How to Clean: Procrastinator's Version 2004
Which is more fun: cleaning house or reading websites? How about cleaning house or reading a book? Cleaning house or taking a nap? Uh, yeah, basically most things are more fun than cleaning house, right.
So here's the thing: if you're a small-scale hedonist and are bad at making yourself buckle down and do chores, how can you force yourself to get on it? The answer is simple: fear.
Here's what you do:
1. Mid-afternoon on a Saturday invite twenty friends to stop by sometime between 4:30 and 11pm.
2. Go to the corner store & get ice & mixers for cocktails.
3. Clean house, but not too strenously to stop and be a gracious host. Periodically pause to wash your face, brush your hair and rest for a moment.
4a. Have a nice time with the friends who show up.
4b. (If no one shows) Have a nice cocktail in your clean house.
My love is with Heather and Jon 2004
I've been checking on Heather and Jon's sites regularly to hear how things are going with her struggle for health and adding my support to the comments. Among the wonderful comments today, this one from Julie:
Heather + Jon,
The culture of blogs is a strange thing, I find. We don’t know each other and yet I have been so moved by your truthfulness and your bravery and your unbelievably brilliant words that I find myself wondering how you are doing throughout my day.
I wish you rest and comfort.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Yes. Exactly. Yes. Thank you, Julie.
The Black Rider 2004
Note: I found it hard to cozy up to until late in the second act. Then it hooked me good at the Crossroads.
By the way, the gorgeous photo above by Derek Powazek was not color corrected. That's how it came out of his camera, which tells you something about how well the production designers achieved their goals.
Progress on the Hacker's Diet 2004
Back on July 11th I started following John Walker's Hacker's Diet and using the Palm software which accompanies it in order to track my weight.
The principle of the Hacker's Diet is simple: eat less than you burn and you will lose weight; eat more than you burn and you will gain.
The hard part of dieting is dealing with day-to-day fluctuation in your weight and not being depressed or over-encouraged by it. You need to understand that even with a stable diet your weight will vary somewhat due to other factors such as water consumption and retention. What matters is the weight trend over time. That's what the software (or a mathematical formula, for the pen & paper inclined) gives you.
One thing I particularly like about the diet is it doesn't require you to change what you eat, just how much of it. It doesn't require you to miss out on wedding receptions and dinners with friends. Once again, it's the trend that matters. If most of the time you're eating less than you burn and if you eat enough less than you burn to make up for the times when you don't, you will lose weight.
I've been on the diet for 45 days. I have considered myself "off diet" for 17 of those. I have lost about 7 pounds. That's about a pound a week which as aggressive a pattern of weight loss as is advisable for most people.
I recommend this approach to weight loss.
"Yeah, but what are the on diet days like?" I hear you ask. Here's a typical one:
breakfast (8am or so): 1 Luna bar (180 cal) and a strong & interesting herbal tea (0 cal)
second breakfast (11am or so): mug of McCann's instant oatmeal (2 packets) from Trader Joe's (260-320 cal depending on flavor chosen)
lunch (afternoon sometime, usually between 1 and 4pm): Tasty Bites boxed lunch, e.g. Sprouts & Curry or Basmati Vegetables with rice (320-365 cal) with water or herbal tea
dinner (around 8pm): 3 or 4 sliced shiitake mushrooms slowly sauteed in broth, small zucchini sliced and sauteed with just a teeny bit of butter, slices of daikon radish, salad of 1 cup fresh red cabbage (approx. 300 cal) with water or herbal tea
dessert: small bit of extremely high-quality chocolate e.g. Scharffen-Berger Bittersweet (20 cal)
Throughout the day I'll also have half a dozen Altoids or so and teas of various kinds to satisfy me when my mouth gets bored. That adds up to another 20 cal, say.
Note that that's based on a guess that my neutral point - eating about what I burn - would be something like 1670 calories and I'm trying to lose a pound a week so I eat 500 calories less than that a day.
The week improves 2004
I had kind of a crummy Monday at work. Couldn't get my act in gear to do anything focused. Weird day. Brightened up a bit late on with hopes of a nicer Tuesday, and pleasantly enough, that turned out to be true. Today was much more productive, I left work half an hour earlier than usual (especially nice after working long days a lot over the last couple weeks) and had a nice mellow dinner with excellent company. Recommended: the salmon at Firecracker. Now if only the amount of time spent at work and the amount of time spent having a pleasant time enjoying this fair city had been reversed, it would have been a really good day.
Is it just me? I just can't get into Gmail at all. I mean, I can log in, but I don't think of doing it. I'm not all excited about using it. It's probably at least partially that I am doing a lot of offline mail reading & writing and, obviously, web-based mail ain't gonna be so hot for that.
Mostly though I think it's that I use my inbox as a way of managing stuff I want/need to do something with. When it's done I either save it or trash it, but most of the personal stuff gets trashed. Gmail's approach is a little different somehow and I'm just not compelled to make it fit me. Or me fit it. At the moment I'm kind of stuck with it since everything that isn't to my name at my domain is going there. The spam filtering is great, but I just somehow find I don't want to hang out using Gmail.
Can't quite put my finger on it yet. I think part of it is that filing/trashing things as a way of checking them off as "okay, dealt with that" isn't one click. Anyone else have an opinion on it? Love it? Hate it? Eh?
Stop. Design. 2004
I hit an odd rhythm this evening. After a delightful morning sleeping in and then puttering around the house - which is looking just great these days thanks to some furniture rearranging effected by my good housemate Chris - and an afternoon of friendly hanging out*, I found myself a little wiped out in the early evening. Partly it was being over-heated from my hike back up over the hill from Cole Valley, partly it's probably the low number of calories I'm consuming (running an approximately 500 calorie per day deficit most days as I lose weight on the hacker's diet), and partly it was just the option to flop out a little bit after a fairly intense week of work.
I decided that I was under no social obligation to attend the Annie Lin/Goh Nakamura show, as much as I enjoyed their last one. Having given myself permission to stay home, I puttered a bit on the computer (upgrading software and downloading NetNewsWire to give it a try) and thought about making dinner though the small snack I'd had at Reverie hadn't fully worn off.
Some time mid-evening - I wasn't paying attention to the clock - I decided to lie down for a nap. That felt so good that after an hour or so I decided to just go to sleep for the night....
...and woke up again at 11pm feeling great. I was refreshed and clear-minded, ready to get up and do things. So, I did. Dinner at midnight, watched some Simpsons, and a pleasant time reading the archives of Douglas Bowman's Stopdesign log. I always find his writing worth my time, but have been sporadic in reading the site. Since I was in a web design-y mood, want to dig deeper into Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and will be giving a presentation later this year on "Building a Business Case for Web Standards", reading his log from day 1 forward was the ideal place to spend my time. I've still only up to about a year and a half ago, but I expect it will go a little faster as I get into the range where I'm more likely to have read the posts while they were fresh.
One thing is definitely clear after spending over two hours on a single site: good design makes reading more enjoyable. Even something so simple as a link to the previous and next entries at the very bottom of the page makes a huge difference.
So, two changes on MetaGrrrl.com tonight:
1) a global search & replace to change all instances of unencoded ampersands to the proper & format for better accessibility and page validation;
2) the previous/next navigation links are now repeated at the bottom of the my individual entry archive pages.
*An afternoon in which I met Joel in person after an online friendship leading up to his 1000 mile bicycle ride down the coast from Seattle and, thanks to a suprise encounter on the street with Min Jung, we got to visit with a cool crowd of photobloggers at the lovely Reverie cafe in Cole Valley.
3 Drops of Blood 2004
An excellent evening of entertainment you can't find just anywhere tonight and tomorrow night at Dance Mission Theater at 24th & Mission in San Francisco. I came to see Nanos Operetta, yet another band containing a member of Rube Waddell. This one's a whole other point on the compass from Max's music with the Rubes and from his soul band, Lord Loves A Working Man. He described Nanos Operetta to me as "what would happen if Leonard Cohen, Ennio Morricone, Carl Stalling, and Phillip Glass all got stoned together at a Greek restaurant and decided to play a game of Twister to get over some kind of broken hearted depression"
This turned out to be a surprisingly accurate description. The band produces the most cinematic sound you're likely to encounter away from a movie screen. They work in soundscapes which evoke scenes as strong as the occasional noir words added by Ali Tabatabai. The lighting tonight, by Lyndy Rieman, was an ideal accompaniment to the music and definitely enhanced the performance without intruding upon it.
The other pieces in the show ranged from the I'm sure very talented and acclaimed but not exactly my cup of tea Rova Saxaphone Quartet to excellent modern dance from InkBoat to what I understand is one of the better gamelan bands in the world, Gamelan Sekar Jaya. 12 people played giant bamboo marimbas called the gamelan jegog and 2 more joined in on small flute-like instruments. It was fantastic, my favorite part of the evening. Though I think I'll have a few images lingering in my mind as well as that wonderful sound: Nanos Operetta lit dramatically in greens and reds and the first of InkBoat's two performances, "2 Without", and its moment of a woman with a peeled orange gripped in her mouth bent forward dripping the juice into the mouth of a man in a gas mask, the orange peel in one long spiral in his hands as he lay on the floor curving his body up under the sweetness. Fine, edgy creativity.
I highly recommend this series of entertainments. If you're going, go early, I'm sure they're going to start selling out as word gets around. This show, installment III, repeats tomorrow night at 8pm. The next installment will be Thursday & Friday October 28th & 29th, also at Dance Mission Theater.
By the way, I had a nice chat with Max after the show and learned that Mahatma Boom Boom (sometimes also known as Wink Pain or "Freddi") is greatly enjoying his extended European tour. He (and the Extra Action Marching Band) did make it to the brass festival in Guca and is apparently loving his time in Serbia. Best wishes to the Mahatma in his enlightened quest for the good stuff.
I'm back and I have some questions 2004
My mail was bouncing for 48 hours or so. It's working again. Some small amount has re-sent and reached me.
I got a courteous letter from someone at Multiply. We, I think, agree to disagree. They are apparently approaching social networking as more of an application than a community. My expectations of personal voice and moral compass (as opposed to the less emotional counterparts: terms of service and business professionalism) don't quite fit. Think more phonebook, less yenta. Still not for me.
So, I think about my concern for privacy and then I think about the stuff I do: the weblog, Orkut, Flickr, XFN, Amazon wishlist. Is it all just pollyanna-ism thinking that it's safe to share anything in a searchable environment? Can the organizational benefits of meeting other like-minded people (MoveOn.org, MeetUp) to work for political change offset the dangers of centralized information?
And if it doesn't, should people who value freedom and privacy (and all those other nice things the EFF and organizations like that fight for) give up the Web? Or just post everything with disguised authorship? What if MetaGrrrl was a shadowy figure with who "she" talks to and hangs out with couched in the vaguest terms? Never mentioning where exactly "she" lives or what "she" does. With no one ever standing up in person and saying "that's my site". Is that better? If social networking software and Googlebots (empowering the results of that mighty search engine) are inherently a blow against freedom and privacy, what kind of web are we envisioning? What's the goal here, folks? Is the bottom line "give up the tech toys"? Or is there some way to have the fun and prevent corporate and governmental abuse of privacy?
Mild Turbulence 2004
So I was feeling a little surprised & neglected by the universe yesterday when I didn't seem to be getting any mail. Not the usual waves of spam even. I wasn't paying a lot of attention so it wasn't until today that I noticed I was getting NO new mail at all, just the same last ones downloading repeatedly.
On the bright side, even in the evening a real human being at Hurricane Electric is available to help. Sadly, despite his best efforts, Dean (hi, Dean!) has to consult with the mail guru tomorrow over this one. In the meantime, he changed the mail rules to forward everything over to my gmail account. Hadn't planned to do that and fully expect to route the river back afterwards - just don't feel cozy yet about ALL my data flowing through the big G - but it's handy for now. Maybe after 9pm or so the change will go through and maybe that will unclog something and I'll get the day and a half of mail I think I've missed out on. Maybe not.
If you wrote to me since yesterday morning, ya might want to send it to me (as "metagrrrl") over there at gmail.com.
If you didn't write me, maybe you should, just to help offset this loss of stimulation.
No one ever seems to use these words 2004
(Thanks to my linguistically-talented housemate, Chris, in identifying some of these gems)
Is Multiply simplifying the world? Maybe in one sense... 2004
Apparently there's yet another social network manager now. I received an invitation to join it from 3 people so far. Two of them are male, one isn't and has never evidenced an inclination to be identified as such that I'm aware. The invitation read:
Molly has added you as his contact on Multiply so he can better stay in touch with you, and he told us that he is your Online Buddy. To see Molly's Multiply home page, or start your own, please go to the following address to confirm that he is your Online BuddyMy reaction was basically the same as Biz Stone's: "Hellooo Computer"
I am torn between a spirit of scientific inquiry, prompting me to join and see if I become similarly stripped of my femininity*, and contempt, encouraging me to ignore the service until they can get through what ought to be the first page of their QA process.
After visiting their site, though, I'm inclined to a third option: don't use the service.
Multiply, if you're in the social network software business, if you're all about personal relationships, your site damn well ought to include sections like "who we are", "why we started Multiply", and "our plans for Multiply". It just feels to me like somebody's get-rich-quick scheme: accumulate a bunch of data and sell the service (& the data) to the highest bidder.
Answer me this, o software service providers: Why should I trust you with my information and my friends' information?
I thought I'd see if I could fiind out a little more about the company:
Multiply.com is registered to Peter Pezaris of Delrey Beach, Florida [source: whois.000domains.com]
He's probably the same Peter Pezaris who was president of operations and product development for SportsLine.com [source: Google query leading to bio article, announcement of resignation from SportsLine last November]
At this point, I googled for his name and Multiply appearing together and found that someone else is asking the same questions I am and reaching the same conclusions. [And, after looking on Technorati to see who else is talking about this, I find Brian and I aren't alone: danah had the same reaction]
Frankly, I feel highly uncomfortable with what I've discovered. I wouldn't give these people my data. My gut sense is that they're looking to make cash and get out, not to build a long-term relationship with their customers.
(*Why does "efeminated" sound like it means "made effeminate", i.e. "more feminine", rather than being the counterpart to emasculated?)
A good evening 2004
Today was great. A generally satisfactory workday - alas, the last full one with the great intern we've had this summer - followed by two events full of cool web geeks. First was the Movable Type 3.1 release party hosted by the fine folk of Six Apart at (my SOMA favorite) Varnish Gallery on Natoma near the MOMA. Great venue full of bloggers & friends. Best part: seeing Doug Bowman smiling and moving easily, well on the way to recovery from his nasty back injury. Second best: happy, relaxed, successful Mena and Ben. They all deserve this goodness in their lives.
I got to hang out with many fun people including Zack Rosen (hi!) whose name kept ringing a bell all evening until, during our walk to the W hotel for LobbyCon in the bar, I found out he'd worked on the Dean campaign. I'm sure I'd read posts of his in the Dean blog or something. Funny that I hadn't put the name together with the face that was familiar from other web geeky events. Anyhow, nice to socialize a bit with him and lots of other good folks, new friends and old.
All in all, a fine evening.
I blame James 2004
I didn't go out this evening, though I was in the mood to. You see, I was in the mood to go out with other people and the other people didn't materialize magically to whisk me away to fun.
So instead I ate a burrito and read weblogs. I thought I take a shower & go to bed early right after I checked in with James. Ha. As if.
He linked to The Online Film Critics Society's Top 100 Overlooked Films of the 1990s. Now it's an hour and a half past the time I'd go to bed if I wanted 8 hours sleep and I have 428 movies in my Netflix queue.
And I want some popcorn.
Authority, Authorship and Why You Need A Librarian: Accuracy in Wikis 2004
[Incomplete post rediscovered during site maintenance in September 2010]
This morning in my email I found a letter from the webmaster of a site called Wikiverse. The site is a wiki, a collaboratively-edited, constantly evolving set of interlinked pages. (more about wikis) (more about Wikiverse) This letter read a little bit like some junk mail I receive:"We have a link to your site...I would appreciate it if you returned the favor and linked back to http://sam-gamgee.wikiverse.org/."
Often these letters are annoying and presume that I will, in fact, have any interest or reason to link to that site. They will, as this one did, imply that my site would be enhanced by linking to them, without giving much argument as to how. "Linking back to us will also help maintain your link with us in the future. For your convenience I have attached Wikiverse graphic link which you may apply to your website as an alternative to a bland text link."
In this case, because the page on Wikiverse where they link to my site does relate to the topic of a particular post, it is conceivable that a link from that post to their site would be appropriate. The best way to suggest that would have been to write a comment on that post containing the appropriate link and, this is the crucial part, clearly conveying to me and to future readers of that post & its comments what the link leads to and why it is pertinent. That it was supplemental information, provided by someone other than me, would have been clear in that context. No special action on my part would be required. These are some of the biggest benefits of comments: easy transition from monologue to conversation and clear sense of authorship (though it should be noted that the latter can be faked in many current comment features).
However, since not all sites offer visitors the ability to add comments, I can understand how the webmaster at Wikiverse may have a different process for alerting sites that they have been linked to. Let me be clear about this: the practice of informing someone that you have linked to them is a good one and there are a growing number of automated methods to do so. (more about TrackBack) (more about Technorati)
Good Practice: Do alert sites that you've linked to.
When I followed the link in the letter to see the page referring to my site I got a surprise. Not only was I linked to, I was quoted. It would have been good for the letter to make this clear, but I am glad to have received something drawing my attention to the page.
Good Practice: Do alert people who you've quoted.
Particularly glad because the quote was taken out of context and the page gave
Bad Practice: Don't use a quote out of context to imply something it is clear was not intended.
Good Practice: Do, when possible, link to context.
Away. Back Now. 2004
I was away for the weekend. Home now. Had a good time. Sorry about having to go to work tomorrow, but, truth be told, if I had another day off, I'd probably spend at least part of it doing a bit of work because I am enjoying it these days.
Good advice from Jonas: 2004
"Don't buy the memory at the Apple Store. It's way cheaper elsewhere and the 'Getting Started' manual explains in step-by-step detail how to put it in your Mac."
Damn but he was right. 1GB of RAM from Apple $700. 1GB from Newer: $280 with shipping.
The comma has so many jobs as a "separator" (punctuation marks are traditionally either "separators" or "terminators") that it tears about on the hillside of the language, endlessly organising words into sensible groups and making them stay put: sorting and dividing; circling and herding; and of course darting off with a peremptory "woof" to round up any wayward subordinate clause that makes a futile bolt for semantic freedom. Commas, if you don't whistle at them to calm down, are unstoppably enthusiastic at this job.
[quotey goodness from Uncle Larry]
Can't Get This On My Amazon Wishlist 2004
Wanted: outgoing geek (computer/music/book/...) guy who sighs and sings along with Johnny Boyd.
(And that little inner voice says "Really, my dear, are you sure it's wise to listen to sweet romantic songs when you're a bit more single than you'd strictly prefer to be?" *sigh*)
Meme Propagation Test 2004
This posting is a community experiment started by Minding the Planet to see how a meme represented by a blog posting spreads across blogspace, physical space and time. It will help to show how ideas travel across blogs in space and time and how blogs are connected. It may also help to show which blogs are most influential in the propagation of memes. The original posting for this experiment is located at: Minding the Planet; results and commentary will appear there in the future.
Please join the test by adding your blog (see instructions, below) and inviting your friends to participate – the more the better. The data from this test will be public and open; others may use it to visualize and study the connectedness of blogspace and the propagation of memes across blogs.
The GUID for this experiment is: as098398298250swg9e98929872525389t9987898tq98wteqtgaq62010920352598gawstw98qwrt189849813907azq4
(this GUID enables anyone to easily search Google for all results of this experiment). Anyone is free to analyze the data of this experiment. Please publicize your analysis of the data, and/or any comments by adding comments onto the original post at Minding the Planet; Note: it would be interesting to see a geographic map or a temporal animation, as well as a social network map of the propagation of this meme.
To add your blog to this experiment, copy this entire posting to your blog, and fill out the info below, substituting your own information in your posting, where appropriate.
(Note: Replace the answers below with your own answers):
1. I found this experiment at URL: http://www.jluster.org/node/249
2. I found it via “Newsreader Software” or “Browsing or Searching the Web” or “An E-Mail Message”: Browsing or Searching the Web - regular list of friends kept as toolbar bookmarks in browser
3. I posted this experiment at URL: http://www.metagrrrl.com
4. I posted this on date (day, month, year): 2, August, 2004
5. I posted this at time (24 hour time): 20:00
6. My posting location is (city, state, country): San Francisco, CA, USA
OPTIONAL SURVEY FIELDS (Replace the answers below with your own answers):
1. My blog is hosted by: TypePad
2. My age is: 39
3. My gender is: Female
4. My occupation is: Software Product Manager
5. I use the following RSS/Atom reader software: none
6. I use the following software to post to my blog: Typepad, ecto
7. I have been blogging since (day, month, year): 29, September, 1998
8. My web browser is: Firefox
Some of the best writing on creativity I've read in years: GapingVoid.com [Linky goodness from Matt]