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Reading Merlin Mann is always rewarding 2005

While getting the URL for Merlin's email handling tips for a friend, I got sucked into reading more  and came upon this lovely idea:

The Forehead Ticket Trick

So, you’re going to a ticketed event, like a concert or a ball game. It’s out of town. You’re carpooling with four other people. How do you ensure that everyone in the car has their ticket with them?

The car doesn't move until each person takes out their ticket and holds it to their forehead.   

Been doing it for 20 years, and you’d be amazed how often it saves the day.

from Merlin Mann's 43 Folders site.

Looking for something sillier? Try his 5ives.

Posted on July 31, 2005 at 09:30 PM in linky goodness | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tall Ships 2005

It was beautiful today. My friend B.J. and I went down to have a look at the tall ships visiting the city and wound up sitting on the edge of pier 30 enjoying the lovely weather.

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I always wish to live near the sea.

Posted on July 31, 2005 at 07:41 PM in San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (4)

Movie today: Judgment at Nuremberg  5 (maybe even 6) out of 5 stars

One of the best dramatic films I've ever seen. Highly recommended.

Dr. Ernst Janning: Judge Haywood... the reason I asked you to come. Those people, those millions of people... I never knew it would come to that. YOU must believe it, YOU MUST believe it.
Judge Dan Haywood: Herr Janning, it came to that the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.

Posted on July 31, 2005 at 07:22 PM in Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Temple 2005

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On Octavia by Hayes

Posted on July 31, 2005 at 12:00 PM in creativity, San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (0)

Movies today:
The Vikings (1958)  - 3 stars out of 5
Outrageous action flick, but for the era surprisingly historically accurate details of costume and sets. Except of course Janet Leigh's garments, particularly that bullet bra physique. Still all that footage of the Sognefjord redeems any flaws; truly one of the loveliest places in the world.

Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary (2002) - 5 stars out of 5
Amazing interview. Highly recommended documentary.

"You know, I never had the feeling that he was conscious of pursuing criminal aims. For him they were ideals. For him they were great goals. And human life meant nothing to him in comparison. But that only became so apparent to me afterwards. You see, in the inner circle surrounding him, in his private sphere, I was shielded from the megalomaniac projects and the barbaric measures. That was the awful thing, that's what gave me such a shock later, when I realized what had been happening. When I started working there I thought I was at the source of information and, in fact, I was in a blind spot. ... And that was the great illusion... the great lie that I had made myself believe."

Posted on July 31, 2005 at 01:04 AM in Film | Permalink | Comments (1)

New post in Discardia: Getting to the Happy Home

Posted on July 30, 2005 at 02:32 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Movie tonight: Bend It Like Beckham

Excellent. Tremendous fun. Every family with pre-teen and teen kids should watch this one. Great, believable characters. Wonderful story. (And Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is hot hot hot!)

Posted on July 30, 2005 at 12:32 AM in Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Recipe: ?Cucurbitus Caesaris? 2005

This is so simple but the results are fantastic. It's just zucchini quickly cooked in a virgin version of the classic cocktail, the Caesar. As with most drinks, I follow the Paul Harrington recipe.

Slice the end bits off a small (but not tiny) zucchini (~6" long, 1.5" diameter), and then cut it into 1/4" slices.

In a sauce or saute pan, put the following ingredients:
4 oz Clamato
dash Worcestershire sauce
pinch of black pepper
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon horseradish (a bit less if you're wussy)
1/8 teaspoon celery seed

Turn the heat on to medium-high under the pan and add the zucchini.

Stir to coat in sauce & celery seeds.

Bring to boil, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to low-medium and cover.

Allow to cook about 3 minutes until zucchini softens just slightly.

Serve (with spoons available to eat the delicious sauce).

[I'm just awaiting confirmation from my Latin consultants regarding the correct form for the name of this recipe]

Posted on July 23, 2005 at 03:01 PM in Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (1)

Visiting Mama 2005

I have big news. This November I will be traveling to Africa.

I'm really excited about this. It has just come about because of work; I'll be visiting our South African user group's meeting in Johannesburg, but will also take time off to journey about a bit. Where, I haven't quite decided yet, but I've just bought a fat Lonely Planet guidebook and am getting ideas.

If you've traveled in Africa and have advice, please add a comment.

One thing I've just read is that music cassettes are very widely used. I'm thinking I'd like to make a mix tape of songs by friends to give as a gift. If you're a musician and want to send out a song in my "Hello, Africa!" tape, please email me.

I'm hoping to come back with some sounds of Africa. If you have advice on unobtrusive recording options (I'm not talking "furtive"; I mean not boom mikes), especially ones that are lightweight, please leave a comment about that as well. I don't really have any experience with field recordings, so there'll probably be more posts to come about acquiring that skill.

(Somehow audio souvenirs of my trip are more compelling to me at the moment than the idea of photos. Interesting.)

This is going to be exciting.

Posted on July 22, 2005 at 07:32 PM in travel | Permalink | Comments (2)

Target audience, people, target audience 2005

In my subway station, Castro Street, there are now many ads for a popular mouthwash's new pocket breath freshener strips. The ad pictures a pretty woman in a white summer dress peeking coyly to the side at the handsome man standing beside her (in an elevator, I think). He is looking up abstractedly into the middle distance with a slightly suppressed smile.

The ad text says
"When there's only an instant to make a first impression..."
(or words to that effect)

Now I live in the Castro, one of the neighborhoods of the world most densely populated by homosexual men. There are a lot of good looking men here. A whole lot. (And that's rather pleasant, I find).

But I know where I live and the odds that implies, so when I saw the ad for the first time, my brain finished the sentence it opens:

"...minty fresh breath won't help you much if he's thinking about cock."

Posted on July 21, 2005 at 10:11 PM in mundania | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thoughts on a Wednesday Night 2005

Working late is for chumps.
I am apparently a chump.
But, I am a chump who will be a good deal more ready for her big meeting on Friday.

I should not write the rent check in the morning before work because apparently I can't write out big numbers in text properly before 9am.

Thanks to a visit from the landlady (for a replacement check), I have clean dishes. (She's not THAT nice, though she is nice; I did them, like we all do so much of our cleaning, out of Guest Fear).

I really should finish one of these 15 books I'm reading.

This weekend is gonna be great. Even if I don't do anything at all, the combination of not-being-at-work and not-being-sick is so exhilarating!

One nice thing about cold San Francisco summers is that you still get to make winter favorites like roast vegetables.

Mmm, parsnips.

Posted on July 20, 2005 at 10:34 PM in mundania | Permalink | Comments (1)

On the mend 2005

Finally feeling more normal by the end of the day today, which is good because it was the first day back to work since last Tuesday and I could have overdone it. I think easing into things Saturday evening and Sunday and Monday helped. Not too much activity, but enough.

Yesterday I went to the dentist (which is why I had the extra day off) and they used a new device on me for my cleaning. It's an ultrasonic tool instead of the scraping horror one usually endures and it's vastly preferable. For once I came out thinking "well, there are certainly other ways I would prefer to have spent the last hour" but not in the depressed, invaded and abused mood I usually feel after dental work or pelvic exams. (Yes, I know they're doing it for my health and hurt as little as they can, but still, I wind up sad and wanting comfort food and cuddling).  I'm pretty pleased with this dentist, Dr. Perona. This was my second visit and I think I've found a good match. My last one unfortunately like to talk politics and social issues and I think we were in opposite camps on most things. Very nervous-making to disagree with someone who has sharp implements in your mouth.

Well, time to brush and floss properly (yessir) and then enjoy another night of proper sleep. You don't truly appreciate it until you've done without for a few nights!

Stay well, everyone.

Posted on July 19, 2005 at 11:12 PM in health | Permalink | Comments (1)

How to annoy your current customers by making them jump through a hoop 2005

If you, like me, were an early adopter of PacBell DSL and rode the bumpy ride for years, put up with service which was once atrocious and is now, under SBC, tolerable to good, and you now pay something on the order of $49.95 a month for your connection, you too might have seen advertising promoting the service for much less for new customers. Which hardly seems fair since they never offered it to an existing customer like me at a new rate.

Turns out all you have to do is call and say "Hey there SBC PacBell, I pay $49.95 and that's waaay more than you charge new customers. Please start charging me $19.95 a month since that's the going rate."

And they'll just do it. I mean, great, suddenly I'm saving $360 for the next twelve months, but jeez, why should I have to call them?

They could have said "Hey, existing customers, we're about to change our pricing. It'll be $24.95  but for you and your friends, we'll offer it at $19.95. Your bill will change next month and you can tell your friends just to mention the 'SBC is on the cluetrain' promotion and they'll get the special price too!" and I would have been really happy and said nice things about them and recommended them to friends.

Instead I'm pissed at them because who knows how long ago I could have gotten this price. I'm sitting here thinking "Gee. That's a really great sushi dinner or a pair of hightops or a bottle of single malt or the donation to the Carter Center I've been wanting to do every month or two. SBC PacBell, you've been ripping me off! Jerks!"

*sigh* Can we have open source internet and phone service soon please, universe?

Posted on July 16, 2005 at 05:38 PM in warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (1)

Points for effort, at least 2005

I didn't nap during the day. At 8pm I took some Nyquil (but not the dope-you-up nighttime kind) and then a bit before 10 I took a melatonin. 20 or 30 minutes later I was feeling dozy, brushed my teeth and went to bed. It was lovely. I drifted off to deep, restful sleep comfortably and quickly.

...And then woke up two hours later bright eyed and bushy tailed.

*sigh*

At least my symptoms are down to a slightly sore, scratchy throat and the occasional "productive" cough (which is about the only productivity I've been able to manage for the last three and a half days). My sinuses are back to normal, not even allergies bothering me.

Only fly in the ointment: wide awake at a quarter to 1am. Fortunately, I'm not alone in the nightowl world. Alongside re-reading old posts in this weblog from two years ago, I had a great chat with my friend Simon, who I'm hoping to get to spend more time hanging out with if he moves out to this part of the world.

Now it's 2:15am and I'm hungry. I guess the appetite is reminding me that it's well too.

Posted on July 16, 2005 at 02:16 AM in health | Permalink | Comments (0)

Still working on that "Silicon Valley" concept 2005

I got a postcard from my graduate school alma mater, San Jose State University, asking me to call and confirm my listing in their alumni directory. I called, but when I asked to just be listed with my online information and no physical address or phone number, I was told they can't do that and my only choice would be not to be listed.

Come on, guys, it's 2005. Get a clue. If the directory is really for alumni to stay in touch, this should be an option. If, as I now strongly suspect, it's an opportunity to sell a bunch of addresses to advertisers, quit trying to pretend you're serving a community.

Good thing my former classmates know how to Google.

Posted on July 15, 2005 at 02:34 PM in warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (0)

Then Night came down like the feathery soot of a smoky lamp, and smutted first the bedquilt, then the hearth-rug, then the window-seat, and then at last the great, stormy, faraway outside world. But sleep did not come. Oh, no! Nothing new came at all except that particularly wretched, itching type of insomnia which seems to rip away from one's body the whole kind, protecting skin and expose all the raw, ticklish fretwork of nerves to the mercy of a gritty blanket or a wrinkled sheet. Pain came too, in its most brutally high night-tide; and sweat, like the smother of furs in summer; and thirst like the scrape of hot sand-paper; and chill like the clammy horror of raw fish. Then, just as the mawkish cold, gray dawn came nosing over the housetops, and the poor fellow's mind had reached the point where the slam of a window or the ripping creak of a floorboard would have shattered his brittle nerves into a thousand cursing tortures - then that teasing, tantalizing little friend of all rheumatic invalids - the Morning Nap - came swooping down upon him like a sponge and wiped out of his face every single bit of the sharp, precious evidence of pain which he had been accumulating so laboriously all night long to present to the Doctor as an incontestable argument in favor of an opiate.

- from Molly Make-Believe, by Eleanor Hallowell Abbott, 1911

Posted on July 15, 2005 at 02:12 PM in quotes | Permalink | Comments (6)

If life gives you insomnia, make posts 2005

Well, the stupidest cold ever continues. I had thought earlier that I might be able to get to sleep, but after 2 hours of trying fitfully, I am giving in. If I'm going to be up until 3 or 4am, I might was well enjoy it as best I can.

One thing you can do in the middle of the night is look at pretty things that Maggie has picked out for you: visit Mighty Goods! My favorites: Band Shades, bandaids for people who aren't pale pink; the bunny mobile for over a crib; the Omron Premium Pedometer which I bought and am very happy with; the Chez Panisse fruit notecards which might just be enough to actually get me to write some letters; these cool adhesive oval patterns to make your wall super-retro hip; Scrabble cuff links; Connector pens that snap together and are bright and make my inner child get the big greedy eyes; a patch with a squirrel playing a drum; Wee Ninja; Kenneth Cole Think Pink cuff links; European wine glasses for casual entertaining; the brocade lanterns have really got me thinking about how I might decorate that spare room; ThermaCare Air-Activated Heat Pads about which Maggie is so very right; the Sam Brown Red Robot Hoodie; and I am intrigued by Junipero Gin and Steep Teas.

Mmm, but here's the winner: the Enzo Side-Snap Boot. I'm gonna look great in these.


(And yes, I may be moving into the final "intermittant cough" phase of the normal cold symptoms, but the inability to get to sleep seems to be worse. Since my alarm normally would go off in 150 minutes, I think it's safe to say I won't be making it in to work today either. Fortunately, at least at the moment I do feel enough better that I should be able to get through the afternoon and evening without a nap. Maybe tomorrow night I'll be asleep before the bars close...)

Posted on July 15, 2005 at 03:28 AM in linky goodness | Permalink | Comments (3)

Summer cold 2005

Well, just as I enter an incredibly intense two weeks at work, I get a head cold which appears to also have the odd symptom of completely disrupting my sleep schedule.

I blame the reduced quality of my diet over the past month (since reluctantly cancelling my Organic Express subscription due to investigations of the delivery box by a rodent of usual size) and stress. On the bright side, I did buy a bunch of vegis and fruit yesterday and have been taking better care of myself for the last few days. Not enough to stave it off, but perhaps enough for a quicker recovery.

Be careful out there.

Posted on July 13, 2005 at 02:00 AM in health | Permalink | Comments (3)

The Jailing of America 2005

My uncle Larry pointed me at this brief essay about the growing number of incarcerated Americans. Take a look at the graph showing the massive change over the last 3 decades compared to the prior 3.

It's a small bite of interesting thoughts, statistics and references. Give it a read.

Posted on July 10, 2005 at 11:45 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weekend Fog 2005

It's not that I'm getting to old for this; I think I've always had this reaction to late night fun and even moderate amounts of alcohol. Friday and Saturday night I was up past midnight hanging out with friends and drinking. I had two drinks each time - probably about 6oz of spirits - and then drank water and took ibuprofen and stayed up until 3am before going to sleep.

I slept 7.5-8 hours and then sat up in bed and read for a bit. Despite the normal amount of sleep (and an additional nap on Saturday), I'm groggy, unmotivated and drained. The question in my mind is "was it the drinks or the 4 hour timeshift of my sleeping?" Am I slightly hung over or jetlagged?

Suffice to say, I traded late night hanging out with some friends for daytime citywalking and a book-trading brunch this morning with other friends I'd really been looking forward to seeing. Ah well, life is trades.

Posted on July 10, 2005 at 11:37 AM in health | Permalink | Comments (3)

hanging out with pals 2005

Photos by Tantek, Kristin and Lucia.

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Posted on July 9, 2005 at 12:00 PM in friends & family, San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thoughts from a summer festival 2005

Gosh, it's a lot hotter in the south bay than in San Francisco.

Outdoor movies are a wonderfully silly, happy thing.

Not all band managers are dorks, but the one's who are, hoo baby, welcome to pricktown.

Some of the best hugs I got this weekend (from these folks I see once a year) were from uniformed San Jose police officers. Shame they have to wear those dang lumpy vests under their uniforms, but these guys overcome that handicap with great skill.

There are few things nicer than a Filco festival on the Fourth of July. No significant incidents, good food, mellow crowd, great crew and fantastic fireworks. Really one of the prettiest shows we've had.

It is LOVELY to be home to quiet and my own bed and the rest of the day to recover before a short work week at my real job.

Posted on July 5, 2005 at 03:11 PM in mundania | Permalink | Comments (0)

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

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