-fitting pants. This stereotype also includes a penchant for social awkwardness! Are you going to dumb down your interpersonal skills in order to "be taken more seriously as a computer scientist"?

I fear there might be women in this world for whom the answer is yes.

It's nice that Google has many examples of glamorous women who are obviously rock stars at their jobs (Sha-mayn!). Perhaps it will seed the overthrowing of this harebrained notion.

I myself have worn my indian kurta two-piece to work many times -- the outfit I consider most opposite to the "T-shirt and shorts" category -- and no one judged me. So obviously it doesn't matter what you wear. (Actually, my intern laughed at me, but no one else batted an eye.)

(photo of aforementioned outfit, from Google Bangalore guesthouse)

Friday, September 14, 2007

it makes so much sense, yet ...

The first sandstorm at Burning Man blew down our shade structure. It took us a couple hours to resurrect it, and we added two diagonal wires to support the top.

The following day, we experienced another sandstorm. Our group hid in the RV, worrying over our shade structure each time it flapped with the wind.

Melinda: [sitting by RV window] "Let's not look at the shade structure. I can't bear to see it getting tossed around."

Me: "Okay." [looking away]

Melinda: "Wait! [jerking head back] We have to look at it! The Uncertainty Principle says that it can't change state while it's being observed!"

Me: [instinctively snapping to look out the window]

bonding through shared disgust

Tom and I share a hatred for The Kite Runner.

I dislike it for its emotional manipulation -- how it repeatedly sets up implausible situations for maximal tear-jerking.

A couple weeks ago, Tom and I were walking around downtown Mountain View:

Tom: "Did you see the author of The Kite Runner has written another book?"

Me: "Yes, unfortunately."

Tom: "The Kite Runner was so awful! It was pure shit, in book form!"

Me: [nodding]

Tom: "It's like a brick, that you can throw at people! Except some of them would actually like it."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

a few photos from Burning Man

Safeway in Reno set up an entire fenced area to sell water.

It took hours to set up this custom shade structure.

Our camp is named Cookie Camp. We tried making chocolate macaroons in a solar oven, but they stuck to the cooking surface.

To live up to our name, we offered to store your private information, should you decide to come by and cache it with us.

We cooked on this propane stove.

An omelette I made. It's stuffed with green beans and tuna.

There were nearly 200 registered art pieces like this one. People also decorated their costumes, art cars, and camps.

At night, as far as the eye can see, the desert plain is covered with neon lights in fantastical shapes, roaming around.

No money or advertising is allowed at Burning Man (except the official Center Camp sells coffee and ice). It's an uplifting feeling to realize that people are creating the art for the pure joy of it, rather than a monetary incentive.

A line of fire blasts.

I was very impressed that the Burning Man committee recreated the Man within three days, after the original Man was torched. A dozen people worked in shifts, day and night, to rebuild him.

The new Man was around 50 feet tall, with neon lights, and arms that lifted at the beginning of the Burn.

Monday, September 10, 2007

geek game

Last night, after an electronic music concert (starring a coworker), a few friends and I ate burritos at Pancho Villa in SF.

Omar ranted about how much it repulses him to see bare feet near food. Let's say you're having a picnic on the beach. You sit in a circle, with sandwiches lying on a blanket in the sand between your feet. This would drive Omar to madness.

LG: "What if the feet are clean?"

Omar: "That doesn't matter."

LG: "What if you're not planning to eat the food?"

Omar: "That doesn't matter either."

LG: "Do you drink wine?" [since wine = grapes stomped by bare feet]

I had to laugh at this, because Omar drinks more wine than anyone else I know.

(Omar, holding one of the many wine-related gifts we got him during the Desktop days.)

Omar confirmed to LG that he does drink wine. But because he doesn't see the actual feet in question, stomping the grapes, he is not bothered.

LG: "Does your disgust depend on distance between the feet and the food?"

Omar: "Yes, it's proportional to the distance."

LG: "So what if I have food on the table, and then I cross my legs below the table, with one foot right below the part of the table holding the food?"

Omar: [laughing] "That's okay. The table acts as a visual barrier."

LG: "What if it's a glass table?"


At this point, I collapsed in mirth. Because pointless Q & A is awesome. One of the most enjoyable activities I can imagine is to make up a hypothetical scenario and then endlessly analyze every aspect of it.

On Desktop, we used to joke about eating our intern Mark: what type of sauce we'd cook him with (bolognese vs. cream), whether we'd boil vs. stew vs. bake, the side dishes we'd eat him with. I loved these conversations.

I think someone should create a Geek Board Game. It will come in a box which contains only an hourglass and a packet of cards. The players will divide into three teams. On each turn, the teams draw a card. Each card will contain a question, such as:

"You are going to cook and eat your intern. What cooking style should you use?"

"If your team were stranded on a desert island and had to resort to cannibalism, what algorithm would you use to decide the order in which to eat people?"

"You are invited to two parties at the same time: one with neutral people, and one with 80% annoying people and 20% awesome people. Which should you attend to maximize enjoyment?

Two of the teams compete to come up with the most logical / interesting answer, and the third team acts as judge to cast ballots. The teams take turns judging.

I would buy this game!!

totally frivolous post about hair

I'm in the middle of writing a post about Omar and feet. During this process, I went to dig up a photo of Omar from 2004.

Some of these old photos include me with shorter hair. Looking at them, it occurs to me that perhaps short hair is better for me.

For example, short hair from Mar 2004:

Oct 2004:

Long hair, from a couple months ago:

Perhaps I should cut my hair short again.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

the Temple from Burning Man

The Temple was my favorite spot at Burning Man.

People wrote heartfelt messages in marker onto the wooden surfaces of the Temple. By Sunday, every square inch was covered in writing.

The most touching was: "To John XX. Why is it that I can forgive the men who set up the I.E.D. which took out you and your troop, but I can't forgive the men who sent you over there? Sergeant XXX XXXX."

Another was from a girl "Cassie" to her younger sister "Laurie", about how smart and warm Laurie was, and how proud Cassie was to have known her for the fifteen years of her life before Laurie killed herself. Reading it brought tears to my eyes.

I also liked a simple line that read "There is no love without mystery." On top of "mystery", someone else had written "annoyance." :)

On Sunday night, around 25,000 people gathered in an enormous circle around the structure. Art cars drove up blaring music, and the air was loud with laughter and chitchat as people waited.

But when a single vocalist began singing over a microphone, and a small procession walked toward the Temple, everyone fell quiet. For two minutes, the entire crowd was silent, and the faint crackle of the fire provided the only sound.

so that's what the acronym was invented for

Lori: I'll go with you around 3pm, since I have a Berkeley BBQ beforehand.

Me: You have another BBQ before mine?

Lori: Yeah. And Iljie's event at night is a BBQ too.

Me: Wait, so you're going to Berkeley BBQ, then my friend's BBQ, and then Iljie's BBQ in a single day?

Lori: [slightly sheepishly] Yeah.

Me: Wow, it really is OMGWTFBBQ.


Lori is so great.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

video of me in sandstorm

Corey took this candid video, without me realizing it. This was from Burning Man on Thursday. A huge sandstorm hit our camp, when I was just sitting down with a popsicle.

You can see me unwrapping the creamsicle and eating it, while around me our shade structure is buffeted by winds, and sand blasts everywhere.

A woman has to have her priorities. Food first!

too awesome

Dan showed me this comic today:

After I recovered from laughing:

Me: He's in quite the pickle! The dark-haired girl might not feel the same way about him.

Dan: True, the choir angels are clearly pointing at him.

Me: There's not even a single angel leaning over the cloud to point at her.


This over-analysis then led Dan to show me this comic.

Too brate.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


This was the coolest costume I saw at Burning Man. Look at the woman's chestplate!

By contrast, here are Dan and I setting off to look at art on the desert playa.

Actually, Dan looked cool in his hat + cloak, when it was lit-up.

Monday, September 03, 2007

returned, with tan lines worse than ever

I'm back, bitches! Did you miss me? Of course you did.

Now that I've taken a long hot bath with lemon-thyme bubbles, immediately followed by an even longer hot shower, it's time to say hello to my gentle readers.

I suffered surprisingly little electronic withdrawal this past week in the internet-free desert. In fact, I quite liked antiquated living! To wit, a few examples from desert life compared to my normal lifestyle:

1. Desert: Friends drop by unannounced every day for lovely impromptu visits.

Normal life: Friend emails invitation to hang out at an event. Forget to reply. Five days later, re-discover email in horror. Apologize profusely. Friend points out with irritation that the event has already passed.

2. Desert: As friend is talking, listen. Appreciate the interesting conversation.

Normal life: As friend is talking, discreetly check blackberry under the table. When friend gets angry, protest that the email you're reading is actually from them, so you're not truly ignoring them.

3. Desert: Email accumulates over the week. Return home to find lots of nice reading material in inbox.

Normal life: Due to blackberry, constantly check email. Reply to 50% of emails within thirty minutes, making senders think they're conversing with some kind of loser with no life. Realize this impression may be accurate. Consider checking email less often, then decide instead to petition Gmail team to implement "delayed send" feature.

Later I'll get my act together to post photos and journal excerpts and narratives of my Burning Man journey. For now, I'll leave you with a dialogue exchange that I found entertaining.

Mid-week, I'm talking to a male Googler and his girlfriend. She is wearing ropes tied in an elaborate bondage pattern, and no other clothing besides the ropes. He is holding one end of the rope. (I'm fully and normally clothed in this story -- don't get any wrong ideas.)

Me: [to the guy] These knots are really fancy. Did you find this pattern somewhere, or come up with it on your own?

Guy: I used the Google-branded search engine...

Me: What is that? Some kind of special Google-licensed search for bondage?

Guy: No, I mean that I used But as you know, if you say you "google" for something, it weakens our trademark. Thus, instead of saying "I googled it", you should say "I used the Google-branded search engine." And that's what I did, to find this rope bondage pattern, which I made slightly modifications to.

Me: That is the geekiest possible answer to a bondage question.

Bystanders: [chuckling]

Me: [thinking] So this is what Burning Man is like.