Wednesday, August 27, 2003


Take a peek at my post from below "Book of Hours" -- I finally had the eye strength and energy to add links to it. There are 12 links with the illuminated months of the Book of Hours known as Les Tres Riches Heures. Here's August. It shows me heading out for the Labor Day Weekend to Vermont.

Still Sad

I really am still so sad to learn via Joi Ito's blog that one of the folks we all liked on IRC -- the chat network a bunch of us belonged to thanks to Joi's generous hosting -- committed suicide last week. So sorry to lose our friend Mike Lea, aka mazeone. Mike, you taught my new eye how to cry.

We would like to believe the technologies we use to connect with one another can help all our friends lead richer lives, supported by more friends, more conversations, more of a sense of community.

When someone enters the room, make sure to say "hi!" What does it cost you anyway?

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Blogger Honor Roll For September

It's back-to-school time, fellow bloggers, and that means reading, writing and rithmetic -- and I know you'll all score high grades in ... well ... in writing at least. But let's put together an honor roll!

In September, I'm going to honor one blogger every day, since there are so many great ones and I want to make sure the world knows them all. Let me see, Thirty days hath September, April, June and November ... so with 30 days, I should be able to come up with 30 great bloggers, considering there are now about .... 870,110 bloggers being followed by Technorati.

Email Female Hemail Shemale

Thanks to everyone for all the great email. Problem is, as my eye goes in and out of long and short focus, it's not easy to read sometimes and lots of work to reply. I will reply but give me a few days. I literally don't know what to expect when I get on the computer -- yesterday it was very hard to see and I didn't even reread my post, just typed and pushed POST.

Same with email, a great deal of squinting and head tilting is required. And weirdly, hour by hour, my sight can be lots better or lots worse, it's very malleable.

Still, when I do read it, it's such a treat -- thanks very much, very encouraging and very funny.

I'm only just back at my house tonight and the two previous days was at my sister's house where they have a really SLOW connection via AOL, so it was difficult to connect at all.

Keep those cards and letters coming, but assume a bit of a delay in my replies.

When I'm not going gaga at the wonderful world of color, I'm putting drops in my eyes, and then suddenly falling sounding asleep for hours on end, much to my surprise. I suppose that's normal -- it's called healing -- but it's all very unpredictable and strange.

Doctor said yes to reading, yes to computer, but one last bit of bad news -- no swimming for 2 weeks. Ugh.

Construction Workers

There were a bunch of construction workers pausing during their morning coffee to look at me. Don't they get it? There's only one person doing the looking today -- ME.

I turn, stop and stare at them and grin. They are cute and have little bits of dust and plaster on them, I can see every inch. They have too tight shirts some of them, one has a label hanging out -- I can READ it -- HANES! Now that turns me on!

Late Afternoon

By the late afternoon, it's all too too much. My eyes are getting worn out and all the cars are so shiny, so pretty, so metallic. The Boston skyline along Storrow Drive has razor-blade sharp buildings shredding the too blue sky. The doctor's given me some really dark sunglasses that look like black safety goggles from a science lab. I have to hide behind them. Do people really live in this gorgeous world and not get exhausted by 10:30am?

I see the road signs about 10 minutes away now. Before the eye surgery, I could read highway signs just about ... well, when I was almost on top of them and then, whoosh, I was past them, past the exit, forced to turn around at the next exit.

I have drops -- three kinds that sortof sting -- which I have to put in my eye every three hours. You spent a lot of time giving yourself eye drops. One is antibiotic to get rid of the unpleasant possibility of infection. One is a beta-blocker, not actually sure what that does (has to do with my eye pressure as the wound heals). The third is ... I don't remember what it does, but they are called Voltaren, Zymar, Pred Forte.

Yesterday, I asked my sister to get me a birthday cake -- which she did god bless her -- a black and white layer cake -- to celebrate my brand new eye and this new world I've been born into. I wanted to celebrate, party, sing, dance. We had salmon and potatoes and roasted vegetables and cake for dinner. It was great.

Giddy Kid

This rapture of gorgeous sight continues. My sister accompanied me to the follow-up eye doctor appointment this morning, where they said things looked very very good -- little do they know how GOOD THINGS look from in here! I continue to open Christmas presents ... I mean ... LOOK at things completely enthralled ... asking the eye doctor if he'd like me to count the whiskers in his beard ... I'd be happy to ... I've never seen with such clarity. Actually he looks at my records and suggests I really NEVER have seen with 20/20 vision which is about what I have.

We leave the building with me still ga-ga, looking at every single shoelace in a kid's beautiful black hightop sneakers all the way across the street, I can see the gromets for goodness sakes, the bricks and mortar in the Old West Church next to Mass Generall, birds all the way up near the top of the steeple, and then we turn the corner onto Cambridge Street and come right up to a fruit stand.

A beautiful, sunny August morning and a fruit stand.

And I mean a FRUIT stand.

She keeps walking.

I'm standing there, glued in place, drop jawwed, staring rudely at the most beautiful triangular stack of peaches I've ever seen. Near these beauties are some nectarines -- glowing in a blush of vermillion, next to them plums. Good lord.

She turns to see I'm not with her.

She looks back up the street. Thank god she's an artist and a painter. She understands and excuses my multiple orgasms of visual intercourse in public.

We look at each other -- we laugh -- she does me one better than the peaches, pointing to the watermelon slices.

I wince. Exquisite.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Book of Hours

Have you ever seen these illuminated manuscripts? The most famous example is called Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. I can't do a link right now, so go look them up yourself. They are gilded and shine out with a stunning beauty.

Okay, that's what my world looks like now. Illuminated. Golden. Gorgeous. I can't even begin to describe the ecstacy of what I am now seeing --- but I'll try.

At 7:30 am I arrive for cataract surgery. At 8:15 am, they are done. The prep takes longer than the 7 minute operation where they suck out my old lens, put in a new one perfectly matched to my sight -- like a little internal contact lens -- to give me 20/20 vision.

Nothing hurts after the drugs they put into the IV in the back of my hand. Nothing hurts once they put so damned much novacaine in your head it feels like the wooden boat known as Kon-Tiki. You could wack me in the head with a canoe paddle, I'd smile.

There is a hand-holder. A nurse who just holds your hand and says it's going to be all right -- how's that for extra cool high tech -- I appreciated it. You knew you could dig your nails into their hand if you wanted and if you were scared. My hand-holder was a man, a very nice man.

Your eye is so numb and they are irrigating it with so much water you really can't "see" anything, but you are awake to see. You look up at a pretty bright light which looks like a supernova, has slightly pink and yellow edges.

They have a robot voice that announces the stages of the operation. I ask, "Who's the British babe?" She has a lovely voice, "Begin Irrigation," she commands with a nice BBC tone.

The doctor laughs at my question, explains she's computer-generated. I'm surprised any male surgeon is cool with taking orders from a British babe, robot or not.

It's faster than any dental procedure I've ever had. They wheel you out quickly and let you get clear of the drugs, slowly raising your dental chair with wheels. Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you. You are strapped into your own rolling dental chair which goes from upright to supine as you are prepped and then operated upon.

After you eat something (fig newtons) and drink something (orange juice) they make sure you know how to put the eyedrops in -- three kinds and you do them three times a day -- be sure you don't get an infection.

They give you an african violet plant. Cool, eh? You think -- a purple african violet -- like I'm going to see so much better it will look different? With your eye bandaged up with tape, you're a doubting thomas. Just wait.

Of course my brother-in-law who's accompanying me is a florist and we're going back to his house where he and my sister have so many flowers and plants this seems pretty laughable. But we take the african violet.

Everyone but me is about 75 years old. I'm shamed into being brave (also it was so painless and easy after all) since I'm such a youngster compared to everyone else.

They unhook IV and all and make me walk. I have worn my black velvet Spanish dancer high heels -- I know it was risky, but they cheer me up and make me feel like dancing the flamenco, an irreverent act worthy of a day one is getting surgery I figure. I'm feeling fine. My brother-in-law and I walk out and go down to the car.

I'm not really fine, I'm a little oozy woozy from the drugs still, but much better than I expected.

We're home by 9:30, my eye taped up, my old eye doing the heavy lifting. My sis tucks me into bed. I sleep like a stone.

I wake, it's noon, she's made me tomato soup for lunch. We look at one another. I'm supposed to take the bandage off my eye at noon. Shall we eat lunch first or not? We eat. Good choice.

We go back to the guest room which happens to be full of alll the beautiful art, flowers, paintings, sculpture my sister and brother-in-law have throughout their house.

My sister pulls the tape off my eye. It's like clear packing tape and we're totally grossed out and half laughing like fools because as she pulls the tape it nearly takes off my eyebrow -- did I REALLY need that ?-- and yanks my lid 3 inches out like a badly behaved window shade. Something like a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Something he would do to Daffy Duck and Daffy would end up with his beak coming out his ass. You need sisters for moments like these. My eye is tearing a storm of crying tears and laughing tears and "What the hell are you doing to me, you crazy girls?!" tears. My sister's a braver man than me.

And -- of course -- we don't know what the hell to expect -- blood, puss, bruising, a rotten eyeball like an overcooked hardboiled egg?!

Surprise, the eye looks almost fine -- a ton of tears, but not bad at all.

Now get ready, fasten your seat belts guys. I look over at a wooden carved bird and a painting of bamboo very pretty very Japanese right behind this bird. With my old eye, they are muted and Rembrandt-like in dull browns, something dirty trying to look like gold, some soft-edged greys.

I open my new improved eye.

Okay, I am freaking out. The bird is so resplendent in color and gold leaf. The colors are so vibrant. The edges are so clear and ... I hardly know the word ... try CRUNCHY ... that I can barely believe it. The delicate detail of the bamboo leaves on the painting are exquisite. I am gasping.

I tell my sister, "You can't believe what I'm seeing."

I close the new eye -- go back to the old. By the way, the old eye has a level horizon, the new eye is off by about 15 degrees, to the left of the 90 degree right angle -- freaky, but this adjusts after a few minutes.

The old eye is pure Rembrandt, 50 coats of varnish. Lovely if you go in for Flemish painters -- not a helluva lot of help reading signs on the highway.

I open the new eye again, now I look to the right and see a vase of pink day lilies. "Oh, my, God," I say slowly.

I am in some rapturous drug trip. I don't even want to think of how much I WAS NOT SEEING.

I see a clock -- the second hand is SCREAMING at me -- hi, Halley, hi, Halley! I go into the bathroom, the chrome faucet looks like it's on silver fire, I jump back from it to avoid getting scalded by light. My sister and brother-in-law are watching me freak, suggesting I go back to bed. I'm a little scary.

I am in the kitchen, looking at plates -- blue ceramic -- a blue so stunning, I'd like to dive into them and swim away. I open the silverware drawer -- "oh shit," I mutter.

Finally, I take the acid test. I look in the mirror. I start laughing. I'm just laughing and laughing. I've seen her before, I think. Look at her. She looks okay, but what about all those wrinkles ... shit, that damned doctor must have added all those wrinkles this morning when I was all drugged up. But really, she looks good. Pretty damned good. I like her. And it's so nice to SEE her.

Surgery A-OK

Very oozy woozy and my head feels stony like Mt. Rushmore full of novacaine -- otherwise a piece of cake

Going Natural

Good day to just relax. No eye make-up this morning before eye surgery I figure. One question I forgot to ask. When can I go swimming again? And any chance my green eyes will end up another color? And what the heck do I do with my glasses? And what if ... and ... and

Oh yeah, try to relax.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

MIT's Sherry Turkle "Technology And Human Vulnerability"

I'll stop promoting myself for a few nanoseconds and give you another good reason to get Harvard Business Review's September issue -- great intevview with Sherry Turkle called "Technology and Human Vulnerability". Here's some blah-blah from the table of contents about it: "As robots become more anthropomorphic, they are engaging with us in disconcertingly emotional ways. That may be undermining what it means to be authentically human, says sociologist and psychologist Sherry Turkle."

And an interesting quote from Turkle in the HBR piece:
"For some people, cyberspace is a place to act out unresolved conflicts, to play and replay personal difficulties on a new and exotic stage. For others, it provides an opportunity to work through significant problems, to use the new materials of "cybersociality" to reach for new resolutions. These more positive identity effects follow from the fact that for some, cyberspace provides what psychologist Erik Erikson would have called a "psychosocial moratorium," a central element in how Erikson thought about identity development in adolescence. "

I don't think it's available until the last week of August -- maybe tomorrow in fact -- in a store near you.

Fact or Fiction?

Heath Row's asking provocative questions -- per usual -- over at his blog about the fictional case study I wrote. Just to clear something up, the "case studies" in Harvard Business Review every month are ALWAYS fictional. They are fun to read. Another reason to buy a copy of HBR -- or hell, really splurge and subscribe to the thing. {Pitch! Pitch! Pitch!]

Suit Yourself

Lately, people are having trouble pronoucing my last name, so I just wanted to clear it up. It's spelled with two "t's" S-U-I-T-T, but pronounced like there's only one "t" -- that is, suit like a suit of clothes., bathing suit, three-piece suit, gabardine suit. Halley rhymes with Sally.

Some are even confusing me with other esteemed establishments as "Suits You" the build-your-own-bikini folks. I'm sure they have a thriving enterprise, but we're not related.

And as for the band, Suit Yourself, I'm not the bass player.

Also, that's not me in the hard hat over at Suitt Construction. And I can't get you a job there, sorry. But click the Career Center link and they will answer the question, "Why Work For Suitt?"

One of these days I'll get around to scribbling an "ABOUT" link to tell you who I am, but I still think it's more fun just to read my blog to figure it out. Here's some clues:

Person Place or Thing -- Person

Animal, Vegetable or Mineral -- Animal

Am I bigger than a breadbox -- Yes, yes, for sure.

And a few other things -- I live in Boston. I like to write. I like to blog. I hurt my foot last month, now it's better. I lost my dad last year, now he's gone for good. I have a fun and spunky son. I love to dance. Oh, yeah, one other thing, but you probably figured that out by now. I love men.

Seeing Beautiful Things

Buy something beautiful for your house today. It's wonderful to have something lovely to look at in your house on a Sunday afternoon. Shoppng is a much maligned art -- but one must give in to the urge now and then.

It doesn't have to cost a fortune. But it might.

It doesn't have to be practical. But it might.

It doesn't even have to do anything. Just sit there and be beautiful.

Beauty In The Eye Of The Beholder

I'm actually getting kindof excited about having eye surgery tomorrow. My brother had the same operation and he was telling me that I will be stunned at how beautiful the world is and all the things I have not been seeing.

I would like to look at a bouquet of folowers like these, close up. I'll want to see this movie again which had the most delicious colors, Frida lived in a house with bright blue walls, bright red door lintels, a brick courtyard with luscious green cacti and other. wonderful colors. And just imagine what I can do in a paint store. So much to see. So much to learn So much to enjoy, like Cape Cod mornings

Glove Girl Is A Babe

One of the most unexpected pleasures of seeing my piece about blogging appear in Harvard Business Review is seeing the illustrations -- that someone took my idea of a character which existed until now ONLY in my brain and actually drew a picture of her is totally cool. I love the illustrations in the piece. I have to find out who did them and thank the artist. There's an adorable picture of her standing in front of the room in her babe-ish yellow cocktail dress with her green surgical gloves on and also a few pages later, a picture of two pretty hands typing on a laptop, with gloves draped over the top the the computer. Very exciting.

Microsoft's Glove Girl?

Okay, first of all, let me explain the reference -- Robert Scoble, undoubtedly one, if not the number one best-known blogger at Microsoft posted this the other day. "Someone asks, "Is Scoble Microsoft's Glove Girl?'"

And who the heck is Glove Girl? Well, she's a character I made up! I was asked to write a fictional case study for Harvard Business Review in this month's issue about blogging. The case study is a feature that appears every month in each issue posing difficult management problems. For instance, there was an interesting case study a few months back about an employee at a software company who was moonlighting doing programming for a game maker on the side. It posed some thorny problems. In each case study, four or so experts comment on the story, suggesting what they would do under the circumstances.

In the piece I wrote, I wanted to create a company with a rogue blogger in its midst. She's an employee of a surgical glove manufacturer. The CEO goes to an industry event, only to be upstaged by one of his own employees -- this blogger known as Glove Girl She has a very popular weblog where she's spilling company secrets about their swell line of surgical gloves. Glove Girl is a very bad girl. She's talking to customers about real inside stuff at her company. She goes public with private info about a deal her company is in the middle of negotiating with a big hospital and says the hospital's high caesarian rate is a scandal. She dresses in sexy cocktail dresses and wears light green surgical gloves to show off her wares. When she writes about her favorite gloves on her weblog, the sales for those gloves go through the roof. When she writes about her lovelife, similar hot traffic results.

Glove Girl is on newstands this coming week. Get a copy of HBR, read my piece and BEFORE you read the savvy comments by David Weinberger, Ray Ozzie, Pamela Samuelsom and Erin Motameni, write your OWN comments on how you would deal with Glove Girl. It's funny, I found all the comments showed more mercy for the difficult blogger than I would have if I were running the place. Glove Girl is big trouble if you ask me.

So to answer the question I started with "Is Scoble Microsoft's Glove Girl?" I say, not at all. His blog is informative, honest, reasonable, circumspect, measured and may be the best thing to happen at Microsoft in a long long time. He's got a conversation going with the world that Microsoft itself can't seem to pull off.

Harvard President Not Winning Mr. Popularity Contest

Larry Summers in The New York Times today, "''I don't think of leadership as a popularity contest.'' Thanks to Dave Winer for the link. Sometimes an Alpha Male's gotta do what an Alpha Male's gotta do.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

LOL Not But IOL Instead

Here's what I'm doing Monday morning. Cataract surgery. It's a piece of cake now. They actually liquify my lens and suck it out. Whoa!

Cataract surgery involves removal of the clouded natural lens and implantation of a clear plastic intraocular lens (IOL). This is typically performed on an outpatient basis and seldom requires a hospital stay. Most patients are allowed to return home within an hour or two of their surgery. Typically this is performed with a local anesthetic but is also frequently done using topical anesthesia, simply using anesthetic drops. After the anesthetic, a small 3 millimeter (about 1/8 inch) incision is made in the front of the eye. A fine instrument is placed into the eye to rapidly remove the cataract using ultrasonic waves. The ultrasonic waves liquefy the cataract so that it can be easily aspirated from the eye.

After the cataract is completely removed, a tiny intraocular (IOL) lens is placed into the normal position of the natural lens to restore the focusing power of the eye. Because of the small incision size used in modern cataract surgery, sutures are almost never required. Most patients are able to resume most of their normal activities within a few days of their surgery. Recovery is usually complete in 3 to 4 weeks. Typically, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops are prescribed during the post-operative period to prevent infection and speed recovery. [Source: See link above. This is from the St. Cloud Eye Clinic in MN, a perfect name as cataracts make your sight very cloudy.]

I Am A Pirate King!

I have eye surgery Monday morning so I have to go pirate patch shopping this weekend. Maybe I'll go get lessons by seeing this. Or maybe he can teach me how it works.

Will Men Make Passes Once I Don't Wear Glasses?

There's a good chance I won't need glasses once both my cataracts are operated on and healed. I kinda like my glasses. They make me look smart. Maybe I won't look half as smart, once I don't need glasses. This could be a problem. I'll have to get back to you on that. Surgery Monday for the left eye, takes about a month to heal. Then surgery in October for the right eye. Jeepers Creepers Where'd You Get Those Peepers by Halloween!

Sure, Put A Knife In My Eye

I have cataract surgery on Monday. I've had cataracts since I was 16 and it's high time I got around to having them operated on. At 47, I'm a young kid for this team of eye surgeons. They are used to seeing 80-year-old ladies wheeled in.

Here's an interesting website about cataract surgery. This is NOT where I'm having my surgery. I'll be in Boston. But they have a picture of a building here with maximum glare to show people without cataracts what it looks like WITH cataracts. It's a good example of how I see every day.

I'm a big chicken about all things hospital-ish since I was sick a lot as a kid. I know this will be no big deal, but still, there's something basic about someone cutting your eye ... well, it's hard to imagine it being a pleasant thing.

Did I Mention Chris Pirillo?

To be fair, Chris Pirillo has been telling us EMAIL IS OVER for a long time and also recommending like others, and perhaps BEFORE most others, that RSS will lead us out of this unhappy land of spam. Check this out.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Monday's The New Friday and RSS's The New Email

I heard someone on the radio today say that Monday is the new Friday ... whatever. Not at all sure what the point of that was.

On the other hand, I see Adam Curry and Dave Winer are proclaiming EMAIL IS DEAD and proposing an amazing solution. Boy are they dead on. Don't miss it.

A Blogger In The Mist

Toot my own horn department -- hope you don't mind. I 've just published a piece on blogging in Harvard Business Review called "A Blogger In Their Midst" which is a (fictional) "case study" about a CEO who is perplexed by a blogger known as Glove Girl. who's spilling secrets, drawing bigger crowds at industry events and happens to be on his payroll. Here's their schpiel from the Table of Contents
HBR Case Study
A Blogger In Their Midst
Halley Suitt

A tech-savvy employee has something to say about everything at surgical glove manufacturer Lancaster-Webb. When she raved on-line about an older style of gloves, sales unexpectedly shot up. And when she posted damaging information about a potential customer's business practices, the deal collapsed. Is "Glove Girl" a priceless marketing weapon or a grave security risk?

The HBR Case Study is a regular feature which poses really difficult management problems, then asks four experts to give their advice on how to handle the situation. The four experts commenting on my piece are none other than our favorite boy blogger David Weinberger, also the only CEO I know who blogs, Ray Ozzie of Groove, together with the esteemed law professor Pamela Samuelson from UC Berkeley and our savvy VP of Human Resources over at EMC, Erin Motameni.

It's not available until Monday, but with any luck I'll scan it and post it for all to read. Not that you shouldn't plunk down the $16.95 for a real copy of the September issue of HBR at a newstand near you this coming Monday.

And about the title, I mean no disrepect, but it kinda reminds me of Gorillas In The Mist.

Alpha Male Signed Sealed and Delivered

So I've finished "How To Become An Alpha Male in 18 Easy Lessons" happy and sad to say. It was so much fun to write. Meanwhile, someone recently sent me the very first post about it -- this one -- where I mentioned my new book was coming out soon (a total lie at that point -- a joke between me and Gary Turner -- thanks Gary) and I also said there would be language tapes too. Wow, I had forgotten I wrote that and what a good idea! Alpha Male growling. Alpha Male grunting. Alpha Male climaxing. Oh yes! Talk about a killer app.

Now seriously folks, I'm putting all these little pieces into a book proposal and I have an agent interested in selling the idea for me. Over the last few months a big bunch of you have written the greatest email to me saying you'd love to read The Alpha Male Book. Well, hold on to your hats, folks. It may just happen.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

More New Hampshire Fun

Looks like a bunch of bloggers did New Hampshire yesterday. I'll be heading back up, just wasn't able to go yesterday. Dave Winer's got great pix.

Free Willy Doesn't Want To Be Free

Sometimes there are news headlines you just CANNOT improve on. This is from AP via Yahoo News, although you might think it's from The Onion.

This whale has a terrific branding problem.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

In Memoriam

Doc, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time. We love you. Your mother lives on in her lovely smile and her wonderful family.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

How To Become An Alpha Male In 18 Easy Lessons: Lesson 18: My Alpha Boy

My son is just eight years old, but I think I've got a best-of-breed, certified, irresistible, terrific Alpha Male in the works here. My Alpha Boy has got the right stuff. My Alpha Boy knows what it takes. My Alpha Boy is everything a boy can be and it's wonderful to see. I want to mention 18 wonderful things about my Alpha Boy and wish him the best as I watch him grow into the man he'll soon become. A young man with all the best intentions. A good man. A brave man. A kind man. A man with all the virtues and vices of a real human being. Just a simple man. Just a simply great man.

1. My alpha boy is kind and loving to his mom -- you can't beat that.

2. My alpha boy takes little stuffed animals to school for the girls to take care of. He lets the girls set them in the corners of his desk, tuck them into little improvised beds and pull little Kleenex blankets up to their necks, their paws holding the edge of the blanket. The girls love this.

3. My alpha boy is zany and sometimes calls me Halley Elizabeth Suitt, or "Momlette", just to tease and annoy me.

4. My alpha boy has a friend at school that another kid was picking on. My boy went up to the mean kid and told him to leave him alone, he said, he was HIS FRIEND and said, "You got a problem with that?"

5. My alpha boy loves to sing.

6. My alpha boy loves to laugh.

7. My alpha boy loves to fart.

8. My alpha boy rides his bike at near death-defying speeds these days.

9. My alpha boy helps me dry the dishes..

10. My alpha boy continues to trick me, wearing his pants long and baggy so I won't notice he's not wearing socks. This is a fundamental independence he demands from his mother who really wants him to wear socks. He thinks socks are not cool.

11. I caught my alpha boy holding the door open at a fast food restaurant for an old man.

12. I caught my alpha boy wiping snot on his bed sheets while reading a Pokemon comic book. We call the big ones raisins.

13. I caught my alpha boy kissing his GI Joe's good night (in a rather manly way actually) and telling them to "hang in there."

14. My alpha boy is already good at fixing things in my house.

15. My alpha boy wants to drive my car.

16. My alpha boy still loves his Tonka dumptrucks, his crane, his backhoe and will not let me give any of them away to Goodwill.

17. My alpha boy is still crazy for firetrucks -- the big ones.

18. My alpha boy has taught me all the wonderful things I know, love and appreciate about men.

Monday, August 18, 2003

My Mom Never Told

My mom never told who she voted for. My dad used to kid her and tease her about it on election day. Try to get it out of her. She always considered it a point of honor, that it was private. She would not be coerced. She shared so much else with her five kids and her husband, but not that. Her vote was private.

Voting -- something private a woman does. Just like when we kids would try to rummage through her purse for something -- you learned fast that you didn't go into my mom's purse. Off limits.

Interesting to read Dave's take on the Graham speech. I heard another speech entirely and I will vote privately, as a woman, for the guy I like best. The guy I trust. The stand-up guy.

We women sit around a dinner table, a diner table, a cafe table, listening to men talk about politics. Sometimes we look like we're not listening. Sometimes our opinions are not taken seriously. Sometimes they think we don't know anything. But we know how to vote.

This was the thing that burned me up the most about the debacle referred to as the last presidential election. It was clear to me, as we came closer and closer to watching the election slip out of the hands of the people and into the pockets of the justices' robes in the Supreme Court, that none of us count. Women spend a lot of time feeling their opinions don't count. Interesting for all of us to get a dose of it. I just hope it doesn't happen that way ever again.

Bob Graham's Speech

Hard to blog ... this internet cafe has mucho cool tunes ... Eric Clapton is here singing Layla. Very laid back. Cappicino very delish.

Graham started with a funny anecdote about the first time he ever campaigned in New Hampshire (for another candidate a bunch of years back) and learned how up close and personal you can get with New Hampshire voters. He met a woman in front of a grocery store in Nashua, NH who took a pamphlet from him, said reading it , "Ruben Askew, oh, yes. I've met him twice. I've invited him to my home for lunch and dinner. If he actually comes to my house, I'll seriously consider voting for him."

Yes, these New Hampshirites with their early snowy primary expect to be wooed and won. Great fun to be here hearing these guys up close.

Graham makes you feel like you're in good hands. I liked what he said about Sea Biscuit. I think the same thing -- the movie's about working together to get through these hard times. The horse takes on an symbolic role in that movie, becoming a symbol of the underdog triumphing over adversity, thanks to the hopefulness and dedication of his team of jockey, owner, supporters -- especially the guys in the cheap seats routing for him. Graham said he wants to restore the sense of "oneness" in America. Yes, sir. And a sense of fairness. I agree.

Listen, Ev and Jason and All You Guys

Okay, do you KNOW what I had to do to get Dave to wear the Google shirt and me to wear the Blogger tee? Well, hell, moving mountains is easier.

And what thanks do I get?! Between breakfast and lunch you some how have mysteriously UPGRADED me to Blogger Pro, but shit, I don't know what the hell I'm doing on this new user interface. Please ... I can't deal.

So I should say Thanks, but I'm saying YIKES. Please don't go upgrading me without me noticing. It blows my mind.

Like for one thing, where's the POST button ... kindof important. And now I'll come clean and mention the SIGNOFF button on the new Blogger Vanilla interface is much much too tiny. It needs to be much bigger. Don't you know people who blog at work need a really big SIGNOFF button for when the boss comes by.

You Could Smile, Ya Know, It Won't Kill You

Dave and I are in an internet cafe in NH. He just showed me a picture of us in our GOOGLE AND BLOGGER shirts. I say to him ... "You could smile, ya know, it won't kill you."

He says, "I am smiling."

Lunch With Dave and Bob

Wow, so lunch with Dave Winer and Bob Graham at the Manchester NH Rotary Club was fun. When Dave took pix of Graham, I sat at the table alone stealing fish and pasta from his plate -- Dave's, that is -- don't tell him. Mmmm ... not bad. It was a buffet and I missed the fish completely.

There was a lot to like about Graham. I particularly liked the fact that he spends days working at various jobs. He told a story about working as an orderly in a nursing home for nine long hours. Very cool that he actually works. What would be really incredible is to work nine hours as an orderly and then get laid off. Now that's the economy we're enjoying now.

BTW, their press guy in DC sent me email REALLY fast with the name of the local guy travelling with Sen. Graham and they were all terrific and helpful. The guys at the Rotary Club were very hospitable -- especially my new friend Tom who sells insurance.

Only Members Of The News Media

From Sen. Graham's office --

The press staff assist Senator Graham in his communications with the print, television, and radio news media. Only members of the news media should contact the press office.

I contacted them this morning about us visiting New Hampshire. Let's see what happens.

Great Questions

Dave and I are headed up to New Hampshire. Not sure if Jim Moore will make the trip today, but likely he'll join us later in the week. Dave's already up and has great questions to ask the presidential candidates. Thank God I didn't sit next to this kid in school, I would have looked like a complete moron.

I've got only one question for every presidential hopeful -- "How do you plan to get us out of this Steinbeckian-Grapes-Of-Wrath Economy?"

Gluteus Maximus And Gluteus Medius

Working out this morning. Need to get my butt in gear. Summer's supposed to be an easy time to stay in shape, but I'm not finding that. I've been having so much trouble sticking to my routines lately after hurting my foot. Also, with this weird weather and alternating bouts of rain or jungle heat with horrible humidity, I don't want to be outside running around all that much. Even outdoor swimming is getting me nervous when the sky goes grey suddenly and the lightning starts sparking.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Meet Me At Buckman Tavern

I'm going to see if my fellow blogging patriots can meet me at Buckman Tavern here in Lexington to start our trip up to New Hampshire to meet presidential candidates. There's something very exciting about living in this town where farmers and blacksmiths and candlemakers -- just regular folks -- took up arms, or more importantly, took up an idea that changed the world.

I live in a history book with 3D pop-up colonial houses, American flags, and a grassy field called Battle Green where they mixed up blood with nicely trimmed suburban grass to change the way we live. I like to imagine those guys sitting around drinking something like Sam Adams and finding out the British were marching their direction and deciding to give them a run for their money. I can't help wanting to be back in that passionate place where your life, your words, your country and your politics are as alive and personal to you as the cold beer stein you hold in your hand. A place where you swear to your buddies you'll fight to your death to keep your family safe and your children free and brave for generations to come.

Patriot's Day

Here's a poem I wrote about Patriot's Day:

Patriots Day in Lexington, April 15, 2002
by Halley Suitt

I saw a Minuteman,
Get in a minivan,
Down by Battle Green.
I saw a Redcoat,
Chatting on a cell phone,
Press one for land, two for sea.

The Regulars are coming!
The Regulars are coming!
To our town on a regular basis,
On a regular day in April
They bloom in colors bright
Poppies red,
Crocuses blue,
Snowdrops white,

They've come complete, with fife and drum
Just to remind us
That behind us, at Buckman's Tavern
They'd had enough of April Tax Time.
And from that day, as shots rang out,
Tea would pour free
And brave they could be
To make a new place for you and me.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

On The Road Again

Dave Winer has asked me and Jim Moore to tag along with him to New Hampshire to get up close and personal with some of these guys running for President. Being a connaisseur of Alpha Males, I figure I'm just the girl for the job.

My Hometown

I was eight years old and running with a dime in my hand
Into the bus stop to pick up a paper for my old man
I'd sit on his lap in that big old Buick and steer as we drove through town
He'd tousle my hair and say son take a good look around
This is your hometown, this is your hometown
This is your hometown, this is your hometown

... Bruce Springsteen

Vacationing In My Hometown

My son is eight. He had this great idea the other day. We were trying to decide if we would do a vacation weekend to celebrate the end of summer camp in either New York, Cape Cod or maybe even further away. In the end, he asked me if we could just hang out in our own town -- rent a room at the local Holiday Inn, go swimming and invite his friends over to jump on the beds with him.

We did it last night. Something really fun about pretending to be on a trip but being able to run home for your favorite pillow too. He and his friends had a blast. I'm exhausted, but at least they tore up someone else's place, not mine.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Gnome Girl's Impeccable Timing

How does she always know which COAST to be on? She left the East Coast for the West just in the nick of time. She's always in the right place at the right time.

CNN Reporting A Lot Of Folks Still Without Power

By Friday at lunchtime, still lots of people without power. Rolling blackouts may be instituted within the next few days. I feel pretty spoiled here in Boston -- even when I woke up this morning and looked at the electric clock radio, I noticed it was on and NOT blinking -- meaning we hadn't lost power even once. Reminds me a bit of 9/11, worrying about our friends only 2 1/2 hours away in NYC, not sure if we could send help. Wanting to do whatever we can.

Blackout Photo Moblogging

Doc points us to Xeni's page of Blackout Photos. Cool. Here's a link of pix.

NY Stock Exchange New Bedroom Community

More on the power outage -- CNBC's reporter mentioned that about 300 people SLEPT AT the New York Stock Exchange which is open for business, but has very light trading. Remember the morning they got back online after September 11th? How many days were they closed?

20 Questions Kindof

I find I'm thinking a lot about 20 Questions. In fact, everything I see is now taken into consideration for whether it would work as a 20 Questions candidate.

Okay, is this Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral? ANIMAL And is it Person, Place or Thing? THING And does it fit in a breadbox? NOPE If you ordered it on the web it would include" Vinyl Ears, Bow Tie, Cuffs and Puff Tail. Color: Black with White Accent

Here it is.


Well, I found out my friend who works in New York at CourtTV walked 80 blocks to get to a friend's apartment and then walked UP 18 floors, all in high heels to spend the night with her girlfriend who lives in the city. Her husband and kids were in New Jersey w/power on. Even I have to say there are some days that high heels just aren't worth it. BTW, this is NOT the kind of high heel my friend wears -- I mean -- at least in public.

Where Did Everyone Sleep?

I grew up in New York. I'm a New Yorker at heart. I went to Columbia University for grad school. I lived in New York for a good part of my 20's and 30's. I have a question. When you take all those buildings full of all those hot tiny apartments connected by elevators and you let all the occupants leave by stairway and they are out on the street -- and add in all the commuters from Connecticut, New Jersey, Long Island, you name it ... well, where did everyone sleep last night? Did anyone sleep last night? Better call some New York bloggers and start finding out.

I Wanna Wake Up In The City That Never Sleeps

Start spreadin' the news, I'm leavin' today
I want to be a part of it, New York, New York
These vagabond shoes are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it, New York, New York

I wanna wake up in a city that doesn't sleep
And find I'm king of the hill, top of the heap

These little town blues are melting away
I'll make a brand new start of it, in old New York
If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere
It's up to you , New York, New York


New York, New York

I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps
And find I'm A-number-one, top of the list,
King of the hill, A-number-one

These little town blues are melting away
I'm gonna make a brand new start of it in old New York
A-a-a-nd if I can make it there, I'm gonna make it, anywhere
It's up to you, New York, New York

Okay, New Yorkers Are The Coolest Of Them All

Big Apple shines again. Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the coolest of them all? Yes, it's got to be the intrepid, unsinkable, slightly irascible, but big-hearted Alpha-New Yorker! You folks are just too much! We love you!

Seeing The Stars On Broadway

Some lovely stories coming out of the New York blackout of people barbecuing right on 47th street and actually seeing the stars on Broadway -- the REAL stars -- up there -- in the dark night sky. That had to be a rare event in New York City. Sounds like we made it through the night safe and sound.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Alpha Males Rise To The Occasion During Power Outage

See, that's the kind of in-depth investigative reporting we need tonight. Do you know how many lucky guys are getting it tonight? Mark this date on your calendars folks, add nine months or so. Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, March, April ... we're talking babies.

Come on guys, she's a little freaked out -- what if it's terrorism? What if there's looting? Time to do the caveman thing and make her feel safe.

Getting Caught Having A Baby

Some poor woman was having a baby this afternoon. Hope she's okay now and so are the twins.

Getting Caught In An Elevator

Another place I'd really rather not be during a power outage. Some old New York elevators on an August afternoon must be pretty close to HELL on earth.

Getting Caught In The Subway

Something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Ugh. Hope all you guys are out of the NYC subways by now.

Pretending Everything's Fine

Tonight when we heard about the power outages all up and down the East Coast, but NOT here in Boston, I went about my basic parenting job -- pretending everything is fine. My son and I walked over to visit friends and as he played with the kids, I chatted with the grown-ups speculating on what the night would bring.

I had been in LA for the riots and I remember a few long, long days -- smelling the city burning through the night -- seeing the fires and watching the civil unrest on tv during the day, when we were essentially grounded despite it being a Tuesday, a Wednesday and a Thursday if I recall. It was like a snow day ... sort of. I remember exactly where I was when I heard the verdict and the riots started -- on the studio lot at Paramount Pictures. My husband called me to warn me to get home right away. With all the earthquakes, it wasn't like we were unaccustomed to stopping dead in our tracks as a city. We knew how to grind to a halt.

And all of this came to mind tonight, the potential for looting, the possibility of riots. But I don't think that's what's going to happen. I think people will get a nice long weekend and the power will come back, but none of us will miss how dependent we are on electricity. As I watch my son sleeping peacefully with his nightlight lit, the airconditioning blowing a cool breeze, the computer making a faint hum, the fridge full of cold drinks, the freezer filled with ice cream, the phone recharging in her little cradle, I see we are a lightning bolt away from cave-dwelling -- hot, insecure, uncomfortable, unwired cave-dwelling. And I have to say, civilization kindof grows on you. It's tough to have it vanish in the blink of an eye.

Nisenholtz on Better Blogs

Sarah Lai Stirland has written an interesting piece in the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Reviewabout newspapers and their attempts to deal with online communitites.

Martin Nisenholtz of The New York Times suggests an interesting idea:
"I don’t see any reason, for example, why we can't play the role of finding some of the better Weblogs in some of the more interesting topic areas to us and pointing people in the direction of those Weblogs, or excerpting them when they’re important," he says.

Mighty digital of you man.

Apologies for Diet Pepsi

Dave did 20 Questions this morning and the thing he had in mind was Diet Pepsi. I've been noticing Diet Pepsi is replacing Diet Coke in so many places I go -- United Airlines, several fast food restaurants, many high-end restaurants -- but invariablly the person serving it makes a sheepish expression and says apologetically, "Is Diet Pepsi okay?" as if they are offering you formaldehyde on the rocks.

So is Pepsi winning the Cola Wars? I think they may be 7/8 of the way there, but they are also tarnishing their brand in the process. Do you really want to establish Diet Pepsi as the unenthusiastic substitute for Diet Coke which people begrudingly accept since they have no other choice? Maybe Diet Pepsi is HELPING build Diet Coke's brand as the better choice?

Black Teapot White Teapot

Bought another teapot - a new white one from Pier 1 -- already had this nice black one. Set them both in my kitchen window sil -- one staring down the other -- one saying black -- one saying white. I'm trying to remember to keep myself right in that sweet spot between the two. I'm trying to remember it's never as dark black as you think. I'm trying to remember it's never as bright white as you wish. Middleground.


I need a new printer, but I sure could also use a copier and while we're at it, can't I do a little scanning and when all is said and done, let me fax over that signed contract. Went to Staples and I was nearly knocked out by how many choices there are. I'm always nervous about "all-in-one" type machines which in the past have seemed to "do-it-all" badly if you ask me. Anyone thrilled with their combo machine? Please send recommendations on machines, also best way to purchase (online, offline, real world, back of Guido's truck?) all help appreciated.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

I Have This Funny Feeling

Woke up worrying about a million little things and then did a STOP. Just did it. Just said, "STOP."

Got back on the right track by thinking ... God does not want me worrying about a million little things. God wants me to do what he brought me here to do. He'll worry about the million little things. Push them over to his side of the desk. Take a long look at him -- try watching his sky, his trees, his not-so-bad world he built all around us. He'll tell you why the hell he brought you here. He needs you to stop thinking about trivial stuff and do something important like love your kid, write some words, kiss the sky.

Say A Little Prayer

I think end of August is always a tricky time. I think THIS end of August is particularly trying. I know friends in Europe are going through a very trying time. The record heat is daunting if not dangerous. I know many people are out of work. I know many kids are going back to school with the bare minimum in terms of shoes, clothes, new notebooks. I think we all need someone praying for us. We all need to say a kind work to one another. Try it today. As I write this, the skies open with another shower of rain. Nothing easy about this day I'm afraid. Back to my knees -- get those prayers going.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Archives Check

My archives are acting up again. Just republished, off to check on them.

Expiration Date

Started the morning with a big bowl of Special K with Red Berries which I'm crazy for. Poured in a lot of milk. Took one delicious bite and nearly gagged. Checked the milk carton, EXP DATE; JULY 18. Luckily I had a new unopened carton of milk in the fridge I got two days ago. Reset -- bowl one down the drain, wash bowl, start again.

Staring Into Space

I had a lovely dinner last night that I had to leave early and appreciated everyone's graciousness around the table to let me go so soon, but I've been writing fiction and it seems to require a enormous amount of time of simply staring into space. Doing nothing. I thought I read somewhere that Thurber's wife used to say when he wandered around the house like a somnambulist in a daze, "Ut oh, he's writing again."

That's just about the way I get. Spend a lot of time on the floor looking up at the ceiling. I'm thinking about scenes, characters, stealing this limb or head or body from one real person, cutting and pasting it onto a fictional character. Noticing this meal or other, a real-live tuna noodle casserole, neatly inserted into a fictional suburban kitchen, the fictional wife ready to feed the fictional kids who will all bitch and moan about hating tuna.

A House Of No Women

[I'm writing some fiction and this is a very early rough draft. Don't need any advice or critique, thanks. just send flowers, candy and love letters. ]

House Of No Women

This was a house of no women. That’s all she could think. Or rather, all she could feel. This is a house of no women. It was an enormous house. She noticed it as her boyfriend Peter drove her up the long driveway in his new red sports car. He was wanting her to notice his car so much, but next to this house, crunching along this gravel driveway, his toy car was about as impressive as a kid’s tiny metal Hot Wheels car that you bought in the supermarket for less than a dollar. Neither of them had been expecting so much house – so much big stone house – like a mountain you were asked to climb and it had seemed a nice adventure when you stretched the guidebooks and maps out on your kitchen table one night under a yellow light. All within reason, not ominous, but doable. But this was another matter, in fact it was a veritable Matterhorn of a house. In the daylight rising up and looking nothing short of terrifying, anyone would begin to think that maybe this was just a bad idea all around and it was a good time to turn back.

This is a house of no women. She thought it again even though it wasn’t quite grammatical, not particularly good English, something as a writer, she should be able to articulate more precisely, but this phrase rose from her gut – a house of no women – and every part of the house spoke it. Not that it was a masculine house per se, rather it seemed to pull her in, as if needing her feminine nature, as if needing any feminine nature to balance it out. .

What she was feeling was his presence, but since she didn’t even know Vladimir yet, she could not know that. She did not know that his soul was such a powerful black hole, pulling her and every woman around him in, like a bad table cloth trick where the magician fails to leave every cup, plate, knife, fork spoon and candlestick standing as he yanks away the table linens, but instead, Vladimir had a way all pulling whole dinner party tables of place settings and women into his lap, and they could not resist being upended, all within a few quick looks of his from under those bushy dark eyebrows, now slightly graying. Vladimir could cause incredible damage..

Maybe it was knowing the back story – that Titantia, the beautiful Russian dancer/model his wife had died here – a bit of a scandal it ended up being as it splashed through the papers, she and her lover nude in the swimming pool – Vladimir and the the son away. She was beautiful. And even with the scandal and the tragedy, most of the publications had only printed the gorgeous pictures of her – almost unheard of these days – but Vladimir had had a hand in making sure none of the accident details were made public.

The pictures they ran of her were incredible. She was by then more model than dancer and no one was clear if she ever had been much of a dancer back in Russia. Equally unclear if Vladimir had been much of a businessman, or maybe just a gangster. So it may have been a house with women when she lived there, but today, there was the unmistakable feeling that women had been banished from this kingdom.

And the king of this kingdom was as ugly as the former queen was beautiful, But Vladimir wore the odd combination of ugly-powerful-rich in a way that gave him a strange magnetic quality. You couldn’t find too many photographs of him, again it wasn’t clear why. Was he a gangster ducking the authorities or? Papers were in the habit of cropping his face out of the pictures of Titantia and him completely, or often as not cutting his big bear-like figure and face in half as they let her tiny fairy-like shape take center-stage in the photographs of the couple entering the US at Boston Logan Airport, or visiting the Kennedys at Hyannisport or arriving at Kennebunkport to fish with the President.

And Vladimir was as rich as she was poor, the story being that he had attended the ballet in Moscow with a few of his mistresses, his wife refusing to go anywhere with him at that point, and had seen her dance the lead role that night and had sent all the mistresses home, and gone back stage and had just about kidnapped her, but she had slipped through his fingers that night, making him all the more desirous of her. He was rumored to be a man of great appetitie and was not willing to delay his gratification when he saw something he wanted -- be it real estate, airlines, diamond mines, nuclear power plants or women, all of which he owned several of – except for Titania. Once he saw her, he didn’t want any other women, just her. He cleared the decks, wife quickly and quietly divorced, mistresses dismissed. And then he laid traps for her and waited, looking as confident as any man possibly could that. As he had learned in business over and over again, it was just a matter of time and she would yield. But she did not make it easy, and there were more pictures of her with other men in the papers, other reports of Frenchmen with royal ancestors and that billionaire Spaniard, but Vladimir was undaunted. He knew how to outwait this particular kind of butterfly, until she landed, And he was right. He got her.

Peter slowed down, way down, pulled the car over before they were close to the door, under a shady overhanging of green leafy canopy of trees where they would be sheltered in a little privacy. She noticed his nervousness as she reached for the door handle saying “Wait” as she tried to get out, he touched her arm to tell her to wait, then went around to the other side, to let her out and carefully kissed her and said, “Are you sure you want to do this? You don’t have to, you know.”

But she looked at him quizzically, all this sudden overprotectedness was so unlike him, but he must have sensed it too – that this house might swallow her alive. That the man who lived in the house might … well, that something might happen. They never give men enough credit for male intuition she thought to herself. They always sense when another man is ready to pounce on their woman.

“It’s okay,” she said, knowing it would not reassure him. “They said they’d arrange a car for me when I’m done. You don’t have to wait.”
This reassured him even less, but he let her go.
He kissed her hard – an insurance kiss, she liked to call those – a kiss a man plants on you to remind you for a good long time that you belong to him, to insure that you get returned to the rightful owner soon,. She opened the car door for him, since she could tell he did not want to go and it was getting close to 4:00. Sunday at 4:00 that was her appointment time to meet Vladimir.

She walked up to the house and he turned the circle drive reluctantly, heading back out to the road. She turned to wave to Peter, who was waiting for her wave, car stopped, though heading out and after the wave, he threw it in gear and raced out of there, knowing there was nothing to do. She watched him get smaller and smaller as he followed the long driveway. There was so much Peter didn’t know about this. There was so much she couldn’t say. There was the heart-leap she had experienced that same morning when she went to the ATM with Peter before they were getting bagels, to find a surprise $250,000 in her account – the amount Vladimir had offered her for advising him – the amount she had laughed at, surely he was kidding, the amount she had turned down, she thought. How had he even found out her bank account number?

She had only agreed to have tea with him on Sunday at 4:00. She didn’t drive, growing up in New York City and all. He would send a car for her. No, she told him, my boyfriend can bring me out. He should not wait, I’ll send you home in a car. She had said like some silly girl, forgetting her research on him, “Oh, don’t go to the trouble.” He had said, “I go to no trouble. I own the limousine service. Actually I own a few limousine services.” She looked back to where her boyfriend had been and saw that now he was gone. She turned back to the door and rang the bell. It was 4:01 by her watch.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Run Arianna Run Is Right

CNN is so sick. They interview Arianna Huffington's deadbeat husband, who says his daughters begged their parents not to run. What bullshit. He's simply trying to put down his ex-wife because she's so much more on the ball than he is.

And deadbeat CNN has the nerve to show video of him and Arianna CARRYING their daughters -- little baby girls in little baby girl dresses with mary janes -- AS IF THAT WERE A RECENT VIDEO CLIP -- basically trying to make it look like she's a mother abandoning her children. Any idiot will see that Arianna AND her husband, who's being interviewed LIVE, look more than 10 years older now -- and of course, their daughters are NOT young baby girls.

How stupid and sick of CNN to produce such an idiotic interview slamming Arianna as if she were a bad mom. I can't wait for the backlash.

I think she just got every divorced woman's vote in California. If I were still living there, she'd sure get mine.

And does CNN think we are so stupid that we can't figure out that Arianna's daughters are 14 and 12 -- or are they so stupid they didn't bother to search Google to find that out before they put together their cock-a-mamie story?!

Think Twice

It occurred to me when looking over Victoria's Secret's Bridal Collection, that there's something a little paradoxical about marrying a woman who's wearing a "merrywidow" underneath her dress -- what's she got on her mind?

Make sure that pre-nup is airtight guys and don't book a walking tour of the Alps as a honeymoon.

Morality Play

Chris Hartjes emailed me to mention he HATED the ending to the first story in the collection Four Blondes I blogged about below. Here's what he says:
[the idea of the protagonist, Janie Wilcox the model] getting a modelling contract with Victoria's Secret as a reward for years of sleeping around and basically being a gold-digger struck me as an incredibly lame ending.
I agree that the ending didn't really work. The story is about her slow downward spiral from her late twenties to early thirties, using one man after another like Kleenex, and them using her, her money and beauty fading as well. The darkedst moment is when after all the manoeuvering she's done, her younger sister instead becomes the belle of the ball in the Hamptons and snags a guy to marry, a weird guy, but there's a sense at least the sister has a life. The logic of it should end on a down note.

Thing is though, it's not really a morality play, rather some light fluffy girly entertainment. Maybe we should both write a new ending and try them out on our blogs?

Still Having Trouble Getting Over This

I used to live in California. I used to live in LA. I used to eat in his restaurant in Venice -- I even saw him and Maria there one evening. But I still don't quite believe this is happening. "Schwarzenegger announces bid for governor." Of course, we should have all seen it coming, the way they are dragging Gray Davis, bloody and battered, out of town on a rope, tied to one ankle, making him eat dust as they let the horses and wagon tear at top speed,

Work Out Work In

The rain woke me at 4:30 -- what a noise! So nothing else to do but work out. Living room rug, here I come.

Hey Barlow-San

John Perry Barlow sends another great group email today (JP--GET A BLOG MAN!) and this one tells of an EFF party coming up in Golden Gate Park (Sat Aug 9 at noon) and ends with the greatest quote. (All of JPB's emails end with the greatest quotes, but this sure caught my eye.)

"I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my
telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my

-- Bjarne Stroustrup, computer science professor, designer of C++
programming language (1950- )

BarlowFriendz mailing list

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Four Blondes

Dave was kind enough to mention today that he thinks I'm a good writer -- thanks, man. And that I should be writing a book ... shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ... don't tell anybody, but I am ... but I'm also a good reader and have been reading a lot lately and enjoying it so much. I don't think there's any better pleasure than summer reading, at the beach, in a hammock on someone's grassy lawn as everyone around you is doing something else. Kids playing, ants attending picnics uninvited, croquet balls whacking other balls, whatever ...

I've been reading Four Blondes by Candace Bushnell (author of Sex And The City) and it's so great and funny. I can't get enough. It's also a great summer book as it starts with a model who makes a habit of dating rich guys with nice houses in the Hamptons from Memorial Day through Labor Day, then dumping them (or getting dumped) and we watch her age summer-by-summer, lover-by-lover, one more eccentric than the last. Bushnell writes great characters.

A friend suggested I read Sex And The City (despite my protestations that I didn't really like the TV series) but I couldn't find a copy of it, so got Four Blondes instead. There are four novellas (or long short stories if you will) in the book and the second one is about a very unadventuresome man and wife (both writers) who have a totally dead marriage and they both are voraciously unfaithful to one another on the same crazy day, after years and years of faithfulness. In fact, the wife literally tells the husband that evening that she spent the whole afternoon fucking this movie star in his hotel room -- WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT SHE DID DO -- but the husband figures she's got to be joking, that she would never do that. Besides, he's such a mess of dirty clothes, come, lipstick and booze, he's too undone to even listen to her and heads for the shower. This has a back story -- get ready for this -- the husband's doing an article for his magazine on ALPHA MALES!

The friend who recommended I read Bushnell's work had not read this particular book, only figured I'd find it useful since I write fiction about sex -- and I have a similar style in some ways. He had no idea that it would hit SO close to home. Life is strange.

Meanwhile, I have a story being published in Penthouse in October -- on newsstands next month. If you get a second, check out the cover of this month's Penthouse. It's got a picture of a woman's face -- a lovely blond with pink barrettes in her hair. That's all -- no boobs, no everything else. Jeez -- wish the issue with my story in it had THAT cover -- a rare cover to be sure with the only cheeks showing being the ones on the pretty woman's face! It would be so much easier to show off my story to the neighbors with a cover like that! With my luck, I figure the next issue will have ... well, you can imagine.

Thanks So Much Werner!

Gotta love blogging. Werner from sent me this email just now to save my Sony! Ah! My Alpha Male Geek Hero! Love these guys with big brains.

I also lost some essential keys once and couldn't get them replaced by the vendor. I don't know whether you have tried this already but first line of defense is to pop two useless keys from your keyboard and put them in the place of the lost ones, so that you can at least type again (numlock and pause/break come to mind). It looks weird but at least you can use it again ...

Awfully enough the cheapest way to bring the keyboard back to it rightful state is to replace it. It costs $65 mail-order, but luckily it is rather simple to install (

Now if I could just get Sony to pay you for your excellent customer support!

I'm Talking To A Robot

It's taken me half a lifetime but I'm finally trying to get a J key and a C key for my Sony Vaio, which I vacuumed up a few months back. The customer service guy is named Max and he is a robot and I don't like him. He asks me the model number. I tell him what's written on the Sony Vaio "PCG=NV190" -- the robot says "do you mean EXR12?" I say "What the fuck?" He says "Do you mean EXR12?" Christ.

I stop talking ... he says something that lets me get to a human. I talk to some woman from ... sounds like Texas. She explains how she can't help me, I need to call another 800 number. She does clue me that if the computer is less than a year old, it's under Sony's 365-day warranty.

I call the other number -- I get an Indian guy with a heavy accent who tells me although it should be under the warranty, the missing keyboard keys are considered cosmetic damage and that Sony has a special three-tiered level of service for fixing these problems which ARE NOT under warranty. I say, "Wait a minute ... " I ask him to explain why a keyboard is considered "cosmetic" -- he is reading from some script and is getting on my nerves.

I stop him and say "WHERE are you?" He says, "We are not authorized to disclose our location." I say, "What are you on another planet?"

I decide to calm down and back-off for a few more nano-seconds. Nobody's kidding anybody. He's in India somewhere and I can smell curry and cows and other New Delhi smells. Poor guy can't even say where he works. Even Apu Nahasapeemapetilon can proudly mention he works at the Kwik-E-Mart. He's reading about how I can get one the three-tiered service levels for

Basic Damage @ $249.00/hr
Major Damage @ $699.00/hr
Some other thing @ $102.00/hr

Of course, I qualify for either the $249 deal orf the $699 deal. Next he starts reading to me how I must obtain a box and pack the computer and I'm responsible for any damage it might incur when I pay to ship it to them.

I say "Wait a minute ... how did I end up being the computer packing and shipping department?!." He doesn't answer but asks if he can keep reading his script to me.

I say, "I don't think so. Thank you for your help, but I don't want to talk you or Sony anymore. I'm really pissed off. That means I'm mad. Good bye." To be fair the guy DID register my computer which I neglected to do last year when I bought it -- yes, I was a bonehead to not do that.

I'm thinking of repurposing my Sony Vaio. Maybe I could toast bread with it? Maybe line a big birdcage with it? Maybe I could set it on fire in the backyard -- I'm got a lot of marshmellows here -- tis the season -- nothing like a nice campfire.

I know, I know, I was the jerk who damaged it ... but what the hell do you have to go through to get some service or a simple PART these days?

I knew I was dodging the phone call to attempt to fix this stupid computer for a reason. I guess my hunch that trying to fix it would be a gigantic pain in the ass was exactly right -- yes, yes, I was right on the money about that.

Pick A Card

Yes, pick a card, any card. I went to a tarot card reader once, all upset about some guy. She started to turn over the cards -- it was before I knew anything about the tarot cards. None were particularly good or particularly bad.

I was so crazy for this guy and he was ... yes, ouch, easy to say now, wasn't easy to admit then ... dumping me. One of those long, slow, "Honey, I'm just so busy now, you gotta understand" heave-ho's that hurt more than the hitting-a-wall-at-60mph-sudden-slam-dumps. Pulling the bandaid off one excruciatingly slow tug at a time.

She got one thing right, "I see a young man." She was no genius. I started to cry, then cry harder, then bawl my eyes out. She kept turning over cards, saying nothing. Her bedside manner sucked. I'm crying me a river and she finally looks up and says, "I sense you are feeling some sadness." Boy, was she gifted!

Strike A Pose

In case you wondered what it takes to be a model. For women, start by being about 5 feet, 10 inches and wearing a Size 4. I've seen size 4 clothing -- it's for dressing up dolls.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

About Halley's Tail

Oh, yeah, and one more thing before I really go to sleep. Here's a piece about my tail. And a photograph entitled, "Why Halley Flipped" which is very strange. I appreciate it. Even I need to know the scientific explanation behind why I flip now and then.

Good Night


Beautiful Beautiful Blossoms

I have a bunch of family in Boston, which I'm so lucky to have. I love to visit my sister Jan and her husband Tom too. They have a lovely store in Newton Highlands called BLOSSOMS right off the Green Line T, where they sell silk flower arrangements and other beautiful things. Yesterday, I got a chance to have lunch over there -- they had just gotten a big shipment of silk flowers in big cardboard boxes, almost as large as coffins. Jan and I worked out back opening boxes and talking in the hot Mediterraen sun as we opened box after box of the most gorgeous burnt orange day lilies, red brick orchids, yellow morning glories, removed their wrappings, got them ready to be used this fall. She found a big black lacquer metal pail to put these bushels of lush flowers in, a riot of blossoms waiting for their day to star in a new flower arrangement.

Inside, Tom manned the store, working on outgoing orders, arranging autumnal centerpieces with russet fruits, shades of fall flowers, great splashes of color and texture. They work in a place of such staggering beauty -- I envy them. Of course they see it so differently -- for them it's a lot of sheer hard work and not all that special. Amazing how we see our lives so differently up close.

The shop is long and railroad car-shaped. Both of them are so creative and they have made a beautiful ecstatic cave of sensualness in that small space, which changes season by season before the new season breaks. Yesterday on a blisteringly humid hot August afternoon, I opened the lovely glass door, already overwhelmed by the autumnal window display and entered an air-conditioned heaven of October plants and flowers. They've got tall silk green trees, willows and ivy, shoots of bamboo. They have flower pots of pink and red poppies -- the pots bricky -- the flowers flirty and scarlet. They've got new ceramic vases of cardomon, cinnamon and persimmon, good enough to eat, with one or two or three simple stalks of fresia or an orchid dipping its hooded head in a lady-like manner in palest beige. They have bowls of autumnal fruits -- they look so real -- yellow gourds and brown pears and tan plums and purple berries -- all fake but simple and life-like. They have a flat golden japanese plate of bright tangerine-colored mandarin oranges.

Doctors should prescribe quarterly visits to their shop -- it's such a restorative treat. And they don't even SEE it. They see all the work of it -- yes, yes, I know, it only makes sense. But it's a heaven on earth. to me We talked about our work. We talked about how few people I know have such beauty in their lives on a daily basis. We talked about the offices my brother-in-law has as corporate clients and the arrangements he delivers to companies around town. Often his flowers are the only beauty in the place and thank goodness someone thought to bring those arrangements into their place of work.

We talked about beauty. I thought about my mother who loved to garden. My sister has created a place my mother would adore. I walked around the shop as they helped customers. All the flowers of my mother's garden are there in full bloom, never to pass away, as she has now. My mother's pale lilacs, her washed denim-colored hydrangeas, her funny pink peonies which I loved to fiddle with when I was about five. The peonies had a sticky covering to their buds which ants loved to eat, so they were always crawling with ants. I would flick the ants off of the big round buds for my mom -- not that she asked, but it just seemed helpful. The bell on the door rings like sleighbells as a customer leaves, breaking my peony revery. It's time for me to leave too -- never easy to do. Two hugs, a few more laughs about this and that, a promise to return soon with my son who loves the place and I'm back out on a hot, humid summer street.

My Sorry Old Ass

I have a sorry old mom's butt. I do. I'm an old lady of 47 with a sorry old ass. It's just a fact. It's supposed to be that way. We have to step aside and let the truly cool folks take over. And those folks -- the folks who are really cool are ... well, dare I say it ... YOUNG. Now, you might argue with me. But read this link Rageboy told me about -- The Merchants of Cool -- and then tell me if there's really room for a brand that's cool AND middle-aged. I think not.

Cool Babes

Oh, yes, and ccooler than cool in hot Atlanta are the cool babes Jenna and Jeneane. I love reading you kid -- you're a fine, fine writer..

Who's The Coolest Of Them All?

Mirror, mirror on the wall ... the guys below are cool, but most cool ... yeah, go ahead and say it, coolissimo ... or is it coolissima ... is Jeannie Cool! She's so cool her blog is private -- like one of those celebrity haunts in LA with a plain wooden door, no markings. If you're lucky, later she'll tell me the URL and I'll post it. [Just kidding. I got the link and it's right up there with her name.]

Big A Art And Coolio Dave

Okay, I get it -- there's an epidemic of cool going on here. Dave Winer is getting quite cool posting pix of cool artwork and sending out kisses. On such a hot day it's great to be cool man, cool.

Of course, BloggerCon at Harvard Law School this October will be unbareably cool. Better sign up. Be there or be square. BTW, I am on the local host committee for BloggerCon.

Cool, Desu Ne?

Wow, looks like August 6th is turning into INTERNATIONAL COOL DAY. Joi Ito's written something cool about being cool -- and hell, who should know better?! Not only is Joi cool but he gives us a link to the piece called Japan's Gross National Cool from Foreign Policy, a must read.

Are the Japanese about to out-cool the Americans? This may be the beginning of the Cool Wars -- I'm sure the cool europeans will have to fight their way into the fray. Some of those Europeans are damned cool and the Brits are increasingly cool. This could get out of hand.

Say What You Will

I must admit famous cool weblogger Chris (aka Rageboy) Locke is an acquired taste, but he's done a beautiful thing today that should not be missed. He's one of the few bloggers who I consider a real Artist -- oh shit, yes I used the big A word -- and one of the very few bloggers, who I can say without reservation, continue to take the medium of blogging into stratospheric places. Rageboy's art could exist in no other medium but the web. That's a big deal.

He's written a story about taking his daughter to a rock concert, with stories and psychological text book quotes and other narratives all embedded within the post. Nobody knows how to embed like Rageboy, take it from me. (Sorry, man, couldn't resist!) But honestly, read all the way down to the KEY and let it all sit in your brain for awhile.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Seven More Days? Not 40 Days And 40 Nights I Hope

Just saw the 7 day outlook for Boston on the weather channel. Even I can't believe it.


Boy, oh boy am I glad this wasn't my precious vacation week. Yikes!

American Originals

Getting a little moony listening to all these great songs on BeatGreets. I'm crazy for all kinds of music. Hope the links work. Make sure your audio's not on mute.

Weird And Wild Mind Of A Spell Checker

There are some really weird suggestions spell checkers make and I have to say, I'm tempted some days to stop pressing "IGNORE" and just let the beast run free and 'REPLACE" all the words with the spell checker's wacky suggestions. Some are so strange. In the post below, the Spell Checker was rather insistent that "Winer's" should be "Winners" and that "blogging" should be "flogging" and the word "permalink" should be ... get ready for this ... VERMILLION or FARMLANDS or FORMALNESS ... go figure.

BTW, in this current post, they suggest the single noun "Winer" should be "Winery". Dave, do you run a place up in Napa called Chateau Neuf du Dave and you never told us? How cool.

It even wants to replace part of itself -- "checkers" -- with "chokers" "shockers" "chasers" "choosers" and "chiggers." Okay, do you guys know what "chiggers" are -- very creepy.

On Point

Dave Winer's got a good essay on "pointing" today -- just click this link to go to it. There are certainly many points of blog etiquette we all need to be reminded of. Someone should write the Miss Manners Guiide To Blogging and spell them out, just like Dave's essay does.

I don't know if it's good manners, but one thing that's been driving me crazy lately is so many blogs have their permalinks mysteriously disguised or just completely not there. I know I dare not say anything on this score as my permalinks are not working often -- but at least you can FIND them. I often want to link to another blogger's site and I give up in frustration because the permalinks are so hard to find or are so cutesy-wootsey, looking like little kitty cats or something, I just give it up and point to another source that's got an easy and clean link.

The Iron Giant

Are you kidding me? Are you telling me you've never seen The Iron Giant? Are you telling me you don't own it on DVD? Come on, don't tease me. You must have it somewhere up there on your shelf. It's such a knock-out. The drawing is so beautiful. The story is so scary. The giant is so metallic but so loveable. Go get it.

Rumor Has It

Rumor has it that it's a brand new day. A brand new day, like a brand new baby, born into the world early in the morning, open to a brand new life, with a myriad of possibilities. Just about anything can happen today -- good things, not so good things -- but it's a gift. Make the most of it. Or crawl back into bed and do nothing with it at all. Ahh ... ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Monday, August 04, 2003

RSS and Rain On The Roof

Maybe the rain will put out some fires. Did I mention, thanks to Dave Winer for the pointer to this piece, and all the coverage of RSS yesterday? What a treat it would be if we could all work together.

You And Me And Rain On The Roof

Did I mention ... it rained most of the weekend and it's supposed to rain all week? I'll leave the guitar chords in for Gnome-Girl.

You and me and rain on the roof
A7 D
Caught up in a summer shower
A7 D
Dryin' while it soaks the flowers
E7 A7
Maybe we'll be caught for hours
Em A A7
Waitin' out the sun

You and me were gabbin' away
Dreamy conversation sittin' in the hay
Honey, how long was I laughing in the rain with you
'Cause I didn't feel a drop 'til the thunder brought us to

You and me underneath the roof of tin
Pretty comfy feelin' how the rain ain't leakin' in
We can sit and dry just as long as it can pour
'Cause the way it makes you look makes me hope it rains some more

Yikes! Here Comes The Rain Again

Got out and about to do early morning errands, but plinkity, plankity, plop -- here comes the rain again. What a noise.! This is the funny August tug-of-war in New England where summer and fall fight it out and guess who wins?!

I used to look a little like Annie Lennox, but my hair's a lot more tame now.

Here Comes the Rain Again
-- Eurythmics

Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion
I want to walk in the open wind
I want to talk like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you

So baby talk to me
Like lovers do
Walk with me
Like lovers do
Talk to me
Like lovers do

Here comes the rain again
Raining in my head like a tragedy
Tearing me apart like a new emotion
I want to breathe in the open wind
I want to kiss like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you

So baby talk to me
Like lovers do

Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion
(Here it comes again, here it comes again)
I want to walk in the open wind
I want to talk like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Don't Get Carried Away

I described a favorite summer game we used to play in rental houses by the beach with all the lights off called "Sardines" but do be careful if you decide to try it. The most famous story about the game took place in Hollywood in the 1940's where David Niven's wife actually took a deadly fall while playing sardines at Tyrone Power's mansion. Turner Classic Movies recounts the situation:

But the usually cheerful Niven was going through his own private hell. Prior to production on The Bishop's Wife, the actor's beloved wife Primmie suffered a fatal head injury; it occurred during a party game of "sardines" at Tyrone Power's house. She thought she was running into a closet, but instead took a long fall down the cellar stairs and died of complications days later.