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New year coming 2004

Today feels like limbo. I feel unfinished and unstarted.

It's never been one of my favorite holidays, New Year's Eve. So often such an air of desperation in the celebration. And the bars crowded with the once-a-year-clubbers who know neither how to order nor to hold their liquor.

Better to have quieter gatherings of friends. Or just stay home and watch a movie.

New Year's Day now, that's a different matter. Hope it's fine enough for a walk sometime tomorrow. That's always a good way to start the year.

Posted on December 31, 2004 at 07:39 PM in holidays | Permalink | Comments (2)

Blogging without borders 2004

Things to do on a rainy day instead of being glum about past sadnesses and the prospect of a cold night: help build tools to provide help and save lives.

I'm a new member of Bloggers Without Borders. Please stop by and donate if you can.

You might also want to weigh in with some of your ideas on my new forum post "Building a disaster alert system on existing informal networks".

The tsunami of December 2004 is a perfect example of a situation in which technologically-empowered social networks could have saved lives. As Xeni pointed out in her interview on Fox, some guy in France knew about the the quake and the wave 3 hours before it hit the beaches in Sri Lanka.

If that news had reached the blogging community, MetaFilter, Boing Boing, Slashdot, etc. at the same time, someone could have seen it who lives in those communities or someone who knows someone who lives there could have seen it and called them on the phone. The beaches could have been cleared, the boats called home.

Yes, there would still have been loss of life, but not so many. And the communication channels for spreading word about the conditions afterwards would have been established and that news could have come a little bit faster.

Some things are predictable. If there is a 10 foot wave hitting a community and it will wash through the town, there very probably will be public health issues with water supplies and sewage, so you can start mobilizing resources for health care and infrastructure right away.

Even without building giant sirens in every town on the Indian Ocean we could have a tsunami warning system. An increasing number of people have mobile phones and/or internet access. Let’s build a trusted network of communication paths. Let’s be a place for scientists to provide information and warnings. Let those pass through to the appropriate regions through websites, email, news feeds, SMS, and good old fashioned “pick up the phone and call somebody”. Let the people on the ground spread the word locally and report conditions back to the world.

Posted on December 30, 2004 at 03:25 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hallelujah 2004

So here we are at the end of another December. This is a mixed time of year for me. The happiness of time with my family and friends, the warmth of the holidays, time off from work. But also the anniversary of my grandfather's death and the season of difficult contemplations and conversations where it became apparent that relationships were going to end or that a crush was just that and not mutual attraction.

The week between the Christmas holiday and returning to work at the start of the new year is a time of clarity, often uncomfortable, like the weather growing colder and colder but the air getting clearer and the light bright.

With that insight, I do think about my path for the year ahead. I don't always form "New Year's Resolutions", but I do have revelations and wishes.

Always at the top of the list is something about being with someone whose companionship brings out the best in me. There is a line in Michael Frayn's play Copenhagen which resonates very strongly with me (and it's probably good for me to be reminded of the responding line as well):

Bohr I was formed by nature to be a mathematically curious entity: not one but half of two.

Heisenberg Mathematics becomes very odd when you apply it to people. One plus one can add up to so many different sums . . .

Some years it's a commitment to working harder at a relationship or to ending one that is wrong for us both. Many years it has been an effort to throw cold water on a one-sided passion. I have more than once been so in love with the idea of being in love with someone that it took a while for the lack of interest on his part to get through to me.

The hardest part for me is always patience and not putting pressure on someone for whom I begin to feel something real. Oh yes, and patience when there is no sign of someone who belongs with me as I belong with him; patience in the face of the fear of always being alone. There's a nightmare to keep you crying under the covers: the empty side of the bed from now on. The spot that just can't be filled by some warm body with a nice smile.

And why am I such a simultaneous pessamist ("I must cling to this potential as tight as I can") and optimist ("We'd be perfect together!")?

Because the best relationship I ever had began with immediate, simultaneous recognition of our belonging together. Two months after we first laid eyes on each other, we knew so strongly that we were meant to be that we moved in together. And stayed together for about eight years. We're still friends, thank goodness. We may have grown into no longer being a perfect match for each other, but there's too much in common not to remain pals. A good outcome, but unfortunately along with that I am left without an example of my own slow, prudent patience resulting in a good, long-term relationship. I do have excellent judgement in people, in who to get involved with. My instincts are exceptionally solid and so my prudence has come from picking up the clues of someone's nature and knowing my own, but going slowly, being patient is always hard for me.

So there is resolution one:
Be patient. Stop pushing. Let it come or not come as it is meant to.

And the rest of my life? Family, work, health, money? It's all great. I did a very good job in 2004 and things are wonderful. So all I could really plan is to continue:

Keep up the good communications with my family, especially taking time to be with Grandma Susie. Visit the Sanders side up north this year.

Keep up the excellent performance at work and the balance that lets me achieve without great stress. Take a little more preparation time for things coming on the horizon, especially presentations.

Keep up the good work with my eating habits. I weigh 13 pounds less now than in July when I started the Hacker's Diet. Maybe I can weigh another 13 pounds less by this coming July. In any case, don't gain it back and get more exercise. It helps my mood as well as my body.

Keep saving money and spending wisely. Use the cushion my new part-time roommate will provide to push my savings even higher as well as to buy some new clothes that will work with my existing wardrobe to help me get the most out of my investments over the last few years.

Keep enjoying my home and the pleasure it brings me.

Keep practicing discardia and shedding stuff I don't need.

Keep finding the joy.

Posted on December 30, 2004 at 11:47 AM in holidays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Permutations of my name 2004

(#7 in a series):
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, December 29, 2004 - Dinaa

Posted on December 29, 2004 at 08:31 PM in Dinah - introduction | Permalink | Comments (1)

On the quiet side 2004

I'm taking it easy this week, enjoying my holiday break. My creative urges have been steering most towards cooking & making things nice around my home, so writing is taking a back seat. Things are fine with me, just not much to say on the public stage.

My sympathies go out to those around the Indian Ocean. I hope my step-brother and his girlfriend come home safe from the Maldives, but since we know they survived the tsunami, the biggest emotional impact on me has been watching the death toll rise into the almost incomprensible. There is no bad guy to rage against, no way to undo the loss. A disaster like this just is. All we can do is remember most everyone reading this is rich by comparison and we should contribute to the relief efforts if we possibly can.

***

Some of you who know me in person instead of just online have noticed that the Hacker's Diet has been working for me and I have lost weight. I had planned this week to go get some new clothes and on my vacation give myself a treat, perhaps some new shoes or a trip to my favorite hot tub place.

Instead, I've sent $500 to the International Red Cross/Red Crescent.

If my outfits look a little poorly fitted, it's just because I'm wearing someone else's well-being instead of my size.

Posted on December 28, 2004 at 12:39 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

The season of giving? Maybe, but not necessarily of shopping.

Around about the week before Thanksgiving, the pressure starts. The ads begin to suggest "the perfect gift for the such & such on your list". The list is assumed. Of course everyone has a List. Everyone must be buying. Then that post-turkey Friday comes and the frenzy in the stores begins.

The crowds. The sensory overload of enforced commercial festivity. "Bring on the cheer, dammit!" seems to be the underlying messsage of the barrage of Christmas music, holiday movie promotions, and red & green advertising plastered on every surface. Sometimes it seems like you couldn't throw a rock without hitting a Santa (and as December barrels on, the tempation to do so grows)...

(read more of my latest Discardia post)

Posted on December 22, 2004 at 05:37 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hope for the best, whatever that may turn out to be.

- Beth Hoffmann

Posted on December 20, 2004 at 04:00 PM in quotes | Permalink | Comments (1)

Feeling a little mixed up? You aren't. Really. 2004

I've thought I was kind of weird, not a normal girl, but now, having read Jennifer Traig's hilarious autobiographical book Devil in the Details: scenes from an obsessive girlhood, I know I'm just fine.

Things I Could Do If I Wanted To Be Less Content

  1. Wash hands over and over and over.
  2. Worry more (Tip: for extra fun, worry about worrying).
  3. Have fits of guilt-induced prayer using a litany of my own devising.
  4. Attempt to follow the behavioral laws in Leviticus.
  5. All of the above while going through puberty.

Devil in the details book cover Little Jenny had quite the bumpy ride and she tells the whole story in delightfully alarming detail. I highly recommend this book. Those with peculiar families may find escaping to it particularly comforting during the close confinement of the holidays. It could be worse, honestly.

Go get Devil in the Details, because everyone needs a little situation-tragedy around this time of year...


This review brought to you by my pal Kevin's clever idea: The Virtual Book Tour. Go check out the other stops along the line...

Posted on December 13, 2004 at 03:29 AM in Books | Permalink | Comments (1)

Interpret THIS. 2004

When I first woke up this morning it was from a dream of which I remember three things:
1) One of my co-workers going to perform with his band (so far as I know he doesn't even really play an instrument) under a different name ("Rick Conners") and performing for what I understood in the dream to be an office party (for some other company than ours) at which all the guests were dressed on the theme "Caribbean vacation". Many of them were near-nude, pasty white, at least 20 lbs overweight and displaying red acne rashes on their backsides. (This was the first traumatic part of the dream).

2) I was in a forested area and there were some construction vehicles around. My friend Jeff Veen was sitting in the driver seat of a sort of forklift thing and playing the Autumn part from Vivaldi's Four Seasons on the cello. He was really into it doing all kinds of wild things like playing with both hands and doing percussive things with his thumbs. (Clearly an amalgam of the actual playing style of Jess Ivry and Safa Shokai in Bright River). (This was the really great part of the dream).

3) I was being chased by a moose. It bit my hand. (At which point I woke up and found I had kind of rolled onto my arm and was uncomfortable).

Posted on December 12, 2004 at 11:07 AM in creativity | Permalink | Comments (4)

Someone's crappy day. 2004

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Posted on December 6, 2004 at 12:00 PM in warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sweet silly fun 2004

Thanks to a surprise present from my dear friend Heather, I got to attend the Dance-Along Nutcracker this afternoon. It was a blast. I had a great time and got the best workout I've had in weeks.

It is also a testimony to my shopping over the past few years that even though I wasn't dressed yet when she invited me and I needed to get ready and get all the way downtown to meet her at the SF MOMA Cafe in just over an hour, I was able to attend in fully outrageous costume, properly tutu'd and tiara'd.

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[photos copyright by Heather Champ]

To my amusement, this was the second show this week which requested the audience to shout "Yes!" at the top of their lungs. Seems like a good way to round out the year.

 

Photos from Judith:

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Posted on December 5, 2004 at 05:57 PM in creativity, friends & family, holidays, San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (0)

See it. 2004

See it. See it. See it.

The Bright River, "a mass transit tour of the afterlife", is amazing. I went to a preview night after which there was a little bit of Q&A and then some mingling over wine and cookies, then a walk up to Mission (from Florida & Mariposa where the theater is), then a cab ride home. Surely time to calm, to back off from the experience, but my heart is still full to bursting, tears still in the corners of my eyes, laughter still on my tongue.

Yes!

Go. Get tickets now. Go see it.

Tim Barsky and the everyday ensemble have a story to tell you.

Posted on December 2, 2004 at 11:30 PM in creativity | Permalink | Comments (1)

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

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