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Wake-up Call 2002

I'm guessing that on the last day of the month, at noon, they test the air raid sirens in San Francisco. That's what I'm guessing.


If you were thinking that once you hit your mid-thirties you understand yourself and the world and you won't have days where you don't get out of bed until 11am because you were just laying there feeling glum, maybe you better cut yourself a bit of slack because you will.


I need to get a part-time job to keep me busy.


I don't like sales & marketing work.


That soup I made last night didn't turn out so hot. How do you keep vegetarian stuff from being so dull it tastes like porridge?


Too much sleep can be almost as exhausting as too little; particularly when punctured by two calls from Florida waking you up. (Why would Edmond's grandmother's estate lawyer think it was appropriate to call people at 7:15 in the morning? And why do I have to be the wrong number when I've gotten nicely back to sleep?)


If I do all my bitching in my blog, will it get the grouchies out of my head and let me get on with my day? And will my readers be amused or irked by my being so crotchety?

Posted on April 30, 2002 at 12:40 PM in worry vs. clarity | Permalink | Comments (3)

Bedtime 2002

A productive day. I did laundry at the laundromat (towels just don't come out nice unless they get fluffed up in the dryer) and vacuumed and verified the contents of Edmond's next resupply box.

So, I ought to feel all smug and content, but I have captured a worried mood from somewhere. I guess just too much time on chores and not enough relaxation. Tomorrow I'll take the box to the post office and go grocery shopping. Fresh vegetables will inspire me to cook and that will make me feel much happier.

In truth, some of my tension is coming from the fact that I've been feeling cuddly all weekend with no one to take it out on. Ah well, that's what I get for being so dang picky. At least I can console myself about the lack of a lovely fellow waiting in bed to spoon me and keep me warm all night with the pleasure of clean sheets in a clean apartment.

Yeah, not exactly an even trade, is it? Well, throw in the fact that the apartment has just what I want in it and nothing I don't and everything is where I like it and I can listen to whatever music I'm in the mood for and play computer games all evening when I feel like it. There are some definite payoffs to solitude, I'm not denying that.

Posted on April 28, 2002 at 10:22 PM in relationships | Permalink | Comments (0)

Random Facts 2002

Posted on April 28, 2002 at 03:47 PM in Dinah - introduction | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Picking Up Speed 2002

Starting to feel a bit better. Had some allergies this morning, but not bad considering I'm dusting & vacuuming.

I did achieve my goals Friday - except instead of 19 calls I made 2 or 3, but actually reached someone and got to do the survey which took as long as the other calls would have). Man, sales & marketing work is not my thing. I can do it (I give good phone) but ick.

Yesterday was mostly puttering around the house and then going to a great birthday party (Thanks Mike!). I am still crappy at pool, but I had fun anyhow and we got to ride in a 12 person limo - very surreal, especially with Mike playing Stephen Kent/Lights in a Fat City digeridoo music. Gotta get me some CDs of that...

Today I was going to go hang out with Kevin but he had a horrible horrible allergy attack - naturally, he showed me pictures online of his red puffy eyes, he is such a documenter (but who am I to talk?) - and so I'm home, listening to Edmond's CDs and cleaning house. I'd like to have my music louder but I have a fussy downstairs neighbor.

Note to anyone seeking an apartment:
Question #1 is "Does it have any upstairs neighbors?" to which the answer must be "No", but you also need to ask Question #2 which is "Does the downstairs neighbor lead a normal life and leave his apartment rather than sitting in there all day & night being bothered by every footstep?" to which the answer must be "Yes". Shoulda asked that, oh my...

Posted on April 28, 2002 at 12:24 PM in mundania | Permalink | Comments (1)

Upward Trend 2002

I'm doing somewhat better today. Got out of bed about 9:15 and immediately got dressed, cooked some breakfast and started working on the day's project: moving some of my stuff into Edmond's storage unit.

Odd thing happened while I was making breakfast. I had a glass bottle of real maple syrup. It was almost empty, but I saved it to add just a tiny bit of flavor to my cream of rice. I turned it upside down and left it balancing on its screwtop metal lid in a clear spot on the stove which happened, though I didn't think about it at the time, to be right above the pilot light. When I came back in a while later, the syrup had oozed down the sides of the bottle and then, in accordance with some physical principle I don't quite understand, rose up around the lid (through the screw tracks?) to pool on the stove around the bottle, now completely empty. It wasn't hot enough to boil, so what happened? (I love science in action, just wish I'd actually had better training in its basic principles. I guess I traded that for interpersonal communication class which has proved more useful. Ah, hippy school!)

Now I'm in the lull before the next burst of activity. I need to go get my* car from where I parked it a couple blocks away and load it up with these boxes of genealogy papers, role-playing games, old souvenirs & stuffed animals (Mr. John Barrymore Toad, my crocheted frog made by Grandma Muriel, and Lil' Cthulhu, made by my friend Laura Bowen, who has the cutest little claws and wee yarn tentacles (um, Cthulhu, not Laura)), and holiday stuff.

I'm on the verge of a major conversion from atoms to bits. I now have my scanner set up (thanks Edmond!) and have begun sorting the ephemera of my life so that I can extend this blog back in time, pre-1998. My general plan is to do this in the Dinah section of the site and to make the dates of the posts match the date (as best I can) of the item being documented (e.g. diary entry from when I was twelve, picture of me at age two, fake movie poster I made in college, etc.)

So, like I said, this is the lull before I go get the car and lug all this heavy shit downstairs and then drive for an hour and then unload the car and then drive to work and then make 19 sales calls and then take the train home. I don't want to start that string of unfun. I must move the car before noon (street sweeping time on that block), so I guess that means I can play computer games for 45 minutes, eh?

Mmm, procrastination, my favorite flavor!

*Well, when I say my car, I mean "the company car which I've been using for the last couple years". It belongs to SoftDevices and now that I live in San Francisco, I'm actually happy to leave it at the office instead of dealing with city parking and worrying about it getting broken into.

Posted on April 26, 2002 at 10:49 AM in mundania | Permalink | Comments (0)

An Odd Raw Day 2002

Raw in the cookie dough, not the meat sense.

Today had some of the physical and mental symptoms of depression, but, fortunately, without the emotional ones. I overslept and dozed and dreamed. A slow late start. Then a burst of coherence & focus on work stuff. Then vagueness, wandering about the house, getting some stuff done, but randomly. Feeling no pulls to achieve specific things. Much reading of Patrick's wonderful stories contributing to the waking dream day.

I can't remember if I left the house today. It was that sort of day. "Huh? What happened? Where'd it go?"

I did finish a couple art projects for Nervous Industries Land Mail Art Objects. I did confirm & correct the contents of Edmond's package #3. I did do a load of laundry in the bathtub when I took my shower. Ah, and I called Grandma Susie.

Ah, that's why I thought I went somewhere; I just remembered I had a long chat with Jay, so I guess my mind went partway to Budapest to visit with him.

Can't seem to think clearly. I keep wanting to evaluate what I need to take with me tomorrow. I could visit the storage unit and try to stash some stuff and grab the other printer, but to be honest, none of it must be done that soon. It could wait until next week. I have all I need for the next few packages to Edmond and while my place is crowded with stuff, it's not unpleasantly so.

I suppose I'll just go to the post office and then to work tomorrow, leave the car there, and get a ride home by carpooling with Kristin to the Central Booking Read & Feed author reading at Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, mere blocks from my home.

Uh. Yes. I guess that's all I need to do.

Edmond, I totally understand now what you were talking about the other day about being unable to think clearly. Jeez, this is tough. If my brainpower went over to you so you could get a focused day in before your trip, that's great. I don't begrudge the loan.

Wish I had some pudding. Mmm, pudding.

Posted on April 24, 2002 at 11:00 PM in worry vs. clarity | Permalink | Comments (3)

Dangers of E-Sheep 2002

Drug: E-Sheep

Manufacturer: Patrick Farley

Common Uses: Entertainment, Education, Enlightenment. May also be prescribed in case of planned contact with manufacturer in a social setting to remind you why you like this guy and invited him to go see a show with you.

Recommended Doses:
- The Spiders
- Apocamon

- The Guy I Almost Was
- Terrors of the Night
- Overheard @ The Rave
- Chrysalis Colossus

Additional doses may be prescribed upon completion of these. Some users who have been taking Internet for many years may have taken Saturnalia, Rush Limbaugh Eats Everything or Thanksgiving Special (known on the street as "Nature's Turkeys") in the past.

Possible Side Effects:
- Spontaneous Uncontrollable Laughter.
- Urge To Change Universe.
- Softening Of Moral Fiber.
- Relaxation.
- Hot Flashes
- Time Loss. User may experience sudden realization that 4 hours have passed without notice.

Posted on April 24, 2002 at 01:39 PM in linky goodness | Permalink | Comments (0)

Can't afford more books? Don't forget the library! 2002

I just had a minor revelation. Very minor, but still worth noting. I have a big wishlist of books at Amazon. The library has internet access. Next time I'm at the library, I should look at my wishlist and borrow some of those books I can't afford.

Posted on April 22, 2002 at 02:20 PM in Books | Permalink | Comments (3)

Peace Requires More Bravery Than War 2002

Catching up on old mail, I found this wonderful statement from journalist Danny Pearl's widow:

Revenge would be easy, but it is far more valuable in my opinion to address this problem of terrorism with enough honesty to question our own responsibility as nations and as individuals for the rise of terrorism. My own courage arises from two facts. One is that throughout this ordeal I have been surrounded by people of amazing value. This helps me trust that humanism ultimately will prevail. My other hope now--in my seventh month of pregnancy--is that I will be able to tell our son that his father carried the flag to end terrorism, raising an unprecedented demand among people from all countries not for revenge but for the values we all share: love, compassion, friendship and citizenship far transcending the so-called clash of civilizations.
[thanks to Uncle Larry for the link!]

Posted on April 22, 2002 at 09:43 AM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (0)

The lull after the storm 2002

After doing too much, but in a good way, for the last two weeks, I'm finally slowing down a bit. In the last 24 hours or so I've slept a lot, played a computer game (Heroes of Might & Magic IV), hand-washed a bunch of clothes and tidied up around my place. The most dramatic activity was putting up a shelf over my computer desk area to hold the scanner, the printer and my to-do boxes.

Things I haven't done:
- answered email
- spent much time connected to my usual instant messaging programs
- called my grandmothers (soon, soon)
- left the house

Things I intend to do in the next 24 hours:
- catch up on entering receipts in Quicken & pay bills
- mail Edmond's resupply box #2 to Mt. Laguna
- send out more change of address cards
- send a couple art project thingies back to some nervous folks
- stop by Rainbow Grocery and see what's happening with my application to join their workers' cooperative
- swap my old phone for Edmond's which *gasp* has an answering machine in it
- call my grandmothers

Right now? I'm going to keep playing my game and sip this cup of tea. Go with your strengths, I say.

Posted on April 21, 2002 at 08:03 PM in warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (1)

Geek Reminder: The Human OS is not, in fact, Unix or a *nix variant 2002

From News of the Weird (all hail Chuck Shepherd):

Jerome Heckenkamp, indicted for illegally hacking into computers at eBay, Lycos and other companies, challenged the charges at a court appearance in San Jose, Calif., in March by denying that he is the person named in the indictment, in that the document refers to a "HECKENKAMP" in all capital letters, whereas he capitalizes only the H.

Posted on April 21, 2002 at 12:11 PM in warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hello, and welcome to the nineteenth... Um. Where is everybody? Hello? Is this thing on? 2002

What do you mean, I'm a day late? I've got it right here in my trusty Newton -- MetaGrrrl on the 18th.
What do you mean yesterday was the 18th? That would imply that I spent a
whole day curled into the fetal position, sobbing quietly to myself. I
could have sworn that it wasn't more than a couple of hours.

OK, then. As long as we're all here: Hello, and welcome to the nineteenth--
Hey! Where are you going?

Well, I don't care if Toni Morrison is over at the Book Hut. This
is my virtual book tour and I'm going pitch this damned book if I have to do
it to rows of empty chairs!

Stop folding up the chairs! Hey!

OK, fine, then. See if I care. One more time: This is my virtual book tour
and I'm going to pitch this damned book if I have to do it from the sidewalk
out front. Or the sidewalk out front and on the next few blocks, when the
police show up and tell me to move on.

Hello, and welcome -- yes, you, Ms. Chair Folder Woman -- to the nineteenth stop on the "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard"
virtual book tour, the book tour that is being kept alive by machines. My
name is Greg Knauss and-- Oh, at least leave my chair! Geez!

"Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard" is... Um. Y'know, if
you haven't already bought the book, I'm pretty much resigned to the fact
that you're not going to. Though, of course, it still makes a great gift,
considering that it's cheap and you can be damned sure that nobody else is
going to give it. Also, So New
has a no-return policy, so you know it will be cherished for a
lifetime, for loose enough definitions of "cherished" and "lifetime."

Today's reading is not me talking to myself. Because that would be pathetic.


I read to Tom every night, sometimes Richard Scarry, sometimes Sandra Boynton, sometimes Mother Goose. The last thing you'd think would get you in trouble would be Mother Goose.

Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater
Had a wife, but couldn't keep her
So he put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very wel--

"Um. Hey, Tom?"

He looks up at me.

"Don't tell Mommy we read that one, OK?"

OK! Are there any questions? Anybody? Someone hiding back in the corners?
Mysterious Stranger, you there?

I have a question!

Ah, yes, Señor Wences! Hello!

When are you going to stop sexually assaulting m--

OK! That's all the time we have today! Please join the death rattle of this
damnedable tour tomorr-- Today. Later today. At a Web site that
couldn't sum up my feelings about my book any better at this point: [Expletive Deleted].

[The Management Wishes To Apologize For Mr. Greg Knauss's late appearance... for the lateness, the appearance we can make no apologies for]

Posted on April 19, 2002 at 03:16 PM in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

virtual bus by side of superhighway 2002

Hi folks,

Sorry to disappoint you. I know you've been waiting here at MetaGrrrl all day for Greg Knauss to arrive and autograph your 8x10 glossy pictures. I just heard that his virtual bus is broken down near Gilroy and they are waiting for the tow truck to show up.

Just hang on for a little while longer. We hope he'll be here by midnight to promote his exciting new book, Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard.

In the meantime, enjoy this indication of the fun things you can get authors to do.

Posted on April 18, 2002 at 04:41 PM in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trail Preparations 2002

I'm not posting much lately because I've been very busy helping Edmond get all moved out of the Mountain View house and ready to hit the Pacific Crest Trail. Read all about his adventures which I'll be updating as I receive mail from him during the summer.

Signing out from Mountain View for possibly the last time, this is intrepid hiker supplier Dinah saying "keep your socks dry and don't step on the rattlesnakes!"

p.s. I have it on good authority that the potential hazards of the trail do not in fact apply to those staying home & mailing out the GORP.

Posted on April 16, 2002 at 11:31 PM in friends & family, the big room with the blue ceiling | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Realism 2002

As I was pricing things for the flea market late last night, having stayed up too late as I had the night before, I did the math. $30 for the space, get up at 6am, hassle with trying to get a space, probably not be able to keep car in space, no one to watch stuff while I move car so probably have to only sell what I can carry in one load...


To heck with the flea market!

Expect a little bit of vending of larger stuff here at MetaGrrrl (or maybe over in the Inkspot section) for a while. I'll probably do a one-load-I-can-carry trip to a cheap flea market sometime and sell on Craig's List too. (Ebay is too much of a pain what with the mailing and all).

About the time I was reaching this decision, I was also chatting with Mena and found out the gathering I thought I was going to be at right about now got cancelled. The email about it must have gotten lost in the piles of spam I've been getting lately. *sigh* Sorry not to see the girls, but glad today's busybusybusy nature cleared up.

Now I've slept a proper amount, had a good hot breakfast and have time for a cup of tea before strolling over to the Farmers' Market. Ahhhh.... Sunday.

Posted on April 14, 2002 at 11:04 AM in worry vs. clarity | Permalink | Comments (0)

Network Configuration Detective 2002

I just got a really clever guy at SBC Pacific Bell DSL tech support. I've been having trouble hitting a site where I can sign up for online banking through a secondary bank I use. It was a complete mystery what was going on. Other people could hit the site, but I couldn't. Today, I ran into the problem again when I tried to reach Hewlett-Packard to get some device drivers for the scanner and printer. Now I know HP ain't down (and Anil double-checked for me), so what the heck is going on here?

After a lot of time on the phone & NS Lookups and talking out loud over the problem, Matt, the clever tech guy, and I finally hit on it. He said, "Well, this is weird; these are both 192 IP addresses and those are normally used internally." And I said "Oh, yeah, that's right. I remember we used to use them in our old home internal network...OH! Hey, that's it." Sure enough. He had me check ipconfig and though I installed the new DSL software & reconfigured the gateway & DNS, though the control panel shows only the new configuration, ipconfig reveals that those old settings are still in there. My computer thinks 192 addresses are all right here in my apartment and won't go out looking for them.

Hooray for patience on the phone. Thanks, Matt. Now when Edmond comes up to set up the network here (his computer will be living with me while he's on the trail), I can have him make sure the problem is resolved. Matt may be clever, but Edmond's got 10 years of network experience and I put greater faith in him to set me up right.

Posted on April 13, 2002 at 04:50 PM in tools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Changing Priorities 2002

I've reduced my hours at SoftDevices to just one day a week, plus a few hours here & there as needed. I love the people, but the work has changed a little (more configuration of an existing solution, less creation of a new solution) and, more than that, I've changed.

My grandfather's death really made me take some time to think about what is important to me. Bob was a man who really lived by his principles. He was good to the people around him, made people laugh and think, and inspired his passion for learning and exploring in those around him. He defended our right to free speech. He thought globally before that became fashionable. I'm not saying he didn't live a fairly normal American lifestyle, but he raised my mother in a way that let her respect herself and follow her dreams and strengthened her to provide an environment for me to grow up with the same strong sense of self and love of learning and the world.

Business is a little slow right now, so that's part of the reason I reduced my hours, but more than that, I wanted time to think and explore some possibilities. One realization I've come to is that I want to live in better accordance with my principles and I am willing to get by on significantly less money to do so. I will miss working full-time with the wonderful people at SoftDevices, but these reduced hours will let me do work, both paid & volunteer, which truly feeds my soul.

After a lot of thought about where I want to work (entreprenuerial projects with friends, Tides Foundation or a similar non-profit, returning to bookstores or publishing...), I was walking through my new grocery store, Rainbow, smiling and chatting with staff & other shoppers and realized I'd love to work there. I do miss the public contact in retail. I did a bit of research about Rainbow's workers cooperative and spoke with an employee (Hi Pete!) when we bumped into each other at the Billy Nayer Show Wednesday night. Today I filled out my application and thought I'd share a couple answers with you:

Why do you want to work at Rainbow?
I am tired of working for companies whose primary raison d'etre is to help make corporations make more money. I want to make my work a natural outflow of my beliefs - eco-friendly, pro-creativity, pro-kindness, pro-freak - and I want to create a feedback mechanism where my positive energy flows through my work to the community and back. I want to feel more connected to simple, natural, shared things like eating, growing food, making good stuff, sharing ourselves, and smiling. I'd rather help someone sit down to a good meal than help them sell a computer.

What are your future goals?
- to create more of what I use (both food and things)
- to participate in communities more (San Francisco, global connectedness in general, online creativity sharing in general)
- to have nothing in my home which is not beautiful or useful or both
- to, as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence say, spread universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt
- to walk the city of San Francisco, every street, every block

I'll let you know how it turns out and I'll see you in the bulk aisle. ;)

Posted on April 13, 2002 at 03:16 PM in work | Permalink | Comments (2)

In my case, I have four general categories of clothing:
- workish (not too exciting, not too threatening, not worn-out)
- casual (jeans, t-shirts, sweats, kinda worn stuff)
- dressy (ranging from tasteful velvet & linen to racy leather & latex)
- lingerie (including stockings, which are sometimes worn with any of the other categories because tights & pantyhose annoy me)

I could also group the clothes by storage method:
- hanging (long)
- hanging (short)
- stackable (e.g. sweaters, jeans, knit shirts including t-shirts)
- jumbly (e.g. underwear, socks)

My resources are:
- a small closet
- two-thirds of a large closet (the other third being my "office")
- 2 16" square cheap pressboard 2 drawer cubes
- 2 11" high cheap Ikea 3 drawer units
- 2 11" high nice pine 2 drawer units
- 2 7" high cheap Ikea 2 drawer units
- a two-drawer file cabinet with a faux wood finish
- 2 large pieces of scrap lumber 22"x48" salvaged when tearing out a deteriorated old cupboard in my old place
- a variety of other pieces of scrap lumber
- a measuring tape
- a hacksaw
- a steel ruler
- an old tablecloth

In addition to my clothes, the closets also contained, when I started
- a rather dilapidated old chest of drawers at least 4' wide
- my vacuum cleaner
- a very large basket which I use as a dirty clothes hamper
- 2 large plastic bins with "cold storage" items (genealogy & gaming related stuff)
- spare pillows
- two containers of file folders labelled 1965-2002 each containing items from that year which I've discovered going through old papers & junk during this move
- a bag of items intended for use in a future Pirate Gift Exchange Party
- a bag of old receipt tapes and other ephemera remaining from the legal records of my late lamented bookstore, Inkspot
- jewelry (not much)
- gloves
- toys
- mailing supplies
- a soft suitcase
- a folding card table
- a folding clothes drying rack

My frustration largely arose from the fact that both sections of hanging clothes felt packed and constrained my thrift store shopping urge. Also I was convinced things could be stored more efficiently. Ah, and the old chest of drawers had sticky, difficult to handle drawers that irritated me.

My overall plan was to swap out the long hanging things from their over-stuffed home in the small closet to a new spacious home in the big closet pending removal of the big old chest of drawers.

First, I emptied the small closet & cleaned out any dust. (Note: in both cases, I actually didn't remove the items up on the high shelves in the closet; I was merely dealing with the daily access areas below the 6' mark).

Next, noticing the 3/4 inch baseboard wrapping the bottom of the closet, I measured the width above the baseboard at the back of the closet and 22 inches from the back wall. In the kitchen, I laid the old tablecloth down below my work area. I made make-do sawhorses out of the top of my new chest freezer and the top of two plastic storage boxes stacked on my stepstool. I cut 2 of my scrap boards to the measured lengths and then trimmed & sanded them down to fit neatly, resting atop the baseboards and providing a shelf the full width of the closet.

Atop this shelf I placed the first of the two 16" pressboard cubes (which I bought at Orchard Supply Hardware a couple years ago and put together easily - once I used twice as many nails as the stingy manufacturer had provided). I centered it about 1" back from the front of the shelf.

I then measured the width of the closet atop the cube and cut one of my 22"x48" boards to that length. I brushed the sawdust off onto the tablecloth and then settled it on top of the cube, snugged to the back of the closet. I secured the shelf by putting the other heavy pressboard cube directly above its sister.

Flat items go under the bottom shelf (e.g. walking sticks, Makita drill)

The little area behind the cubes I filled with my Master's robes & mortarboard and a spare set of monogrammed feety pajamas (a bit too large for me, but hard to replace), three juggling clubs which I haven't quite given up on yet, and some infrequently-worn t-shirts.

I put a pair of boots too large for the hanging shoe rack on the door at the back of the area to the right of the bottom cube. These are the boots that I wear with my catsuit and so I keep the can of latex gloss in one of them. I filled in the rest of that side with stacked casual shirts.

I filled in the area to the left of the bottom cube with stacked t-shirts, rolled to show their pictures so it's easy to find the one I want. Forgot to mention, I left the contents of these cubes as they were: underwear and socks.

I stacked my brassieres in two stacks (sports bras & others) to the left of the top cube. Since there was space behind the stacks, I looked around and found a small suitcase-style portable bar (which I brought to Lane & Courtney's housewarming party to make Jasmines) to nestle back there.

On the right, I stashed my wig box (a cool metal briefcase make-up kit I bought a J.C. Penney or some such years ago - screw the make-up, it was the box I wanted!) and filled in the front with stacked jeans.

I pulled out the bag of Pirate Gift exchange items from the upper shelf and was able to stash the card table & drying rack up there.

All the shorter hanging items went onto the curtain rod with the shorter ones over the cube, a few hats tucked in at the back around the tops of the juggling clubs and voila! one closet done!

The larger closet's configuration would be heavily influenced by the length of my longer hanging things. First, I emptied the space, wrestling the big ol' dresser out of the closet laboriously.

I decided that the cheapo Ikea 3 drawer units had much rougher tops than the nice 11" high pine units and so I put them on the bottom layer to avoid snagged clothes. I situated their front edges about 20" out from the back wall and then rested the untrimmed 22" x 48" board atop them. I hung up the clothes to test the height and was pleased to discover that only two items actually touch the shelf. A couple inches of fabric resting there doesn't seem so bad, so I opted to keep the shelf at that height (rather than switch to the 7" units for the base layer) and placed the nice pine units on top, flush with the right edge. I pushed my file cabinet up against these and the edge of the shelf.

At this point I realized I had two difficult to access spots behind the bottom units. I opened the bottom drawer of my file cabinet which contained mostly old tax records and extra empty file and hanging folders and pulled all those out. Then I arranged my year folders in that drawer with the 2002 folder at the front. I put the last two tax years at the back of the top drawer. There being a bit of extra room, I emptied one of the base unit's drawer of blank paper and hung it in the front of the top drawer of the file cabinet for easy access. I then put the toys in that emptied drawer. Reviewing the other drawers, I realized that two could be combined, which freed up a drawer for the jewelry. Progress!

This step left me a stack of old tax folders and a bunch of empty file folders. I put these in the small file holder and slid it behind the left base unit. [Here we see the justification for Dinah's painstaking detail in this entry. All I'll need to do 2 years from now is go to Google and search for "old tax folders site:metagrrrl.com" and I can find where the hell I put that stuff. And some people didn't believe me when I said I blogged for myself...] I was also left with a small plastic storage box which had formerly contained half of the year folders. I filled this box with all the unfiled year-related items from one of the drawers of the little Ikea units. This let me move all my bills & receipts from one of the drawers of the nice pine units.

So, now I have the base unit and the left side behind it filled. I need something to put on the right. Well, there was this narrow box that came with my DSL modem and it has some documents & other adapters and what-have-you that I saved. Away it goes (making more space in the computer drawer in the highboy out in the room) and my soft suitcase tucks in beside with the long strap sticking out alongside the base unit to remind me that it's there. I filled in the space between the base units with sweatpants, sweatshirts and shorts.

To the right of the base unit & the pine unit above, between it and the file cabinet, I left about and inch or two gap which nicely accomodates large envelopes, report covers & similar large mailing supplies. Between the two pine units is another little gap which holds small padded envelopes & mailing labels. That freed up another drawer of the pine units. The other two drawers contained bits of paper representing to-do items - envelopes to remind me to do changes of address, mostly. Since this stuff needs to get done, I decided to put it right in my face. I have two lovely old baking pans with a starburst pattern on them. I took one and put all the awkwardly sized to-do stuff in it (e.g. shirt to return to Lands' End, my Compaq Ipaq music player thingy that I never could get to install properly, etc.) into another small plastic storage box (which formerly barely contained my lingerie) and put all those to-do papers in the tin box. It and the two small clear plastic storage boxes represent a nagging tower of "Work On This Stuff" to be placed in sight of my desk.

Now all the drawers of the pine units were empty and could be filled with the lingerie and gloves, finally given the respect and space they deserve. Two corsets wouldn't fit, so I wrapped the prettier one around the other and laid it below the longest hanging items (the green silk looks very nice against the burgundy velvet of the dress, I must say).

I tucked the spare pillows (in a big plastic bag to keep them from getting dusty) behind the pine units and put another little makeup case containing more toys beside the lefthand pine unit. Then I looked at the clothes remaining to be situated. These were the workish shirts and sweaters, nicely folded, ready to stack. In the absence of a nicer box, which I intend to get later, I put the short sleeves shirts stacked in a milk crate set on its side atop the pine boxes. Rather offense to the eye, but functional for now. The long sleeve shirts and sweaters stacked behind it, atop the pillows.

I rested the nagging tower of to-do items on top of the milk crate and part two of my closet conquest was complete.

Items left displaced at the end:
- old chest of drawers (currently outside my door, labeled "Free")
- 2 large plastic bins with "cold storage" items (which will be stored in Edmond's storage unit if space permits)
- a bag of items intended for use in a future Pirate Gift Exchange Party (said party I will be announcing soon)
- a bag of old receipt tapes and other ephemera remaining from the legal records of my late lamented bookstore, Inkspot (another nagging item to be left in front of the file cabinet to annoy me & provoke action)

My next step was to improve the other third of the big closet, my "office".

I borrowed a small computer table from Edmond and set it up in place of the side table with boards balanced on it which I had been using. I rested a nice finished pine board atop the file cabinet, extending over a gap between it and the little computer table. The two 7" Ikea units sit on this with the left-hand one up against the milk crate. The scanner and printer go on top of these, the former being rather precariously balanced.

My next step will be to install a 4 foot long shelf above the computer area to which the scanner will move and which can also accomodate the nagging tower of to-do items. At that point, I'll consider the office done and will do a little dance.

I hope all this detail has been of use to you in closet projects of your own. Remember, I did all this with only three straight cuts with the saw. It's easy! Give it a try!

[pictures to come soon...]

Posted on April 11, 2002 at 01:47 PM in creativity | Permalink | Comments (3)

Recipe: Homemade Vegetable Broth 2002

In the kitchen with...

Today's Money-Saving, Dinner-enhancing, Life-enriching Tip:
Homemade Vegetable Broth
with bonus clever storage idea!

Step One: Dedicate a little sealable container in your freezer to holding vegetable trimmings. Put everything in there you might otherwise have thrown away: carrot tops, broccoli stalks, edamame pods, onion ends, parsley stems, etc. Don't include big hunks of dirt or moldy stuff, but you guessed that. [As of August 2004 and for some time now, I've been converted to the use of good fresh eating parts of vegetables rather than trimmings for making stock. It is much better.]

Step Two: When the container is full or the mood strikes you (e.g. when you're in the kitchen cooking something else, but have a burner or two free), chop up an onion into big chunks. Put some olive oil or spray some Pam or some such into a frying pan. If you like garlic, throw some garlic in there too. I like to sprinkle one kind of herb (preferably a fresh one, but dry is fine) in there too (e.g. thyme, sage, oregano, basil). Cook the onion on low heat, stirring it from time to time so it doesn't burn. If you like, you can put a chopped tomato in there too after the onion has been cooking for a few minutes. This is especially nice with basil & garlic.

Step Three: Put some drinking water in a big pot (I use a Corning Vision stockpot which apparently isn't made anymore - basically it's a big pyrex casserole/stockpot which you can actually see through - or a lovely Calphalon pot Edmond gave me). Add your frozen vegi scraps. Turn the heat on medium high so the water is at a very gentle boil. Cover it.

Step Four: When the onion has turned translucent or is a bit browned, take it off the heat & let it cool for a few minutes. Pour the onion into your broth. Ladle out some broth into the frying pan and stir it around to get the good onion browning off the pan. Pour that liquid back into the broth.

Step Five: After your broth has been going for about 30 minutes all together, take it off the heat and leave it covered for a while to cool.

Step Six: When the pan & broth are cool enough not to burn you, set up a pan big enough to hold all the liquid with a strainer or colander resting over it. The finer the mesh, the clearer the broth. Carefully pour the broth through the strainer. Watch out for avalanches of cooked vegis. Once you've emptied the stockpot, set it beside the new pot and lift the strainer to allow all the liquid through. Give it a little shake and then put the strainer in the stockpot to carry all the soggy vegis over to the compost (or the trash if you must).

Step Seven: Allow the strained broth to cool. And here's the really clever bit: put it in a ziploc bag pre-labeled with the date and any special notes (e.g. "April 8, 2002 - Onion-Thyme-Garlic"). Make sure the bag is well closed. Lay the bag flat in a pan and put the pan in the freezer until the broth is a frozen sheet. Remove the pan.

Step Eight: Whenever you are cooking something like, say, ramen noodles, which calls for water, use your broth instead. Just break off a chunk of the sheet as needed. You can also cook in broth instead of oil or butter. This is lovely for things like zucchini or fish.

If you make a habit of this, soon your freezer will be stocked with tasty starting points for many meals - soup, stew and otherwise - and you may find yourself experimenting ("Hmm, maybe I'll throw in a little dijon mustard...and the rest of my beer...and some black pepper....")

(Many thanks to my pa, Paul, for the culinary advice!)

Posted on April 8, 2002 at 10:39 PM in Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (8)

Technology is Confusing 2002

Well, after various trials and tribulations relating to my unfamiliarity with WinZip and CuteFTP, I finally got my upgrade to Movable Type 2.0 working! Huzzah!

This is the test post that will prove that it's really working again...

...and it had an error. Take two?

Posted on April 6, 2002 at 12:47 PM in tools, warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (8)

Anti-telemarketing Trick 2002

Once again I am throwing my mental panties on the stage where Davezilla is performing his latest number: We've been expecting you.

Posted on April 3, 2002 at 10:37 AM in creativity, linky goodness, tools | Permalink | Comments (4)

An Argument Against Free? 2002

Jason once again reminds me why it's worth checking his site every day. Today's post is an interview with G. Beato containing this thought-provoking idea:

I think an important point has largely been overlooked -- and that is that an environment where the majority of content is free or sponsored by advertisers ultimately favors corporate-created content.
I highly recommend you read the entire interview.

Posted on April 2, 2002 at 11:28 PM in creativity, linky goodness, The Web, warnings & kvetches, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (2)

Spring 2002

Conversation with a friend in Alaska:

Dinah: How's the weather?
Jack: gorgeous
Dinah: mm, nice. Pretty good here too.
Jack: nice, sunny, everything's melting
Dinah: Greenery coming up yet?
Jack: Nah, still 6 inches of snow on the ground...
Dinah: mm, Spring is coming.
Jack: yeah, still not here, but I'm hopefull...
Dinah: She's headed north, hopping freight trains and fornicating under trees with hobos leaving crocuses in her wake

Posted on April 2, 2002 at 03:41 PM in creativity, holidays, sex | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sugar Rush Interview 2002

A while back, can't remember when exactly, but I think around the beginning of 2001, Mike Gavin interviewed me for his website Sugar Rush. I noticed the other day that the link to that interview was dead, so I dug up the content on web.archive.org and "reprint" it here.

mike: so, metagrrrl, *rowr* :) let's get started

let's hear all about this crazy site of yours, just what is it?

metagrrrl: Oh, usual weblog pontification, silliness and linkage.

mike: all the ingredients of a great site :)

metagrrrl: I am slowly extending the site adding new things as I develop them. For example, the Eclectic Encyclopedia is where I put any random factoids I think people might be amused to look up later.

mike: i've already spotted a few i've been amused by :)

so what does it mean to you? do you see it as a place to let out some of your rants, or is it just a way to pass the time?

metagrrrl: I see it as a representation of myself online. It's a very personal site, revealing most facets of my personality. If you spend enough time exploring it, it's really as though you've met me. Maybe only the casual chat that you might have at a party, but still a real and valid connection.

mike: that's good, it's nice to have something which is a part of you online :)

so how much of your time is spent on metagrrrl.com then?

metagrrrl: Oh, probably half an hour to an hour a day. Sometimes less, sometimes more. I definitely spend an hour or two a day working on my weblog and/or reading other weblogs.

metagrrrl: I do a lot of that in between other things. From work, from home, wherever.

Hrm. Well, it's not on my site per se, but I just did some more proofing for Strafe's Guide to Streetspeak. We just put up the 3rd Edition a week or so ago and I'm polishing the internal links to be sure we've covered the cross-references.

metagrrrl: Hrm. Appears that the last thing I did on *my* site was to point to Jason's blog.

The last non-Blogger-powered thing I did on metagrrrl.com was (hmm, checks Dreamweaver) add A Day Without Weblogs to the Eclectic Encyclopedia.

mike: aaah, a good cause :)

so let's just put your site to one side for now, and let's hear a little about you, who is the dinah behind the metagrrrl?

metagrrrl: Well, there isn't a great deal of difference between Dinah & MetaGrrrl. It's not so much a secret identity as it is an amplification of my extroverted side. When not MetaGrrrling, I'm just a bit quieter, probably to be found reading, puttering around in libraries or bookstores, or playing games.

metagrrrl: I socialize via my website, though it isn't my only outlet. With a busy schedule (I'm a mission commander in an up-and-coming software company), it is easier to connect in bits & bytes as I have time for weblogging & email & ICQ.

mike: ahh ok :) well, let's hear a little more about you then, how do you like to relax?

metagrrrl: I tend to read a lot (and fast too!) but I also enjoy feeding grapes to attractive, semi-clothed men. I am definitely more drawn to "indoorsy" activities.

metagrrrl: I do not golf or play tennis or snowboard or drive a racecar. I also don't play polo, water or otherwise.

metagrrrl: And at 5'2", basketball is right out.

mike: sorry, can you go back to the feeding me grapes part? erm.. no wait, forget that last bit :)

do you not do danger sports also?

metagrrrl: That's right, Mike, I do not do danger sports. Except for possibly feeding two boys grapes at the same time. That takes iron nerves.

mike: crikey.. well, i can test those nerves of yours if you want, although, i'd have to find somebody else for you to feed grapes to
and raise enough money to get to where you are
and find where you are
and buy some grapes

oh well :)

so you're a big reader then? who's your favourite author?

metagrrrl: Ah, many many favorites. Favorite book of all time is Little, Big by John Crowley from which comes the quote "The things that make us happy, make us wise."

mike: oooh - so are you in the middle of anything at the moment?

metagrrrl: Heh. About 10 or 20 things.
Geisha by Liza Dalby
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
The March of Folly by Barbara W. Tuchman
Livy's Early History of Rome
Creating the Not-So-Big House by Sarah Susanka
Those are the most active ones at the moment.

metagrrrl: Recently finished Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden which I recommend.

mike: oooh ok :)

so i'm gonna flex my mad interviewing muscles and ask a few quick-fire questions to dig a little deeper, ready?

metagrrrl: yep

mike: here goes...

if you could change one thing in the world today, what would it be?

metagrrrl: poverty...no wait, Daniel took that one. Gender bias.

mike: do you notice a lot of that nowadays?

metagrrrl: Not personally, but then I live in one of the least biased areas in the world as far as gender & sexual orientation are concerned. No, I say that more because it is such a factor in poorer countries. Disenfranchised women really contributes to overall poverty. If you educate women & allow them equal rights it improves the overall economy and decreases population growth.

mike: *nods*

what's your most vivid memory?

metagrrrl: Opening my bookstore.

mike: a good memory i take it?

metagrrrl: Oh most definitely. :)

mike: good :)

if you could invent something, no matter how impossible it seems, what would it be?

metagrrrl: Monitorless, keyboardless computer-interface wallpaper. I want to walk up to the wall, tap it with my finger and say "Desktop" and voila, there's my computer. I want to be able to type in the air where it feels comfy and have the computer sense it.

mike: that would be soooo cool :)

mike: and would it talk to you too?

metagrrrl: Sure. But only when I wanted it to. :) And it would have a great voice. Depending on the role it was playing. (Work messages come in Patrick Stewart's voice, personal stuff in Tammy Grimes' voice...)

mike: hehe :)

you wake up. your house is on fire, you only have time to get one thing out of the house, what do you pick?

metagrrrl: Three small pieces of art in the wall of my library, charcoals sketches done by a friend of my great-grandmother. They show a girl reading, brushing her hair & asleep on her bed. If I could only grab one, it'd be the brushing one. So beautiful.

metagrrrl: But realistically, I wouldn't grab anything. There is NO TIME when your house is on fire and you should just get the hell out.

mike: definitely :)

if you had to lose one of your senses, which would it be, and why?

metagrrrl: As much as I love scents (flowers, spring earth, my lover's skin, hot cocoa), I've spent enough time with allergies & colds to know I can live without my sense of smell.

mike: do you want some coffee?

metagrrrl: Yes, but also no.

Caffeine really fucks me up, so I've had to give up coffee even though I love the bitter bastard.

mike: oh? how come?

metagrrrl: It brings on my fight or flight response and makes me alternately weepy and homicidal.

mike: eeek... well it's a good thing i actually don't like coffee, and have no idea how to make it then :)

if you could have one super-power, what would it be?

metagrrrl: the ability to make people (including myself) see things with new, unbiased eyes.

mike: that's a strange, but very thought provoking super-power :)

metagrrrl: Well, that's me "strange, but thought-provoking". :)

mike: hehe :)

if you died, and were re-incarnated as an animal, which animal would you be?

metagrrrl: rat.

They are smart. They like to eat, cuddle and sleep.

mike: i didn't know rats cuddled, that's kinda sweet :)

metagrrrl: Oh they are just lovey-dovey little animals. You should get a pair. Alas, I became allergic to them about, oh, 17 years ago, but I still miss them.

mike: well i really shouldn't get a pair, as my cat would eat them :)

metagrrrl: Hmm, yes, that could be problematic.

mike: hehe :)

so before we wrap up the interview, let's return to the net. you know the score - mad proppage time :) which are your two favourite sites?

metagrrrl: hoo. Tough one, but topical since I'm simultaneously voting on the Bloggies. I'd say http://www.lileks.com/ is first.

mike: oh? for what reason?

metagrrrl: He's frickin' brilliant, a great writer, it's gorgeous, it's always growing and he makes me laugh until tears roll down my face.

metagrrrl: And he has a fine dog.

mike: hehe :)

mike: so what's the second?

metagrrrl: Second choice: evheadmegnutonfocusbradlandsharrumph

metagrrrl: Can't decide. :)

mike: hehe - that's going to be hell to link :)

metagrrrl: yeah, well, I like them all. I just have to check them every day.

mike: ok :)

so if you had to describe your site in just five words, which would you pick?

metagrrrl: dinah speaks her shameless mind

mike: *laughs*

ok, so before we go, is there anything you'd like to say to the people out there?

metagrrrl: Jump on, join in! The web has room for everyone and everyone has a story to tell. Don't be afraid to start small, we all did and some of us don't do anything fancy, we're just ourselves, online.

mike: nice message :)

thanks a lot for doing this, it's been great, now i have to go buy a plane ticket and as many grapes as i can carry :)

Posted on April 1, 2002 at 10:56 PM in Dinah - introduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Yahoo Opts Out Of Being Cool 2002

Thanks to Gary at the Balboa Theatre (whose little newsletter is great) for this warning:

On March 28, Yahoo! Groups set everyone's account to the "Have your advertisers send me mail" option no matter what folks had previously
elected as their preference. Because this has gone from an opt-in service to an opt-out one, if you are a member of a Yahoo! Groups-based email list (or, I
assume, if you have a Yahoo! e-mail account) and have no desire to surrender your inbox to a deluge of mail from Yahoo!'s advertisers, you have to tell them that you don't want this mail within 60 days -- if you don't say anything, they will just send it.

Here's how to do it:
- Go to Yahoo Groups (http://groups.yahoo.com) and sign in.
- Go to My Groups and click on Account Info, verify your password if it asks you to, which will bring up your Yahoo ID card.
- Click on 'Edit Your Marketing Preferences' and change all those Yes's back to No's.
- Click 'Save Changes.'

Posted on April 1, 2002 at 04:52 PM in privacy, tools, warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (3)

Blog (noun) A weblog or similar brief journal usually containing links and commentary thereon. Term coined by Peter Merholz.

Visit Typepad or Blogger to start your own. (I began with hand coding, then switched to Blogger when it first became available, then to Movable Type when I wanted more control over my weblog and to have it hosted at a place of my choosing (Hurricane Electric). Since 06/2003 I've used Typepad, a hosted service built by the same folks who made Movable Type, which I love because I don't have to maintain the underlying system).

You may write to Dinah @ this domain.

Except where otherwise noted all content is copyright 1965-2018 Dinah Sanders. Please do not repost my writing or other creations elsewhere. Instead, copy a tiny bit and link to the rest. Thanks! Images are copyright of their original creators. MetaGrrrl logo and photos by Dinah are copyright 1965-2018 Dinah Sanders. Inkspot Books and the Inkspot logo have been Service Marks of Dinah Sanders since 1993.