Happy holidays 1998
Home again now.
Tired, but mostly happy with my holidays and life's little unexpected twists.
I'll tell you about all the wonderful food I ate, but first I'm going to take a nap.
Now that I've napped and read my email and had few crackers with my new Maine Maple Champagne Mustard, I feel entirely happy with everything.
Well, my knee is a little twingy - slept on it funny last night, I guess - but that is a very small fly in my ointment.
It was a great long holiday weekend. Too much to tell about here in the sidebar [Apparently the layout of the site was quite different back then and the blog hadn't yet become the primary content], so I'll have to write some new Random Synaptic Firings. Being fundamentally lazy after all that travelling around I will type in a little letter I wrote. Seemed odd to try to go to sleep without telling Peter about my day and with no ICQ, I had to use this paper stuff and make little scratchy marks on it with an ink pen. Weird. ;)
Ok, I'll write more later, time now to go to dinner with Lisa & Fred. Yay!
Dinner with Fred & Lisa was yummy and then we played this great game called Fluxx. Big fun! And then they drove me home and tried on my feety pajamas. Normally Lisa corners the market on cute, but Fred was just about intolerably sweet in them. His will, of course, have to be purple.
So, I'm puttering around working on this and that on the site and tidying the house. Smiling. Tonight was good. Last night was great. (I know you are, but what am I?) Damn, pretty much the whole last week has been fabulous.
Just put up the first part of a new rsf about my travels during the holidays.
Sheila Chandra's ABoneCroneDrone. The sample on Amazon's site isn't really characteristic of the album as a whole. If you like Peter Gabriel's Passion (soundtrack to Last Temptation of Christ), this would probably appeal to you in a mellow mood. (Yes, it's true: Passion is the seduction music of the 90's. Come on, does anyone out there own this album who hasn't had sex listening to it?)
This was a good holiday season. I went to my Mum & step-dad's place, Edgewood, for a Mendocino Christmas Eve/Christmas and then slipped across to Sonoma where my dad & step-mom had rented a big house for a second round of holiday time.
Edgewood was wonderful as it always is. Great company, great food. Mostly just sitting around having conversations, watching the plethora of birds out the windows and reading. A bookish, birdish household and very healing.
The other gathering was more rambunctious and lots of fun. The house was a little odd though. Here's the letter I wrote to Peter:
Here I am in a rental house, more a mansion really, laden with a mix of cool and aggressively ugly items. My room, regrettably, tends towards the ugly.
On my right an object to which you might think I would be endeared, a black container with a round red lid containing, according to the label, 'Joy - perfumed body creme'. It has something of it of cheap Japanese styling and also a strong aura of 'The Big Red Shiny Candy-like Button' which must not be touched. If it were the only decorative object in the room, it might be tolerable.
Alas, it is not and thus clashes horribly. There is a gold non-descript lamp also on the nightstand. And a box of Kleenex with a box pattern depicting a quilt. And there is a small assortment of perfume bottles on a little plate painted in a naive, early 70's style as a fish. The pink quilt, the red top of the "body creme" container and the orange-blue-green-yellow-&-red fish all clash violently.
Beside the nightstand is a dark wicker hamper. There is an oriental rug on the floor below the brass bed with its flowered sheets and plethora of pillows. The oriental rug is predominantly pink and the main carpet is grey. To contrast with the nightstands (of which there are four in the room) which are styled like old oak iceboxes, there is a modern (well, modern in 1980) white dresser with a slight oriental air about it.
Atop this dresser are four bizarre objects. The first is a pottery jar with a greenish-blue glaze with a plain clay gecko (or some sort of lizard) crawling on the side. This lizard is the size of a rat. The other three items are carved wooden animals over a foot in length. They are painted very bright colors, well two of them are. There is a huge one and a half foot tall coyote-like thing with a blue body, a white face and enormous pink and teal ears. Its expression was so disturbing I turned it to face away from me, so it wouldn't be the first thing I saw in the morning, at which point its tail fell off. There is something I am hard-pressed to identify. I think it is an elephant, but the carver was clearly on some sort of hallucinogens because its overall shape is more piglike except for its long brush of a tail, pink spots on its blue body, enormous diamond-shaped pink & teal ears and huge drooping tusks that give it the appearance of having been caught midway through consumption of two albino anacondas. The fourth item is actually quite naturally colored and shaped and is a rather appealling zebra. Except for the small problem that the only piece of it present is its head. Most disconcerting.
Above this ensemble is a large 2' x 4' print labeled 'Contemporary Art - The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston' which shows a still life of a pretty party table of excessively bright colored objects. Pink & yellow are the dominant colors. Above that, crossing the plain white wall, is a solid natural dark wooden beam about a foot high. And then then white vault of the ceiling and an off-center ceiling fan with rattan decor in the blades.
Bad enough so far, wouldn't you say? Ah but we're only a third of the way around the room! Next to one of the ubiquitous nightstands is a completely unnecessary delicate little Victorian table, round, short, barely large enough for a doily and a saucer of tea.
There is a tiny little stereo sitting on a sort of bench-cum-bookcase across from the foot of the bed. The bench seems to have a somewhat churchy air about it (vaguely medieval, vaguely Roman) and is full of gardening books. Apart from the stereo the top is bare except for a dry branch mounted in a stand (the branch is not unlike the one the Grinch tied to Max's head midway through the sawing-off-bits process) and a large purple glass apple. Above this is a mirror in a cheap wood frame with stained glass around the edges - white and a green which miraculously fails to find an echo anywhere else in the room.
There is a television atop the third nightstand-icebox thing. And a bentwood magazine rack. And a bamboo chest of quasi-Mongolian style. This chest is flanked by two enormous, um, well, uh, urns, I suppose. Big pottery objects.They are covered with Southwestern motifs and do not match except in that they are both bigass semi-spheres which would probably cause about 18 Zuni apiece to spin in their graves. There is a bright red telescope sitting on the chest which I almost forgot to mention.
Almost back around to the bed again, we encounter a fake ficus-ish tree in a brown wicker basket. Above it is a picture depicting, in a naive folk art style, a French cityscape of about 1900. Beside the bed's left-hand nightstand is a brass lampstand rising from the floor to curlicued top and supporting, via a broken crosspiece, a lacey glass shade with a pink border. Partway up this otherwise Victorian object is a ball of marble with a natural earthy appearance. Inexplicable.
On the nightstand are two pale-green pottery pieces sporting pale green crawling lizards. And a little lidded dish in the shape of a rabbit. The bedspread is applicued in a design indicative of bunches of grapes & leaves, but the presence on the bed when I entered of three stuffed bunnies (one brown and teddybear-like, the other two wearing flowered jumpsuits and pink bows) lends a somewhat different interpretation to a field of small round lumps.
All in all, I would be hard-pressed to render this room any less harmonious or soothing to the eye. I trust it shall improve considerably when I turn out the light.
Here was my day: wake at 9am, shower, run out of hot water, rinse off shampoo with lukewarm water and towel off vigorously to recover from chill. Eat a banana and a couple pieces of cranberry bread and a half a cup of coffee. Get in the car and be driven to a gourmet food store. Sample mustards, olive oils and other dips. Pour back into car, nibbling bittersweet chocolate and proceed to the Culinary Institute of America for lunch. Appetizers: excellent bread and olive oil, stuffed calimari, grilled shrimp, dolmas, mini-pizza with carmelized onions and goat cheese, mini-falafel in pita, filled potato tortilla thing, olives, almonds. With this meal I enjoyed a Sidecar (classic cocktail) and a half glass of Dehlinger Pinot Noir, both very good. After the appetizer came a phenomenal wild mushroom soup with onions and cheese-sprinkled croutons - like an astounding french onion soup, toned down and infused with mushroomy goodness. Then my steak arrived with garlic mashed potatoes and dripping with delicious pan juices. Dessert really wasn't an option.
After dinner we went down to the CIA store and I spent my Xmas mad-money (courtesy of my stepmom, Lindy) on some nice kitchen things including a cheese knife and an ice-cracking bag & mallet for making cocktails. We returned to the house, stopping at the gourmet market to pick up the goodies we'd picked for dinner. Most of the party went to Ravenswood winery, so the house was quiet and I chose that time for a lovely solitary soak in the hot tub. First it was birdwatching, then sunset watching, then as the first stars came out I extracted my pink self from the steaming water and went inside for a refreshing shower - with enough hot water this time.
While I had been soaking and daydreaming, the others had returned and by the time I was dressed, preparations for dinner were underway. We had a small buffet of exotic cheeses, excellent bread, tapinade, pate, olives, intriguing mustards, fuji apples and a nice bottle of Merlot from Ravenswood. After we'd been nibbling on all this and socializing in the living room, my stepbrother Michael and his sweetie Deanna came downstairs with a sublime feast: scallops in curry cream sauce. To die for! I don't remember much of the rest of the evening except wandering around in a food-enduced bliss."
Drive safe! 1998
Drive very very carefully. Taking a turn at about 20-25mph on the way up here, I hit a patch of frost and ice and came about a foot short of going off the road, down a 6' drop and nosefirst into a creek. Scary. Be safe, my friends. Stay inside and eat!
Feeling much better today, especially now that I'm at my parents' home, Edgewood, on the north coast of California. Thanks for the kind words, Joe & Patrick & Bev & Chris.
You know this tune... 1998
Very tired. Came to a sad realization about a relationship I wish could work. Wrote a difficult letter. Worked 9 hours. Didn't solve the problems we hoped to solve. Had a stressful commute home. Started laundry. Washed some of the dishes. Cried. Moved clothes to dryer. Wrapped the rest of the presents that go with me tomorrow. Tried to start a ICQ conversation with an acquaintance I've been trying to make friends with. Received no reply. Packed. Picked out music to drive to. Felt sorry for myself. Wrote about it on my website.
Tis the season... 1998
Got all my receipts entered and planned bills. It's ugly, but survivable.Considering how many nice prezzies I bought this year and having to get new tires for the car, it could be worse. (Well, actually it couldn't be much worse - I'm almost out of money and close to my limit on my one credit card). The big drag is that my student loan payments of almost $250 a month start in January. Ugh.
Man, wrapping these presents is taking a long time. I guess that mean life is going well, eh?
Stayed up until 2am last night talking to Peter, but I'm glad I took the chance because I won't to talk to him again for a week and a half. :(
Don't forget to buy yourself a pair of feety pajamas. You deserve them.
Had a really nice relaxing bath last night in water rendered silky and delicious by homemade bath stuff from my friends. I think luxury presents are the best. That includes the wonderful simple stuff too. I have this great basic little grey wool cardigan that my ex-mother-in-law (mother outlaw?), Marit, gave me that I just adore.
Dang. Gotta go buy more wrapping paper. Don't you hate it when you get that damn translucent plastic stuff by accident? Hmm, leaving the house. I suppose this means I better change out of what I'm wearing.
Feety Pajamas! 1998
Had a fabulous time yesterday evening at Dylan's Welsh pub in San Francisco hanging out with my friends and meeting a whole bunch of Peter's wonderful friends. What a great crowd!
OK, here's the scoop on feety pajamas (or blanket sleepers for the more formal among you). Lands' End has them in adult sizes which fit up to 5'7". (Yes, we need to inform them that, at least among webgeeks, there is high demand for larger sizes). These are some damn fine feety pajamas. I love mine. In fact, I'm going to put them on now...
Much better. Here's the blurb from the catalog:
"Polartec Sleeper snuggles you from tip to toe.
Zip up in this sleeper, ladies, and drafty bedrooms are instantly tamed. Gentle elastic at the ankles and a special non-skid foot surface in the footies improve the fit and function. Cuffs are rib-knit. And the light-weight Polartec 100 is warm, not overbearing. If wearing this makes you feel like a kid again, we've accomplished our mission. Machine wash. Made in USA. Hunter, Red, Deep Purple.
Women's Regular fits 5'4"-5'7". XS 4, S 6-8, M 10-12, L 14-16, XL 18-20. [Lands' End item number] 5592-3AW3 $58.50."
Note: monogramming is only $5 extra. Believe me, the extra joy of having "MetaGrrrl" embroidered on my bright red romper suit is so worth that paltry sum.
Order by phone at 1-800-356-4444, tell them MetaGrrrl sent you and that we want larger sizes!
F/X Reunion and finishing the degree 1998
Worked a short day (5 hours) and then jumped through my last academic bureacratic hoop (at least as a student, I'm sure they'll have a new set for teachers). I turned in the final final final binding version of my project report and I am now officially done with my masters degree. They still have to send me a little piece of paper, but I am now Dinah P. Sanders, M.L.I.S.
Had dinner at Fil's house along with Deb, Chris & Tori and we planned F/X: the Reunion. If you were a member of the big happy family of clubgoers and employees, send your name, email and snailmail addresses to [filco.com] and get on the list for an invitation. Better dig out that old black card. You've got until February to decide what to wear. (I'll be doing the website soon - watch this space).
My ISP is misbehaving badly, if you don't hear from me except from work, that's why. Grrr.
Geek pleasures 1998
Had a productive, but not as productive as we'd hoped day at work. *phew* Glad it's over.
The good part of today was getting to work with Ev. It'd be nice to do a project together from the get-go. I could certainly learn a lot from him about dynamically created sites. His design sense is very good and he writes clean code. Smells nice too. Good webmonkey, havabanana.
Ok, I'm going to download my monkeyjunkies list mail. It's been a while...ah...heh...
879 messages. I'll just put 'em over here in this folder with the other ones. I swear I'm gonna read these someday.
Oh, that reminds me: I have another checkmark on my Digerati membership application. I've been quoted on Webmonkey.
Not once, but twice!
And I got the kicker spot both times - thanks, Jim & Jay!
Ok, it's not Wired, but it's Wired Digital. And I have the monkey hat! ("More Monkey!!!") Such a pity they currently list me as "anonymous" [since corrected], but those who know me will recall my solemn advice:
Ben & Jerry's CoffeeCoffeeBuzzBuzzBuzz ice cream is not a good bedtime snack.
And They Might Be Giants sing "Extra Savoir-Faire" and I think, as I always do, of Fred. So, when you walk down the street do most guys look like elves?
I got new flannel sheets in the mail today. Mmm. I am the Queen of Cozy!
The aforementioned Fred is probably rather disappointed in me for not coming to juggling tonight. I got home late, had an odd several part dinner and am doing domestic stuff like laundry and making the bed and taking out the trash. Yeah, lame, I know, but my life is so much happier when I have clean things to put next to my skin and when the garbage doesn't smell.
How do you do a show over and over and over a thousand times and still keep it magic and satisfying for both the audience and yourself? What an astoundingly challenging career choice. And nice to have friends who've decided to take it on. Break a leg, John, Mark; I'm always front row center in spirit even if my body can't really make it.
Mmm, quotes AND snarky little comments - two great tastes in one delicious site:
Presents & mundania 1998
Too lazy to move this to the old latest page today. [Apparently I used to only have the most recent post on the home page]
Feeling kind of sick. Maybe I drank too much eggnog. It was only 2 glasses and nonalcoholic, but still I feel all blurghy.
Thanks to the amazing power of Sherman "Ubershopper" Lewis, I have finished all my holiday shopping. Well, ok, all but one special someone whose size I don't know. (For the anal retentive, here's two dots to put over the U in ubershopper : )
Recommended restaurant: Tokyo Go Go on 16th near Valencia in San Francisco. Very stylish and tasty new Japanese place.
Gave the most outrageous present I have ever given. My fears were relieved by the recipient appearing to be rather pleased, albeit shocked. No, I'm not going to tell you more than that. I'm just going to encourage you to follow your wild instincts, be unconventional and if the friendship is worth having it will survive.
Oh, all right, here's a clue.
I wish I could afford to take a week off. I really need it. *sigh* Contracting sucks sometimes...
Of course, I also wish I could spend a thousand dollars at Archie McPhee. Such is the nature of desire.
Plugging Mark 1998
Talked with Mark Bakalor about the fact that he's AVAILABLE TO DO FABULOUS WEB GRAPHICS and what we've been up to lately. Some of you may know him as a juggler, though he's now an actor, a director and a Photoshop pixelmonkey extraordinaire. See his work at Fosse.com and check out his portfolio for more. He's so spiffy, he'll even sing a little song for you [Sadly, this song from "Die, Die, Diana" is no longer available on his site. Trust me; it was quite the performance.]
ICQ is dandy. (It's everybody's favorite chatty software with what used to be the ugliest web site in the world but isn't so bad anymore).
Quarter vote 1998
The U.S. Mint has a very nice website and you can see and comment on the designs for the new dollar coin (coming in the year 2000). I like #98 for the front and #122 for the back. (warning: make sure you indicate you don't want any mail from them or you'll get all kinds of stupid crap).
Ok, time to finish my oatmeal and stagger off to work. Why am I so sleepy this week? I could just spend all day in bed. What a lovely thought... *whimper*
Pals, freaky taste and not quite getting things right. 1998
Work today was ok, though I was rather spacy and had that unpleasant treading water feeling as I realized I don't know as much about databases as I thought I did.
For example, I wish I'd known this:
"Please note that Access was not designed to be a web application database server. Since access to Access is file based, you'd expect to see the usual problems related to resource contention that you'd see with file sharing."
Went to Webgrrls where we were going to help girls from the Boys & Girls Club make their own webpages, but there were way more Grrls than girls, so I just hung back and visited with Lisa. (Hi Lisa!)
Ok. So I have unusual taste. I think the guy with orange hair on the back of the new Archie McPhee catalog is really kinda cute.
Coming soon to the Pals page (click on that funky ball down there to get to it) [old design; pals are now listed on the About MetaGrrrl page]: Lisa, David W., BJ, Lilly, Chris L., Mark
Ceej, Carl and a graphic which illustrates how it took a while to realize linking IS the web and we don't need special icons for it. 1998
Had a pleasant workday by and large. A nice lunch with the head of my department. I feel better about my work.
Started to get a bit depressed as the sun set and the dark descended. I'm not sure if it's really the cold and dark of winter or other things, but this has been a week of sad and lonely evenings so far. Nothing really wrong, just a blue mood.
Interesting fact: Carl's cat Fernando needs to sniff your hand before you can pet him. Every time. Want a cat? He's way better than Furby. [Here there used to be a link to this great Feed Magazine piece that Carl did with a side-by-side comparison chart. Sadly, the page is gone from the current web. I dug it up in the Internet Archive though. I think I better make a donation to their wonderful efforts to preserve this stuff.]
"Look, it is the much-vaunted sidebar."
Ceej is cool.
This funky ball thing goes places...
Bathtub != Lips 1998
Overslept. Got to work at 11am. Fortunately in my present position this is not a problem at all (and besides, it's only an hour later than I usually arrive). Ate lunch at my desk while working. Worked until 7:45. Came home. Realized I had made a 6:30 appointment with my chiropractor for today. *sigh*
Got some good advice today about surviving as a contractor: remember, they don't want to you to be decisive and assertive and take the lead. That's what employees are supposed to do. So do what they say and clock as many hours as they'll give you and leave the job at work when you go home.
On the whole, I'd rather be kissing.
Unfortunately none of the people I'd like to be kissing are around, so I guess I'll play Civilization II or take a bath. Somehow these just aren't really satisfying substitutes...
Friends and links 1998
There's one cool thing about having a car: it's easy to get friends to spend time hangin' out with you if you'll drive. :)
I have a lot of really cool friends and they throw good parties. Happy birthdays to Mike, Lawrence and Sharon!
Had a great weekend so far and intend on having a productive evening. Mr. Distracting is watchin' X-Files, so I'm safe from cool link temptations for another 25 minutes.
Catching up on links I should have passed on a long time ago department: Jack Mingo, author of all kinds of cool books, has written a game called What's The Big Idea? Windows users can check it out at Berzerk [Dead link as of August 2003].
Once again spending way too much time reading other people's links and not enough adding my own (Carl's fault this time).
Oh, hey, if you need tickets, check out Travelzoo.com. I'm a stockholder 'cause they did this neat thing when they first started up where you just sent them an email and they gave you stock. Cool, huh? Of course, I never travel, but what the heck.
If I was going to travel I'd go to Atlanta and see Quidam again. Five times just wasn't enough. Yeah, ok, it's true, I do think John Gilkey's kinda hot, but it's a really really good show besides that.
The Danger of the Web 1998
Wow, busy year. How can it be December already?
So tell me , would you rather links offsite opened in a new window or redrew this one?
Ok, so I got home from work kinda late, about a quarter to eight and I was going to work on the site. Gung ho, roll up the sleeves, jump right in. Well, I launched my internet connection and ICQ starts up and says "User is online" and I say "Hi, Peter" to the little green peterme floating at the top of my screen. Man, I tell ya, that Merholz is one distracting mofo. Didn't get a damn thing done on the site for 4 hours. Looked at some cool stuff though. I'll tell ya about it tomorrow. It's late.
[Cardamom.net redirecting to MetaGrrrl.com] 1998
[As of the Internet Archive's first capture of Cardamom.net on this date, the domain is automatically redirecting to MetaGrrrl.com.
Unfortunately the earliest capture of MetaGrrrl.com isn't until February of 1999.]