A Strange Object of Nostalgia

In the mid-1990s, I spent some time temping as a legal document coder. Those were the days when it was so expensive to scan and OCR documents that it was cheaper to hire armies of temps to read documents and type the names in those documents into a database optimized for searching names. One of the first such databases I learned how to use was the DOS version of Inmagic.

A number of libraries use Inmagic. When the product evolved into the Windows world, the manufacturers made the DOS version available for free, so that libraries with small or zero software budgets could use it.

I have a project where I thought it would be useful to get a quick idea of word frequencies in a text, including names. (More on this project shortly.) I wondered if the Inmagic freeware was still available. It is – click here. Kudos and thanks to its current owners, Lucidea.

It’s surprising how this interface takes me back to that time.

the problem of other minds

The Last Game: Talked with Heather H. about the latest draft. At her request, I added some dialog at the very beginning between 23 and 24, giving a swatch of their relationship up to this catastrophic day. Writing it felt very much against the grain, though I can see now that it’s useful. The conversation with Heather reminded me that the things that I feel are obvious and can go without saying are not automatically obvious to others, and are sometimes interesting for others to hear.

Murderess: Trimmed down the Jane Toppan monologue for Laura Wiebers to perform at Theatre Unbound’s Season Announcement Party on the 28th. Haven’t visited that material for many years; found lots of little bits to prune away. Normally, when cutting, I try not to cut stuff from within a section because I don’t want the actor to have to re-memorize picky little changes. But it’s been long enough since Laura performed this piece that I hope the interstitial revisions won’t throw her for a loop.


For Worse: Now I know how Greg and Michelle met. As Greg puts it in the course of making the case that Michelle would not suffer in silence if she were upset with him,

I met her at a party freshman year, she was reaming out my roommate for putting the plastic from a six-pack in the trash without cutting through all the little rings first. You know, to keep it from strangling wildlife. She was pretty graphic about the strangling. The Avenging Angel of Baby Ducks. If she had a problem, she would definitely tell me.


For Worse: When I make a decision about one thing, it sometimes cascades. Michelle (Stacey’s character) is substitute teaching. The lesson plan she’s been given includes a list of vocabulary items. The list as I first drafted it didn’t seem to be organized in any way. I make a decision about how to organize it. This allows me to cut a bunch of stuff from an early paragraph and all of a sudden Michelle speaks in her own voice.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding. In the middle of a nuclear war, a bunch of English schoolboys get stranded on a desert island. Hilarity ensues. Ms. Ming would like us to work on vocabulary.

This charming and helpful website, which I assume was a class project, has stood me in good stead today.

Scheduling a photo shoot to come up with our show image for the Fringe.