Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Rainy Day Things

Hey, hey, hey you! Don't go getting sad!

Here are some things to do on a rainy day.

Crank up that music you love love love and dance at your desk -- at least until someone notices!

Coffee -- have absolutely all you want, have a lot of milk and sugar with it, even if you NEVER have milk and sugar.

Oh, go ahead, write that sexy email or mushy love letter to that special someone you really shouldn't be flirting with.

So how's that mood now? Much improved?!

Why You Don't Come Here To Read About The War

I certainly could write about it. I certainly have an opinion about it. I certainly don't think you come here to read about it.

I want my blog to be a place you can visit that cheers you up. Or calms you down. There are never enough of those places.

My blog has fun and happy furniture. It looks like this.

In the waiting room of my blog you can read magazines like this one or this one. And we serve this and also this. You pick. Oh, yeah, on Fridays we do these -- dozens of them.

When you get your chance to come in and see the doctor -- she tells you you look MARVELOUS and today is going to be a great day. She knows it!

Monday, April 12, 2004

We Matter

Blogs let you remember what you think, what you feel, what you say, how you say it, what you care about and how you live in this world actually matters.

Blogs remind us WE MATTER.

That's a big deal in a world hell bent on making you feel like you don't matter at all.

The Apprentice: Kwame or Bill

I have to wonder out loud here how Donald Trump is going to pick a white guy entrepreneur over a black guy with an MBA from Harvard Business School and a resume that has Goldman Sachs on the top line. Who will be the apprentice? I don't think it will be that tough to guess. I put my money on Kwame.

But maybe there's a really weird plot turn heading our way -- with Jessica Simpson pulling some strange deux ex machina turn-around at the last minute. Maybe SHE wins?! That's it! I should have guessed it! The Apprentice will be Ms. Jessica "Chicken-Of-The-Sea" Simpson!

Not To Be Missed: Critical Section

Ole Eichhorn's blog Critical Section is bursting with great stuff, like a spring garden blooming in every direction. I wonder if he knew how crazy I am for The Phantom Tollbooth and New Yorker Magazine covers and a ton of other things he's been writing about. Can't wait to see him at BloggerCon this weekend.

We Want Out

I've been writing about work a lot lately and especially the notion that even if the job market recovers -- we don't want no stinking corporate jobs -- and employers are going to be pretty surprised how hard it will be to hire good talent. I called my post in February on this subject "One Big Bad Boyfriend: The Way We Worked"

Alan Webber, founding editor of FastCompany, takes on this very subject in USATODAY here. Check it out. He really nails it.

Try It

Take someone at work a cup of coffee -- a good one from a good place -- someone you've never bought a cup of coffee for. It will surprise them.

Seems to me we can't go far wrong being kind to people. No one is getting enough of that.

Off To Jump Rope

I'm really getting into jumping rope. Not sure why. I even found a heavy jump rope my ex left behind in the great split-up of physical goods. I suppose I should ask him if he wants it back. It's a mighty fine jump rope. He has a DVD of mine I want back. We'll meet at the Berlin Wall and swap hostage items. No Berlin Wall, rethink that one. Off to Jump Rope.

Monday Again

How did they decide on this "seven days of the week thing" anyway? What if they had 14 new days and this wasn't Monday but something called Eightday or something else like Venusday and then you finally ended the week next Sunday on Novaday? Why not.

In Bed With Larry Lessig This Morning

Finally got my hands on his book, Free Culture. It's really good. Made it tough to get out of bed, I'll tell you, even for an early bird like me.

I promised to read the whole thing and write an executive summary, which I will do, and make it available by audio as well. You can listen to all the chapters here, on AKMA's site where he asked all of us to contribute.

Jen's New Blog

Everyone love's Jen Balderama's blog -- but did you know it's slipped off to a new address. It's all spruced up and looking sexy. Don't miss it.

Robin Williams

I saw Robin Williams on The Actor's Studio last night and I was thinking about how amazingly unrestrained he is and how fluid and how brilliant really, even if he gets on your nerves, you have to give him credit. There were some great moments. James Lipton asked him where his art, his comedic talent, his stuff comes from and he answered almost every question by jumping out of his chair and doing amazing comedy monologues -- especially this one -- answering that most basic question about "why/how do you DO this?"

The thing was so fast as he riffed on why he did what he did -- looking small like a little boy reaching for his mom's breast, baby-talking in a tumble of words about wanting his mother's love and attention and then letting his mind run wild, as if to present it as a specimen in a petri dish, for scientists to dissect how his humor takes him here, then there, then back, watching him physically playing with characters, mentally playing with words, with rhymes, with voice -- jesus, it was amazing. Play -- that's the word, both noun and verb.

Lipton said that when he'd interviewed another comic -- was it Billy Crystal -- I don't remember, but that they said that Robin Williams called comedy "legalized insanity" and I liked that phrase a lot.

He does what all great creative minds do -- he lets you see the world the way he sees it. Van Gogh had these sunflowers he wanted to show you. DaVinci had this babe with a funky smile he didn't want you to miss. Williams wants you to see how incredibly funny and dear the people are who live in his world can be. He's so good at it.

Last night he reminded me of a psychic -- a medium -- I had once seen, who could use his body to take on the form of just about anybody. I'm serious. It's hard to explain until you've seen it, but it makes you realize that the body is completely plastic, can be completely transformed into another type of vibration or energy. This medium was making manifest people in my family -- showing me amazing things. He made me understand that the body is a mask, a very fluid mask. The spirit that energizes that lump of clay gives it life and definition. You know this if you've seen people die. They leave that lump of clay behind.

Williams uses his body in this way, incredibly well. That's why he had to answer every question by standing, moving, expressing ideas physically. His lump of clay is completely fluid. His body is amazing. His face is amazing. His face is a nun, a gangster, a prissy schoolteacher with a will to power, a genie, an infant, an old Jewish woman, all in 5 minutes. He is so physically creative, it's thrilling.

Morning Person

I am hellishly awake in the morning. I am a dreaded morning person to the nth degree. Night owls have told me.

If I had my way work would start with a big group meeting around 4:30am on a Monday and be done by 11:30am, that same Monday and then we'd all have a big lunch, go home, take a nap, then play outside the rest of the day. Nah, the rest of the week.

Things We Said Today

Having a real Beatles craving lately, seem to be binge-listening to them non-stop. Just flipped on the radio, expected Morning Edition on NPR but I was tuned to an oldies station and this was playing. Strange one, but just right.

THINGS WE SAID TODAY

You say you will love me
If I have to go.
You'll be thinking of me,
Somehow I will know.

Someday when I'm lonely,
Wishing you weren't so far away,
Then I will remember
The things we said today.

You say you'll be mine, girl,
Until the end of time.
These days such a kind girl
Seems so hard to find.

Someday when we're dreaming,
Deep in love, not a lot to say.
Then we will remember
The things we said today.

Me, I'm just the lucky kind.
Love to hear you say that love is luck.
And, though we may be blind,
Love is here to stay. And that's enough

To make you mine, girl,
Be the only one.
Love me all the time, girl.
We'll go on and on.

Someday when we're dreaming,
Deep in love, not a lot to say.
Then we will remember
The things we said today.

Love me all the time, girl.
We'll go on and on.
Someday when we're dreaming,
Deep in love, not a lot to say.
Then we will remember
The things we said today.



Sunday, April 11, 2004

One Cellulite-ish Thigh

I'm running an experiment, putting this cellulite cream on one side of my butt and thigh. I like to be scientific about these things. Need to keep one side in a natural cellulite-ish condition in order to compare. I'll report back the detailed results.

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

What a strange and interesting and beautiful and frightening movie. I saw it last night and it's still hard to put words around it. I liked it a lot.

This review helped me decide to go see it. The screenwriter, Charlie Kaufman, also wrote Being John Malkovitch and Adaptation -- so if you know those two movies, you know this movie will play with your mind. (Rent both of those if you haven't seen them.)

Ever had a relationship that leaves so many poignant memories -- sweet AND bittersweet -- so many powerful memories, that it's just too hard to go on. And what if you had the option, imagine if there were a service that could erase all the memories you have of a certain lover from your mind forever. Would you do it?

Well, shy guy Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) finds out his ex-lover, a sexy extrovert with ever-changing hair color from blue to orange, Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) has done just that. All his friends have received a confidential card from the Lacuna Service, the company performing memory erasure, explaining that she has erased him from her mind, and please do not mention her to him anymore. A friend lets him see the confidential card, when sends him reeling. And that's where the movie starts and only gets more and more strange from there.

Visually, there are shockingly beautiful and haunting scenes of the specific geographic locations they made their early memories -- beach, frozen Charles River, train to Montauk. These places start to merge, resulting in strange juxtapositions like their lovemaking bed existing in their apartment and then instantly on a beach next to the surf, the wind blowing sand on their sheets and a small picket fence slowly covered with drifting dunes. The scene with Jim Carrey playing a 3-year-old hiding under the kitchen table and his full size reduced to the height of a small boy, (but he retains a man's proportions)while his mother and other women in the kitchen are large, him begging for ice cream, barely about to reach the freezer door and incredible and incredibly surreal.

500 Degrees Below Zero

A friend who used to live here in Boston and moved south to that tropical paradise, Philadephia, sent this along today:

NEW ENGLAND TEMPERATURES

60 above zero:
Floridians turn on the heat.
People in New England plant gardens.

50 above zero:
Californians shiver uncontrollably.
People in New England sunbathe.

40 above zero:
Italian & English cars won't start.
People in New England drive with the windows down.

32 above zero:
Distilled water freezes.
Moosehead Lake's water gets thicker.

20 above zero:
NYers don coats, thermal underwear, gloves, wool hats.
People in New England throw on a flannel shirt.

15 above zero:

New York landlords finally turn up the heat.
People in New England have the last cookout before it gets cold.

Zero:
People in Miami all die...
New Englanders close the windows.

10 below zero:
Californians fly away to Mexico.
People in New England get out their winter coats.

25 below zero:
Hollywood disintegrates.
The Boy Scouts in New England put on long pants.

40 below zero:
Washington DC runs out of hot air.
People in New England let the dogs sleep indoors.

100 below zero:
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
New Englanders get frustrated because they can't "staht the kah".

460 below zero:
ALL atomic motion stops (absolute zero on the Kelvin scale).
People in New England start saying..."Cold 'nufffor ya?"

500 below zero:
Hell freezes over.
Red Sox win World Series.

More Than Just Holding Hands


IF I FELL

-- Paul McCartney, John Lennon

If I fell in love with you
Would you promise to be true
And help me understand
'cause I've been in love before
And I found that love was more
Than just holding hands

If I give my heart to you
I must be sure
From the very start
That you would love me more than her

If I trust in you oh please
Don't run and hide
If I love you too oh please
Don't hurt my pride like her
'cause I couldn't stand the pain
And I would be sad if our new love was in vain

So I hope you see that I
Would love to love you
And that she will cry
When she learns we are two

If I fell in love with you

Happy Holidays

I like Martha Stewart. I really do. I've met her and she's a good egg. But there's something about the way she made everything about every holiday pretty and decorative and festive and charming and pleasant and creative and adorable and PERFECT, that was really getting on my nerves.

It really wasn't her fault -- that is, her fault that she made me feel totally inadequate if I couldn't make a perfectly cute homemade Easter basket with hand-dyed pastel eggs and hand-sewn felt chicks or some other useless craft item perched delicately on real green wheatgrass, with Godiva dark chocolate eggs, jellybeans called jelly eggs and an expensive light lavender wire-edged ribbon crimped just so, that looked like something from her magazine -- but I have to admit, now that she has fallen from grace, it makes this holiday one whole helluva lot easier. I like this extremely imperfect Easter. I like the badly painted eggs the color of vomit. I like the baskets with headless chocolate bunnies on display. I like things NOT being perfect. I'm finding life isn't perfect and neither are holidays.

But my point here is not about Martha Stewart, but rather what she and a few other "perfectly happy" brands represent. I could have just as easily taken Hallmark to task. In fact, I might as well call this phenomenon I'm describing Hallmark Hell. It's all about feeling trapped in the perfect holiday card, where the perfect people live, who celebrate holidays perfectly.

Certain married people seem to exert their marital muscles strongarming you in to celebrating all the happy holidays with forced glee, without even noticing they are doing it. They just don't think anyone should be alone or not with them on a holiday. Let me say it plainly married folks, that your "happy holiday" is another person's annual nightmare. For divorced, separated, widowed, single, gay and a lot of other people, the "happy family" image of holidays is something not to celebrate but to dread.

Not to name names, but all these well-meaning married people want to throw holiday events and invite you over to make you feel ... I don't know ... sometimes I have to think, just to make you feel inadequate. I used to be one of those married people, but even then I saw no joy in inviting 20 people over for a traditional family holiday celebration.

There is no "traditional family" to invite over any more -- did you notice? Throwing the perfect holiday party isn't enough for these perfect holiday people, they also want to see if you measure up and are as perfectly and happily married as they are. Nothing keeps them from humiliating everyone they invite over with "Why Don't You Fit In?" type inquiries.

If you're a single woman age 20 - 45, get ready to be asked why you're not married. If you're a single man age 20 - 45, get ready for someone to whisper in the kitchen to someone in your family or circle of friends, "is he gay?" If you're gay and want to bring your same-sex partner to the party, someone you actually DO want to marry, tell me that's easy to pull off in front of these happily married people? If you're divorced, the rude inquiries seem to know no bounds. If you're widowed, everyone wants to fix you up and can't refrain from asking if you're "ready yet?" whether you lost your spouse 2 days ago, 2 weeks ago, 2 months ago or 2 years ago. When it comes to "ready" you are tempted to rephrase the question. Ready to bash Aunt Fran in the face for asking? Yes, you're VERY ready for that.

Why we still keep pretending everyone is one big happy family, I do not know. The statistics are all against the notion. The more "non-traditional" families we have, the more we seem to cling to outdated images of the happy holiday celebration of dad, mom, junior and sis. It' s most peculiar and really high time we got over it.

Try something new this year. Butt out of my family business and respect me and the way I happen to live. Try asking me about politics, movies, sports, the weather. The sense that certain subjects were taboo in public conversation, was something about the "good old days" worthy of retaining at the holiday dinner table. You can actually have guests over and NOT ask them the bloody details of their child custody battle or why they are wasting their lives dating married men at 35, when they obviously are desperate to get married or other "NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS" subjects. Is this inquiry the kind of thing that's supposed to make guests feel welcome?

So all I ask is a little consideration. Consider the fact that I would rather go to the movies or shampoo my hair or rake leaves on your "special day" and it's really okay to leave me out. Or if I do join in -- yes, thank you for invitiing me -- but feel free NOT to ask me how my perfect happy holiday is going. It's not so perfect.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Easter Bonnet

Isn't this the perfect Easter Bonnet?

Easter Bag

Isn't this the perfect Easter bag?

Got Ants?

I do and they are driving me crazy. Read that this stuff really works. Terro -- hope it's Latin for sending them back into the terra firm where they came from.

Big Summer Fashion

Little girl bobby socks and big girl high heels -- watch for them this summer everywhere. (They call them shortie socks here -- whatever.)

Bike Ride

Off for a bike ride. Gorgeous day. 60 degrees. I've been having a funny conversation with a friend in Florida about how 60 degrees is practically bikini weather for us in Boston and 60 degrees for him is "turn up the heat!" and throw an extra blanket on the bed weather.

All depends on what you're used to -- and after this bitterly cold winter, believe me this is hula skirt weather. Or at least thongs and flats weather.

Amanda Peet in Something's Gotta Give

I thought Amanda Peet was great in this and didn't get nearly enough credit what with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton being so much larger than life. Come to think of it Keanu Reeves was also great in Something's Gotta Give. Rent it if you didn't see it yet.

No South Beach Diet Miracle Here

I'm not on a diet really, but I'm watching out for Easter candy. Trying to keep myself from a sudden binge on fattening junk I don't need to be eating.

And I am thrilled to announce I have managed to avoid lavender, pink, yellow and green marshmellow peeps and have not eaten even ONE jellybean so far ... but it still is the day BEFORE Easter. Still, I plan to hold my ground!

Family Visits

Easter and Passover week. Time to visit the family. Admit it -- now that I don't have too many family visits to attend -- I'll come clean and tell the truth that sometimes visiting old relatives is so incredibly unpleasant.

We always had these old relatives that kept the house about 212 degrees.

They never wanted to go anywhere or do anything -- I used to find this insanely frustrating if you are used to a day with a lot of physical exercise, as I am. They hold you hostage and feed you horrible fattening food you would never eat anywhere else.

If you don't smoke -- chances are THEY SMOKE.

If you don't drink -- chances are THEY DRINK.

If you smoke -- "Not in the house, dear!"

If you do smoke dope and really want some, I guarantee you're visiting someone this weekend who would have a heart attack even KNOWING you want to smoke a J in their house.

If you do drink and would kill for a decent glass of wine -- they have some sweet shit you think they poured out of a Nyquil bottle by accident.

If you drink Pepsi, they have Coke.

If you drink Coke, they have Dr. Pepper.

If you drink Diet Coke, they have Regular Coke.

If you're on Atkins, they have a big pasta meal ready for you after a 10 hour drive.

If you don't eat meat, they give you a big slab of Easter ham and then yell at you for not eating it.

If you make the mistake of sleeping in their house, you get not a wink from all the weird noises, smells, midnight rambles of grandpa banging around in the kitchen downstairs.

If you are rational enough to book a hotel, your mother or step-mother, or some older matriarch in your family gets on her high horse, saying loudly in front of everyone at the table "What, my house isn't good enough for Ms. Goody Two Shoes?" when she knows you just want to spend the night with your new boyfriend and it's none of her business and she'd put you in separate rooms in her house in torture-chamber rack-type single beds.

And of course, twelve people make you wait to use the ONE bathroom after the big meal, and lucky you, with the 13th flush, it overflows all over your white satin Easter shoes.

Hot Cross Buns

Something I really like that I still haven't bitten into this season. Here's the idea behind them.

Hot Cross Buns!
Hot Cross Buns!
One a penny,
Two a penny,

Hot Cross Buns!

The math is a little sketchy -- wouldn't it be one a penny, two for two pennies? It's that odd old English nursery rhyme math. Never makes sense.

Easter A Total Rerun

With the overmarketing and in-your-face-every-day-since-the-beginning-of-Lent splash of the movie, The Passion, I tell you this Easter thing is like an overplayed hit record. Enough, enough! We get it -- cross, nails, mobs, torture, betrayal, blood, guts. yuck.

Friday, April 09, 2004

R.I.P.


Two years ago today.

William Wallace Suitt

November 29, 1918 - April 9, 2002

----------------------------------------

WHEN MY DAD WAKES UP TODAY

When my dad wakes up today, the first thing he will notice is that he is dead. But he'll take that in his stride, because my mom will be cooking bacon downstairs and getting the coffee ready and these divine smells will keep him from worrying too much about it. He will dance a jig as he jumps out of bed, to realize he's got his young healthy body back. He'll pant with excitement to find a Life Magazine on his nightstand. It will be 1948 and he will be 30 and he'll be in Youngstown, Ohio long before they had a zip code of 44444.

He'll dance a "ain't I cute" happy dance in the mirror to look at his strong, lanky, 6'4" body all dressed up in a perfectly well-worn pair of red plaid flannel pj's, size XL, his boyish dark brown hair thick and devilish. He'll marvel at his graceful dancing feet, like a baby in a crib discovering his own new toes, ready to do their entrancing steps. He'll fly downstairs to grab my mom for an impromptu kitchen Lindy, cranking the post-war Big Band music on the kitchen radio and arching her backwards into a ballroom swoon, safe in his steady, strong arms.

She will say with a sexy sneer, "What the hell's gotten into you?" And if the frying pan weren't full of hot, greasy bacon, crisping up perfectly -- even she can't burn the bacon in heaven -- she would take the pan and give him a whack on the butt with it, but instead a swipe with the spatula will have to do. He will yank her by the apron strings reeling her towards him, into a big hug and kiss. She'll finally just give in and let him mess up her pretty make-up. But then back to business, she'll push him away. "Get out of here," she'll warn with a phony sternness. "Go get the kids."

He'll stop dead in his tracks to realize he even HAS kids. She'll point out the kitchen window to the yard -- a green heaven of wavy, windy, grass and flowers, daffodils blooming, bending down to bow to him, on a perfect spring morning. Jean and Bill will be 10 and 8 and mucking about in a mud puddle with sticks and leaves, fascinated with the tiny boat they've built. My dad will choke up to see this, but my mom will have none of this early morning lollygagging, pushing him out the door.

The screen door will slam with a happy familiar whack, and my dad won't miss that often ignored sound of home. Look at him grin. He will relish it, but not for long, because he'll nearly fall over his old retriever dog, who will shoot from stage left to see if he can upend this happy man. The dog's got the paper in his mouth, and every damned story is good news, one better than the next, but he'll have no time to marvel at it. He'll run to his kids and scoop them up, squeeze them so hard they'll whine, "Dad!" They'll roll on the grass in a mock wrestling match, the two of them unable to keep a good man down.

When he drags them in the house, my mom will see two kids covered in mud, and her husband up to the usual malarkey. "March," she'll order, pointing towards the bathroom. Dad will supervise the soap and make the thing bubble, splash and spill all over the bathroom, making a bigger mess than either kid could muster, much to their delight. They'll be in giggles and my mom will hear them playing. She'll serve up the fried eggs, over-easy, just right and the perfectly crispy bacon, the A&P coffee will be dark and rich, she's pouring it now. She'll take her apron off slowly, hang it on the hook, sit at the table primly, a shapely wise and wonderful brunette, suppressing a grin as she hears them horsing around. And with a yell, she'll begin a new day, "Get in here you ruffians!"

They'll come flying in a pandemonium of boyish, girlish crewcut and braids, grins from ear to ear, trying not to laugh. But where's my dad? Obviously planning an entrance, the kids can barely control their giggles. My dad will turn the corner now, all eyes on him suddenly. He's still his pj's but now sports a porkpie hat, and has a beard of bubbles, "Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas!" he sings out. The kids run to swipe the bubbles off his chin.

"Cut that out. Get over here and eat your breakfast," Mom gives Dad her best scowl, makes her "no-foolishness" face. They sit down to breakfast, she passes my dad the biscuits. He deftly applies butter and honey. "Katie, my girl," he says, with a smile that can never stop, "I've died and gone to heaven."

BloggerCon + JetBlue

If you STILL haven't decided whether or not to attend BloggerCon next Saturday -- JetBlue just made it even easier. Boston<--->Oakland and Boston<--->Long Beach -- just $99 each way. Check out these rock bottom rates.

Here's the schedule so far.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

"I Sent You To MIT For THIS?!?!"

I can hear this poor kid's dad now, after sending his geeky boy to MIT for four years, what does he get -- an entrepreneurial gig at some start-up with VC's handing him and his buddies cash like the old go-go years? NO!

A consulting gig with Accenture? NO!

A fast-track job with the innovation team at Royal Dutch Shell? NO!

CIO for eBay? NO!

No, his kid's going to play baseball with the San Diego Padres!.

"Jason! Jason! Where did I go wrong?!"

Thursday Is A Good Day

Thursday is a good day because you can almost always get through it and know you'll likely find Friday at the end of it and who doesn't love Friday? Also Thursday is a good day because it looks rather serious and work-a-day and you can look quite efficient but you know that it's really like Friday Jr. -- a day to hack off and have fun. Also, they load up all the good TV into a big fattening Thursday night package and that's fun to look forward too. And of course, a lot of people and restaurants and bars and other places act very Fridayish on Thursday night -- watch out Thursday night Happy Hour can end some time on Saturday morning in bed with someone you could swear is named Chris ... or is it ... anyway, be careful. And a Thursday night party is really the coolest thing to have, because it says, "who cares how tired or hungover you are on Friday anyway?" and only very cool people throw a party on Thursday night -- so if you're invited to one you know you're only invited because you're cool too so you can smugly drag your tired butt into work the next day knowing you're much cooler than all the other dopes you work with.

And of course, Thursday is the ultimate day in the spring and summer because if you've got any good sense at all you take Friday off and so when everyone is saying their normal "bye! bye! bye! see you tomorrow!" stuff on Thursday night you can act like you'll be there the next day but HAZZZZAH! your friend is waiting on the curb with the car all loaded for a weekend in the mountains or by the beach or wherever and YOU'RE OUTTA HERE!!!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Thank God For Ashcroft

I'm so glad he's busy winning the war on porn. But I get the distinct impression there's some other war going on somewhere ... that they're losing.

Ashcroft has already been so successful. Look at his reach -- THANK GOD he grabbed a hold of this ... I mean, rectified this disgusting situation and covered up Lady Justice's Bare Tit.

We've needed a leader who's so committed to Justice.

Bridges Burnt Big

I like this story my fellow blogger Kate Yandoh at Worthwhile posted about how an editorial assistant at a Hearst publication told the truth about how bad working there was on a chat board and got axed as a result. It does have a happy ending.

Jump Rope

Been having a lot of fun volunteering at my son's school for an early morning fitness program. I've been jumping rope like a boxer, fast and furiously. It's not easy and great aerobic exercise. Makes me sweat like a pig.

How Are You Supposed To Actually Hold Down A Job?

All you people without kids, go have a kid and then come back here and read this.

Here's the school calendar this week:

Monday -- 8:30am-3:00 (routine day)
Tuesday -- 8:30am-3:00 (routine day)
Wednesday -- half day (teacher's conferences? Anybody ask me if it's convenient? No, it's a little teacher holiday they scheduled all for themselves of which there seem to be about 500 a year. ) 8:30am - 12:00noon
Thursday -- half day (believe it or not it's 1/2 day every Thursday for my kid) 8:30am - 12:00noon
Friday -- no school

Explain how you are supposed to be in an office for more than 12 hours a week with a school calendar like this to deal with. It's amazing. Welcome to the world of working mom hell. Of course we love our kids and would love to be HOME with them every day. We need to work however, to pay for unimportant stuff like milk and bread and an occasional pair of sneakers for them.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Small People's Small Pieces

Where the heck have I been? John Porcaro just pointed out David Weinberger's kid's version of Small Pieces Loosely Joined, which I had NOT read. (Embarrassed blushing happening here.)

It's so cool and just right to read to my kid. Thanks David!

Waiting Eagerly For The Phone Not To Ring

So if they have BAD news for you at the Mammography Lab about the results of your mammogram, they call you by phone soon. If they have GOOD news for you, they DON'T call you and by Thursday evening (today's Tuesday) you can rest assured you're fine and they will mail you a letter confirming that.

Thursday come quick! Phone please don't ring!

[Editor's Update: Saturday morning -- no call and the doctor says I'm A+ healthy, all's well! Hurray!]

Daylight Savings Time The Death of Me

It's not MY problem adjusting to the one hour difference, it's my son's refusal to get with the program. He will NOT get to bed on time, just can't seem to get into the swing of it.

Tonight's the night.

We'll crack this nut -- 9PM and lights out OR BUST! Yes, we're on the road to an early night. Hosannah!

He Looked Good In Genes Too

Why do these sexy studs always end up in skirts?

Digital Pix of My Big Boobs

Oh, you were thinking about something like this?

I was thinking of something like this. And my boobs aren't that big, but they sure looked big up on the screen.

In fact, I just got back from having a mammogram and want to tell all the girls (of a certain age) to RUN don't walk to your local doctor to get a mammogram.

The new digital machines are so much better -- faster, less painful, and so much more accurate -- even a great mammogram-avoider like myself is keen on running right back in to get another pic taken ... well, not exactly, but honestly, they are a world apart from the other procedure.

In the old days (last year?) a mammogram took so long. You stood there with your tit in a vice essentially, being squeezed very hard and it was really painful, while they took plain old xrays, loaded the big heavy film cassettes, etc. It took forever.

And worse, then the films had to be developed and so you wouldn't get the results for awhile time -- and in some ways that was the most painful part -- waiting and waiting, your mind running wild at the possibility of having breast cancer. Now, the radiologist can read the digital pix this afternoon and let me know what's what. That is terrific.

Ask your doctor for "full field digital mammography" and if they don't have it, find a clinic that does.

And do what I do as a reward for getting a mammogram -- buy a sexy new bra!

First Album

Had a fun talk with a friend last night about the first album we owned -- by ourselves -- not bought by an older brother or sister, but really OURS. Both of us mentioned Beatles albums. Then we got on talking about old records we liked. I was nuts for Rubber Soul and Revolver.

Then I remembered this very early Elton John song. I used to wear white socks too.


First Episode At Hienton

--Elton John, music
--Bernie Taupin, lyrics

I was one as you were one
And we were two so much in love forever
I loved the white socks that you wore
But you don't wear white socks no more, now you're a woman
I joked about your turned-up nose
And criticized your school girl clothes
But would I then have paced these roads
to love you

For seasons come
and seasons go
Bring forth the rain the sun and snow
Make Valerie a woman
And Valerie is lonely

No more to roam on the snow hills of Hienton
Undecided with the guardians
of the older generation
A doormat was a sign of welcome
In the winter months to come
And in the summer laughing
Through the castle ruins
we'd run

For the quadrangle sang to the sun
And the grace of our feeling
And the candle burned low
as we talked of the future
Underneath the ceiling

There were tears in the sky
And the clouds in your eyes
were just cover
For your thighs were the cushions
Of my love and yours for each other

For seasons come
and seasons go
Bring forth the rain the sun and snow
Make Valerie a woman
And Valerie is lonely

The songs still are sung
It was fun to be young
But please don't be sad
where `ere you are
I am who I am
You are who you are
Now Valerie's a woman
Now Valerie's a woman
Now Valerie's a woman

Monday, April 05, 2004

Group Blogs: Four Corners

I've been hitting a treasure trove of group blogs today, ever since we launched ours today and Seth Godin pointed out that the blogosphere is changing the magazine world and group blogs are the thing to watch.

Check out Suw Charman's recommendation -- a new one she's writing for -- FOUR CORNERS.

Four Corners -- Living. Creating. Adventuring.

And who's doing all that fun stuff? These cool authors.

All You Ruggedly Handsome Programmers Out There

Hey, call me crazy but I'll bet you could use some new spring clothes from Land's End. Check out these duds for ruggedly handsome brainiacs like yourselves.

And they've got great chinos, jeans and shorts too. And they aren't very expensive. Get your credit cards ready. New clothes by the end of the week -- and what are you gonna wear to BloggerCon anyway??? Harvard Square here you come.

Thanks Seth

Seth Godin is speculating about the trends in blogs which look more and more like magazines. Thanks for mentioning Worthwhile. We are different from many magazines which also have websites or weblogs. We are starting with the weblog then adding the magazine, instead of the other way around.

Using our site meter, I can already see which writers on the new blog are getting hits and which are not ... will we keep them or dump them according to their numbers? That would be a little like a SURVIVOR Magazine Show -- horrors! But, don't worry, we won't use stats for that. Instead, we'll get a very up-to-the-minute reader feedback loop, telling us what people want to read about and what bores them. [Needless to say with 4 women writers and 4 men, we've been making bets! Go, girls, go!]

Last week I was talking to a friend over coffee who mentioned he likes the idea of Worthwhile a lot because he finds other monthly or weekly business magazines are too stale for him, even the day they are published, since paper just takes so long to write for, print, distribute and get into a reader's hands. He loved the idea that we could publish up-to-the-minute business blog posts on what's going on with a trial like Tyco or other business news hitting the wires right now.

Worthwhile Magazine Live Today

One of these days we'll tell the tale of how this baby got birthed with me here in Boston and Boris, our Ace Uber-Tech Webman in Tokyo and Kevin and Anita, our founders in Atlanta and the rest of us scattered from one end of the globe to the other, but not right now. It 5:25 am here, I'm still in my pj's and going back to bed and it's dinner in Tokyo and Boris has to grab a bite.

Too bad we didn't ask Ms. "Where In The World Is" Carmen Sandiego to write for us. Some of our bloggers, like Tom Peters, you actually can track worldwide.

Worthwhile Magazine -- easily found at www.worthwhilemag.com and we hope enjoyed by all today. It's a blog about ... read this.

I have to say, I didn't expect to read David Weinberger writing on hot stone reiki back massages. And now you can even subscribe to his own personal RSS feed.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

1 Out Of 8,130,000

Tonight, in my referrer log for Halley's Comment, I found out that I am number 1 out of 8,130,000 results for the Google search:

what to say to a woman

which certainly made me laugh. I'm hardly an authority, but better me than anyone else. Actually I think some other people who spoofed my blog post had even better things to say than I did. Like this. Big thanks to the person who inspired that post -- little did they know what the result would be.

[Or maybe you'd prefer the number one "SPONSORED" link. Free of charge here on my blog. Conversation-King.com you gotta love it.]

Science Project

We've been working on a science project all afternoon about electromagnets. We need to explain how regular old magnets work and how electromagnets work with an experiment that's simple, obvious, fun and NOT dangerous. Sounds easier than it is.

Palm Sunday

It's Palm Sunday. Not Palm Sunday, not even Palm Sunday, but Palm Sunday. It's been an interesting one.

My son and I volunteered to help out with "coffee hour" in our church. Connie, who runs the coffee hour program and is an old hand at the business of setting out great cheese platters, vegetables, dips, cookies and everything else you'd love to eat at 11:30 when church is over. She did most of it. My kid and I set up the kids table with Dunkin Donuts munchkin donut holes and also big donuts -- glazed and chocolate glazed. We sure didn't have trouble getting rid of them.

For some unknown reason, and this continues to happen, my kid has decided wearing socks is not cool. He does anything to avoid wearing socks. So when we pulled up to church this morning, he gets out on the side where there are bushes and there are thorns and he's walking where his ankles are getting scratched by thorns and it hurts and he's making odd noises, torn between how it hurts and how he doesn't want me to know he was busy sneaking out of the house this morning with no socks on. Sometimes raising a boy is like raising an alien invader, I have absolutely NO CLUE why he does some of the weird things he does. And when I say "no socks" let me remind you it's cold and rainy here and may snow later. It's not Palm Beach, or Palm Springs, it's just Palm Sunday.

Two Years Ago

I was going to post some things about what was going on for me two years ago, but when I took a quick look, I've decided against it. My dad passed away April 9, 2002.

I can't decide what's worse, reading the passages written when I didn't know I would lose him within the week or reading the passages about losing him. Nothing good about either.

And even reading the stuff I wrote about getting ready for spring and setting the clocks ahead on this Sunday two years ago, to know that time for him was running down to a lifetime low, to know that the clocks were about to meltdown anyway, all so strange, this life. Leaves me with the paradoxical and unachieveable desire to have just one more hour with him. And what would I say in that hour? A lifetime of words, or just be silent and hold his hand? I don't have the answer.

In Another Language

"Et puis tiens, je viens de me rendre compte que tu as “switché” vers le français pour parler d’amour. Intéressant. ;-)"

"I Found The Ocean!"

My kid is playing a new videogame Test Drive Off Road Wide Open. He's in Hawaii in a Hummer that lets him drive up and down volcanos, through lava, after a while -- I've asked three times why his tires don't melt or catch on fire -- he says "they're modified" -- "for what?" I ask -- "they're modified for lava -- everything in my Hummer is modified." Okay, right sure. The graphics are gorgeous but taking the 45 degree angle up the side of a volcano and then rushing the rim to come plummeting down into a pool of boiling lava -- well, just not my idea of a good time.

A mom can breathe a little easier when he yells out, "I found the ocean!"

And considering it's Hawaii, I figured he'd have to find some water at some point. "Modified" or not, his tires can use the cooling off I figure.

But talk about "OFF ROAD!" He hits the beach and drives RIGHT ACROSS THE WATER, drives right up along side a sailboat and then veers off towards a glorious rocky beach where big waves hit big boulders with mile high spray.

I'm trying to imagine how I'll get him out of a Hummer that drives on the ocean, into church clothes and off to hear the oh-so-dull-now story of Jesus H. Christ who was just a guy who walked on water. In today's episode, Palm Sunday, he rides a mule into town and people make fun of him. Tough sell. Only a jerk would pick a mule for a vehicle, any gamer knows that.

Episode 1018 AABF14


"Simpsons Bible Stories"
1018 AABF14
Original Airdate: 4/04/99

"A particularly boring sermon by Reverend Lovejoy sends each member of the Simpson family into his or her own biblical fantasy. Marge imagines herself and Homer as Adam and Eve, living in harmony with the flora and fauna of the Garden of Eden until Homer stupidly eats from the Tree of Knowledge. Lisa dreams of herself and the other kids of Springfield Elementary as the Israelites in ancient Egypt. Principal Skinner is Pharaoh and it's up to a nervous Milhouse to act as Moses and free his people from bondage. In Homer's dream, he is King Solomon, solving every dispute by cutting the contested object in half. When Lenny and Carl bring a pie to the King, he cuts it in half and eats both pieces. In Bart's action-packed fantasy, he is David, fighting Nelson as Goliath's son, Goliath II. When the Simpsons awake from their dreams, they discover that Revelation has come and it's time for God's final judgment. Only Lisa is allowed into Heaven, but Homer drags her down into Hell with the rest of the family."



Sunday Morning With Reverend Lovejoy

And as we pass the collection plate, please give as though the person
next to you were watching.

-- Rev. Lovejoy, "Simpsons Bible Stories"

Friday, April 02, 2004

Britt's Up To Something Cool Per Usual

Check out what Britt Blaser's up to over at his blog, Escapable Logic.
Open Republic helps activists grow their community, their support, their contributions and their political power. This is the entry point for the tech-averse political novice and a backroom operations guide for the tech-savvy political pro: Dean done right.

Tyco Mistrial

All those months, all that money, it's a shame. Retrial possible as soon as May. Read about it here.

Strong Jobs Numbers And Kerry In Peril?

Pssshaw. What, like a registered Democrat with a job is miraculously transformed into a Republican? I doubt it.

It's not JUST the economy, stupid!

Please Stop Asking Me About BloggerCon And Orkut

I get about 3 or 4 messages a week asking me if I'm attending BloggerCon and about 4 or 5 invitations a week to Orkut. So I've been spending a lot of time telling people I was previously booked and wasn't able to attend the event, and "Thanks, but no thanks," I'm not joining Orkut even if God invited me.

BUT ...

Things have changed in my calendar and I WILL BE ATTENDING BLOGGERCON. How could I miss some of these speakers. They are too good.

I'm still not joining Orkut.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Harvard Business School Or High School Diploma?

Tonight, the reality TV show about business, Trump's The Apprentice put two men in the hot seat in Donald Trump's boardroom -- Kwame, an African American from Goldman Sachs with an MBA from Harvard Business School vs. Troy, a natural salesman and street-smart closer with a high school diploma.

It is an interesting choice. The thing is, from an entrepreneurial point of view, the salesman would probably go further in a start-up or new business situation. But from the point of view of Trump hiring a polished, experienced "aide-de-camp" the guy from HBS is not to be beat.

Interestingly, the street-smart guy Troy, had the choice to bring in either Kwame or the other guy, Bill, the founder of a cigar store business to face the possibility of one or the other being fired. If Troy had chosen someone more like him in credentials to go into the boardroom with him -- in other words, Bill -- he might have appeared stronger and saved his own ass -- so the choice of Kwame was a disaster. Don't go into a fight with an HBS grad when all you bring to the table is an H.S.D.

I think that error in judgment was more significant than the reasons Trump gave to fire Troy. (Essentially that he was a "loose cannon" and not as experienced as Kwame.)

Trump was featured in the beginning of the program giving a lecture to a full room of eager listeners. He was talking about passion. He had wise words -- if you don't feel passion for your work, forget it, you'll never succeed at it.

Oreos and High Tea

If you could see the rain in Boston today -- it's unbelievable -- there's sure to be flooding all over and the evening commute will not be pretty. So the only rational remedy I can see is Oreos and High Tea. And that's just what I'm having.

Kinja Live

All sort of new blogs being born -- today Kinja goes live. If it's a Denton blog, it's bound to be good. Now, wait, wasn't that about Smucker's Jam? Whatever... I haven't read it deeply enough yet to give my opinion, but I will.

Worthwhile Coming To A Theatre Near You

No April Fooling around here. Yes, Worthwhile debuts next Monday, April 5.

Lessig Review In New York Times Book Review

Got an advanced copy of the Lessig review by Adam Cohen of Free Culture. It will run in this Sunday's (April 4, 2004) New York Times. Not sure if it's online yet.
The shrinking of the public domain, and the devastation it threatens to the culture, are the subject of a powerfully argued and important analysis by Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law School and a leading member of a group of theorists and grass-roots activists, sometimes called the "copyleft," who have been crusading against the increasing expansion of copyright protections. Lessig was the chief lawyer in a noble, but ultimately unsuccessful, Supreme Court challenge to the copyright extensions act. "Free Culture" is partly a final appeal to the court of public opinion and partly a call to arms. ...

To his credit, Lessig avoids the classic law professor's trap of writing about legal cases and doctrines as if no actual people were involved. He humanizes his arguments with stories like that of Jesse Jordan, a freshman at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who innocently put together a new search engine for his school's computer network, and, after students started using it to trade music, was notified by the Recording Industry Association of America that he owed them $15 million. (They settled for $12,000, his life savings.)

Lessig grounds his argument about the new rules' impact on the culture in a basic observation about art: as long as it has existed, artists have been refashioning old works into new ones. Greek and Roman myths were developed over centuries of retelling. Shakespeare's plays are brilliant reworkings of other playwrights' and historians' stories. Even Disney owes its classic cartoon archive -- Snow White, Cinderella, Pinocchio -- to its plundering of other creators' tales. And today, technology allows for the creation of ever more elaborate "derivative works,' art that builds on previous art, from hip-hop songs that insert, or sample, older songs to video art that adds new characters to, or otherwise alters, classic films."

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Parlez-Vous Monopoly?

In case you wondered --
What do they call Boardwalk in?:

France? Rue de la Paix
Germany? Schlossallee
The Netherlands? Kalverstraat
The United Kingdom? Mayfair

This Life

I was trying to explain this idea to a friend yesterday and getting nowhere with it. I went out for a walk in my town. I took a haphazard route, going through neighborhoods that were ... well I used the Monopoly board as an analogy ... walked through what I described as some Baltic Avenue and Mediterranean type streets, then took a turn towards town and back out on another boulevard that was pure Park Place and Boardwalk.

And on my walk I was thinking how it is some people end up on one street with the big house and some other people end up on the not so nice alley with the little shack and what the assumptions were when we were all growing up. Many friends of mine who expected to be doing very well now, are facing their 40's and 50's in a really difficult financial situation. Some other friends of mine are quite well off. Beyond the financial aspect, I also started thinking about what we do every day for work, for fun, for life.

I have to say, the walk at midday, at midweek, showed me a lot of empty houses, lovely big houses with wonderful lawns and yards and ponds and play structures and basketball hoops, but they were totally deserted. So the people who are living in these beautiful places, don't seem to be living in them at all, rather they are somewhere else working so they can afford these houses, big expensive places to sleep at night. Or maybe they are all inside, working on their computers, trading stocks ... but it wasn't a day for that, it was a beautiful Spring day and at lunch time, you'd think they'd at least come out for a minute or two. The houses really looked empty and dead. More like the red plastic Monopoly hotels.

And then, as I tried to explain to my friend, I've been thinking about how we all spend so much time having a life that seems to be the kind of life other people have -- get up, get breakfast, get dressed, go to work, get there at 9:00, leave there at 5:00 or 6:00 or whatever, come home, eat dinner, watch TV -- and I suddenly found this really sad. That we come to this earth and that's all we can come up with for a life. I don't want to be the fire-eating woman in the circus or something, but I think I want more of a life than a person who lives in a box, leaves their box in the morning, gets in their box-with-wheels, drives to another office box, sits in that box for 8 hours, their butt spreading a little wider every day from just sitting there, goes home to their box, sits in front of the box, eats a frozen dinner out of a box, goes to sleep on their mattress and box spring.

I tried to explain, I'm trying to imagine a life -- that's all -- since I don't find much value in this other life someone has imagined for me. I'm walking all over the Monopoly board wondering about a life. I might need to ride the rails a while. I might need to try my luck with Chance. I might need to find a little green house and set it up on St. James Place and see how that goes. I don't know, but I want to feel I had a hand in imagining this life -- MY life.


What's In Your Fridge?

Garbage day, so I took a little jungle safari into the back of my fridge to give some leftovers the heave-ho. I'm always fascinated by what we save and why we save it. My fridge seems to want to save old noodles and pasta for a rainy day. Not sure why. No one is eating them, that's for sure. Out they go. And one little tiny bit of tuna fish salad and some really old potatoes with scary eyes and shoots growing out of them.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Technorati's Pretty Face

To be fair, doesn't Technorati look great?

Top Bloggers List

Thanks Blogrunner for putting me on your Top Bloggers List ... but honestly none of it makes any sense and to be above Dan Gillmor, AKMA and Jon Udell seems completely crazy.

New Nielsens

Been having some fascinating conversations with Henry Copeland about his BLOGADS service. He was early and first to realize advertisers could really hit targeted audiences and serious opinion makers by advertising on blogs.

The Nielsens on TV used to guess at the audience and demographics they were hitting -- and the more technology comes into this space, the more we realize the Nielsens were hit or miss -- and more miss than hit unfortunately.

But imagine political campaigns plunking down $2000 for an ad on a blog -- and raising $10,000. That's a pretty direct ROI and easily measurable.

If you didn't read this piece in the Wall Street Journal about advertising on blogs -- check out this link.

Spoiled Brat

Was just reading some of the posts to the test blog for WORTHWHILE. They are great! I'm like a kid in a candy store. I'm a spoiled brat to be sure, lucky enough to read this great new stuff. Tried to talk our founders into launching sooner than April 5 -- they say, cool your jets. Here's a post from one of our new writers, a young woman entrepreneur.
Early Entrepreneurial Lessons

by Kate Yandoh

Although only 9 and not especially perceptive, I could tell that my parents were not as thrilled by the rapid population growth in my gerbil cages as I. So I asked for a ride to the local department store to see if they might be able to profit from my surplus. Armed with a shoebox full of little critters and clad in my favorite Polly Flinders party frock, I closed the deal and went home with an envelope of cash.

One Saturday, I went into the playroom to find mother and father gerbil happily devouring a new litter instead of their food nuggets. My mother tried to console me until she understood what I was saying through hysterical tears: "That's five dollars, gone!"

This introduction to product cannibalism spelled the end of my enterprise.

I'm With Jewel

Hey, like girls, do you know this great song by Jewel. She says it all:
I'm just a simple girl
In a high-tech digital world

Tuesday Yes Tuesday

Excuse me everyone, but I've been a little busy lately and poor Halley's Comment is getting a little thin here, but I'm about to launch a new blog and you wouldn't believe how much time that can take.

I think you'll love my new baby.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Electronic Arts Big Video Monster

Wow, their market share is monstrous. Very cool.
Electronic Arts Inc. (NasdaqNM:ERTS - news), the gaming industry's largest publisher, has perfected the art of getting gamers hooked on yearly releases of sports games and turning out versions of movie hits such as "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" and "Harry Potter (news - web sites): Quidditch World Cup."

EA's U.S. market share in 2004 is more than twice that of its closest competitor, and the company generates more revenue in the December quarter than its closest competitor does in an entire fiscal year, driven in large part by those repeat sports and film titles. -- Reuters via Yahoo News!
I don't know if I agree with the rest of this Reuters piece about how the gaming industry lacks creative energy. That's not been my experience. This year, I got my 8-year-old a P/S2 and his first video games, and I've been watching all of them and learning a lot. I think the creativity in gaming is awesome.

Scoble Sleeps

Thank God Scoble does sleep sometimes and on a Monday morning in the East Coast a blogger can still feel some shred of dignity that his blog in Seattle still says SUNDAY and he hasn't posted 25 new fresh interesting blog posts for Monday yet.

By the time you read this, I'm sure he'll already have proved me wrong.

Blogger Cool Stuff Coming

Somebody cool at Blogger told me that some cool stuff is coming out soon, except it's a secret, so I can't say anything about it, but it's really good ......mmmmmmmmm ... and so you didn't read this and I didn't write this and boy-oh-boy I can't wait and yes, btw, my lips are sealed. You didn't hear it here. Got it?

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Am I The Last To Know?

This series of Christian books is enormously popular. Did you know about it? I just found out about it. Left Behind.

Kevin Marks, Please Read Me A Bedtime Story

What a terrific voice you have, Kevin! Your British accent is hard to beat. Are all Americans just ga-ga for a British accent, like me?

If you haven't listened to Kevin reading the Preface to Lawrence Lessig's new book FREE CULTURE, you should go listen right now.

Chinese Food

I've been writing very long posts lately and I just wanted to show you I can write a short one. Have some Chinese food today -- I just did -- and it's so darned good.

Scribble

There is a material world, where they keep things like Hot Wheels tiny cars and telephones and loaves of bread and the Post Office and clothing and TV's -- I've seen it, believe me.

And then there is my head -- where I keep all of that stuff, in a "just add water" form -- and a million other things. I am a writer and that means I am very very strange. I have so many things floating around in my head, even a cast of thousands of people who want to talk and talk and talk and tell me things about their lives.

Like this morning. I went to church. Church is in the material world. They have wooden benches there that they call pews and I was sitting on one and then there was a hymn we sang and then I realized I really wanted to write.

I wanted to find out what my lead character had told her sister in San Diego when she visited her the evening after spending the whole of Friday afternoon in bed with her lover -- a well-known Hollywood producer -- very well- known, too well-known and very married. So she drives down the San Diego freeway to see her sister and brother-in-law, but he's not there but their three boys (her nephews) are and they sit on the beach talking watching the boys.

And I knew what her sister was going to tell her. Her sister knew she was dating the married Hollywood producer and didn't like it one bit, she'd known for more than a year, but now it was going even deeper, because the sister's husband for the first time ever, was being unfaithful to her, no one would have ever taken him for the kind of guy that would do such a thing, and it was a big mess and the two sisters really needed to talk.

All this was happening in my head. I was driving down the 405 south -- near the Costa Mesa exit -- in church in Boston in a wooden pew.

That's the problem. I think the material world is highly overrated. When I have to navigate the material world, I find it extremely irksome some days. It's full of so many things you can just bang into and fall over. I'd rather fly like a spirit through walls. It would be so much easier. So right in the middle of the church service, after the hymn and before the collection plate went around, I got up and went to a quiet enclave where no people were, right behind the chapel, in the balcony with after-dinner mint green carpeting, and started scribbling all the details of the San Diego sister visit on the back of the church program and some other pieces of paper I found that were about doing good works by missionaries in Guatemala or something.

I have to figure it's what God had in mind. To put all these people in my brain. How the hell else did they end up there? My character is so upset to hear her brother-in-law is cheating on her sister, she nearly flips, and of course, she suddenly sees her own messing about with the producer in a new way. I still don't know if she's going to dump him. He IS a bad guy and she's too naive to see it yet. But she will.

Going Out Going In

I'm thinking about how much time I'm spending inside, how much out and about, because as the weather changes here in Boston, it's beginning to be almost reasonable to just decide on the spur of the moment to go outside.

Until ... about ... last week, you had to plan most trips with all the accoutrements and considerations of a trip to the South Pole, or you'd lose a finger, a toe or simply your nose to frostbite in the cold we've been having. (Okay, I do exaggerate a bit, but not that much.) As you can imagine, this tends to persuade people to STAY INSIDE.

If you think we're all a little cabin feverish here -- believe me, we are -- how many videos/DVD's can you rent in one winter? I think maybe I've rented a few thousand this winter.

So I've been trying to balance time out and time in. It's tough to balance. You simply have to spend some time inside restoring dirty piles of laundry with clean, folded stuff, filling an empty fridge, getting bills and papers into order, sleeping, or you'll just slam into that "It's Wednesday and I have no clean underwear" problem. There's really nothing worse than a week of work followed by a weekend of being out all the time and not getting your nest in order.

Then there's the matter of writing. It takes a lot of time with no one around, with no interruptions. But that's for another post.

It's Not Unusual To Go Out ...

Going out for a late lunch at 3:00 with a friend. For some reason I've got this Tom Jones song in my head and I'm remembering how he hits the word "out" so sharply in the song. I like Tom Jones.
It's not unusual to be loved by anyone
It's not unusual to have fun with anyone
But when I see you hanging about with anyone
It's not unusual to see me cry,
Oh I wanna' die
It's not unusual to go out at any time
But when I see you out and about it's such a crime
If you should ever want to be loved by anyone,
It's not unusual it happens every day no matter what you say
You find it happens all the time
Love will never do what you want it to
Why can't this crazy love be mine
It's not unusual, to be mad with anyone
It's not unusual, to be sad with anyone
But if I ever find that you've changed at anytime
It's not unusual to find out that I'm in love with you
Whoa - oh - oh - oh - oh

IMHO

Daniel Okrent writes in this morning's New York Times about columnists relationship with facts, in his piece "The Privileges of Opinion, The Obligations of Fact."

He certainly knows which columnists stir the most ire. After a discussion of Krugman and Safire, he mentions Dowd:
... And Maureen Dowd is followed faithfully around the Web by an avenging army of passionate detractors who would probably be devastated if she ever stopped writing.

Coffee, Bagels, Maureen Dowd

Dowd in the Sunday New York Times this morning.
Republicans are demonizing Mr. Clarke, who has accused the administration of negligence on terrorism in the months before 9/11.

Bush officials accuse him of playing fast and loose with facts, even while they still refuse to acknowledge they took us to war by playing fast and loose with facts.

Even after a remarkable week in which a simple apology by Mr. Clarke carried such emotional power, Mr. Bush was still repeating his discredited line on Iraq, as if by rote.

"I made a choice to defend the security of the country," he said Friday, in a speech in Albuquerque, adding: "You can't see what you think is a threat and hope it goes away. You used to could when the oceans protected us. But the lesson of September the 11th is, is when the president sees a threat we must deal with it before it comes to fruition, through death, on our own soils, for example."

Missed The Apprentice

I can't believe I missed the Apprentice on Thursday. What the heck was I doing ... oh yeah, watching a movie with my son. Good choice, way more fun.

Here's what I missed. They went to the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. There were two women and four men left and they fired Katrina. That leaves Amy as the only woman. You could see that coming. She was the strongest woman competitor and every time they had to even up the teams and another team got their pick of the players, they always chose Amy, until last week.

I've been thinking a lot about the way the men will support one another at work (and in life for that matter), even if they don't like one another. Women seem to put personality ahead of that type of gender loyalty often enough. I know I'm generalizing, but this show puts these tendencies under the microscope. If a woman player doesn't like another woman, they don't seem to step back and judge her on her business acumen -- they just get rid of her for "personal" reasons. I think the sociological aspect of this show needs to be considered. Of course, it's phony and bogus in many ways, but it can be an interesting place to consider how we all work at work. I get the feeling men have a loyalty to their gender that's very basic -- and helps them survive in this world. It's a successful worldview if you're a man in a man's world. Is it a man's world? I don't know. I tend to think men are on the decline, really getting kicked around out there. They need to hang together.

Would it be easy for Donald Trump as a man to pick Amy, an obviously beautiful and smart woman, or any woman for that matter, as his apprentice? Will he have a loyalty to a man simply because he's a man? Or is it to avoid the obvious social complications of having a woman as his "right-hand man" and having people wonder if he's sleeping with her. Who -- in fact -- wonders these things? And how do they become obstacles to a woman's progress in business? Sometimes I think there's a "morality of convenience" that is in play. It's convenient to keep women out of the top positions and boardrooms and better for men to do this as it helps them keep other men in those jobs. There have probably been many big bosses sleeping with their male assistants for years, but we'll never hear the tales.

The people who wonder if a pretty female assistant is sleeping with her boss -- those "people" from what I've seen, are usually other men who want to sleep with her. So I'm not altogether convinced is has anything to do with propriety or morals. I think it has to do with jealousy and power. One man being jealous he isn't getting a piece of the action while another is. And men knowing on some fundamental level that they don't want to share power with women. In the guise of "moral and upright" behavior, they can deny women access to power. I sometimes wonder if these male/female dynamics at work are all twisted around that first oh-so-powerful relationship in a man's life -- his mom. I sometimes wonder if men are not terrified of women's power and they know better than women how powerful women can be.

So maybe we can have a little episode next week about Trump and his mother. That would explain volumes. A little intervention by Dr. Phil, for instance, to come in and talk to The Donald about dear old mom. Okay, I'm just kidding. Back to the real story -- who will be the Apprentice?

Can Trump really chose a woman, or is it rigged? Interestingly, the first 4 programs, when the teams were all women against all men, the women won 4 times in a row. The solution -- don't let the show continue to demonstrate how the women were killing the men week after week -- mix up the teams.

I guess we'll all just have to wait and see.

You're Fired

Trump is so nutty and funny and now, this rant that his "You're Fired" sign makes New York a better place to visit and more friendly ... well, he's probably right.

New York -- the place where they say it to your face. In every other town, they just downsize you.

Walking The Winter Woods

Slept soundly thanks to lots of exercise yesterday. Walked through the woods for more than two hours at a fast clip, stepping quickly along the bike path that wanders through my town. The weather was springy, bright then rainy, then bright, didn't know what to expect. Easter colors of yellow sun shards, soft hum of purple crocuses, rumble of grey rain clouds and the promise of a new season.

Torpedo cyclists in black rubber butt shorts, rollerbladers with duck-splayed legs roaring by, babycarriage-pushing mom joggers, walkers chatting with slight Hungarian accents, runners sweating in expensive nylon garb, everyone going by, going by, going by, "to your left" they shout, whiz of wheels, I was often pushed into the muddy shoulders of the path but didn't care much, with my big boots on, no problem, had counted on an extended mud encounter.

Looking up at the stark poles of winter trees, in the highest place, an abandoned nest, sinister like a crazy woman's bun full of sticks, perched in the crotch of branches. These trees have no leaves, no buds, nothing but makedness of bark stretching tall and chopsticky skyward. Wind rattles the poles like lonely masts in an empty harbor. Every 100 yards or so, you might find a spray of ancient dessicated oak leaves -- who knows why they hung on through winter -- bleakly bleached looking more like a carpenters' blond wood carvings than actual leaves that ever lived.

Down on the ground we are thinking S*p*R*i*n*G*!!, oh so confidently, but up on high in a quiet lonely place, the bare grey trees can't reach far enough, hard enough, please, just show us some sun, please, get us out of here, they seem to be yearning and not at all convinced they'll survive the frozen mud patches, even still some snow paddies around their roots, they seem like they'd like to fly into the sky away from this winter wood. They look like the unfortunate fat kids in a gym class, asked to reach high for the pull-up bar and just can't make it, just can't stretch far enough, rooted to the ground, rather hopeless.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Lessig: Exec Summary

I've volunteered to write up a summary of Prof Lessig's new book and record that for the project AKMA has suggested -- audio version of Lessig's new book Free Culture. And executive summary's a bit like "monarch notes" for a book, since it's so tough for people to find the time to read a whole book these days.

Fee Culture

Something brewing. We're talking about doing an audio recording of a bunch of bloggers and cyberfolks reading Lessig's new book aloud and then making a CD out of it.

Here's the link to Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology And The Law To Lock Down Culture And Control Creativity

Fat or Fit?

I've been both and fit is a lot more fun. We'll be on the beach all too soon. Have you thought about biting the bullet this year and getting in really good shape. You can. It's a lot easier than you think. Start by believing you can.

How It Feels Fat

When you get dressed, you go nuts trying to remember which clothes even fit, which are the fat ones, the fatter ones and the fattest ones. No matter what you put on, you look fat and you hate that. You wear dark, drab big clothes to cover all your faults. You hope nothing unbuttons or unzips on you, revealing any flab or flesh. You wish you had something that looked good on you.

When you go anywhere, you know you look not so good in your clothes. You move your body and your skin and curves and muscles follow your movement by a few seconds, like pulling along a sack behind you. When you are naked, you hide under any available covers, blankets, drapes or make sure to turn out the lights. When you have to get up in front of a room of people to speak, you know your body doesn't look good and that makes you that makes you nervous and rocks your confidence, so you make sure NEVER to get up in front of a room of people.

How It Feels Fit

When you get dressed, you throw anything on, because it all fits and it all looks fine and even if it doesn't, you know you look fine underneath it. When you go anywhere, you know you look good in your clothes. You move your body and your skin and curves and muscles move with you. When you are naked, you could stand there discussing baseball scores or anything because you know you look good and your feel confident. When you have to get up in front of a room of people to speak, you know your body looks fit and strong and that cuts your nervousness by about 100% and increases your confidence by about 100%.

Outta Here But See Ya Later

People to see, places to go, house to clean, Saturday errands to run. Bye.

NetFlix

I don't use them. I don't know anyone who works there. I haven't invested in them. So with all those disclosures up front, let me say that I continue to hear total rave reviews of NetFlix. I don't know why people love them so much, but I know people do. Killer word of mouth.

Another Bridget Jones

Looks like they're busy filming another Bridget Jones movie. Go, man, go!!

Great Girl Movie Rental

Hope you have two TV's -- if the guys are going to be glued to basketball today -- go get Pride & Prejudice and check out Colin Firth's action. Oh, baby!

Hoop Day

Now, who was it that told me this weekend is all about hoops ... I remember now.

Tatoo Ta-doo

What's the big ta-doo lately over tatoos? I see them more and more and I can't stand them. I mean, maybe on Popeye's bicep, okay, that's all right. But otherwise I just don't get into them.

Here's another How Things Work entry on how to get rid of tatoos. You mother told you so!

Lessig Is More

AKMA asks us over here to participate in reading Lessig aloud. Happy to help.

How Does It Feel?

Is it a woman thing? Is it a me thing? Rational explanations of how things work leave me cold. Here's a description of diving and surfacing in a submarine. The only interesting part to me is "how does it feel?!" to be in a submarine and suddenly dive or surface. What do you do, hang on for dear life? Do all the submariners (sailors?) get tossed ass-over-tin-cup if the captain decides to take it up fast?

My understanding of the world is all about feeling, not about thinking about feeling.

Life With My Son

In case you wondered whether my kid has an engineer's sensibility (and if you've read my blog for more than a few weeks, you already know I have a 8-year-old mechanical whiz), here's what he asked me at breakfast over pancakes the other morning. This was a school morning. He wants me to give him a detailed answer before the school bus:

"How does a nuclear reactor work? Why do they need to cool down the water inside of it?"

Car Talk: In Case You Needed To Know

A friend who thinks I should know more about car engines, has been tutoring me on how he learned about the piston engine. He tells me there are only four words to remember when it comes to car engines:

SUCK--intake of air and fuel into the cylinder through valves (downstroke)
SQUEEZE--compression of fuel-air mixture (upstroke) valves closed
BANG--combustion of fuel-air mixture (downstroke) with spark plug valves closed
BLOW--burned fuel-air mixture (upstroke) exhausted through open valves

Check out this action-packed graphic.

Honestly, this is exactly the kind of stuff my kid is always asking me about. I should bookmark this.

Get Your Butt In Gear

Less is more. Not about your butt. About exercising. When I write about working out, everyone gets tired just reading about it. I don't mean you have to do some monumental workout routine with machines and weights and marathon-length runs and god knows what else.

I mean -- go for a walk for 45 minutes this morning.

If you're feeling really virtuous, also go for a walk this evening for 45 minutes (after dinner is best).

And now, I'll throw down the big challenge, don't eat anything after 9:00pm.

Those three simple things done every day for a week will make you feel amazingly better.

And the walking doesn't even have to be outside -- you can do it in a mall, anywhere you can keep walking uninterrupted for 45 minutes, it doesn't matter, just do it.

[Actually, now that I reread the beginning of this, "less is more" definately applies to your butt.]

Spring Cleaning Again

Okay, I know I've been tough on you guys, but it's a spring cleaning Saturday again. Make a list like mine and then when it numbers up to 10 items, decide to just do two today. Let's not been TOO hard on ourselves.

1. clean out papers in back office;
2. take too small kid clothes to Goodwill;
3. kitchen -- get rid rid of too many kitschy coffee mugs
4. closet -- fact facts, dump too small duds and dumb looking unfashions
5. bathroom -- clean junky drawer of old 1/2 empty cosmetics bottles and jars
6. take winter coats to cleaners
7. pump up air in bike tires
8. weigh yourself -- look at yourself in bikini in mirror -- think beach
9. take big winter blankets and comforters to wash at giant washer laundromat across town
10. newspaper and magazine clean-out in bathroom, bedroom, office.

I'm going to do number 2 and number 6. I'm great. Hurray for me.

I Suck As An Avon Lady

So I signed up to be an Avon Lady but this local manager lady and I just don't seem to see eye-to-eye or eye liner pencil-to-eye liner pencil or something.

First she sends me an email with about 500 lines of dates and information and contests and bonuses and stuff -- with no paragraphs. It was unreadable. And this was the first email I ever got from her after having been signed up almost a month. She actually likes to leave phone messages. I don't do phone messages. I do email. I do email that is intelligible and readable. I hate people who do phone. I don't do phone for precise information, or for anything that includes real data like numbers, prices, colors of nail polish. I need email. I like a written record.

She has an email address like spam -- something like JoLo3428789 or something -- and I nearly deleted it, because it obviously didn't come from a human and then I realized it was from her, and then I opened it, but as I mentioned, it was a swirl of stuff I couldn't decipher.

And then I found a friend who actually wanted to be a customer.

She wanted to buy some nail polish.

The catalogue has a veritable beauty supply shelf full of different kinds and colors of nail polishes.

My friend asked me, "Which one lasts the longest?" that's all she wanted to know.

I decided to email the manager lady, figuring this must be her forte -- she can actually answer product questions for me and help me I thought naively. I wrote "Which nail polish lasts the longest?"

She didn't answer.

I realized I had to call her -- use the phone -- something I consider a gigantic waste of time.

I left her a message, "Which nail polish lasts the longest?"

She wasn't there.

She called back quickly and told me, "I don't know which one lasts the longest, but why don't you sell her ...." and then she told me to sell her something else. And then she went into a rant about how I hadn't placed an order this two-week period and I had to place an order and didn't I want her to send me a bunch of new catalogues for $50 dollars out of my pocket and I needed to at least place an order myself for cosmetics because I had to buy some stuff to make sure her region met their goals ... and on and on and on. It was all about what she needed.

I only needed to know, "which nail polish lasts the the longest?"

She wouldn't tell me. This must be secret information.

I told my friend, "the manager won't tell me which nail polish lasts the longest. You might want to buy some at the drug store. I don't want to sell you the wrong stuff."

Friday, March 26, 2004

Every Day I Write The Book

Always loved that song of Elvis Costello's.

Get Away Faster

I see a banner ad at the top of my email today, since I use Yahoo email, I see a lot of ads. This one has a sapphire blue ocean, a bright white sandy beach, a red and white striped beach umbrella, a sunny yellow feeling, though it might not have a crayon yellow ball of sun that I notice, but I get the beachy feeling -- it sweeps over me -- I may need to look down between my toes to check for sand. It says "Get Away Faster" and it says something else about getting 10,000 frequent flyer miles as a bonus, or some such thing.

What are they selling? Unspoiled nature and worry-free days for sale. That's what it's really about, which makes me know that it assumes, rightly, that we are far from a beach on this cold spring morning and far from worry.

Frequent flyer miles hardly seem the remedy for a morning like this, and I'm still stuck on the beginning of the phrase -- Get Away Faster. It means "Run For Your Life" or maybe "Run Away From Your Life" and so you can't help wondering what kind of life we've all made for ourselves that running away from it at breakneck speed is a sound philosophy that most people reading the ad would not only be willing to agree with, but be moved, if not seduced into a bit of a early morning coffee break swoon to consider it.

What else are they selling? Sex of course and a way to escape your life. The two go hand-in-hand.

So you are Jane or Joe, sitting in your company cafeteria, a scatter of cheesy plastic furniture around you and a vending machine against the wall of equally polyurethane food on little shelves next to you, but your mind is filled with this abandoned beach scene, the beach umbrella tilted in a sexy way, away from you, the viewer. And you are left wondering what's going on behind the umbrella. You can't help but wonder.

You're wearing clothes that didn't really come out of the dryer wrinkle free, in fact, you look a little sloopy. You're watching an icy rain storm hit the not so shiny cars out on the company parking lot. The cars all look grey and a little dinged up. You're thinking of an 11:00 meeting where that egomaniacial tyrant in Marketing is really just rounding you all up to tell you you're a bunch of assholes and can never get anything done on time or to his liking. The heel on your right shoe is in need of repair and you have a sad place inside that you contemplate for a few seconds -- why it is you always scrape your right heel like that in a shameful, "don't hurt me, I didn't do it!", babyish way. If you dare to go there, you wonder, "Did my mother do that to me, make me feel that shitty about myself that I still scrape my foot like that when I've done something wrong?"

If you are Joe, behind the umbrella, there is a model, you can't remember her name but she's topless and getting pretty impatient with you for not staying with her and making love to her and instead you have to go to some idiotic meeting at 11:00. She doesn't get it and is not willing to let you go. You yield to her finally and it's delicious. No one else in the cafeteria is begging you to let her give you a blow job, last you noticed.

If you are Jane, behind the umbrella, there is a model, you can't remember his name and he's been very romantic all morning, and teasing your clothes off you, making love to you, very skillfully, you've come twice -- no explaining or pointing out any anatomical roadmap thank you -- he's really good -- you knew he would be, since he doesn't speak English anyway, that was a tip off. And then he wants to take you shopping in town, ride you around on his motorbike and buy you stuff. He doesn't know what the hell an 11:00 meeting is.

STOP ... I'd like the audio of someone tearing an old record player needle across an old Hawaiian hula dance LP to stop the music, but that's so passe, a record player, sorry ... anyway, stop the fantasy for a second and think to yourself, "Wait a minute, maybe I could get out of here, really get out of here, maybe I could make a life I liked and not have to get away faster. Maybe I could have a life I liked so much I wouldn't ever want to run away from it." Now you are really getting away. Now you're thinking straight. Straight out of there in a few months, into a life that might be real and fun and really fun. Some people do it, you know that. There must be a way to find out how they pull it off. And you think of that uncle of yours. Everyone thought he was half nuts, but he had a life that guy, he had a wonderful life and you decide right then and there ... you'll figure out how he did it and you'll do it too.