Wednesday, June 29, 2005


I didn't forget, MonkeyScientist. But I think they changed your truck.

Eventually I will calm down with the images. Hopefully before I get into some of the am I still in art school? folders. But as Eric notes at Movin' Out, it is so wonderful to not have to go through the upload-to-a-separate-place contortions anymore.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

let's jitterbug! c'mon!

Here we have a San Francisco playwright blogging nothing but overheard dialogue. And it's freaking brilliant.
in honor of snufkina, who got a job

And thus will probably not be blogging so often, or hanging out with molluscs, let me present:

You can do it, girl. You'll find the fun coworkers, you'll do a great job, and in six months you can always come back to the slothful underemployed life and get back to your snail husbandry.

Monday, June 27, 2005

the secret word is martini

Blogger can finally handle images on its own. So, apropos of nothing, here are some German ducklings.

My connection's been wonky today, and so for that matter have I, so don't expect too much in the way of coherence.

Today was actually not that bad, but the past couple of weeks have been very emotionally intense. I've been doing some deep thinking into the question of whether I will have my own children or not. I've been spending an awful lot of time alone. And then this Saturday I worked a party that was really fun (as is typical right after I've posted about how much I hate catering, natch) but completely draining; I spent Sunday eating pudding, doing laundry, and playing "Bookworm" on Pogo, which I do not, repeat do not, recommend to anyone who is hoping to Get Something Done. I totally missed the Pride parade and celebration, which was going on a scant four blocks from my apartment. Bailed on a show that I would have been seeing for pleasure, not work. Didn't get the sample chapter finished for my book proposal. I'm pretty sure I brushed my teeth, but that and having clean clothing is about all I accomplished.

It's tricky, being freelance and/or on-call. Because I'm as likely to work a Saturday as a Monday (more so, actually), because I have to be available to model or cater or do interviews whenever other people are free or want to have a party, because I do an increasing amount of my work from home, it's hard to set clear boundaries. They tell you this, when you say you want to work from home, but it's hard to really absorb what that means. I'm starting to understand why people find ways to hide their desks from view. I wake up, and if I've slept on my right side, the gaping black hole that is my computer is the first thing I see.

For a while a couple of years ago, I made a point of having a sabbath. Obviously Friday night through Saturday night didn't work, so I chose Wednesday as my day off and did my best to stick with it. Wouldn't take work on that day, wouldn't write anything for money, etc. I don't know why I stopped doing that, but I'm starting to think it was one of the better ideas to creep from my flea-bitten grey matter.

This weekend's celebrity sighting: a certain star of a Saturday morning television show about an overgrown boy in a bow tie whose career nosedived when he was busted for doing something so minor (note: he was not doing a minor, he was doing something minor) it boggles the imagination. He was a friend of the host, it was a private party in a beautiful new Moorish-styled home in Marin, and I was sort of hoping for at least a moment of the famous squeaky voice. But no such; he was better behaved than all the other guests, many of whom were draped over my bar by the end of the night saying virtually unintelligible things to each other about Eckhart Tolle and how much they loved each other, man.

My hero, who was wearing jeans and blue trainers, got champagne for the people he was talking to and ginger ale for himself and laughed kindly at my feeble attempts to amuse him with my martini shaker. My co-worker Hound told me that as he gets older, he starts to appreciate small breasts more. I believe he used the word "conoissuer". I taught one Spanish-speaking gentleman the names of several different drinks: Cosmopolitan, Madras, Screwdriver. A woman gave me a twenty-dollar tip. A good night.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

oh, and

Happy Gay Pride Day, everyone.
stray tuexedos, umounted ketubah, confused caterer, and all

Best of luck to David and Marisa, who are tying the knot right now in Indiana.

Friday, June 24, 2005

that daisy, she shore is somethin'

Not my story to tell, but Thread's, about watching The Dukes of Hazzard with her granddad. But in their honor, and because I am a diligent researcher who turns up some odd things, I thought I'd share this page about Catherine Bach, the first Miss Duke.

In one of the photos, her shirt's wet. Real wet. If you like that sort of thing.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

people keep having birthdays!

Today is AX's, so happy birthday to him. But remember AX, whatever happens, I will always be older than you are.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

another sign

I just got a call from the staffing fella at my caterer, asking if I minded being moved from one party to another this Saturday. I said fine, so he sent me an email with the details, which is how I learned that a person I never saw as manager material is going to be managing.

I am really conflicted about this. On the one hand, I really don't want to work under this person (although it won't be direct; I'm bartending, so technically I'll be under someone else) and feel like I need to confront my supervisor about why I've barely been tapped to manage in the past year and a half. Don't tell me that the weekend is super-busy, with parties everywhere, and then have me in a non-management position under a newbie. I understand that there were some issues about my management style (namely, I was behaving like the male managers), but I really feel a lot of my shortness was related to my father being sick. When I came back after his death, I was a lot different on the few parties I did manage, and got positive feedback from both clients and staff. So I believe the issue has been addressed. And if I'm going to cater, I would prefer to manage. Not just because the money's better, although of course that's a factor, but because without the challenge of managing, catering is so damn unfulfilling.

On the other hand. I've been whining and complaining about catering for so long now, and using how great it felt to get and finish the museum project as a goad to get myself actively seeking more writing work and moving away from the Sisterhood of the Tray. The couple of days I spent in LA meeting with my researcher and the video guy, looking at the artifacts, and being put up in a hotel and treated like a professional felt a lot more like what my life is supposed to be than sitting on an overturned milk crate behind the dinner tent, scarfing down cold food and wondering how much longer I can get away with not buying another pair of sensible black waitress shoes.

So I can be huffy and call my supervisor and remind her that she said she'd "keep me in mind" (right), or I can take this as another sign that it is past time for me to move on. I'm scheduled to work an average of one job a week through October, and I haven't taken anything after that. Maybe I find a way to emotionally detach from the catering altogether--do the jobs I've agreed to take with the best grace I can muster, bank the money, and not let it touch me.
what i want for my birthday

Cillian Murphy. With glasses on.

I am supposed to be working here, but one thing has led to another, and I have discovered some amazing things. Like this: Alan Cumming will not be back in X-Men 3 as Nightcrawler. Damn. He was my favorite thing about that movie. He is, apparently, too busy marketing his new fragrance Cumming. It's got, lemmeseehere, burnt rubber, peat moss, mud, whiskey, three kinds of tobacco, pepper, white truffle oil...I honestly thought it was a joke at first. His Web site, well, I can't even do this justice...his site is loaded with innuendo, based on his's Let's just leave it at that.

He's still a hero of mine, even if he consented to be in the second Mask movie. After all, I consented to work on the first one, I can't exactly throw stones.

And Nicolas Cage had an encounter with a cobra that made him start eating smaller portions and work out more. As he prepared to make Ghost Rider. Which I'm hoping will take the taste of Honeymoon in Vegas out of my mouth.

Oh, and Joss Whedon has promised not to do anything "funny" to Wonder Woman in the script he's writing. Hm. Funnier than what everyone else has done to her? I found it interesting that one writer from the comic series didn't understand a previous issue that had shown her at different ages. He thought the four manifestations (ie Wonder Tot) were discrete characters, and plotted accordingly. So WW's housecleaning during the Crisis on Infinite Earths was perhaps a little bloodier than that of some of her colleagues. And I'm not going to touch the fact that WW's creator had a real thing about bondage, except to note that if you're going to get tied up with your own damn magic lasso all the time, maybe you should consider leaving it at home before you head out to do battle.

I'm just saying.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

somebody please tell me why they felt they had to do this

The BBC reports that a brain scan can reveal whether a woman is faking orgasm or not.

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like researchers have been fixated on orgasm lately. Here's another recent study whose authors are suggesting that a) a woman's orgasmic capability is genetic and b) women who have a harder time orgasming are in fact just pickier about their partners, for biological selection reasons.


But this most recent one tickles me (excuse the pun). They had one member of each heterosexual couple (I am not, not, not going to get into why I think that part is stupid) stimulate the other to orgasm. The receiver had their head in a scanner. Then the partners would switch. When they asked women to fake orgasm, the results were different from their "real" orgasms.

Do I need to point out the problem with the methodology here?

How do we know that all of the "real" orgasms were? I mean, come on. I'm betting some of these couples had been together for a while...and the woman had gotten used to the fact that her partner wasn't really working the right spot...and had gotten into the habit of faking anyway. Sure they darkened the room and "shut out all the noise distractions", but these are still not ideal conditions for some women, socks or no socks (although that piece of the research is interesting). And I can see where a woman might be inclined to fake, if she were already in the habit and getting tired of having her head in the machine and wondering if there were enough coins in the meter and wanting to "perform" for the researchers and so on; and now would really not be the time to admit to her partner of however long that he hasn't actually been doing it right for quite some time...

I'm not saying anything against men here. Really I'm not. I'm just noting that if the numbers are right and a whopping seventy percent of all women admit to having faked at some point or another with a partner, this methodology is flawed. Better, I think, to have the women pleasuring themselves.

And what came of all this (sorry again, I can't seem to stop myself)? Professor Gert Holstege saying: "...[I]f you are fearful, it is very hard to have sex. It's very hard to let go."

How much money went into this? Haven't women been saying something rather like this for, oh, thousands of years? And now it's real because there's science behind it? Oh please.

Some advice from Professor Holstege, free: men should know that "when you want to make love to a woman, you must give her the feeling of being protected."

And here I was holding out for the feeling of having a decent breakfast rustled up for me afterwards.
actually sort of cute

But by god, do not even think of bidding on this for me.

Via Boing Boing.

Monday, June 20, 2005

a good reason to have lads in pubs

Happy Monday.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

same thing as last year

when no one is forgotten and nothing goes to waste
when sadness turns to laughter when anger's defaced
you'll start to know the way I feel about you

when weakness turns to power when evil turns to good
when the helpless are remembered by those who never would
you start to know the way I feel about you

and if I could, I'd run out into the street and I'd scream to everyone I'd meet
that I loved you more than words could say
and that I loved you more than life this father's day

when caring is exalted when kindness knows no bounds
when integrity comes easy when love is all around
you'll start to know the way I feel about you

and if I could, I'd run out into the world and tell every boy and girl to love
before love takes itself away
just like I'm lovin you this father's day

Peter Himmelman, This Father's Day, off the 1986 album of the same name.

If you still have a him.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

i love the smell of outrage in the morning

Did everyone else know that we have been using napalm in Iraq? During 2003's Operation Iraqi Freedom? And that we lied to the British about it? Am I the only one who didn't know?

When the British asked--it's important they know these things, because as well as being our partners in this ill-conceived war, they are signatories to the 1980 UN Convention on 'Weapons Which May Be Deemed To Be Excessively Injurious Or To Have Indiscriminate Effects', which rules out the use of napalm--they were told no, no napalm. Slippery. Because MK-77 isn't the napalm of Vietnam and Korea: gasoline, benzene and polystyrene. No. It's kerosene-based jet fuel and polystyrene. It acts exactly like classic napalm--in fact, it's harder to put out, once ignited. It sticks and burns.

MK-77 is currently the only incendiary in the U.S. arsenal. For some reason, I didn't realize that "firebomb" translates to "napalm." Maybe I thought we were using nice clean firebombs that aren't full of gel that sticks to structures--and people. I will spare you the photo of Kim Phuc running naked and burning from her village in Vietnam. I know you've seen it.

This sickens me so much I can barely write about it. The lies are fucking piling up around us. The government lied to us about why we were going to war. They lied to the British about how. Blair and his people, even after finding out they had been lied to, continued to cover for us.

Lying to start a war is an impeachable offense. If you are even half as ashamed of our behavior in Iraq as I am, consider bringing it to your representative.

Friday, June 17, 2005

the project

Some of you have expressed curiosity at what I could possibly be doing that takes precedence over long, self-indulgent blog posts. Well, now that I'm done with it, I figure I can tell. There were some moments where I thought I wasn't going to pull it off, and how bad would that have been? You would all be down at a little museum in Southern California straining to hear my turns of phrase in the audio tour, and they wouldn't be there!

Not to say that they are now, either. Writing interpretive stuff for museums has proven to be very different from anything else I've done so far. Trying to be completely accurate, clear, and understandable by A great exercise in editing oneself, let me tell you. I use a lot of modifiers, ordinarily, and boy do they sound prissy when you've got two minutes to tell a five-minute story and need to cut, cut, cut.

SoCal needed a new reservoir, as emergency back-up. So the water district found themselves a nice four-and-half-mile-long valley, with mountains to the north and south. Dug a big hole in it, dammed the ends, piped in billions of gallons of the Colorado River and la voila, Diamond Valley Lake. Just to make it more appealing, they dumped in a bunch of fish, too, and built some parking lots large enough to accommodate trailers with boats.

You can't swim in it--no body contact, that's meant to be drinking water if need be--but you can catch fish in it. Don't talk to me about what fish do in water, I don't want to think about it.

While they were digging their big hole, exciting things were popping out of it. Bone things. Tusks. Remains of giant sloths, sloths that weighed as much as an SUV. Mastodons mammoths sabre-tooth cats dire wolves short-faced bears yesterday's camels (yes, camels started here and went east over the Bering land bridge, I didn't know that either) flat-headed peccaries Bison antiquus Bison latifrons small horses. 140 animal taxa all told. All the stuff they've been pulling out of the LaBrea Tar Pits for the past hundred years, but without the asphalt. Also archaeological things: proof that people had lived in the valley for at least nine thousand years, maybe longer.

So they decided, hey, let's build us a museum (excuse me, interpretive center) and stick all our tusks and things in there.

And I've been writing all the A/V scripts--things like a documentary-style film, and an interactive computer game, and a thing with a decomposing frog, and so on. The project was broken into six sections, and each one had anywhere from one to six pieces of writing associated with it, and just about each piece required something different. I've been sifting through hundreds of pages of transcribed interviews, ethnographic, archaeological, and geological reports, blueprints of exhibits.

I am so fortunate...I was talking to another writer friend the other night about how hard it is to find writing work that we feel good about doing. He copped to having once written a college essay for pay; I mentioned my wake-up-screaming fear that I'll find myself writing ad copy for a tobacco company. So this project has been really exciting. I got to buy a copy of Ice Age Mammals of North America: A Guide to the Big, the Hairy, and the Bizarre, which is such an awesome title, and write it off. I am telling kids about ancient critters, which I do here for free anyway, and why it was wrong that the Cahuilla were dragged to the missions for forced conversions, and how cool it is to grow up to be a scientist. I will get paid good money for having gleefully written about coprolites, putrefecation, and the archaeological importance of trash heaps.

My job rules. What was it I did before? Do I even want to remember?

I'm not sure when the museum opens. Not for a while, I think. Time enough to find a silly T-shirt with a mammoth or something on it to wear when I visit. Maybe a mammoth wearing reading glasses and a bathrobe, hunched over a laptop and eating cookies.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

a meta moment

Show me the blogger who wears a tie while he types. Oops, wait a minute, I do know one of those. But I'm pleased by this, in part because there was this one guy at the focus group I just did who said there wasn't any need to be able to read blogs remotely. I don't pay attention to that shit, he grumbled.

Yeah, well, that shit is getting the Downing Street Memo looked at by Congress. Led, may I just crow for a moment, by a fellow Michiganian? Michigander? Whatever?

Like the way I invoke my childhood home when someone from there does something I appreciate, and am totally silent when another is a scary wackjob?
everything you need to know about the brothers k

The White Shoe Irregular pulls together the Amazon user reviews. My current favorite:
First of all let me say that if an author wants to sell books in this country, then use some american names for gosh sake! How in the H E double toothpicks am I suppossed to remember who's who? The fact is you can't. … If you want to read about crime and punishment, how's about a little grisham. But this guy fred dostoyefski is going to have to write a little bit more towards his intended audience. My advice to you Freddy if you read this: Russia went down with the Berlin wall, let's write some good old fashion mystery thrilllers!

But you should really go see for yourself.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

time to go to the library!

The Patriot Act is getting defanged: the bit about the FBI being able to access our library and bookstore records has--pardon the inopportune phrase, but I'm excited--gone down in flames. Trust me, nobody is using the SFPL to learn "how to fly planes...put together biological weapons...put together chemical weapons, nuclear weapons". Because what people do there is sleep. And take sponge baths in the restrooms. And check out massive stacks of books with their kids. And watch videos.

And accumulate piles and piles of books to decorate the floor around the bed. Right now, mostly Cooking for Dummies type stuff, a novel, background on the Brothers Karamazov, and a book of Anna Akhmatova's poetry. That's me, terrorist in training.
getting amp'd

Spent the evening in an absurd pursuit; I participated in a focus group for this product, which is aimed at the "youth" market.

Yes, other than the market research people, I was in fact the oldest person in the room. I had to eat a lot of M&M's out of the bowl to keep up with the whippersnappers.

I did my part, though, to represent what oldsters like: when they asked us to rate which magazines we'd be like to be able to read on our cell phones, I zipped past People and Vogue and wrote in The Economist. I had to bypass the "television" section altogether because I had no idea what's on any of the channels; other than visits home, I haven't lived with a TV in...lemme see...fifteen years now. At least. I also wrote in "flamenco music" and "BBC" in the appropriate places.

I'm sure they're scratching their heads back at Amp'd HQ. But, you know, I'm still in that cohort. Barely. I have six more months of being a "youth". And then I suppose I get turned into Soylent Green, have I got that right? Or am I mixing movies? It's hard to remember when you're as old as I am.

The best moment was when we got a ten-minute break halfway through. Half of us whipped out our cell phones. One guy brought out his laptop for good measure. The public health student I'd teamed with to describe the "information" consumer of 2010 (like I was going to choose "sports"?) was on her phone saying to someone, did you get the text I sent you about my computer? and lapsing into Persian. Bless her; she was the one who suggested that in addition to the Beeb (I wasn't the only one, incidentally: there were two Europeans in the room and an Australian who all concurred) and the Old Gray Lady, news content should include Al Jazeera. She was neat.

I am feeling all hip and down and shit.

And here, appropos of nothing and via Making Light: dealing with fleas.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

the brainiest scholar in singapore explains it all for you

Daryl has come up with a helpful guide to blogging etiquette.

The effect is cumulative, but if forced I would say that this one is my favorite:
7. Remember, if you forget which keys to use, a simple little memory trick is that you should start from the outside and work your way inside. Hence, posts like "poiuy!" are the height of decorum.

Thank you, it's been wonderful talking to all of you. Godspeed.

Monday, June 13, 2005

pull the plug, and look what drains out

I didn't get as much work done yesterday as I'd hoped because I was moving from crying jag to crying jag...not sure why I was so much more emotional than usual. Wasn't premenstrual, had food in my stomach, my back wasn't hurting; none of the usual suspects. I'm getting pretty good at distinguishing "real" moods from those caused by discomfort, hunger, hormones: doesn't always help the mood, but at least I know what's going on and if it's something I've brought on my own self by not, say, remembering to eat. My dad was like that too; he'd get caught up in something and forget to eat. Sometimes for a day or two. No Good.

Part of it, as indicated, is that I was thinking about my dad. Which is code for something larger, really; something I started to blog and then decided against. Too raw, too vulnerable. And while that hasn't stopped me in the past, I have some new readers I don't know or whose motives in visiting are unclear to me. A little more self-protection seems in order. Some of it was about babies, which I may yet talk about. Some of it was about men, which I won't. Because really, what good does that ever do?

This is such a weird technology, isn't it? I can't wait to see what life looks like in twenty years, when we've all gotten used to all this connectivity. When the very word connectivity doesn't sound so damn silly and wrong.

But I digress. I just finished the last first drafts of the Big Project, and I'm eating peas with a huge hunk o' butter and cookie-dough ice cream (seperate, seperate, really) and trying to decide whether to take a victory lap around the block. Or a nap. Nap's winning. I should at least call the Snail Whisperer and see if she still wants to get something pierced; we'd talked about doing that before I went to Berlin, and it never happened. And the end of this project--and my newfound determination to stop catering--seem like something to mark in that particular way.

I'll tell you about the project later. Right now...naptime...

Sunday, June 12, 2005

the run-up to father's day

Dear readers who have also lost their dads: does it get easier, eventually? The days before Father's Day, when every ad boasts a product "better than a tie"?

I imagine it's a little worse for me than it might otherwise be, what with the anniversary of my father's death being so close to this blasted made-up retail opportunity, but it's probably just bad, isn't it?

Kuwait gets their first female cabinet minister. And women will be able to vote in the next parlimentary elections. Note photo of beautiful rejoicing women.

This is the sort of thing I like waking up to. This and chocolate ice cream over my cereal.
things are getting more interesting at downing street

Another day, another leaked memo: this one written eight months before we invaded Iraq. The British being concerned that we didn't have an adequate postwar strategy, and thus might look to them "to share a disproportionate share of the burden."

If this memo is real, Blair's feet are to the fire now, aren't they?

edit: Marc over at Misanthropicity goes deeper, with his usual lucidity.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

do you know a kid between the ages of three and twelve?

Dave DeVries is looking for help with his next book. Dave DeVries is the guy you wish was your weird Uncle Dave, because he would take your line drawings of monsters and heroes and do this with them and make them into something really cool.

I'm afraid I don't remember who tipped me to this guy--maybe my.bicycle?--but thank you, and when I figure it out I'll post the attribution. Right now I'm too busy picking hay out of my crannies after a Western-themed birthday party I just worked and the thought of cruising around the 'net exhausts me.

Friday, June 10, 2005

et cetera

I will pay someone to come to my house and surgically extract this inane Peter Cetera song from my head.

It's been something like three days now. It's giving me a headache, right up front behind my eyes.
so it begins

The new pope has told a group of visiting African bishops that Church teachings are "the only failsafe" protection against AIDS, and decried the "contraception mentality" destroying Africa's moral fabric.

In other words, no condoms for Africa.

23% of the adult population of South Africa has HIV/AIDS. Whether you want to look at that as slightly more than one in five or slightly less than one in four is inconsequential, it's still too damn high.

And Holy Mother Church wonders why it's losing sway...when it is paying so much attention to how things really are in the world.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

this not sleeping thing, it's interesting

I just wrote that I don't usually like a particular Shakespeare character because he makes me think of an appendix--doesn't do anything useful, and then swells up and explodes. I wonder if my editor will let it through? Because it's amusing the hell out of me. But then, I haven't really slept in a while.

Everything is amusing me.
sometimes i don't know which feels better when it comes to writing

Writing, or being done with it?

I know I've said this before, but I just pulled an all-nighter and am completely looped, so shoot me. Please. Sometimes the best part is the cessation of pain. This last section wouldn't have been so painful if I hadn't spent most of my time on it transcribing...what a colossal waste of time. But I made my deadline. Two more pieces for these people, small ones, and I am done. Or should I say, I am ready for revisions. Which are a given; there's a committee on the other end of the line.

The most amusing part though has to be that the power went out at about midnight. Occasionally it would flick back on, my printer and DSL box would come back up, and then pwifffff.... back down again. Upstairs my neighbor, deprived of blaring television, would curse. And I had just been thinking about how I should invest in a desktop machine, but I guess this was my message no. Non. Nein. Ni. You get the idea. Since I was working on a laptop with a full battery, I went into the bathroom and worked by the light of the emergency exit light (no, I don't know why there's an emergency exit light in my bathroom, don't ask. It's pointing in the wrong direction, too; if you took it seriously, you'd crash into the mirror). When that finally gave out, I figured I might as well nap for an hour, and then take my keychain drive over to Kinko's and work there.

Happily, the power came back on before that had to happen. So I could be sitting in the middle of the floor at 7 am, diligently applying Monster energy drink to my cavities and cheese popcorn to my arteries and cutting up the script with long shiny scissors and rearranging the pieces. Ah, it was beautiful.

Now the ogre returns to her cave for a few hours of sleep before knocking off some other writing. Yeeep.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

this woman is made of iron

I have to admit that if bits of a human body fell on my house from an airplane, I wouldn't be nearly as sanguine as Ms. Hearne.

I'd probably move farther away from the airport, too. But that's just me.
thanks for the mammaries

This is so weird...last night I dreamt I was breastfeeding. Don't ask me why, I have no idea either. Then today I checked in on Mr. Nice Guy for the first time in a while, and he was showing solidarity with lactivists.

You should read him anyway, if descriptions of everything that can come out of a newborn don't bother you. His little girl's going to be so embarrassed in thirteen or fourteen years, but her dad is very funny.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Monday, June 06, 2005

the rat came back

Apologies, first, to everyone who has called today and gotten growled at; in a week, this big project will be signed sealed delivered and I will be human again. It's just right now that's so painful. The particular chunk I'm working on has none of the charms of the others.

Apologies to everyone else who was hoping maybe I'd gotten interesting again: nope. The good writing brain is nowhere near the blog. Nope. Nope.

BUT I thought I would mention that I saw my rodential friend scurry by today, this time on the other side of the redwood fence, and I was glad of it. I had just been reading that the Cahuilla people of Southern California kept roadrunners as pets, which I thought was kind of cool and unusual; the suggestion was that they didn't restrain them in a cage the way we might a parrot or a budgie, but encouraged the birds to hang out close by.

So I'm thinking of this guy as my pet rat. He doesn't live with me, I have no cage for him. He just shows up when I need a spot of brightness. Hello! Hello!


Sunday, June 05, 2005

an embarrassing story of rocking out too hard

I've been all up in the Skype idea lately. For those who haven't heard of it, Skype is free voice-over-internet software. Load it, and if you have a microphone, you can call people for very cheap or free (the latter if they also have Skype, which I'm having a hard time convincing my lazy friends to load, but that is another story.)

If you have Skype and your friend doesn't, you can still call them on their regular non-computer phone for reduced rates. Germany, just as a for-example, is 1.7 euro cents a minute, or about two American cents. Score. So yesterday, in anticipation of a certain birthday that a certain someone in Europe is having today, I bought ten euros worth of SkypeOut credit, and treated myself to a new set of headphones, as the travel pair are spindly and unconvincing. The new pair have those big puffy ear protector thingies that make you feel all closed in and cozy, and there's a rubber strip running under the headband so you don't get a ridge in your hair, and so on. I set a mental alarm for midnight my time, by which time MonkeyScientist should be boiling some soft-boiled eggs in Berlin. Praising my ingenuity, I decided to listen to music while I did some transcription.

Ended up really liking the music. Ended up having a Risky Business moment, sans boxer shorts. Gang of Four, "I Love in a Man in a Uniform", how can one bellydance to this? Look at how far this cord will reach! I marveled. I can get all the way over to the fridge! It's almost as good as being wireless!

Key word: almost.

Because as I was executing a modified Z'ar head move, eyes closed, sweaty shirt discarded, completely blissed out, suddenly there was

no music.

And I was trailing input jacks. And...there was no sound coming from the computer proper. Examination revealed that the little things you stick the jacks into had retreated into the laptop's case and could be heard rattling about.

So much for my sound card. Damn. I had the machine unplugged, flipped over, and divested of a dozen screws before it occurred to me that maybe I should wait until someone who had a CLUE could help me; while I'm really good at taking things apart, putting them back together so they work is sometimes frustrating. And I hadn't backed up any of the stuff I'm working on right now.


Looks like it's time for the Geek Squad. Although I'm not sure if I want people who boast that "we don't date!" touching my computer.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

felicitations on your natal anniversary

A little ahead of the game, but accurate where he is; the editor over at Radio Free Mike is taking yet another stab at thirty. Best of wishes.
mmmmmm, grilled mango

Hot Toddy goes hiking with Thor. Funny funny, and a spot-on description of that state where you're so attracted to someone you lose your grasp of your native language.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

god bless australia

Really slow getting to work today, so I won't take the time to talk about Navy sonar and why it's probably part of the reason so many marine mammals are beaching themselves. Let me direct you instead to this article about Australian volunteers herding 74 false killer whales back into the ocean.

I particularly recommend the slideshow, if you need a reminder of what good hearted people (especially well-wrapped in neoprene) can do when they pull (or in this case, push) together.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

another happy coincidence

The back yard is getting overgrown, and the berries are attracting several kinds of birds. My ability to distinguish one kind of bird from another is spotty at best. I'm pretty clear on penguins versus ostriches, for example, but I couldn't tell a wren from a sparrow if I had one of each up either nostril. And there's been a particularly charming reddish fellow keeping me company as I gnash my teeth over the boring part of my big project. So I thought I'd look him up, but couldn't find a workable guide.

Until I started dabbling in hem's archives, and found the tool for identifying birds she blogged quite some time ago. And it really works. It's a little slow, but makes much more sense than the other ones I found, which asked me first for the bird's species--as if I knew that! Do I look like an ornithologist? Give me questions I can answer from observation, like "what color is it?" and "what shape is the bill?". Each question narrows down the choices until you find your answer. Simple and elegant.

Welcome, little house finch.
i said i thought it would be fun to be a pigeon for five minutes

And this is what I got. Huh.

The Keys to Your Heart

You are attracted to those who are unbridled, untrammeled, and free.

In love, you feel the most alive when your lover is creative and never lets you feel bored.

You'd like to your lover to think you are stylish and alluring.

You would be forced to break up with someone who was ruthless, cold-blooded, and sarcastic.

Your ideal relationship is open. Both of you can talk about everything... no secrets.

Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.

You think of marriage something you've always wanted... though you haven't really thought about it.

In this moment, you think of love as commitment. Love only works when both people are totally devoted.