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Absolution 2005

My friend David writes, and I heartily concur,

NO, I'M NOT KEEPING UP WITH YOUR BLOG.

I would like to. I really would. I like it and I like you.

But we're now well past the point where we can keep up with all the blogs worth reading from the people worth keeping up with.

I just can't do it any more.

I've been faking it for a while. Months. Maybe a year. If we've met and I look confused about something you told me, and if you said, "I blogged it," as if that should be explanation enough, I've made some excuse as if I read every one of your posts except that one.

The truth is, I probably haven't read your blog in weeks. Months maybe.

And I don't expect you to have read mine.

I don't want to lie any more. I don't want to feel guilty any more. So let me tell you flat out: There are too many blogs I like and too many people I like to making "keeping up" a reasonable expectation, any more than you should expect me to keep up with Pokemon characters or Bollywood movies. You shouldn't expect me to and I'm not going to feel guilty any longer about my failure.

I will read your blog on occasion, either because I've been thinking of you or because something reminded me of you. Maybe it'll be because you sent me an email pointing a post you think I'll enjoy. Go ahead! I'd love to hear from you.

But I hereby release you from thinking I expect you to keep up with my blog, and I preemptively release myself from your expectations.

Otherwise reading each other's blogs will become a joyless duty. And we're too good friends to do that to each other.


[This post written Saturday morning just before 10am, but posting deferred until Monday so as to provide more time for those people who aren't reading my blog a chance to see the announcement about the Carmina Burana production.]

Posted on June 27, 2005 at 08:00 AM in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Psst... Carmina Burana... Pass it on... 2005

Performers: San Francisco Choral Society and CA Chamber Symphony
Place: Davies Symphony Hall
Time: August 20th, 8pm
Cost: Under $30 a ticket

Come get your ass happily kicked by modern choral music. Be there.

O Fortuna,                          O Fortune,
velut luna                          like the moon
statu variabilis,                   you are changeable,
semper crescis                      ever waxing
aut decrescis;                      and waning;
vita detestabilis                   hateful life
nunc obdurat                        first oppresses
et tunc curat                       and then soothes
ludo mentis aciem,                  as fancy takes it;
egestatem,                          poverty
potestatem                          and power
dissolvit ut glaciem.               it melts them like ice.

[full lyrics (including all the sexy bits)]

Posted on June 24, 2005 at 10:32 PM in music | Permalink | Comments (2)

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Posted on June 23, 2005 at 11:42 PM in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mac OS X Tiger and Treo syncing problems 2005

Can't sync your Palm device after upgrading to Tiger? The helpful instructions you need to get the Palm Desktop Installer to quit failing with an "Access Denied" error are right here at PalmOne where I searched but didn't find them. Thank you, Google for indexing sites better than their owners.

Posted on June 22, 2005 at 08:47 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1)

It's cool when my friends are on NPR 2005

Hey, turn on the radio tomorrow and listen to Forum at 10am on KQED. Michael Chorost, author of Rebuilt (which I was just recommending to you a couple posts ago), will be on and it should be a great show. Mmm, radio technology bringing you an interesting discussion with a man who hears the world thanks, in part, to radio technology. Science is tasty.

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And it was a fascinating and fun show, as hoped. Give it a listen!

Posted on June 22, 2005 at 07:34 PM in linky goodness | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Mondayish Tuesday 2005

I took a long weekend to visit my folks - and it was lovely - so today was my first day back in the office since last Thursday. Always a shock to the system since so much email seems to come in over two days, but compounded today by a team lunch (fun, but for someone who often eats at her desk a big chunk of the day to lose), meetings and a system support problem I needed to help resolve (and will have to give up some of tomorrow to as well).

The day washed me up on the shore of home, tired, spacy and contemplating sleep. I got myself out of workbrain mode by playing around with my new iSight camera. It turns out that contrary to what I expected, you can't record into iMovie with it. Apple! Duh! I'm seriously considering returning it, but they may bail themselves out with the Quicktime Broadcaster which (thank you, Mac Dev Center!) is free and lets you record to your hard drive.

Tonight I just futzed around with the microphone a bit. Clearly lots to learn to get good sound quality, but pretty darn easy to get something adequate.

As is normal for everyone, I was appalled by the sound of my own voice (am I really that nasel and arch sounding?), but recovered after a bit of exposure to it. Well, and after the theraputic step of reading the beginning of Dylan Thomas' Under Milkwood. Round lovely sounds.

Not sure what I'll play with next. Maybe a little video tour of my house that I can show my grandma next time I visit her. Hmm, and that inventory I've been meaning to update for my renters' insurance.

No, I am not going to become a camgirl. I may not have learned anything else from Paris Hilton (thank goodness), but I at least know that video never goes away.

Got tips for someone just learning to use an iSight or Quicktime Broadcaster? Leave 'em in the comments!

Posted on June 21, 2005 at 08:23 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1)

Doing housework is like threading beads on a string with no knot at the end.                    
           --Anonymous

Posted on June 19, 2005 at 07:30 PM in quotes | Permalink | Comments (1)

Getting under the covers 2005

Today I was taking a look at the bestsellers on Amazon - a fascinating social study - and noticed this rather amusing juxtaposition of cover art, subject and added advertising graphics:

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Ahem.

One of the rather nice things about getting older is that you can enjoy being on the pedestal, putting someone else there, or the mutual awareness that you're enjoying all this skirt uplooking without sacrificing your sense of safety or self. In any case, I tend to avoid the pop psychology and head for the speculative fiction or fascinating non-fiction.

Here's what I have read in the top 100:

Freakonomics - fun, but pushed a little far to pop. I would have liked a bit more depth. Fascinating ideas, though; particularly the observation that legalized abortion correlates tightly with lowered crime 15 or so years later.

Blink - very much enjoyed this. Thinking about getting the audio book version since Malcolm Gladwell is such a great speaker.

The Tipping Point - amazing, influential book, and oddly enough still imbued with my original mental image of Gladwell - professorial, badly-weathered 50something, Alan Ginsbergesque - despite my now knowing he's a young guy with an afro who's rather nice looking (and just professorial enough to have the male equivalent of sexy librarian going).

The Time Traveler's Wife - recommended to me by my dear friend Shannon and very wisely so.  Fantastic premise, very very well executed.

A Short History of Nearly Everything - highly enjoyable science writing from the ever funny Bill Bryson. Recommended. The audio book is fun too since the guy reading it sounds like the voice of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

The Catcher in the Rye - read it many long years ago; only can recall being rather annoyed at the protaganist.

The Chronicles of Narnia - I must have read every one of these seven books at least 25 times each. Probably more. The imagery of these books is firmly rooted in my internal landscape. (Have to admit that I had read them more than a dozen times and loved them deeply before someone pointed out the Christian metaphor to me; my reaction was to think "but that makes them so much smaller...")

1984 - time to re-read this again, America. (Very glad to see this in the top 100).

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - I love the Harry Potter books. Great characters with some complexity to them and I really like the friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione. I was very pleased in this one to see Harry hitting the hard part of adolescence and J.K. Rowling having the cajones to write him as a less sympathetic character.

Fahrenheit 451 - well, heck, I'm a librarian. Of course I've read this classic.

If I switch over to the top-sellers for science, I can also note Strunk & White's Elements of Style (apparently now achieving the status of a natural law), Fast Food Nation (scary, very scary and essential reading), Walden; Or, Life in the Woods (which I am still working my way through in a plain text version on my PDA while waiting for trains and stuck in lines), and Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (a great pleasure, discovered on the virtual book tour if I recall correctly).

There's a new book which ought to be in both those lists. Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human by Michael Chorost is a great book. At the most simple level it is the memoir of a man who goes deaf, gets a cochlear implant and then has to deal with having a computer in his head. And at that level it's a fascinating and enjoyable book. Chorost explains the science of hearing and of the technology which restores it with such grace that you leave the book smarter without struggling. The simple facts of his story are interesting and well told.

It could have been a good book with just these things, but he pushes it in additional directions to create a rich, deep experience. Its also about what makes us human, the nature of reality, longing and loneliness, what it is to be deaf and what it is to be on the outside of the signing deaf community, the trials and tribulations of romance in the age of online dating, how technology like the cochlear implant is created and improved, a literary review of the concept of the cyborg, the frustrations and pleasures of physical life, and how we all rebuild who we are over time.

When most non-fiction books are tasty but hasty, like stir fry, it's a profound pleasure to read a work of depth and maturity in which the carefully chosen ingredients have been slow-cooked to an intricate perfection.

My favorite Amazon review of Rebuilt so far is by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, who writes

What struck me most about the book, though, was the sense that this is the first of a new genre: the memoir of people becoming cyborgs. The experience Chorost describes is one that, in the future, more and more people are going to go through: surviving some major medical crisis, recovering some lost ability, or regaining a sense, through a technology that then comes to contorl part of their body or mediate their relationship with the world. We're going to see many more books that talk about how, thanks to technology, the author learned to walk again, or learned to see again, or came back from the brink of death. "Rebuilt" sets a high bar for the genre.

Go read Rebuilt.

 

Posted on June 16, 2005 at 11:23 PM in Books | Permalink | Comments (3)

A visit to the best most dangerous block in San Francisco 2005

Hi, hi. I'm fine. No, really, just doing offline stuff.

This past weekend I installed new carpet, "Flor", in my kitchen and it's swell. And frog green.

I also took a walk to a highly dangerous spot: Divisidero between Haight & Oak. There temptation awaits. I managed to resist the suction power walking past the door of Comix Experience, but was pulled into The Other Shop. Boy_and_mount_fuji_1There among the moderne vintage items I discovered a simply wonderful Japanese print in a great frame for a steal of a price.

Then I headed on to my intended destination, Gamescape, and bought not only the additional game from Loony Labs (makers of Fluxx and Chrononauts) which I had come for, but also an expansion set for Carcassonne, a Cheapass game called "The Big Idea", and something called "Gloom" in which the goal is to make your family as miserable as possible while inflicting happiness upon your opponents families. Much fun to come at my house!

I could have left the danger zone then, but no, no, I went on to Cookin', the treasure house of every cooking implement known to man. There I obtained a hand-held juicer for lemons or limes for the making of really proper cocktails. See above.

My wallet significantly lighter, laden instead with lovely new things, I walked back home, stopping along the way for a sandwich and a juice - excellent and so inexpensive - at Courtney's Produce at 14th and Castro.

So, all is very well in my world. The kitchen improvement - take that, you ugly lino! - inspired me to clean the kitchen, and then the living room. I have some pretty nasturtiums from the backyard on the table and everything is lovely. Also I made pasta puttanesca for dinner and it was delicious.

Hope you're making your life nice in whatever way you can. Even the little stuff, step by step, counts. It's how I got here. Add something good, subtract something bad. Little by little, until one day everything in the room is what you want to have there. Home.

Posted on June 7, 2005 at 09:54 PM in San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (2)

Kitchen changes 2005

Looking into the kitchen. Note the time. (Yes, that's a Maltese Falcon on top of the armoire on the left).
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Before:
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Ugly linoleum with crappy cuts in it.
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And my landlady couldn't think why I thought there was anything wrong with the kitchen floor. *sigh*

Before. It's not that awful, but the lino sure isn't helping.
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Gentlemen, start your engines.
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scrub the UGLY linoleum. Ugh.
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Who designs a beige linoleum floor that has darker colors in its crevasses so IT CAN NEVER LOOK CLEAN? Sadists, that's who.

20 minutes to a clean floor
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Flor carpet!
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Deciding on the direction for the nap

rough layout to confirm
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15 minutes to ready to place carpet
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starting out wrong (from the corner)
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Trust the instructions, even in a small room.

start again, right this time
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That's more like it!
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Finishing bits left for help with lifting
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Fuzzy green right up to the door
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Take that, ugly lino!

Flor all laid!
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Posted on June 2, 2005 at 10:36 PM in tools | Permalink | Comments (0)

San Francisco city hall lit up in green 2005

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Posted on June 1, 2005 at 12:00 PM in San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (0)

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