The fence has a reference to BAAU, Bay Area Artists United. They are the group that published an annual anthology book, featuring works of Bay Area Artists, including works like Living With Robots.
Proverbialcheese is the screenname of a BAAU member who asked Sterling if he can be referenced in the strip. Sterling was able to include the screen name.
This strip was inspired by a discussion made in a theater background class I took in college stemming from the ancient Greeks and Roman theater up to Shakespeare's era. The professor had talked about soliloquies and monologues and asked why is it that modern plays don't use them as often. I had raised my hand and said something like well people today don't talk themselves since soliloquies have characters talked themselves and that is something frowned upon today. I also added, unless they have a hand free cell phone. The head piece hand free cell phone accessory had come out that many people started using them and I noticed more people just talking as though they were talking to themselves.