7 June, 2009
OK, take two.
So, how you doin’? Anyone with me still in their RSS, please comment. Me, I’ve been fine.
Fine! Ha! Let’s see, my last real post, not counting Cubs angst…around a year ago…hmm, not as bad as I’d thought.
Too much has happened for a wordy catch-up post. The bullet list of major recent changes:
- got back with Reaganite, shacked up, moved to new neighborhood, downsized cats to one
- left job/career/identity of 10 years for new job/career/identity
- left old job’s 15″ MacBookPro for new iPhone, iMac
- denouement of family suicide #2 (terminal cancer) included modest financial security
- sister: bought a horse, moved to Montana, is now leaving Montana
- parents: both moved to Kalamazoo (that may have happened before my hiatus)
It’s been a lot to deal with. Work is the biggest adjustment. I work for the government now. I’m no longer a Scientist. Work doesn’t have to rule my life–there is just not enough to it for that. But it’s surprisingly hard to change old habits.
While not everyone had to have a blog back in the day, in the last year twitter and facebook seem to have become de rigeur for everyone. I’m there (under this handle, of course). But neither are quite my form. For one, you can’t do them on the Metro with an iPhone. And it drives me NUTS that I can’t categorize incoming updates. To have posts from good buddies buried amidst posts from people I haven’t spoken to in 15 years is frustrating. Not to mention the twitter phenomenon of following businesses, blogs, celebrities, etc. Is there a way to do this that I’ve missed? Can anyone advise?
So back to blogging. I think I will have a pattern of only lightly edited midi-posts, maybe an occasional longer one. You can expect to see
- more Metro observations/griping
- evolving obsessions
- more work-life balance observations/griping
12 April, 2007
Scroll down for the cheesecake. Keep reading for some meat.
Got an interesting idea from this post:
When people speak of losing a part of themselves when a loved one dies, they are speaking quite literally, since we lose the ability to effectively use the neural patterns in our brain that had self-organized to interact with that person.
What a great and accessible application of a neuroscientific idea to explain a psychological phenomenon — and it doesn’t even rid that phenomenon of its substance and depth.
I recently read Joan Didion’s book The Year of Magical Thinking, which is an extensive exploration of the psychology of grief and loss (I recommend it). If you read it with this thought in mind, I think it will give you an interesting angle on why grief can take the shapes it does. This certainly makes me think of how the same book could be written about the neurological changes Didion underwent in that time…and how that’d be a completely different but also valuable book.
I, for one, have gotten value out of both approaches, at different times. In difficult emotional situations I fixate on coming to an understanding of WHY — what could lead a person to do act X? Only later can I process them at a more emotional level. In the train ride to my parents’ house the night we got the news of my aunt’s suicide, I read this book like a novel. It provides an exhaustingly comprehensive psychiatric perspective on suicide’s origins, from the personal all the way to the epidemiological level. It’s written by a clinician/researcher and popularizer who’s respected in both areas, which is no easy feat. It’s later now, and so Didion’s book has been important to the current stages.
While I’m making book recommendations, I found the suicide book a bit too depressing before I had a particular reason to read it. On the other hand, Jamison’s memoir of living with bipolar disorder is gripping and of general interest.
The rest of the ideas in the post are the standard kind of annoying “we’re so close to developing supercomputers that we can download our brains to, and therefore use to live forever” crap we can expect from a certain stripe/era of AI research. Oh, so many issues I have there. A few:
1) One of my favorite neuroscientific truisms is “if the brain were simple enough to understand, we would be too simple to understand it.” Where would a bit dump of our brains/minds even BEGIN? The upper-left-hand neuron? (What about cultures that read right-left?) Memories (“I was born a poor black child”)? And which historical point in time to capture? Should we do backups to keep it current? Save older versions, perhaps to retain health, and ditch the body once deterioration sets in? Not to mention the utter meaninglessness of a consciousness without physical input. Just look what sensory deprivation can do to an embodied brain.
2) Metaphors squelch understanding and new ideas, and all the more so when they try to cover more complex phenomena. “The brain is a computer” squelches understanding of its function because it ignores a lot of the types of connections made between neurons.
In fact, it’s just this disconnect between computer simulations of brain function and the actual functioning of the brain that switched me from computer science geekery to neuroscience, lo these 10 years ago now. In a Neural Networks class, I kept trying to make my network’s neurodes more like biological neurons, and got more and more impressed with the impossibility of the task and how it revealed how little we knew about the brain. Considering that each year of biological education teaches you more and more about what the last class didn’t even get near, to have finally run up against the limits of knowledge in a field was heady stuff. I switched majors posthaste.
N.B., the metaphor of DNA as blueprint/book of life is similarly harmful to the understanding of genetics. But that’s another post.
Yeah, I fully and humbly acknowledge that these objections may someday seem as hilarious as “heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible” and other statements are today.* In fact, one of the coolest things about extended lifespans, to me, is getting to see so many new things developed and so many old things proved wrong. Not to mention the chance that I could see the Cubs win the World Series, although my brain may need to be in a computer for that one.
No, I have no idea who nom’d me (Reaganite swears it weren’t him), why I care, or why I would be OK being associated with some of the most gossipy damn people in the DC internet tubes. Since becoming aware of the Best DC Blog site on Monday, I tried to figure it out by reading a few comment threads there and “DC blog wars” posts on BigHeadRob’s blog, and I tell you whut: I’m never getting that two hours back.
Here’s another perspective though. While I had fun comparing the bizarreness to junior/high school on Monday and Tuesday, on Wednesday we spent an hour in lab meeting discussing some psychiatric-genetics-research-field politics. And as any DC resident knows, politics is high school. When I tell him some of my hair-raisers, Reaganite assures me that scientist politics is not substantially different in form from Hill politics. So when we tell the poor kids who find themselves at the bottom of high school food chains that “it’s not always like this, it gets better, people grow up,” we are lying. Lying lying lying!
Other reasons I care. Well, I’m self-centered. Show me a blogger who isn’t. Heck, show me a human being who isn’t. I’m competitive too, in weird indirect ways that are hard to describe: more against past versions of myself than other people. In my defense, I think people who know me will agree that these are not my mortal-est sins. (Guess which is!)
Also, as a child, I was an ugly duckling. Glasses filling half my face, feathered hair, not grown into the nose yet…maybe if I win I’ll post a photo of those days. Yay for the exorcism of childhood demons. And how better to prove the old saw that DC is Hollywood for ugly people?
Also also, it’d make a truly hilarious addition to my imaginary business card. Dr. Scientist. Photographer. Sexiest Blogger DC 2007. OK, only sorta hilarious.
Yeah, I’m in Florida. Reaganite’s mom and I get on fine, as I knew we would. But we are all tired and stuff, and R. has to do some work, which is why I have all this goddamned time to blog. Shouldn’t have much more until I get back–going to Disney tomorrow, for the first time ever.
*As you may know, Bill Gates denies saying “640K ought to be enough for anybody.”
9 April, 2007
UPDATE: OK, I wasn’t eliminated. Time for my ego and I to check out, especially as now it becomes clear I AM filler (of the innocuous kind, which is fine by me). Indeed, it’s hard to escape the impression that the whole BDCB site is filler for the “DC blog wars.” I was vaguely aware of them when I was attending more meetups and happy hours, last winter and spring, and I thought they were a fluke of some kind, or something that people had outgrown…apparently not. Anyway, the less said about them, the better. My snark skills are NOT up to the task, esp not at midnight.
Apparently the nom procedure is not as rigorous as all that. Whatevs.
Scarily, the competition is now for “the BEST and the SEXIEST.” Now that’s a higher bar.
9 April, 2007
I only half-follow the Best DC Blog site. I should RSS it, it’s often amusing — I haven’t so far because it’s so often got that slam book snarky vibe that reminds me of the junior high whimpering on the bed that I used to do. Anyway, this morning I noticed a link from it in my logs. How odd, I’m not a commenter there or on their blogroll. Well, it seems I have been nominated for Sexiest Female Blogger. By Michelle Malkin no less! (OK, really a Michelle Malkin hater. That’s 2 points in your favor, Michelle Malkin Naked.) Another mystery wrapped in an enigma. Have we met, MMN?
Perhaps I am meant to be filler for the list, and would be crossed off at an early stage with a snarky comment. Crossed off eventually would be OK, as I’m unlikely to win where there are far more exhibitionist types in the DC female blogger community. But to be first to go….ouch. The junior high bed-whimpering instincts are strong, but I got the psychological and physical chops to play this game now: confidence in myself, 20/20 vision, boobs, relatively flattering clothes, all the stuff I didn’t have back in the day when “She’s Like The Wind,” “Together Forever,” and “I Wanna Have Some Fun” were on Z95* and vests and bubble skirts were in…the FIRST time.
That’s about all that’s PG rated (or is cleavage PG-13 now?) that I will share, image- or story-wise. After all, my mother reads this blog. Hi Mom! (Although she gets far less grossed out by these things than my sister does. Hi sister!)
Would it help to make an appearance at a blogger happy hour, in a nice little v-neck and heels? (I Blame the Patriarchy readers: they will, of course, be comfortable heels. I don’t own any other type. Hey, I never claimed to be a radical** feminist. Unfortunately for me, Katie Roiphe was an influence at this tender age too…although I’m also not a lipstick feminist.)
*I owned all of these songs. If you wish to mock me, I’d like to hear YOUR Worst-Of of what you were listening to in 1988. Anyway, I mark this as a dark era of prehistory to my musical awakening which began in 1991 with REM’s Out Of Time and Primus’ Sailing the Seas of Cheese. Also, during the late 80s my mom played a lot of Leonard Cohen and WXRT, which was at its peak then. This made me much cooler later on.
**I typed “radial feminist” at first. Heh.
1 April, 2007
My parents once asked me what I do at work. Seeing as how I used to test rats for despair and then kill them, they were looking for glamour to share at the cocktail parties. (They’d stick to the behavioral testing.) Alas, all I could say was “I sit at my computer and figure shit out.”
Along those lines, a friend brought this to my attention today.
That reminds me! I have a new moniker: Dr. Scientist. So take note, everyone, or I will shoot you with my Laser Cats.
15 March, 2007
Some email subject lines today:
Subject: Urgent massage
If you ask me, all massages are urgent.
Subject: Temporary Stance Against Windows Vista Use
“DON’T GO IN THERE!“
I haven’t posted much about my latest (re-)obsession, which is hip-hop. I’m sad I missed these ladies, who were in town on Monday night (just resubmitted the paper, and worked basically straight through Sunday noon until last night midnight to get it out once and for all). I cannot get over the awesomeness of hardcore feminist MCs. One of them is named Hesta Prynne (Ph.D., have not yet figured out if that’s true and if so in what). Hip-hop* lyrics never sound as cool typed out (I just tried it), so you should check them out yourself.
I got a post in me someday about the paradoxes of working at Tryst. They support the laptop-worky lifestyle on the surface, but don’t give free refills. This is meant to keep people ordering, but one can nurse the dive-in cups most drinks come in for a long time. The service is absolutely awful, but since there are no free refills if they came around more they’d make more money. There are precious few power plugs, so if you get one you tend to camp out, making the place crowded, which would seem to make more money for them, but they don’t work that (see “awful service” above). I think they should get outside the box and charge for free refills by the hour. Say, base price for the first drink and a dollar or so for refills piecemeal or hourly, for all their major drinks? Yeah, but that means more work for their servers and if they wanted more work they would just come around more and make more on actual drinks. Hmm.
Your last note for this beautiful wintry-mix friday: a fascinating story of the consequences of mania.
Car salesman sells new car to woman with bipolar disorder who only came in to have the oil changed in the other, six-month-old, car she bought from them. But she was in a manic state, and easily persuaded to buy a whole new car she totally didn’t need.
Hilarity, and a lawsuit, ensue.
What do you think, hymes? Is she responsible for her actions? (Of course others may comment–I just know hymes will have an opinion )
*I find no phrase more difficult to type, for some reason. When I saw Brown Sugar a few years ago, I remember thinking how awful it’d be for me to write a book about hip-hop like Sanaa Lathan’s character was doing.
31 January, 2007
The Techne, she has been meaning to tell you for a while about the blog of the Manolo (the accent parody of which she is emulating).
At first she would pretend that she was merely reading the Manolo’s column in the course of her reading the Express paper of the Friday. When she started turning to the Manolo first thing, she knew it was the self-delusion to say that she was not a fan. Still, the Techne, for some reason she has the pride, and will feel a little embarrassed in such pleasures of the guilt.
But this is sillier than even the accent of the Manolo. The Manolo, he is not only super fantastic, he educates. For example, there is The Gallery of the Horrors, a good starting place where there are many harsh words about the Uggs and the many varieties of ugly clog available today. He also inspires. On the most depressing day of the year, he lifted the spirits with the photo of the outrageous Pucci boots:
Surely this was a public service. I was inspired to purchase boots just like this! But mine are not Pucci, they are Kenneth Cole Reaction. And they are the chocolate brown. And the heels they are wedges. And the embellishment is limited to the stitching on the seams, which is of the lighter color. And there is a faux fur turndown at the top which is meant to be worn with the jeans tucked in, which makes the Techne look like the wintry ski bunny and not like the manic socialite. And they were not $1000 of the dollars, but were on the sale in the basement of Filene for the 40% off, bringing their price into the Techne’s range of the double digits.
So yes, thank you Manolo for inspiring the purchase of the winter boots. I await suitable weather in DC in which to wear them.
I note also that the Manolo, he has a line of the merchandise. I think you will agree that the shirt on the bottom of the page, it is most appropriate for the Techne. It remains only for the Techne to decide between the black and the super-fantastic pink. The one above it, it is also the hilarious.
7 December, 2006
I remember back when the internet tubes were too narrow for video and you had to watch this cult-geek classic on the decaying film reel that was your genetics prof’s most prized possession. Now he could show it off of Google Video….
This may be one of the Top 5 uses of the Internet: wide dissemination of this interpretive dance. Introduced by Nobel laureate-to-be Paul Berg, it illustrates the process of protein synthesis. It tells you all you need to know that the music for the interpretive dance is the “Protein Jive Sutra.” And that the narration is based on Jabberwocky.
Watch it. It’s teh hilarious, and you might even learn something.
5 September, 2006
That’d be pretty silly of you. I call today’s exhibits “have you guys heard of IM?” I just had the following exchange over email.
Collaborator 1: Was our meeting set for tomorrow 2:30?
Me: I have Thursday at 2 in my notes.
C1: (Other Scientist) may be able to come to the meeting, do you still want me to propose that collaboration with him?
Me: [forwarding this suggestion to two labmates] What do you two think?
Labmate 1: I’ll be back tomorrow at 2, will call to discuss this.
82 lines this took. Due to the lovely business-world habit of never deleting anything — not even signatures — from replies/forwarded emails, that last email in the chain was eighty fricking two lines. I can see the point of preserving the paper trail, and do heartily approve of it in theory, but it bothers me aesthetically. And we haven’t even heard from Labmate 2 yet. Who has a long sig.
For Exhibit B, however, we have my interactions with Boss’ Boss, which are characterized by emails so short that the junk Outlook adds after my name in the “To” line is longer than their entire content. He takes the UNIX-command attitude towards communication — if it can be expressed in two or three letters, it will be. He includes a .sig of a few lines — but it has no contact information, just titles. See what I mean? Wouldn’t IM be perfect for both of those?
Waitaminnit you say. Interactions with Boss’ Boss? Who terrified you so in May? Why yes indeed. As I said at the time, he is just a glowery-faced guy who was thinking hard, and nothing was personal. In the intervening months there have been many opportunities for me to make other impressions on him. He’s currently preparing for his own big review of the kind that my boss went through in June, and we collaborate with him on the genetic side of his work, so he is emailing us a lot lately with little questions about this or that gene. And when my boss was out of town last month, guess who got the questions?
30 August, 2006
I’ve been using the handle “techne” online for over 10 years. I picked it in the days of Mosaic and gopher, to give you an idea; a few months later the big purple N came on the scene. (I had another handle for the first few months/year of my internet life, which I will not share with you while I am sober.) I learned “techne” from Plato’s Republic, and was attracted to the concept (there’s a link explaining it to the right, if you are interested). It’s been a handle, a login, an email address…but when I developed this online blogging and Flickring self, it became a name. This has been a bit odd to get used to, for some reason. For one, I never, ever capitalized it before. So I always get this “Who? Oh. Heh.” when I see references to “Techne,” not to mention “Dr. T.” Not that any of you should stop calling me this or stop capitalizing it or anything. I mostly just wonder, when did we stop thinking in terms of handles? How did I miss the change?
I have always held that every car needs to have in its trunk a blanket and a frisbee. This weekend was a perfect example of why: I own no beach-visiting items of any kind, and these did well in the pinch. But as I wistfully watched people flying kites in the strong ocean wind, I wondered why I had never added a kite to the list. What else? Should I move my little cooler to the trunk of my car, too?
I recently went to Hooters for the first time in my life. Reaganite was shocked. “You’ve never been to Hooters?!” “Nope,” I said. “Here I am, almost 30 years old, and I’ve never been to Hooters.” I was being a wee bit sarcastic. But it made me wonder what I could say that about non-sarcastically. So, readers, please finish this sentence, and give me a list of stuff to do in the next few weeks before my birthday strikes: “30 years old, and I’ve never…..” (As for WHY I went to Hooters this time, well…it was after seeing Snakes on a Plane. ’nuff said.)
19 August, 2006
First off, my apologies to my subscribers for the second image in my post yesterday. While all looked fine from my end, it doesn’t appear to have shown up for everybody. (It was a “Deep Blue Sea” poster.)
On to the review! After my experience waiting in Star Wars/LotR-y lines for Firefly last fall, I was worried about crowding at our showing of local netizen ground zero movie theater, Gallery Place. If there was one movie I didn’t want to watch from the second damn row with my neck craned it’s Snakes On A Plane. I knew the bloggers were going at 10 and figured a different showing would be less crowded, but still, 9 is prime time. So I was a bit taken aback when I walked into a wide-open theater 20 minutes before the showing. ?!! How can there not be lines out the door for such a cinematic experience??
Not being a TV watcher, I have no clue how SoaP is playing out in the real world. My mom’s heard of it, but then she is on friendster and comments on blogs, so she’s not your average mom, internets-wise. At lunch my coworkers had expressed fear of the movie based on the ads they’d seen. Maybe this WAS a cult thing that only a few people were into? Reaganite said as much when he arrived. Well actually he said, “lines, huh?” OK, so maybe I was being a little spazzy. I got the last laugh tho, because two blinks later the theater was full with people who were clearly all on the same page:
Spirits were high, and the contact buzz was plenty serviceable (didn’t have time to drink beforehand, cf. spaz, above). Proving once again that the internets make DC an even smaller place than it is, Reaganite (who is ex-blogger I-495 Blues) and I recognized a number of DC bloggers in the audience from meetups and such. Did we catch the blogger showing after all?
We had a little contest going on the previews. How did they see their audience? Reaganite took the 18-25 dumb-young-male demo, we figure this was the movie’s original aim. I took, well, me/the rest, 25-40 mixed-sex netizens, to represent where the movie ended up. You know, the sort of people who would make their own t-shirts for a movie that hasn’t come out yet, and take pictures of each other wearing them.
- Crappy takes-self-seriously action/horror movies. 2-0, DYM.
- Classy action/heist/crime stories. Someone wanted to remake Donnie Brasco with the current crop of Young Actors Who Are Of Course Very Talented And Serious About Their Craft But Are They Gonna Take Their Shirts Off Or What, and supported by the President, a Baldwin, and Jack Nicholson to chew the scenery. I claimed this one for my demographic (even my mom’s). 2-1.
- Mockumentary characters brought to you originally by HBO and benefitting from serious word-of-mouth because they are just that hilarious. A tough call, but 2-3, me. I flipped out more over these than for, say, the “SNAKES” title screen — after all, I’ve been fans of them far longer. As much as I lurve Tenacious D (the World’s Greatest Band), I think Borat (Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan) will be the superior film.
- Ass-rape-joke-based prison comedy. Yes, they went there. Again and again and again. Despite its starring Gob Bluth of Arrested Development, neither of us wanted to claim this. But it was pretty clearly targeted. 3-3.
- We were not sure just what to make of the “single black guy chains white slut to his couch for Jesus” genre. Even if it does star Samuel L.J. and a disturbingly flat Christina Ricci, which are definitely hints. But the name…did they really call it “Black Snake Moan”? Really? But…well, it turns out they are not only serious but it is a very good movie. I expect this movie’s trailers to be heavily, near-deceptively alternately edited for different audiences, as Fight Club’s were.
A good sign, I thought at the final tally. They know exactly who they are dealing with. (Although it was a bit of a bummer that the opportunity for a blue-screen trailer was not taken for ANY of these.)
more later because wordpress is being a bitch.
18 August, 2006
Now, it’s true that this movie’s already been made:
But I personally feel that “Sharks on a Plane With Samuel Jackson” is, as a friend put it, a totally different vehicle than “Sharks Underwater Where LL Cool J Survives.” Among other things, the cleavage on the plane will not be clung to by drenched clothing, but squeeze-enhanced by snakes themselves.
Sadly, since I came up with this idea, it’s been somewhat overtaken by events. Recent airliner security changes make the “Sharks On A Plane” concept a little implausible. I can think of lots of ways around it, personally (Land Shark. Miniature sharks. Piranhas. Piranhas dressed as Land Sharks. Nanosharks….), but I guess we’ll just have to see what Hollywood comes up with.
19 July, 2006
Last week I posted this, and Jamy replied, so we organized an outing, which also involved flickrites, and at one point I had my camera out and it started a conversation and we met inked. Later, I posted this and Jamy posted this and her friend K posted this, and today inked got tipped off and posted this and my hit count was my second highest ever. I’m surprised we all found time to meet face to face in all that. And we photogs haven’t even posted our shots yet! Maybe I should start a feature about DC blogergy. Any submissions?
Today I managed to get home without seeing anybody I know, but I did see a woman who lives in my building. She is notable because she looks like a goth Mena Suvari. The resemblance really is striking and I double-take every time, which hasn’t yet gotten me the evil eye, luckily. We’ve never spoken but I have a soft spot for the look, which she does quite well, dressing it up for work with lots of nice vintage and vintage-inspired stuff and going all-out on weekends. Anyway, I noticed she had a Penn Camera shopping bag, which scared me. Is she a photographer? Is she on flickr? Do I already know her? Goth Mena Suvari, are you reading this??
10 July, 2006
Damn, this article is depressing. Am I too old? Don’t these people have jobs? Who has this much time for their persona? This week I sent a bunch of links to some new older-than-me friends. They felt web-timidated by it, which is about how I feel about this person’s life.
I’ve been sorta trying to get to the Palace of Wonders bar on the H St NE corridor that all the kids are on about, but I note that Maureen Dowd mentioned it today, right after its grand opening(s) on Friday and Saturday. Did it jump the shark already? Is there any way for a place in DC to ramp up slowly or are we just too echo-chamber-y up in here?
Instead of that last night, Reaganite and I went to dinner at Zengo (which is not a fast-food place like I thought when walking by not paying attention). I had fun being That Girl, and encouraging the kitchen staff to start fires for me:
And then we took in some naked ladies over at Warehouse:
(This counts as “sunday on the internets” cause for the first time in a while, I processed a day’s photos the very next day.)
18 May, 2006
Can't remember the last time I gave my info out via matchbook, if ever.
Bartender at Pharaoh's: "have you lost weight?"
Me: "yeah, I'm not trying though, it's kinda weird, not sure what to do about it…."
Bartender: "try laying off the smack."
For my money there have not been NEARLY enough smack jokes about my weight loss.
hired: DCRob and TheMichael for hanging out on 18th long enough for me to re-run into them after they blew off Pharaoh's.
fired: I-495 Blues for not letting me go back for my camera on our pizza run. Favorite awesome shot missed: 4 suits eating massive pepperoni slices.
Overheard at Pizza Mart:
"This slice is bigger than my LIFE."
15 May, 2006
26 April, 2006
I had stopped with the gleeful blogging of each DCist use of a photo of mine to illustrate articles….but this time a photo of mine was chosen for their new Photo of the Day feature!
What's more, it has sparked controversy. We got all kinds of fun elements here: is DCist a commercial or non-commercial site? What are the rights of a photographer's subject? How does one actually use the Creative Commons license? Oh if I only knew an EFF lawyer specializing in IP issues, or a photographer and artist's son who is prominent in the open-source software world, or an academic with cyberculture expertise. Folks such as these would surely have interesting things to say. Alas…
And! My controversy comes complete with troll, who complained that the image was out of focus and cropped too tightly. I'll post a reply on DCist in a minute, but I wanted to thank furcafe and James C for having my back. I've been active on Flickr just a few months, but I really value the friends I've made there. It's been a very positive experience both personally and creatively, one I'm very thankful for.
25 April, 2006
My mom's always been computer- and internet-savvy. She worked at IBM in the early 80s. She would chastise people who forwarded chain letters before anyone knew from Snopes. Now, she's a googler. Something will remind her of someone from the past, and she'll…just…FIND them. And, since her past involved working at the school that my sister and I attended (which was also where she met my stepfather, who was my English teacher — it's a long story), she'll call me for another fun round of "Guess Who I Found?" Now, thanks to me, my mom has a new toy, flickr. Last week she found another sibling pair who went to aforementioned school, and instead of calling she sent me a photo of the sister all brided out (you look absolutely beautiful, R) with subject line "L00K!!" A few weeks ago, she found the guy who taught history to the three of us, who is now a PhD in Asian history living in the DC area.
Before the internets running into people from your past randomly was a big deal. It remained a big deal as the net grew, well into the 90s (and perhaps beyond), because it was such a geek thing that only geeks were findable on it. But when my mom rediscovered the K.'s, so soon after rediscovering Mr. er, Dr. Kushner, it occurred to me that this is just the shape of life now. You know someone, you lose touch, you get curious, you find, you resume contact. It's moved from unusual event to common happening. And the feeling of these current recontacts is going to get rarer as fewer and fewer people will have pre-internet and post-internet lives. People growing up in this world will never know how miraculous it used to feel. Is this a loss? I don't think so. (I think mix tapes are more of a loss.) But it is a change.
Also last week, I had another sure-to-become-common experience for the first time: helping your ex with his online dating profile. And vice versa, P. also gave me feedback on mine. It was fun, and felt very Cyrano; I could almost write his blurbs for him, since I know him so well in that precise context. I guess that's usually true of people in our positions, "friendly exes" have always been in a position to do that sort of thing, but the opportunity has never been so blatant.
19 April, 2006
In a "read all the DC bloggers you can find!" phase I had a bit ago, one of them turned me on to Good at Drinking, Bad at Life, one of the few blogs to survive the inevitable purge that followed. He brings the funny, and did not annoy me like so many other blogs which shall remain nameless did. I guess I posted a comment sometime, cause he saw my woo girls post and tagged me for what livejournal calls a blog meme: six facts about myself.
We have a problem here though. It seemsthat they shoudl be "little-known" type facts. But I'm kinda an open book. I'll tell anyone anything. When playing truth or dare, I always picked truth (also, my friends' dares were way lame). And I forget who knows what, having a bad memory, so I retell stories and things alla damn time, and, people generally being polite, they won't always tell me that they are bored silly hearing it all again, and then eventually they do tip me off that I'm repeating myself and I feel like an idiot.
OK, I'm putting this off, because I hate listing things about myself. (You better show up at Pharaoh's tomorrow, Bad at Life, so I can make you do something you hate, like not drink, or something.) I have a completely out-of-proportion worry that I'll forget something. Say, for example, someone made me list the people I loved the most. I'd prolly say "well my parents of course, and my young cousins are the cute, and their parents, and um, this friend, and that friend, and the other friend, and, hmm lemme think AAIGH! I FORGOT MY SISTER!" Because I have a brain like a sieve, this is how things often happen up in techne mindspace. (see? I already told you I had a bad memory and here I told you again. I only caught it on a reread.) I can forget VERY important things because they're simply not at the top of the "recently thought-about" heap. And having that happen makes it sound like I (in this COMPLETELY UNTRUE EXAMPLE which exists for ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY, sister) love my sister less than (random friend). Which is of course NOT TRUE.
Yeah I hate being pinned down. (Well, I….er. Moving on.) Hanging with joelogon and I-495 Blues (and Articulatory Loop? Were you there still?) at the January All-Blogger Meetup, the conversation at one point turned to our top 5 albums. They made me list mine and wouldn't let me off the hook. It was awful. I begged, I used the feminine charms, I used my PhD-enhanced powers of argument…no worky. I spit something out, but don't ask me what I said, I don't remember. (Brain: sieve.)
This sure is a lot of not-listing-things I'm doing, and me with lab meeting tomorrow morning. I guess y'all'll just have to wait until I have some work to procrastinate tomorrow.
1 April, 2006
And finally, comedy:
Google Romance. An excerpt:
Upload your profile – tell the world who you are, or, more to the point, who you’d like to think you are, or, even more to the point, who you want others to think you are.
Also, "considerable socioeconomic compatibility"? teh hilarious.
(when did "teh" become a joke and not just a typo?)
27 March, 2006
I was feeling overwhelmed by iLife a few weeks ago, but now I am mostly amused by all the possibilities. For example, the following is from a Mozilla bug report. Can you guess what happened?
Maybe this was a huge wake-up call after 5 years… maybe he's not the guy you thought he was… maybe its been 5 years of deception… Or, maybe it was just minor "reveal" and not evidence of deep, serious transgression…just a "white lie" where he was covering up some fantasy needs…and the "white lie" need only be a bump in a long, long road and you can see if you can turn it into a growing experience…a call for a whole new level of openness in your relationship…
23 March, 2006
17 March, 2006
Reminds me of this guy. And of course this guy.
A conduct can be pathological or non pathological (phisiological), no external or middle case is expected. 90% of the people who killed a parent is declared mentally healthful, this means: non pathological conduct, phisiological conduct (genetic or non genetic), good doctor, not vector of functional or anatomical suffering.
Medicine is an exact science, jurisprudence is an exact science. Enemies and
friends: of the mental hygiene only, war between doctors isn’t expected value. “Fighting with islam against the devil” : this information is harmless and profitable.
Siegmund Freud lies not knowing to be lying: he is a conceptual pedophile who says children has sexual attraction for parent (edipus) and that mind is partitioned in 3 parts (ego superego es). False premiss brings wrong result: like Freud says, cognitive error is associated with pathological conduct, biological group self-destructive activity. “Your parent acts with you like with friends”: the medical doctor must suggest this or enhanced reflection to the habitants, for excluding non-genetic behavioral epidemics. Slapping child is a crime and a mania, like by the general rule, “if child doesn’t born genetically stupid, handicapped, diseased, socially dangerous”. Habitants of the planet kill gays but children don’t born gays, habitants corrupt and kill children doing a “sacrifice to the devil”: this non genetic epidemic is familiarly but not geneticaly transmitted.
With baptism christians forgive themselfs from god’s sentence. If vegetarian diet gives longer and better life than non-vegetarian diet, non-vegetarian diet is alimentary behavior pathology. Eating another human is a behavioral disturb; a cow has 96,5% dna perfectly matching with human dna. I am racist: i think animals is inferior race, so i don’t have to eat cadavers, thing that induce a phisiological genetic reflex : vomiting.
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5 March, 2006
I've been familiar with open-source/GPL/copyleft issues for a decade or so now, mostly because my crowd in college and the years after after was extremely Linuxy and I found the legal/intellectual property questions fascinating. A few weeks ago a buddy from that crowd pointed out that my choice of Creative Commons license options on my Flickr photos was not optimal. I chose a no-derivative-works no-commercial-use option, with my goal being to have someone inform me (via asking permission) when a pic of mine was being used. Buddy pitched for the ShareAlike option with the logic that NonCommercial-NoDerivs diluted the meaning of the CC license.
As I was pondering making this change (I'm very deliberate…or, procrastinatey), a minor fuss erupted over CC license interpretation at DCist. As best as I can tell, it started when DC-area blogger and Flickrite John noticed DCist use a non-commercial-licensed photo, and made a case for DCist being a commercial site and the use therefore violating the license. While not fully accepting that interpretation, DCist agreed to no longer use NonCommercial-tagged stuff except if the photo had a "dcist" tag (which was taken by all as permission granted a priori for any DCist use). OK. Fin, thought everyone.
Note three things:
– The pic is under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license.
– The pic has no "dcist" tag (I liked the composition enough to post it, but didn't think it worthy — at the time I was using the tag very sparingly and I thought the underexposed building weakened the image).
– Martin cropped the shot from rectangular to near-square, which has artistic impact (the crop makes the image less about the "don't block the box" sign and more about the "U street" sign, for editorial reasons). Also I can't quite tell but the pic may have been lightened (this was taken before I did any postprocessing beyond cropping or I might have done the same, on the building).
The image on DCist:
Seems clear to me that DCist's use is in violation of its license and of their own photo policy. Permission was not obtained by asking me or by my use of the "dcist" tag. So by their own policy they were not permitted to use it since it has a Non-Commercial clause, and while their policy doesn't address the No-Derivs clause, by the same logic that term is violated too.
Was my previous acceptance of their use of my stuff taken as implicit permission? I have to say that in practice, in this case, I don't much mind the use or even the crop. I want the exposure (hah), would have granted permission if asked, and would likely have tagged the photo DCist had I been using tags then as I do now. But that's not the point, is it? Their use altered the artistic intent of the image–both their crop and their mode of reproduction. They appear to use a locally stored low-res copy instead of a link back to flickr, which makes things look crappy (possibly affecting the photographer's reputation) and also removes the accountability/link trail that'd be uncoverable by services like technorati.
I love DCist. I think it's one of the better -ists and I get a lot of value out of my visits/subscription to it. They have played a large role in my development as a photographer–their use of tagged flickr shots taken by Just Folks Around Town was an incentive to get me back behind the camera again and I owe them no small debt for that motivation. And they throw good events and I personally like the DCist-affiliated individuals I've met that way. I am perfectly aware of the volunteer nature of the work they do and that IP issues are not at the forefront of editors' minds as they seek to illustrate posts about life in the District. So I have a strong desire to drop this. But that seems like the wrong thing to do on many levels. So this is a request for your comments. What do you think?
Maybe this will look clearer in the morning. It's been a very long day, longer than any weekend day has a right to be…..
5 March, 2006
|You scored as Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica). You are leery of your surroundings, and with good reason. Anyone could be a cylon. But you have close friends and you know they would never hurt you. Now if only the damn XO would stop drinking.|
This is like the 4th time the universe has told me to watch BSG this week. I don’t need any more obsessions!! Fuck off universe, leave me alone!
3 March, 2006
Last night I dreamt I was talking to someone I know who was telling me that he was retiring from internet life. No more web, no more email, no more online presence. I was shocked, he’s pretty plugged in, it’s a big change…and then jealous, in that way you get of people who are doing awesome and cool things you can’t do but which you’ve always wanted to do, like African safaris, or Angelina Jolie. Just when I was feeling like I had more of a handle on my iLife, too….I guess my unconscious doesn’t feel that way.
I think I need to pare the RSS down. I was off to a good start today–I usually check in with the aggregator/email after feeding my cats and before getting ready in the morning, but today I went straight to work and got stuff done before logging in to anything. I am so doing that again tomorrow. It’s shocking how big an effect a little change like that can have.
24 January, 2006
West coast mF!!
West Coast responds to "Chronicles of Narnia" rap.
Which I KNOW you've all seen (it's linked to the left of the west-coast reply), cause it's the funniest thing to happen in 2006. SO funny that it REALLY happened in 2005, and spilled over. And only the hippest cats read my blog…