Below are the 25 most recent journal entries.
Dear Livejournal Friends...
For a while now, I've been relying on Bloglines to bring me all of the blogs I read, including Livejournal. Just yesterday, I went to my LJ friends page and realized, holy shit, I've been missing everyone's entries! I'm not sure what the problem is with Bloglines, but anyway, I'm now adding my LJ friends page back to my daily sites I check.
I'm going back and reading back in time now. My apologies if I haven't commented on your juicy entries, or mentioned in real life something awesome you posted.
Dear John^H^H^H^H Livejournal
I'm sorry, but I think it's time to call it quits between us. It's not you - I think you're great. I've just grown up a lot since we started seeing each other, and I feel like I need to move on.
After petit_chou introduced us, we just saw each other casually for a while. I mostly just hung out with you so I could see my friends. Then, your tantalizing features, such as userpics, drew me closer. I had the best of intentions. I knew you could offer me locked, friends-only entries. I knew if I just gave more to the relationship (about $35), you'd give me design power and userpics beyond my wildest dreams.
I tried to make it work in my own way. I had philosophical discussions with you. We laughed at the world together, and of course there were the memes. You were there for me in some dark days. We even got so close that I shared all the details of my pregnancy with you.
In the end, though, I could never trust you completely. I copied the text of entries before posting, just in case you lost it. I hardly ever wrote a friends-only entry because I just couldn't relax about the chance of you telling other people about it. It made me nervous that all of my thoughts and ideas were in your hands instead of mine.
So, Livejournal, I'm seeing someone else now. It's a Wordpress blog that I host on my own server at home. I hope you're not hurt, but I've already told it everything I told you. And I even tagged all my entries - something I know you wanted me to do but I never did when we were together. I'm just wrapped up in the euphoria of a new relationship. I've spent hours tweaking its CSS to look just right. And Wordpress offers me plugins and widgets - something you don't.
I know in a breakup that one's friends tend to take a side. I'd like you to know that if my friends like you better, they can still be friends with me. If it's too awkward to see me and Livejournal in the same page after the breakup, people can keep up with me using RSS or Feedwhip can even email it to them.
I hope we can still be friends.
I'm working on moving this journal to a self-hosted Wordpress blog so I can have everything in one place. This will probably be my last post (aside from an announcement when my new blog is ready), so in true LiveJournal fashion, it'll be a meme...
These clever buggers created what is essentially a phishing meme. Got me!
Finding a cool screensaver is hard. Just try googling it and a myriad of crappy sites fills the results, many of which give you some malware along with your free screensaver, not to mention all the blinking ads. Eventually, I had the brilliant idea to look through the archives of Life Hacker and found Slickr.
It's a screensaver that pulls pictures from Flickr and displays them. It's smart enough to notice when you have two monitors, and displays different pictures on each. It even tends to display similar types of pictures (two sunsets, two flowers) on each screen.
If you want, you can input tags, users, or groups to use for selecting pictures. I prefer to use "interestingness" to select pictures, which is an option. Here's Flickr's description of interestingness, if you care.
It's fascinating, and always fresh. I love it.
Cool advice site
The Elder Wisdom Circle:
It's a network of elders who you can anonymously ask for advice on most topics (except medical, legal, and financial). You can get a personal reply from one or two elders in about a day. It helps those seeking advice, and also helps the elders by giving them a way to contribute.
I'm trying to think of a good question to ask!
I despair for America...
Instead of wasting hours sifting through crap and football to see the ads yesterday, I spent an efficient 45 minutes or so today watching and ranking them here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/1656627
MSNBC has a cool, smart interface that puts the best 32 ads into brackets and lets you watch them and advance them, all on one screen, until you've picked your favorite.
Then, they show you the results. I almost fell off my chair when I saw that one of the stupidest ones, "Mouse" (from Blockbuster) is WAY out in the lead. WTF? Who is watching these? Who are the people who think that's the best of all these interesting ads? This is the same feeling I got after Bush was re-elected: bafflement and despair for my country.
My favorite, for the record, turned out to be "Ultraman" by Garmin (although if it weren't for the bracket system, I don't think I would have necessarily chosen that one). Other favorites included "Finger" by ETrade, "Goulet" by Emerald Nuts, and "Lions" by Taco Bell.
In an example of where America and I are on the same page, Sheryl Crow's Revlon ad was only voted #1 by 27 (or 0%) out of 63,489 votes. Ha.
Is your company hiring?
As you have probably heard, my company laid off 60 people this week. I escaped the ax, but many of my very talented colleagues did not.
As even our CEO says, the layoffs were not because of poor performance, but a restructuring of the company's strategy. There are now 60 great people out there, looking for jobs, who I hope will be snapped up quickly. I'm particularly interested in helping out the three guys cut from my team (IT).
If your company is looking for smart and competent IT / Operations analyst / systems engineer types, please let me know by commenting here or emailing me. Beyond that, if you're trying to fill a position, check with me and I'll tell you if any ex-Jobsters might fit.
My office just moved to the north end of the waterfront (near the soon-to-open Olympic Sculpture park), and my bus commute involves a bit more walking than before. And, I had some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket... so I got one of these:
My very own Razor Scooter, in green, natch.
I tried it out on a lunch run just now and had a lot of fun. Going uphill is stupid (walking is much less tiring), but downhill slopes and flat stretches are a dream. I just cruise along. A good push or two will give me momentum for a while, even on bumpy sidewalk.
My current plan is to carry it on the bus (it folds up) and scoot to my destination on either side. I'm hoping it's not too bulky for everyday carting around.
Art is a Cat
Modern art has always been my favorite kind. (I'm using the term "modern art" very loosely here, to refer to all art created roughly from 1950-present, not just by the modernists.) I'd much rather go to a gallery and see what new artists are creating today rather than go through stuffy old SAM and see the same "old masters" yet again. When Steve and I were in Paris, we skipped the Louvre and went to the Pompidou instead. Locally, we're members of the excellent Henry Art Gallery.
I'm hard pressed, though, to find the right words to explain why I like modern art so much, aside from saying I enjoy the mental/creative stimulation it gives me.
That's why I enjoyed this article by Village Voice art critic Jerry Saltz. His main point is to criticize "academics and theorists who...belittle art as a gratuitous...merely beautiful...amusement" (I removed a bunch of extra words to highlight his point) but in the process he does a good job of describing the power of art.
He ends with this clever metaphor:
Found via the Stranger Slog
Seattle City Light is using a herd of GOATS to clear brush from the substation near our house! I'm thrilled that such a practical and unusual idea is not only being entertained, but put into action. It's environmentally much more friendly than using electric or gas-powered tools.
Plus, I love goats! I think it all started with the adorable baby goats we saw in Mongolia...
I'm so excited I had to post right away, before I've even had a chance to get home and go see exactly where the goats will be hanging out.
They're ice skating in hell today...
I got a Mac. As my desktop computer!
It all happened so fast. One moment, Steve and I were talking about simply installing Wordpress on our linux server. Before we knew it, the plan had changed and I was formatting my PC and building a new/better linux server (now on Fedora Core 4 instead of Slackware) with it. After a week or so, when we're sure the new server is all OK, we'll reformat the old linux box, install a pared-down Windows, and make it a backup and media server.
That left me without a desktop computer, which I need when my laptop is at work. I think it was Steve who first tossed out the idea of a Mac mini, and I jumped on it.
Last night, I only had about half an hour to play with it (because of the baby and the late hour), and most of that time was spent plugging everything in. I found the "it just works" philosophy to be very true, because it did. I had internet access, my external USB hard drive worked, I could play music, and ssh into my linux server. All without doing any config.
Why did I do it? I've had some contact with the Mac OS through work (last two jobs), and have been quite impressed with OS X (the GUI as well as the linux-based shell). I figured it was a great opportunity for me (and Steve) to really get familiar with it. As an IT person, it's good to understand a platform that's growing in popularity like the Mac. I'm still going to use MS Office, will be doing some kind of remote desktop into work computers, and still have a Windows laptop, so I'm not abandoning Microsoft by a long shot. I like the variety.
Super geek alert 1: One of my very favorite activities is setting up a new computer. I couldn't tell you why.
Super geek alert 2: Our house is now actively running 3 different OSes on eight computers (counting my work laptop and the servers for Feedwhip). Good thing we built a server closet when we renovated the basement...
I got my left helix (upper ear) pierced on Monday, after wanting to for a long time. I'm not looking forward to the supposed 8-12 month healing time, though! After two nights, I'm already dying to sleep on my left side again (at least some of the time).
COPS... in Maple Leaf
"Get down on the ground!"
"Get down on the ground!"
"Get down on the ground!"
After a couple repetitions of this yelled exclamation outside our bedroom window last night, we both woke up. It was about 2am. After ascertaining that it wasn't a dream, we looked outside the window to see a police car outside our house. The shouter, a cop, was partially visible in front of the house kitty-corner to ours as he attempted to subdue someone we couldn't see (because of a large SUV in the way).
Shortly, two other police cars raced up (silently but with lights flashing) and other officers jumped out, guns drawn. One guy had a rifle. Now that reinforcements had arrived, the stand-off was won and the suspect was restrained on the ground after a brief struggle. We never actually saw the guy, but heard his continual shouts, exclamations, and little songs. From what we could hear, he definitely had some kind of mental disturbance.
Then, a period of waiting while some of the cops looked around, watched the suspect, etc. I threw on clothes and went out on my front porch (any danger seeming past). I could see curtains being drawn aside in my neighbors' houses as the suspect's shouts continued to wake people.
Another police car pulled up in the line and a woman in pajamas walked with a policeman to where the suspect was being held. I assume she identified him, then was led back away.
Finally, a police van joined the party, making it seven police vehicles filling our street. The police van pulled in the far end of the street (to the front of the line of cars) and they loaded the suspect into the back.
This done, the street was finally quiet and the cops began to disperse. I flagged one down on the way back to his car to ask what happened. He told me the suspect had stolen a car around 80th, crashed it, then ran down our street and had been in the process of trying to steal another. He had also been carrying a fake gun, which he waved at the police when they found him. The cop, who seemed to still be a bit buzzed from the excitement, said the suspect was lucky to "still be here" [in other words, not shot]. I thanked him, and the line of police cars slowly filed away down the street.
Aerialistas perform this weekend!
If you made it to last year's Moisture Festival, you know how awesome it was. For two nights this weekend (Friday and Saturday), the Moisture Festival is putting on a benefit show to raise money for this year's festival (in March). Many local performers from last year's festival will be there, including Circus Contraption and the Aerialistas.
I won't be in it, but I'll be there!
Info here: http://www.moisturefestival.com
Tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/ev
Our newly redesigned Aerialistas website is finally online. I didn't design it, but I did all the coding. (Yes, it's made with frames. No, I'm not proud.)
And now, pictures of me in my undies are on teh internets. Not sure how I feel about that...
Yes, I'm still bitter...
... so I'm helping out in the attempt to associate Mayor Greg Nickels with http://www.mayorgridlock.com.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy Local
I'm pretty good at avoiding chain restaurants, but I could improve on how often I shop at local businesses of other kinds.
My colleague Joe got me thinking about paying more attention to that with his post Top Ten Reasons to Buy Local.
Steve lists some things we're giving away as we clean out the basement: http://www.livejournal.com/users/hotchi
I expect this is just the first batch.
Why Newspapers are Still Relevant
I began this entry as a response to Christian's blog post, "Newspapers Die By Their Own Ignorance." When I realized how long it was getting, I decided to put it here instead...
I beg to differ (with Christian's point). As a daily newspaper reader for most of my life (still am today), I dispute the fact that newspapers are obsolete. It's too easy to spout the argument that paper should be buried with the dinosaurs, join the 21st century, blah blah blah. There's still a lot of value in reading an actual newspaper.
Today, I can choose between sitting in my armchair every morning and reading news online (Steve's choice), or reading the newspaper (my choice). I think it's going to be a long time, if ever, before screens match paper's ability to fit so much into a single large page (for easier and quicker absorption of news). That's not to mention that it's just nicer and better for my eyes not to add another forty-five minutes of screen-staring to my day.
I also find the newspaper to be the best source of local news. Unlike the uber-mobile people billg (a respondent to Christian's post) mentions, I have roots here in Seattle and am interested in local happenings. I think it's valuable to have people who are paid full-time to keep an eye on things around town (from events to politics to nightlife) and tell us what they find out.
I appreciate the editorial judgment of a newspaper. Let's be honest - when most of us read news on the internet, we click only on links to headlines that interest us. This narrows our scope. In a newspaper, I at least skim every section, even business and sports (not my favorite topics); this broadens my horizons and makes me better informed. (This is the same reason I like to listen to KEXP. I don't want to rely only on my own sense of what is good or important or interesting. I want others to have input, particularly others whose job it is to be well-informed.)
Finally, Christian's point that investigative journalism is withering is simply not true. I'll get into specifics in a minute, but think about what earns newspapers awards. If a newspaper earns a Pulitzer Prize, they can brag about that and use it to sell newspapers and get advertisers. It's important to their bottom line as well as their moral code.
Over the last year or so, I've read important and influential investigative stories in both the Seattle Times and Seattle P-I. Here are some examples, all of which were originally investigated and broken by the newspaper listed:
That's not a complete list, either, but I think you get the point. All in all, I've chosen to trust a (carefully chosen) local newspaper to keep me informed about what's happening in the world and at home. I hope there are enough people like me out there to keep the newspapers going for a long time to come.
Don't miss Steve's entry, where he posted pictures of the pumpkins we carved last night.
I don't do memes very often, but this one from Molly sounded fun.
Do a Google search for "Kate needs" (insert your name instead) and give the top results. Like Molly, I chose some of my favorites instead of the top ones. Interestingly, several of the top results were for other Kates posting this same meme! (I ignored those and didn't look at their lists.)
As most Seattleites are aware, playwright August Wilson died this week. I've always wanted to read his series of "decade plays", and I thought now would be a good time, to honor his passing.
The Seattle Rep is putting on the last one, "Radio Golf" (1990s) from Jan 19-Feb 18. It would be cool to finish the plays before then, and end by seeing "Radio Golf".
That's about four months to read 8 plays (skipping "Radio Golf" and "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom", which I saw performed last year). I'd have to read 2 plays a month. I'm not sure it's feasible, given the holiday season.
Is anyone else interested in doing this with me? Any feedback or ideas?
I'm mezermized by this...
It's especially amusing when he finally stops.
Cops... in Pioneer Square
My office overlooks Pioneer Square. Today, I walked through the square on my way to get some lunch and walked past two policemen apparently arresting two homeless-looking men. As I passed, I heard Bad Cop screaming at one of the men.
"This is a family park! It's not a place for your narcotics use! You can't abuse narcotics in my park! I get paid to protect this park! Don't tell me you're not using narcotics! What's this!? It's a crack pipe bong!"
I walked out of earshot feeling mostly sympathy for the poor man being yelled at. Obviously a drug addict, he was probably just trying to sit somewhere quietly and get high, and being (probably) homeless, had nowhere to go. During the cop's tirade, he was standing quietly, not resisting or doing anything I could see to provoke it (and his companion also stood quietly with his head bowed).
Drug dealers are one thing, but it didn't seem that this man was being accused of selling, just using. Now, as well as being arrested (likely, although I didn't see it), he was also being bawled out in public by a mustachioed asshole.
Today being First Thursday, I'm guessing they were rounding up all the homeless so that the park will be less scary for rich art-loving sub/urbanites.
Working in this neighborhood, I see more than my share of homeless people and drug users. I try to keep up a strong and purposeful facade so nobody will bother me, but to be honest, the great majority are so much lost in their own worlds/heads that they don't talk to anyone (or even get up very much).
It's hard to say what the answer is that will solve the homeless problem. However, I feel like it needs to be addressed with sympathy and compassion, rather than anger and accusations.
More open jobs at Jobster
If you or anyone you know know might be good at these jobs (both technical and non-technical), check it out. Don't miss the chance to work at such a great company!
We're also looking for a Help Desk person (there isn't a posting for it yet). Comment here or email me if you know of anyone for that. Thanks!