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My future Neighborhoodie 2005

They didn't have one in my size and I kept forgetting to get the picture out of my phone and onto the web so I could show them the one I wanted. Alas, now I'm broke. Someday, though.

[But I didn't make it happen before I moved back to Hayes Valley in 2007.]

Posted on December 31, 2005 at 12:03 PM in San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (0)

OK 2005

Yes, I was presented with a messageless box with an "OK" button. I think my computer was just checking in to see how my day was going.

Posted on December 31, 2005 at 12:02 PM in warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (0)

Some mornings this is just the kind of news headline I need. 2005


Posted on December 31, 2005 at 12:00 PM in Current Affairs, San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (0)

Impeach Pig Nixon 2005

Graffiti lasts. And some sentiments come around again...

Posted on December 31, 2005 at 12:00 PM in politics & philosophy, San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mushroom loot! 2005

Chopping up my share of the chantrelles - after I'd given away at least twice as many!

Winter bounty. Ah, golden chantrelles. Thank you, forest.

Posted on December 30, 2005 at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

How to Order a Drink at a Bar 2005


An updated version of this advice is now available on the cocktail blog Bibulo.us which I write with Joe Gratz. Enjoy!


With the approach of another New Year's Eve, I face my annual debate: should I go out to a public venue? And as ever, I conclude it's just not worth it.

New Year's Eve brings out the newbies, the folks who never visit clubs any other time of year and who have no clue about how they work.

In the hope that education might be the answer, I offer the following information. Perhaps we can get some kind of public communication project going next year to promote these principles on colorful posters with cartoon mascots named "Bobby Booze" and "Cindy Cocktail".

How to Drink in Public:

- Have your ID out when you get to the front of the club. They will almost certainly check it. Don't make a big deal out of it.

- If you don't like cover charges, don't go to the places that have them. There are plenty of alternatives including, in many cases, coming in earlier. New Year's Eve can be an exception; the club spends a bunch on decorations and bringing on extra staff, so do a little homework first and go somewhere you can afford.

- Decide what you will order before you approach the bar. Don't ask the bartender to recite the beer list - look at the goddamn taps or the bigass menu behind the bar. Don't shout back to your idiot friends at your table asking what they want.

- Know that you can only order and carry two drinks. If four friends want drinks, two of them should go to the bar. The bartender needs to see an appropriate number of drinking age patrons to go with the drinks.

- It's really easy to see what's happening at a bar and gauge when the bartender will get to you. Don't wave your hands at him or shout. Just stand there with your money in your hand, chin slightly raised and watch him until he makes eye contact. Raise and lower your face quickly while smiling slightly (the same gesture you make when passing a co-worker again in the hall and asking a rhetorical "hey, how's it going?"). The bartender will acknowledge this with a similar gesture or a wave. You should now stop staring at his every move, relax and enjoy the ambiance of the bar. Stay attuned to things so that when the bartender approaches you are immediately ready to order. It might take a little while, but a patient and friendly patron brightens the bartender's day and tends to get very good service.

- When the bartender says "What will you have?" state your answer clearly and if you are ordering more than two drinks, gesture at the person(s) with you as you order the third and fifth drinks. Good patrons who like the same drinks will order them in rounds so that the bartender can mix them together. For example:

"A Guinness, two Sam Adams, and three Lemon Drops, please."

- If you care about the alcohol in your drink, name it in your order. Otherwise you will receive the "well" or "house" version of that alcohol. For example:

"Sapphire and tonic, and a Grey Goose Martini, please."

- If you want to order something obscure, have an easy fallback order in mind. Do not order difficult drinks when a bar is very busy. Always look for the bottles for the ingredients to your drink; you shouldn't ever need to ask "Do you have Campari?". A scan of the bottles and of the drinks being served will usually tell you how complex your order can be. It is best to work up to a complex drink by ordering a simpler one in the same family first. For example:

Round 1: "A Manhattan, please."

Round 2: (noting the bottle of Pernod and being satisfied with the mixing of the first drink) "How about a Sazerac?" If the bartender unfortunately says "What's in it?", respond with "Actually, another of your good Manhattans would be fine. Thanks."

- Order appropriately for the bar you are in. Don't have a martini in a poolhall in a Texas college town; you might think that no one could screw up a martini, but you'd be wrong. Get a beer or a Jack & Coke.

- If the bartender asks to see ID, show it without comment or rolling your eyes. They can lose weeks of pay when a bar gets closed for serving someone underage; don't endanger someone's rent payment for your drink.

- When the bartender comes back with the drinks, have your payment ready. Do not start a tab on a credit card unless you will be ordering more than two rounds. ATMs are plentiful, just bring cash for god's sake.

- Tip your bartender. If you can't just hand over the right amount for drinks and tips, after you get your change, set the money on the counter nearer to the bartender's side than yours. A dollar for a couple beers is fine, but mixed drinks call for a bit more. Complex drinks such as Mojitos or Bloody Marys deserve an extra dollar beyond that.

- Always make room for barbacks to move through the crowd bearing their heavy loads of ice, bottles, or glassware. They have a hard job; treat them kindly.

- If you need to leave your drink momentarily (e.g. to go to the bathroom or step outside for a cigarette), set a coaster on top of your glass. The bartender and barbacks will know it's not abandoned and will leave it for you. Do not abuse this courtesy by leaving it for more than 15 minutes.

Bartenders and barflys, what have I left out? Belly up to the bar in the comments!

Posted on December 30, 2005 at 11:07 AM in Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (24)

Pure water for all 2005

My fundraiser to get $1000 donated to Women in Livestock Development is off to a good start, so I'm feeling much more confident about my ability to also do something during 2006 to provide better sanitation around the world.

I'd been planning to look into helping fund a village or regional pump (and I might still do that), but I was very excited to hear an interview with Don Gould of Pure Water 4 All on IT Conversations. The filters that they've created can be locally produced by traditional craftspeople using sustainable local materials. Nice. But do they really help? Yes. Within a matter of two or three weeks after they go into use there is a significant reduction in the number of children dying. That's a hell of a short term return on investment, but there are also long-term positive implications.

"When we bring down the level of despair in parts of the world we don't think about day-to-day, we bring up the possibilities for global peace, global economic growth, all of those issues, in a very concrete way."

Pure Water 4 All sounds like exactly the kind of project that I was hoping to find.

(By the way, if you haven't encountered the term before and are puzzled when you hear it, NGO stands for Non-Governmental Organization).


A general tip: IT Conversations are really great to listen to when you do housework. (Try their Globeshakers series for especially inspiring topics). They're generally fascinating shows and keep your mind happily engaged while you, for instance, scrub the bathroom floor. Woo! Clean bathroom floor!

Posted on December 29, 2005 at 09:04 PM in linky goodness | Permalink | Comments (0)

I think what the president was trying to say is that we are not represented by a single star and a single stripe, but many stars and many stripes all coming together to form a box inside which we are given the freedom to think.
- Ze Frank

[recorded by IT Conversations at Pop!Tech October 20, 2005]

Posted on December 29, 2005 at 09:45 AM in quotes | Permalink | Comments (0)

Posted on December 27, 2005 at 06:22 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

For my cheese pals 2005

[originally posted to metagrrrl.livejournal.com]


When it's time to upgrade the big orange wedge sign...

Current Mood: cheesy
Current Music: "Bright Yellow Gun" - Throwing Muses

Posted on December 26, 2005 at 07:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Carry less. 2005

As part of the preparations for my month long trip, I went through my wallet and laptop bag and pulled out everything I knew I wouldn't need while I was gone.

Then I realized I wouldn't need enough walletstuff to bring the wallet, so I set that aside too.

When I got back I wisely didn't put everything back as it was, but have instead been adding things as I need them and I've learned something: I don't need to carry much at all. And I'm not the only one:

In the spirit of GTD, in which you try to empty your head of all the cruft and worry so you can concentrate creatively on the task at hand, let us look to our burdens to see if we can't undo a little of our daily Sisyphean-wear.

Mind like water? Meet pockets like air.

[read more in Robert Daeley's "Zen Pockets" post]

This article definitely made a lot of sense to me. I knew already but am having a renewed appreciation for just how much time, space, and weight I save by not being a makeup wearer. I never have really gotten used to wearing a watch and now, in the era of the iPod and the mobile phone and the laptop, I have a more reliable timepiece handy 99% of the time anyhow. One of the smarter decisions I made was to get a laptop bag which doesn't have room for a lot more than my laptop.

Maybe you're different, but I have to acknowledge that if there's room to put things, I'll fill it up with stuff. My Discardia-at-work move this time around was to have one of the work surfaces in my cube removed. This had the incidental effect of reducing my file cabinet space by half, but since it was half full of crap, this is a good thing. Now my remaining counter and shelf space has 3 stacks of unsightly papers which offend mine eyes and which I am thus reminded to chip away at "processing" - deciding if the things in them should be filed, trashed or require some action.

I know that Hipster PDA's are all the rage - and my beloved Grandpa Bob was a hipster ahead of his time with a dozen index cards and a ballpoint pen always handy in his pocket, so it ought to run in the family - but I find index cards are too big and heavy for my ephemeral notes. I either act on things or transfer them to my big list of projects, actions & someday/maybe in KGTD right away, so lighter, smaller slips are better for me. I went over to Kinko's, had a lot of bright yellow paper cut into twelfths and now have a good supply.

My slim wallet has three slots and the bill area, but even so it had started to seem too big and it didn't have any way to keep a pen handy with it, therefore I began watching for a better alternative. The other day in Borders I saw a little pouch thing - not sure what it's actually intended for, to be honest, since it doesn't close tight enough for a coin purse - but it's just a little bigger than a credit card, has a flap that secures with an elastic band and my space pen fits neatly in it. Perfect! and $5.99, so cheap too! It now holds my ID, ATM card, transit passes, a little cash and my noteslips. In a pinch, my house key could clip to it too.

Ahhh, minimalism.

Posted on December 26, 2005 at 03:43 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dinah at the traditional family Christmas jigsaw puzzle 2005


Posted on December 25, 2005 at 12:00 PM in Dinah - introduction, holidays | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Discardia post: Learning from the World

Posted on December 24, 2005 at 04:45 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (1)

Christmas Day cheese board 2005

My biggest present this year was this spread for our holiday nibbling. (It remains to be determined whethere this was a present for my family or myself...)

This does not show the delicious Cute Little Goat Balls From France (so labeled on the package from Rainbow even!) which we ate up yesterday or the other few cheeses still waiting in the cooler.

  • Hazelnuts.
  • Trader Joe's dried pitted tart Montmorency cherries (take one of these, dab some goat cheese on it and put a hazelnut on top - a mouthful of heaven!
  • Horsefeathers dip - horseradish, cheddar and sour cream (my dad's contribution to the board, and very tasty too!)
  • Valbrie brie
  • St. Agur blue
  • flatbreads and crackers
  • Bravo Farms sage cheddar
  • Bravo Farms chipotle cheddar
  • Irish Cahill Porter
  • Ossau-Iraty sheep milk cheese
  • Welsh Red Dragon (ale flavors with whole mustard seeds)
  • 1 year aged Dutch Gouda

(Also not pictured here is the Affinois pepper brie, making a reappearance for the late evening snacking)

[When I originally posted this on Flickr, Kristin Garrity said, "That looks reeeeaaaally good. Merry Christmas to you and your family (and your cheese hoard .. I mean, board)!!"]

Posted on December 24, 2005 at 12:00 PM in Food and Drink, holidays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Christmas bounty 2005

The mushrooms are going wild up here in Mendocino county!

[When I put this up on Flickr at the time I added: "(Alert to SF friends: if you want to get in on this shroomy goodness when I come back to town next week, better drop me a note...)" Kristin Garrity said, "Consider my note dropped :)" and I replied, "Golden chantrelles for Kristin. Noted."]

Posted on December 24, 2005 at 12:00 PM in Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (0)

wild mushrooms 2005


Pretty lacey mushroom

Paul gathers mushrooms

Mushroom top shifting to blue colors

Stump and mushroom in the woods at Edgewood

Amanita. The classic poisonous wild mushroom. Shiny red with white dots. Looked really cute later nestled in Paul's winter garland along the porch railing.

Black "chantrelles"

Golden chantrelles

Blown mushroom

Blown mushroom 2. I like the focus on the other better, but the position of the stalk in this one pleases me more.
This didn't come out too bad considering that it was taken with my Treo 600 phone.

More pretty wild mushrooms. They were all over like wildflowers. I saw easily a dozen varieties.

Big bright fungus. This stuff is usually a lot smaller and growing on carpet in houses with damp problems.

the same again for scale. A big tree with a big batch of mushrooms at the base.

Paul in the woods. There are golden chantrelles all around that stump in the background.

Bonanza! Those light spots that look like fallen leaves are all golden chantrelles.

Banana slug. slim, golden, determined.
[When I posted this on Flickr, my pal Jish said, "Look out, it's gonna git ya!" and I replied, "No, no, it would recognize a fellow slug. (The banana slug is the mascot of my alma mater). I wanted to pet him/her, but didn't want to mess up that carefully achieved slime sheen. The SLUG's sheen, I hasten to add."]

A lovely banana slug. The Christmas slug in the garden.

Posted on December 23, 2005 at 12:00 PM in Food and Drink, the big room with the blue ceiling | Permalink | Comments (0)

OMG, it's a LiveJournal post! 2005

[originally posted to metagrrrl.livejournal.com]

I am really glad it's vacation time. Really really glad.

Today was work, then traveling for hours on end. Then an hour and a bit of chilling out, snacking and making my first LJ icon (using a picture of some grafitti I saw in London in November).

My excellent mum picked me up at work today wearing a shirt reading:

Top Ten Reasons
To Procrastinate


Current Mood: tired
Current Music: some lovely choral music

Posted on December 23, 2005 at 12:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

I like Banksy. 2005

You should go visit his site.

Posted on December 20, 2005 at 09:24 PM in creativity | Permalink | Comments (2)

A great column this week from San Francisco's Walking Man Tom Graham, "Walking the World". And yes, like Tom, I'm proud to be a street walker.

Posted on December 20, 2005 at 07:30 PM in San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (1)

Occupational hazard? 2005

Last night I hung out with a cheesemonger and today I have so far managed to consume 8 different cheeses. Does this happen to everyone they spend time with? Sneaky devils.

Cheeses of the day:
- French St. Agur Blue
- Valbrie Brie
- Dutch 1 year aged Gouda
- Bravo Farms Sage Cheddar
- Irish Cahill Porter
- some Irish sharp Cheddar (paired with a good fresh fruitcake)
- generic smoked Gouda
- unknown super yummy light & fluffy Mozzarella

Posted on December 20, 2005 at 02:20 PM in Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (0)

Giving gifts that really matter 2005

Haven't done your holiday shopping yet? Or feeling gloomy over putting out money for things that someone might not really like or need? Do something better with your money and make a real difference in someone's life.

Loan someone some money - as little as $25! - to help start a business using Kiva, a site supporting microcredit in the developing world. These are peer-to-peer loans, which I love partly because of the "small scale making a big difference" factor but especially for the recognition that people in less wealthy countries are our peers.
- Kiva.org site
--- Read about Unity Grocery, one of the businesses currently repaying a loan through Kiva
- Alternet story about Kiva
- Daily Kos mention of Kiva along with lots of other microcredit opportunities

Sponsor a child to provide funding for education, health care and nutritious food.
- My family has done this for as long as I can remember through Christian Children's Fund

Give a family the gift of independence with farm animals and training from Heifer Project International. They have projects in agroecology, animal management, disaster rehabilitation, gender equity, HIV-AIDS, microenterprise and urban agriculture.
- Try giving animals as gifts in someone's name. Some family gets a huge boost in their household economy and your friend gets a goat with none of the bother of the actual goat!
- Contribute to my dropcash campaign and help me raise $1000 for Women in Livestock Development

Help someone get into their own home by supporting Habitat for Humanity. They help get people into their own home through building projects around the world.
- Donate money and/or volunteer your time to help a project

And don't forget the small things you can do every day of the year to make a difference:
- shop in locally owned businesses
- eat locally grown food
- boycott products produced with sweatshop labor
- support fair trade products
and please tip your waitress.

More ideas? Please add them in the comments!

Posted on December 18, 2005 at 03:57 PM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (3)

The Tyranny of Structurelessness 2005

One of the interesting posts over in that thar LiveJournal I've been reading was one from 2002 in which Gordon ranted engagingly about the pleasure of good honest sarcasm and pointed comments when compared with the "passive aggressive, new age, pseudo-therapeutic, bullshit masquerading as 'communication'" found in some hippie groups.

My frustration with this zine [Communities Journal of Cooperative Living] is that I agree with the importance of communication and process (I work and live collectively myself), but this issue mostly presents issues of power and language in a way that would make any sane person run for their lives. Words and phrases like "having a clearing", "checking out a fantasy" (not as titillating as it sounds), "non-violent communication" and "pushing my own buttons" do damage to the language and, in my humble opinion, hide the power of skilled manipulators by creating a new set of rules in the name of clarity and process. Unintentionally funny at times, but mostly useful as a flashing neon sign saying "DANGER! If you’re not a hippie, new-ager, or needy process queen STAY AWAY!"

Go read the subsequent example if this kind of stuff entertains you as much as it does me.

In fact, the answers to most of the problems posed in these pages are all about looking within for answers. Introspection and self-examination have their place of course, but inward looking thought combined with a paranoid obsession with process and "non-violent communication" always leaves me looking for who’s really in control. Tools for "democracy" can become tools of manipulation rather easily, especially as language is rarefied into more and more esoteric constructions. In these situations, it’s usually the most skilled at word games who can keep deflecting issues away from their own actions and towards their feelings.

"When you got mad at me for partying and waking you up, it made me feel that you don’t appreciate all the work I do to make Commune X a wonderful place. It makes me feel like you think I’m a bad person. Do you think I’m a bad person?"

As for process, read "The Tyranny of Structurelessness"  and move on. Even if the author is some reform Democrat these days, It’s the best thing ever written about collective process.

So I did go off and read that fascinating 1970 contemplation of the influence of group structure (or lack of it) on the women's movement. I thought this was a particularly interesting insight and a suggestion as to how the internet may enable the kind of individual communication which promotes philosophical change, but not necessarily political change:

The more unstructured a movement is, the less control it has over the directions in which it develops and the political actions in which it engages. This does not mean that its ideas do not spread. Given a certain amount of interest by the media and the appropriateness of social conditions, the ideas will still be diffused widely. But diffusion of ideas does not mean they are implemented; it only means they are talked about. Insofar as they can be applied individually they may be acted upon; insofar as they require co-ordinated political power to be implemented, they will not be.

This ability to apply ideas individually is certainly a big part of the success of projects like MoveOn.org and its counterparts elsewhere in the political spectrum, but I don't think the internet solves all problems and allows informally structured groups to apply tremendous and sustainable power.

Consider this:

As long as the women's liberation movement stays dedicated to a form of organisation which stresses small, inactive discussion groups among friends, the worst problems of unstructuredness will not be felt. But this style of organisation has its limits; it is politically inefficacious, exclusive and discriminatory against those women who are not or cannot be tied into the friendship networks. Those who do not fit into what already exists because of class, race, occupation, parental or marital status, or personality will inevitably be discouraged from trying to participate. Those who do not fit in will develop vested interests in maintaining things as they are.

Is that like or unlike what we find on the Web?

Posted on December 18, 2005 at 11:23 AM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (2)

MetaGrrrl Classics #1: Best product endorsement ever 2005

December 21, 2000

Now that's an ass!

Thanks again, Neale!

Posted on December 18, 2005 at 10:47 AM in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wait, how can I be a trendmonkey and behind the times? 2005

And in the category "Best second comment on a weblog" the winner is danf for

Of course, you would probably start a live journal now that several other popular bloggers have mentioned having private livejournals and other switching to live journals already.

Honestly, do you ever do anything other than follow? I use to enjoy your site. But you seem to just tag along with everyone else. GTD? You started writing about it months after it broke, like it was some new deal. Now this live journal rant when it's already been passed around the web.

I'm disappointed, really. Thanks for the previous years, though. I'm sad you changed.

I know, I know, cheese? EVERYONE writes about that. Pictures of baby rhinos? SO old hat. And, really, who DIDN'T quote Greg Brown lyrics this month?


Other bloggers are talking about LiveJournals? Dude, I'm just writing about 'em because someone turned me on to a really good one and I've read 3 years worth of posts in the last 3 weeks. Given my blog-centric past, it made me wax philosophical. (And what's funny is I've been reading that journal so much I think I missed the other discussions you reference).

To clarify: I post about things that I find interesting, amusing, beautiful, useful and/or significant. And I've been doing so since 1998.

This may come as a shock to you, but MetaGrrrl.com is not in fact a news site or the home of the meme-of-the-week.

Nor do I write it to please you. If it does, cool. If not, there's a big wide web out there and don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

I am curious, though; hey everybody, what do you think are the classic Dinah posts? You know, before she sold out.

Soundtrack for this post? Tool.

Posted on December 16, 2005 at 10:02 PM in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (6)

You know, $1000 is really not a lot of money to pay for monkey pants."
                   - Simon Willison

Posted on December 15, 2005 at 11:01 PM in quotes | Permalink | Comments (2)

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.