- Having free sex on the Web
- Getting the computer skills I need free from Video Professor
- Viewing photos of singles in my area
- Getting 4 complimentary sirlions + 1/2 price Omaha steaks
- Earning extra cash for the holidays
- Winning a $500 Target holiday shopping spree
- Repairing my credit legally
- Earning $6,000.00 per month, working from home
- Heightening my orgasms
- Giving away CDs and earning full time income
- Losing 22.5 pounds in 3 weeks
- Receiving 3 complimentary panties from Fredericks
- Losing up to 12 pounds in two days guaranteed
- Taking a Florida vacation
- Planning a trip
- Losing weight, no exercise
- Achieving the ultimate orgasm
- Getting on the management fast track
- Renting all the DVDs I want
- Learning the secrets to investing in real estate
- Enlarging my penis
- Getting my next car at my price
- Ordering $20 and receiving a $10 coupon
- Getting 250 business cards for free
- Viewing photos of available men and women in my area
- Getting big, ripped, and strong
- Getting a life
- Finding love today at Matchmaker.com
- Training for success
- Winning a 100% free mortgage quote
- Saving up to 80% on inkjet & laser toners
- Slashing my payments 50% without a loan
- Buying cheap real estate then selling it for profit
What could you be doing right now according to your email?
The social weather in my apartment today is "mostly happy with a chance of anxiety". Social weather seems to have a variety of meanings -- from talking about weather to tracking economic, political and social indicators, but I prefer the sense in which Clay Shirky is using the term in the description for the course of the same name:
"When you walk into a restaurant, you immediately understand the social weather. It is busy or calm, loud or quiet, people are dining in couples or groups, they are whispering or shouting, and so on. All these things tell you, almost instantly, what the mood of the room is. Reading social weather is a basic human skill."
He then goes on to talk about how determining the social weather in online spaces is not so easy. In addition to Clay's class, Alex Halavais will be presenting Blogs and the "social weather" at the Internet Research 3.0 conference in the Netherlands in October:
"This paper describes a small step in this larger project. By measuring changes in word frequency within a large set of popular blogs over a period of four weeks, and comparing these changes to those in the 'traditional' media represented on the web, we are able to come to a better understanding of the nature of the content found on these sites. This view is further refined by clustering those blogs that carry similar content. While those who blog may not be very representative of the public at large, charting discourse in this way presents an interesting new window on public opinion."
So, yeah, don't forget to check the social weather forecast before you meetup with your smart mob to go warchalking.
I awoke at around 8:30am this morning. A little early considering the late night last night. I put on my glasses and stumbled to the bathroom, number one only. The right lens of my eyeglasses is scratched to the point of making my vision all foggy in that eye while wearing them. I should go to the eye doctor and get them fixed or replaced, but all this travel and moving business has put a damper on my spending.
Turned on shower.
Sadly, the next thing I do is get on my computer. It's always the first or second thing I do in the morning. Email. News. A couple of weblogs. My inbox, normally not that interesting, contains this morning an email from an old friend of mine from college with whom I've not spoken for several years. Unusual timing noted.
The shower is hot by this time, the bathroom surfaces all steamed up. Shower for about 10 minutes, maybe 20. Longer than I need to, but I love to shower. Decide against shaving. I'm not going to worry about that kind of stuff today.
While I'm in the shower, I think about what I want to do today. Nothing comes to mind, except for the things I have to do.
Out of the shower, I slip back into the bedroom to get dressed, careful not to wake Meg. My big errand for the day is to pick up my car from the body shop. It had a few scrapes and dings on it, so I had to get those taken care of before it goes back to the dealership at the end of the lease in 5 days. My calves finally feeling better from all the stairs climbed this weekend, I decide to walk the 18 blocks to retrieve the car. Car looks good, and I drive it home slowly, enjoying one of the last times I'll ever get to drive it with the music loud on the good-but-not-great sound system.
Meg is up by the time I get back, watching last night's "very special" episode of Friends on TiVo and drinking some sort of fruit drink. She wishes me a happy birthday with a peck on the forehead.
A late breakfast of toast and orange juice. I leave the toast in the toaster a bit too long and it burns around the edge of hole in one of the pieces. I scrape the burned part into the sink and eat the rest, buttered.
More computer stuff. I decide that I'm going to devote part of my day to answering my backlog of email. I also decide that I'm going to record the day's events in this fashion. Open BBEdit, start writing.
I need some different music for all of this email writing I'm going to be doing, so I fire up iTunes and move some stuff I haven't heard in awhile from the server to my hard drive. This takes longer than it should.
It's lunch time...still no email written. It's a wonder I ever get anything done. IMed with Tom about Web design. Meg just got a present in the mail. On my birthday. Running tally: Meg 1, Jason 0.
Anyway, lunch. Bologna sandwich on white bread with mayonnaise, American cheese, and lettuce. A handful of Fritos and a Sunkist orange soda accompany. You can take the boy out of Wisconsin, but you can't take Wisconsin out of the boy.
(01:01) me: and that's a lot of red hair.
(01:01) matt: yep. holy cow do those kids have red hair
(01:02) matt: he must have married Patty O'Flannigan
(01:04) me: it's like that sesame street bit: "one of these things is not like the others..."
The change in music is treating me well. I'm listening to Dntel right now.
After lunch, Meg accompanied me to The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park to see the Powers of Ten exhibit. I had forgotten how much I like that film. The similarity of the natural across different scales is one of my favorite things ever.
They had a Foucault pendulum at the museum as well. One of the top ten most beautiful science experiments of all time, you know.
The exhibit included some children's drawings of objects at different powers of ten. Two favorites were a drawing of a hydrogen atom complete with proton and electron marked with their appropriate charges and a sophisticated -- well, sophisticated for a 6 yo -- bit of protest art that depicted a man saying, "someday all the fish will swim free". Brilliant.
Then we went to look at the amphibians and aquarium. Submerged turtles and Meg didn't like the way the
crocodile alligator was looking at us, not one bit. There were pipe-like snakes coiled like springs, waiting patiently for a minnow to swim under their branch. Frogs with poisonous venoms and coatings. Huge taxidermied turtles and tuna.
A walk home and back at the computer. (I don't know how many different segues I'm going to be able to come up with that involve using my computer. Bear with me.) Got a bit of expected email about potential work, so that's good. Fine weekend reading.
Now listening to the new Underworld. Pretty damn good so far. Nice to see that the lads haven't suffered too much from the loss of Darren Emerson.
A small chat on the phone with my mom, birthday wishes, etc. Then off to the store for dinner supplies. Meg has offered to cook whatever I want for dinner. I decide on some fettucini with roasted mushrooms. And what the hell, a small bottle of good champagne because when am I going to turn 29 again?
Dinner was great. Portobello mushrooms are way tasty, even when a bit overcooked (my fault).
After dinner, we gave Bodhi his medication. If you know Bodhi, you know this is not a simple task. He uses all his guile and 16 pound heft to thwart the pilling. We've taken to wrapping him up in a blanket like a mental patient -- a kitty straightjacket. It usually works OK, but he only got half the pill down this time and spit the rest out. I yell at him, "don't you know this is for your own good?" He pretends not to understand.
Too tired to do anything else, we popped a movie into the DVD player, The Hurricane. It was pretty good, but not great.
Went to bed around 11:30. Didn't particularly feel like going to sleep, but it ended up that way anyway.
A normal day.
While I was out this afternoon, I picked up a copy of The Best American Science Writing 2002. I enjoyed the hell out of the last two editions, so I figured this one can't miss. They had a whole load of similar books at the bookstore, so I whipped up a Listmania! list of them all: Best American Writing 2002.
Our household was all abuzz last night for the season premiere of The West Wing. At two hours, the episode was a little long and not as neatly packaged as the show usually is. A bit disappointing, but still the best thing on network TV. My questions to you are: 1) what did you think?; and 2) where's the best place online to discuss episodes after the fact? I'm normally not a big fan of the TV watercooler conversation, but The West Wing has enough going on that I wouldn't mind a little post-episode discussion each week.
This optical illusion is amazing. Like Andy, I had to open it in Photoshop to verify its truth. According to the explanation, the illusion takes advantage of the way in which the human visual system evolved to differentiate shapes and find edges, not to make fine distinctions in color.
After talking with several experts over a period of months, James Fallows explores some possible outcomes of a war with Iraq:
"Regardless of these differences, the day after a war ended, Iraq would become America's problem, for practical and political reasons. Because we would have destroyed the political order and done physical damage in the process, the claims on American resources and attention would be comparable to those of any U.S. state. Conquered Iraqis would turn to the U.S. government for emergency relief, civil order, economic reconstruction, and protection of their borders. They wouldn't be able to vote in U.S. elections, of course—although they might after they emigrated. (Every American war has created a refugee-and-immigrant stream.) But they would be part of us."
An excellent page on groupthink and how it affects the decision-making process of groups. Irving Janis describes eight symptoms** of groupthink:
1. Illusion of invulnerability
2. Stereotyping outsiders
3. Bounded rationality and tethered assumptions
4. Belief in inherent morality
6. Direct pressure on dissenters
Groupthink of Irving Janis describes the 1986 Challenger explosion as viewed thorugh the lens of this phenomenon. (via Jerry)
** For some reason, this page lists only seven symptoms, but there are eight. Update: the first symptom should probably read "Illusion of invulnerability", not "Illusion of vulnerability" (thx Neilalien)...not sure why that page has so many errors. A little Googling should reveal some more reliable sources.
An alpha release** of Game Neverending is nearly ready for your game play (sign up to get an alpha tester account). On its face, GNE is a "web-based massively multiplayer online game of social, political and economic interactions", but once it gets going, it'll be hard to tell where the game stops and where real life begins. People create new online personas for the purpose of "social, political, and economic interactions" all the time. When you talk to someone in the game about how your day is going, are you playing the game or just being a person? When I helped them chase down a bug the other day, it felt like part of the game.
You can get a sense of the game's meaning by reading Ludicorp's about page:
"'The game and styles of playing the game are what matter because they produce identities people care about. Likewise, a business develops an identity by providing a product or a service to people. To do that it needs capital, and it needs to make a profit, but no more than it needs to have competent employees or customers or any other thing that enables production to take place. None of this is the goal of the activity.' The goal is to kick ass."
The critics loved this film and I wanted to also, but I didn't. Spirited Away ranks up there among the most beautiful films I've ever seen (especially with the digital projection, drool...), but the movie didn't form a cohesive whole in my mind; about halfway through I realized that I didn't care how it ended. Individual moments were cute or amazing or powerful, but the overall story wasn't compelling.
What is most disappointing is that I could tell there were a lot of cultural references and symbolism that I missed as a non-Japanese viewer. I got the sense that most of the characters in the movie symbolized something and the symbolism contributed greatly to the film's meaning, but I just didn't get it.
I upgraded to Jaguar 2 weeks ago, but didn't use the new verison of Terminal until today. The arrow keys don't scroll up and down through the command history anymore, a feature I used *all the time*. Bad bad. If anyone else is having this problem, this thread on Apple Discussions has good information and links on how to fix it.
BTW, wasn't OS X supposed to take some of the voodoo out of UNIX? If not, it should...for those of us that don't think in tcsh.
Justin Hall on how the personal Web can help with matchmaking:
"...if you see someone who you like through the smoke and noise online, and you can saunter over and stand at a slight distance and watch them to see how they carry themselves, to read their tone of voice, to observe their links and interests. In a way, personal websites are like personal advertisements, or a way to circumvent the matchmaker. 'We have a girl for you -- she likes cooking french food, curling up with her Game Boy Advance, and watching Transformer cartoons,' except you hear it from the girl herself. If you can find someone with a rich site, you can study up on them and the conversation can start on some strong common-interest footing. It helps if you have a website too, I think, otherwise the online-information-sharing might be tough one-way. What are they going to read while you're sleeping?"
Justin nails why the Web is so engaging despite not being a face-to-face medium. Anyone who meets me online -- including possible friends, fellow Web design enthusiaists, or potential employers -- has access to 4+ years of my thoughts before they even have to strike up a conversation. That's damn powerful stuff.
Today's Word Spy Word of the Day is bridezilla:
"Today's word is a combination of bride and Godzilla, the mutant dinosaur created by U.S. hydrogen bomb testing in the Pacific that, in numerous films in the 50s and 60s, would wade onto land and destroy everything in its path. The bridal version of this monster is created by the maniacal need to have 'the perfect day' and she'll walk over anyone and everything to get it."
Other recent words include metrosexual (great word) and war chalking.
It's been almost three years since Being John Malkovich came out, and I've been eagerly awaiting the next effort by Spike Jonze & screenwriter Charlie Kaufman ever since. Adaptation (trailer) looks to be worth the wait...and coincidentally for me, it's based on The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean (whose Web site I just finished).
Well, "based on" is not quite the right phrase. Adaptation is not about the book per se, it's about screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (you know, the actual screenwriter) trying to adapt the book, which is about obsession, into a movie. And in the process Kaufman (played by Nicholas Cage) becomes obsessed with Susan (played by Meryl Streep), Susan becomes obsessed with the orchid story, and, one would think, the viewers become obsessed with madness in trying to unpack all the layers here. Remember the two minutes Malkovich spent inside his own head in BJM? Adaptation sounds like 120 minutes of that. Can't wait.
A site I've been working on for the past few months (on and off) has finally gone live. susanorlean.com is the online home of Susan Orlean, staff writer for The New Yorker, author, and Meryl Streep impersonator (or is that the other way round?). In addition to the design, I also exercised my Perl muscles in building a little widget to let Susan upload her articles without going through me all the time.
This was a great site to work on because it was fun to do, the client was really enthusiastic about it, and it introduced me to Susan's writing (The Orchid Thief is recommended). After working on dozens of corporate Web sites with buzzword-compliant copy, it was a delight to read through Susan's articles in the process of building the site.
I'd love to hear any comments, questions, or constructive criticism you might have.
The conventional wisdom these days seems to be that if your site isn't accessible via some RSS reader or aggregator, you really shouldn't bother. How limiting.
Weblogs are usually pretty easy for readers to get into. Lance Fortnow's Computational Complexity Web Log is probably the most difficult-to-read weblog I've ever come across. But that's OK because if you're into computational complexity, it's just the thing.
Speaking of which, I need to clean some things. My car mostly. The Web to the rescue once again: howtocleananything.com. I'm not sure if it'll be helpful or not, but I love that it exists. (Related: This to That gives advice on how to glue this thing to that thing.)
I'm currently listening to some of my Dealership MP3s in anticipation of their performance at Fray Day 6 tonight. Matt turned me onto Dealership a couple of months ago and the MP3s have been in my iTunes rotation ever since. Matt also informs me that From Monument to Masses, the other band playing tonight, also puts out some high quality audio. I'm just amped that I get to hear some math rock in person.
(Update: Dealership was great despite what Matt deemed a less-than-optimal sound setup. Alas, I arrived too late to catch FMTM. Plah.)
Last time I went to Las Vegas, I forgot my camera. Left it in my bag on the floor of the bedroom. I realized my mistake ten minutes after we'd left the apartment and about 2 seconds after we got on the Bay Bridge toward Oakland. Ten minutes? Surely you could have gone back to retrieve it. That's what you'd say if you've never seen the traffic on the Bay Bridge at 7:30 am. Once you're on that great river of suspended pavement, there's no going back; when it spills you out into Oakland 4.5 miles later, it opens up into a vast delta of roadways that spirit you away, always away, from where you began.
This time around, I wasn't going to forget it. Underpants, shoes, vital medicines, those I could do without. My camera was going. And it did.
(Click pic for more...may take awhile for those of you on dialup.)
Dude #1: He was crazy. This guy had never flown before. Beefy guy, Marine-type.
Dude #2: Did he have a plastic bag full of antlers?
Dude #1: What the heck does that mean?
Last week, I finished the excellent Founding Brothers, an attempt by author Joseph Ellis to "render human and accessible that generation of political leaders customarily deified and capitalized as Founding Fathers". You know that old adage that history repeats itself? It's true. My favorite quote from the book concerns the early workings of American-style democratic politics:
"...the very notion that a candidate should openly solicit votes violated the principled presumption that such behavior itself represented a confession of unworthiness for national office."
How refreshing and quaint.
I wrote this almost a year ago when I was still trying to work through my feelings about the WTC/Pentagon bombings:
"I want to expand slightly on my statement on September 11th that 'this is a human issue, not an American, democracy, or a freedom issue'. It's not that America is the center of the world and, by extension, any problem that America has, the rest of the world has too. Certainly not. These terrorist actions are part of something larger than an 'Attack on America'...that's just too simplistic.
"As a planet, we're trying to deal with the consequences of the Cold War, living in a single superpower world, and the dramatically increased power of the small group & individual, as well as the age old problems of wealth, poverty, oppression, freedom, religious differences, and just plain getting enough food to eat for the people of your tribe without ruining things for the generation to come.
"When you look closely at the various peoples of the world, we have many more similarities to each other than differences. We're all dealing with the same problems, just from different perspectives. I just keep coming back to this photo of the earth rising over the moon taken by the Apollo 11 astronauts. Looking at that photo, the earth seems so small and fragile, like a soap bubble in the empty black of space, and I can't help thinking that we're all in this together, Americans, Afghanis, Saudi Arabians, New Yorkers, Australians, Israelis, blacks, whites, Asians, men, women, Moslems, Christians, atheists, Jews, etc., etc., etc."
I don't have anything more to say about it, I just wanted to remember the time, place, and personal feelings that generated it.
We're in Las Vegas and it's buffet time. It's always buffet time here somewhere. Crab legs, prime rib, hotcakes & bacon, champagne brunch, all for more than you'd hoped, but after your fifth trip to the mashed potatoes & gravy trays, you stop caring about things like money.
I'm very aware of the other people at the buffet, moreso than at a normal restaurant. After a couple of minutes, I'm unconciously picking out the buffet killers. I'm a relative rookie at spotting the buffet killers, but I imagine that the owners can see them coming from across the casino floor, the restaurant's profit margins disappearing as fast as the food on their plates will. These are the people that have elevated buffet dining from the simple ingestion of foodstuffs to the level of sport. Buffet killers attack, show no mercy, give 110%, leave it all out there on the court, stick to the game plan, and go the extra mile.
Contrary to what you might think at first, the goal of the buffet killer is not to eat the most food, clear the most plates, or break the record for the most trips to the waffle bar. Like most other activities in Las Vegas, buffet dining is a game to be won or lost against an opponent. While most are content to eat for nourishment or to get their money's worth -- my attempt at the latter came up pitifully short -- the buffet killers are out to beat the house. They say no one beats the house in Vegas, but I saw several buffet players doing quite well for themselves.
When Meg and I arrived in Vegas on Friday for Web Builder, you'll never guess who we saw featured up on the huge Caesars Palace marquee:
I don't like most action movies. I'd rather watch paint dry. Most of them try too hard. Take the Brosnan-era Bond movies for example. Bond seduces women, cue explosions. That's all there is to a Bond film these days. But the film makers aren't satisfied with that; they want to tack on a plot, some cheesy high-tech gadgets, a love story, clever dialogue and none of it works.
XXX, taking it's cue from Charlie's Angels, is pure stylized action and explosions with limited interruptions for things like the plot. The gadgets, love story, and dialogue are cheesy as hell and deliberately so because Diesel and company recognize that there's no need for it, other than to poke fun at other action movies (the tricked-out GTO at the end of the movie takes the piss out of Bond's increasingly ridiculous gadget cars). And I loved every minute of it.
(I remembered Diesel from Saving Private Ryan, but I didn't know he was the voice of The Iron Giant, the title character from one of my favorite films from the golden year of 1999. I also don't remember him as having no chin, which makes him seem not so hunky as it would seem.)
I got my copy of Jaguar from Amazon about, what, 2 weeks after everyone else did (boo Amazon!) and installed it with little delay. So far I like what I see a lot, tons of little improvements here and there and a big speed difference on my iBook.
Windows scroll faster, Web pages render faster, apps launch quicker.
iChat is interesting, but I'm probably going to switch back to Adium soon for their richer feature set.
I'm not using the Address Book or Mail because I've got Entourage. The brushed aluminum look of iChat, iTunes, & Quicktime, et. al. is bugging me...I prefer the striped grey lines. I might have to install Metallifizer (thx jf) to bring that soothing grey to all of my Cocoa apps.
The sharing with my Linux box via Samba seems smoother.
Smoother? Fonts? Yes. Nice.
My favorite little tweak is the flattening of all the form elements: buttons, pulldowns, scrollbars, &c. It's such a tiny improvement, but they were just too 3-D and gaudy before; they dialed it down just enough to fix it.
Sherlock 3 is a bit of a disappointment. The flight tracking and yellow pages are nice, but the movie listings are inferior to those of Watson. And I want a stand alone maps feature, not just directions to businesses through the yellow pages.
Anything else I should be noticing/checking out with Jaguar?
(And I apologize for the title of the post.)
Googlecooking is the way new thing:
"...shortly before supper time I look around for some combination of foods I've got on hand and which seem like they might go together. Then I 'google' them and browse through the results until I find a recipe that appeals to me."
For the first time since 1992, a Dream Team stocked with NBA players lost a game of basketball. It's not that unbelievable that they lost; it was inevitable that they would eventually lose a game to somebody. It's this quote by Paul Pierce that amazes me:
"Reggie (Miller) brought us together. He said the world is against us. The world, the stands, the refs are all against us. The only thing we can do is go out and play hard the rest of the games and get the gold medal."
Aaaaair-balllll, aaaaair-ballllll. The world loves Team USA and the NBA superstars that play for the team. The games are being played in the US with US fans in attendance. And blaming the refs? Come on.
Kottke.org roving reporter Ben Brown checked in earlier this week with the following news:
Neal Pollack has a weblog. Mr. Pollack is probably most well known as the author of The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature, which, depending on who you talk to, is either pretty good or not so good. I don't know because I haven't read it (Neal, I'll read your book when you read mine).
So New Media has released the 3rd issue of Words! Words! Words! Ben claims that W!^3.3 is the first literary magazine with a naked centerfold. What about Penthouse Letters? And I'm almost sure I saw Pamela Lee straddling a mechanical bull in the last issue of The Paris Review. But anyway, Words! Words! Words!, good writing, illustrations by that Exploding Dog guy, naked chick.
Here I sit, working on Labor Day. Is this:
B.2) ironic not in the literary sense of "poignantly contrary to what was expected or intended" but more in the sense of "ha, that's slightly coincidental and amusing", a definition made popular by pop star Alanis Morissette with her hit song "Ironic"?
F) a bad way to spend time at my computer, when I could be reading chromatic's How to
Write Like a Pundit Be a Jackass, Chefs cook up gourmet "fakes", The Slow Lane, this great naming and branding weblog or re-reading Rebecca Mead's article on Shaq instead of just wanting to read them?
G) none of the above?
Caterina has compiled a nice list of sketchbooks. Feels a bit odd looking through them, this private art not intended for public consumption but ultimately offered up for anyone to view. A search turns up links to more sketchbooks (image search), including one to Angela Martini's sketchbook.
I used to read Angela's Spacegirl site religiously back in the day. Sites like hers, the diaries on ChickClick, the Swanky journals, Suck, and Stating the Obvious were the primordial goo out of which kottke.org grew, much more so than the often-cited sources of weblog inspiration laid down in the gospel.
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