August 08, 2005
August 02, 2005
This is a 9.5 foot couch. It is not 100% complete yet due to how difficult it is to get fedex to deliver to my house these days.Necessity is definitely the mother of invention, and eating off FedEx boxes sure beats eating (and sleeping) on the floor.
July 24, 2005
So I wondered: what does it feel like, to have such a need to drive a larger vehicle than everyone else that you drop an excess of funds on a Hummer, only to pull up to the traffic light and find yourself elbow-to-elbow with another Hummer driver? Are you, well, ordinary again?
July 20, 2005
Gene Roddenberry took advantage of his Star-Trek soapbox to call peace our "Undiscovered Country". We've shuffled to the moon and back, sent drones to Mars and Jupiter, and submersibles to our deep ocean trenches. My youngest sister likes to point out that we've spent more time on the moon than in the deepest parts of the ocean, and she's still probably right.
But I think we've also spent little time truly at peace, that undiscovered country. It's not an easy place to find; and it seems that many people find it too tempting to leave rather than stay.
July 07, 2005
Strangely, I find it hard to remember now what the stations looked like. I'm finding my memories of London Underground overrun with my mental images of the Underground in Neil Gaiman's fantasy novel, Neverwhere. Time is partly to blame, I'm sure. But I wonder if it's also that I can't quite associate the reality of the places I've been with a bombing. A surreal fantasy setting comes more easily to mind.
June 21, 2005
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United Federation of Planets, and to the galaxy for which it stands, one universe, under everybody, with liberty and justice for all species.Seriously. He's eight. He likes Star Trek. This deserves suspension? The mother reports that the teacher said the following in response to the boy's so-called misbehavior:
"Mrs. Jaworski. This isn't humorous. The Pledge is an extremely important and patriotic moment each morning in the classroom. I am ashamed of your son's behavior, and I hope you are, too."Is Big Brother in charge of this school? Are we now training children to be patriotic at all costs? WTF?
This story via BoingBoing.
> SELECT * FROM users WHERE clue > 0;
> 0 rows returned
(Rough English translation: select all users who have a clue. Result: none. Also available in a BOSSES variation...)
June 20, 2005
Also, if you're a registered sex offender, you're now banned from public hurricane shelters in Hillsborough County, Florida. I guess that part about paying your debt to society doesn't count if you have the wrong kind of offense on your record.
June 18, 2005
So I pulled over in the right-turn lane, put my blinkers on, and went running back down the road like a crazy woman. That turtle was hauling his little turtle butt across the highway. When I passed him he was in the turn lane. As I was doing my lame sprint toward him, he was already in the right-hand traffic lane. Fortunately, the next car saw him (or saw loony me, and then the turtle) and moved over to the left lane to miss him.
Then a van came along in the left lane -- which was where the turtle was by this time. Man, that little guy could move! The van stopped dead in the road in front of the turtle, and I could see the driver leaning forward over his steering wheel to look at this turtle. I ran across the street, picked up the turtle, waved to the van driver, and crossed back to the park side with turtle in my hands.
I know some people say you should take turtles in the direction they were going, but there was nothing on the other side of the street but stores and houses. Not turtle-friendly.
So I looked at the turtle, and said to him, "Hey, you almost got tiddly-winked there." He just sucked into his shell. I've never held a box turtle that sucked into his shell before. Box turtles have a hinge on their bottom shell, so they can close up tighter. I could feel the bottom plate move when he did it. He stared back at me with his beady eyes.
I returned him to the grassy weeds at the edge of the park. I hope he'll stay there. He had some numbers painted on his shell in copper-colored paint, so somebody must be keeping track of him.
June 17, 2005
As I listened to my Ipod-radio and melded with the traffic, a track from The Grey Album came up in the shuffle. I’ve never completely appreciated rap and hip-hop, though I get in the mood to listen from time to time. It suddenly occurred to me that rap is about power. I Own This. This is Mine. I Have Control. It explains the rawness of the sound, the aggressiveness. Kind of a ‘duh’ moment, I guess, but when you come from outside a tradition, you have to learn these things for yourself.
June 12, 2005
You are the the Swedish Chef.
You are a talented individual, nobody understands you. Perhaps it's because you talk funny.
FAVORITE EXPRESSION: "Brk! Brk! Brk!"
HOBBIES: Kokin' der yummee-yummers
FAVORITE MOVIE: "Wild Strawberries...and Creme"
LAST BOOK READ: "Der Swedish Chef Kokin' Bokin'"
QUOTE: "Vergoofin der flicke stoobin mit der brk-brk yubetcha!"
What Muppet are you?
June 09, 2005
And waste some more time while you're there, too, fooling around with Zork. Not the original Zork, mind you, but a twisted, bent, Uncyclopedized Zork. Add your own screen if you like. Just watch out for the grue.
June 07, 2005
May 31, 2005
Three things you are wearing right now:
- my fuzzy brown "Mister Rogers" sweater
- white ankle socks
- Bobby McFerrin
- The Beatles
- "Blackbird," The Beatles
- "Freedom Is a Voice," Bobby McFerrin
- "Joy," George Winston
- good hugs and cuddles
- a shoulder to lean on
- a good smell (and NOT cologne!)
- playing with Web sites, both my own and others'
- reading good books
- poking at ideas and seeing what emerges
- dumb people (especially those who don't know they're dumb)
- drowning in deep water
- machinery with evil-looking blades
- Diet Coke
- Diet Coke
- My computer
- My iPod
- ballerina (age 6?)
- astronomer (age 10?)
- biogeneticist (age 15?)
- the Galapágos Islands
- Anywhere, as long as my husband goes too :-)
- Find myself, whereever it is that I've gone
- Live happy
- Learn how to tell other people about it
May 29, 2005
Even the things you might think are about everyday people really aren't. Does any television show resemble real life in any way? Hardly. "Reality TV" isn't. To say someone's life is like a soap opera (or a telenovela) is to say he has way too much drama, or misfortune, or something going on in his life -- far beyond average.
I still like Snow Crash better; it's just so over-the-top and extreme, like the whole book is overcaffeinated. But every story is its own.
May 23, 2005
May 11, 2005
There's been a juvenile red-shouldered hawk hanging around our office since last Friday, crying out and pecking at the windows. A woman from the Audubon Birds of Prey center came out a few times to try to capture it for rehab, but it's well enough to dodge humans with speed.
So we watch it through our windows and listen to it cry. One of my friends bought some chicken and left it for the hawk, thinking it might eat it. A nice idea, but he didn't go for it.
April 27, 2005
April 24, 2005
Alice brought this up, and it's been on my mind lately too:
Funny, I attempted to have a conversation with a professor about this subject recently. He came and sat at our table during lunch and I volunteered that we were more comfortable searching for references for a paper we had to do for his class using Google than using the library's paid, proprietary academic databases. And there were a certain number of scholarly journals that actually did post their publications online for public access.
Charlie on cyberdash wrote a very interesting entry on how we should emphasize the distribution of knowledge rather than merely the distribution of technology, which is a great point. He also links to a Santa Clara University symposium that convened to address the issue and discuss creating a "digital commons" to alleviate "social and economic problems in poor countries":
- Some said it was time to rethink intellectual property laws that often prevent poor countries from tapping into useful innovations and technology. ``We should recognize that intellectual property rights are competing with basic human rights,'' said Raoul Weiler, head of a European think tank.
So I suggested that it would be of more value to both the authors and the publications to make their content more widely available. If more people knew about it -- then, I would think, they'd be more cited, their profile would rise, and their perceived worth would increase.
Sadly, all the prof could think of was the existing model: The publications surely must charge for access in order to exist and continue publishing.
I really tried to encourage him to think outside of the box. Since scholarly publications are generally run by not-for-profits, it's their continued existence that counts, not the percentage of profit above breakeven. What if there were a model that made it possible for publications to exist financially, but still publish their information for free? Wouldn't that benefit both sides, authors and publications?
That's when he followed up with an argument so strange I think I just looked at him and blinked unbelievingly -- that if a paper were so successful in its online freedom that everyone had read it, then it would be valueless because no one would want it any more. (As if the ubiquity of Mickey Mouse has done anything to hurt Disney's brand.)
And this guy teaches technology-related classes. I just hope his students are smart enough to know when to question him.
April 19, 2005
Here in Orlando, land of Disney and Universal, all the family fun is supposedly pre-planned and canned. The fireworks run every night from multiple locations, perfect and precise, like wind-up toys. It's all quite routine, no mystery at all.
How I miss the magic of waiting on a sandy beach in the dark, listening for the sound of a shell launching. Then looking up to the night sky with anticipation, wondering and watching: What would it be? A chrysanthemum? Whistler? The little twirling sparklers that squirmed like polliwogs in mud?
April 17, 2005
Now I can tuck my head backward, nestle my beak between my shoulders, and nap the rest of my day in peace.
April 13, 2005
April 10, 2005
I am not alone in my derangement. BlogAlice, Wil Wheaton, UtopianHell ... even TerraNova recently changed their header to a bunch of spring flowers. Can I resist? I have a paper to write. I think not.
April 07, 2005
The first chapter is titled "The Cemetery of Forgotten Books." I read it standing in the noisy, cement-floored aisle, leaning against stacks of paperbacks.
April 05, 2005
Woah, hold onto your brains! Zombie Crisis in the Vatican!
Anyway, after I took it out of the wrapper, the full picture emerged. Don't things like this make you wonder if the people doing front-page layout are awake, asleep, or trying to make us spit our coffee all over the paper?
April 03, 2005
I googled Baudrillard and found a page with some of his work online. An excerpt from a book called Simulcra and Simulation? Again, I thought, I know that title. That's the book that Neo has in The Matrix, where he stores his illegal warez. It's the scene where Neo follows the "White Rabbit."
So I follow the rabbit myself, and look up the book. On the first page Baudrillard mentions one of my favorite authors, Borges.
So the upshot of all this is that I guess I need to mark Baudrillard "for further investigation."
April 01, 2005
March 30, 2005
So by making a digital image look like a photograph, it becomes more "realistic" to our eyes. Isn't that interesting? Photography connotes realism. And we make this judgment -- realistic or not realistic -- when viewing an image, even though we should consciously know that photos can be staged or completely manufactured.
"The medium is the message." -- Marshall McLuhan. When a digital image simulates a photo, is that two messages? Or is it just a mixed message? ;-)
They got a shock collar but wanted to make sure it was OK for the dog. Guess what happens next. (video included)
March 28, 2005
"The medium is the message." I'd heard the phrase -- but never really thought about who might have said it or what it was supposed to mean. All I can say is, this guy rocks. He's hard to get sometimes. And for some of his work that I've read, I can't decide if I just don't get it, if he's totally missed the mark, or something else entirely.
But it definitely seems relevant today, even though it's forty years old. More on the mark than a lot of the talking heads. Even P Diddy recently quoted him, natch.
February 05, 2005
The habit started when Zap had an infection in a gland near the base of his tail. I guess it itched. Poor guy. But we never could get him to stop after that. Our vet even tried putting a collar on him. He was such an acrobat that he still managed to pick his tail feathers. And the collar irritated his neck, so he started picking his neck feathers too.
Because he had no tail, Zap wasn't very good at landing after a flight. Usually birds will fan out their tail feathers just before landing to slow down. Without his tail, Zap would crash down -- feet, then chest, then beak, boom, boom, boom. And pick himself up afterwards. I always felt sorry for him.
On the other hand, with no tail in the way, Zap could also hang upside down from the roof of his cage like a bat. Zip always looked at Zap oddly when he did that -- perhaps because Zip couldn't do it himself.
January 29, 2005
January 25, 2005
Here's my avatar in my just-acquired apartment, at the TigerTor Apartments for the Landless. I'm holding off on acquiring a permanent abode in Second Life, mostly because I have homework to do.