Monday, September 30, 2002

When Two Syllables Just Won't Do

Ever get so annoyed with someone, just so totally pissed off, that the old tried-and-true two syllable "Screw You" won't do? You need the new improved 4-syllable "Scre-Ew Ya-Ou!" Of course, this works delightfully well with Screw You's big brother Fuck You. Try it, it's a treat in 4 slow syllables. Fu-Uk Ya-Ou!

Saturday, September 28, 2002

Dervala Again

I know I mention Dervala on a regular basis and you might just be getting sick of hearing me say her name, but golly, she's a great writer and her trek through Thailand is really something to follow. I'm sure everyone in New York misses her there, her most recent home and surely everyone in Ireland misses her, that being her country of origin unless I've got it wrong, but the whole world is richer for her fine Baedeker-ing through the Far East and all. Go there and don't miss it.
Notes on Advanced Open Water Dive Course -- Diving has made me a diva. My warped city eyes parse underwater beauty as the lushest fashion spreads imaginable—and Fall fashions, too, tropical island or not. Ava Gardner would wear a coat with a collar of that rich, muted, swaying anemone. Coral reefs conjure Missoni knits, where the zig-zag openings occasionally swallow matching fish. Moray eels peek out of perfect pinkish funnel necks. The purity of a sea urchin in clear water would make Phillippe Starck pant to carve out a neat salt-shaker opening. Gorgonian fans wave as languidly as a front-row couture patron, accessorized by toning and contrasting fishies. And all the muted jewel colors--very Romeo Gigli.

I wanted to peel myself out of my wetsuit and order the deep to clothe me in the richness, the softness, the weightlessness, the boldness it hides from the surface. I wanted to glide down Fifth Avenue with the grace I have underwater, where I move through breath alone. I wanted to have an entourage of angelfish and parrotfish. I wanted to be the Coco Chanel of Koh Tao.

Even at 30 meters deep, I am shallow.

Friday, September 27, 2002


Several people gave me good pointers or just added some thoughts to my post about Audio Fonts a few days back. Shifted Librarian definately ran with the idea -- very cool. And I got a few more interesting pointers which I'll dig up from email and post here forthwith. For instance, Gary Turner had good stuff to say on voice here.

Piano Plinkety Plunkety

There's a little girl playing piano -- she's practicing -- I'm imagining it's a little girl, all I hear is the plinkety plunkety noise of it in a lovely light blue color. It's a sound that reminds me of water and the ocean and the whole world.

And on this rainy almost-autumn afternoon, I'm thinking about the whole world. I'm thinking about our big secret. We are busy living with this big secret and it's so transparent -- you can see right through it -- but we don't talk about it. The secret is: we all die.

And she is slowly plunking out the melody now, a pretty thing. And her mother's leaning over her, making sure she practices so some day when she grows up, she'll be a big girl who knows how to play the piano.

But really we all learning these different things -- how to play the piano, how to paint, how to tie our shoes, how to whatever -- for no good reason at all. We learn these things as if everything will just go along swimmingly, we'll all go on and on and won't it be lovely. But actually, did I mention, we all die. Everything the little girl's fingers learn about the ivory keys she's touching so gingerly today will go with her when she goes. Shouldn't someone tell her? No, I guess not. Her mother should tell her to keep practicing.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Middlemonkey Rocks

Cool new blog. Don't miss it. Check this out on the theme of the "curse of competence"
People with more of an attitude of "whatever it takes" wind up taking on more and more of the jobs no one wants and thus have less and less time for the jobs they really want to do. I call this the "curse of competence." Especially in times when support staff is being cut to the bone, the person who somehow manages to complete a project with a short-staffed team or under an impossible deadline is less often rewarded with more resources and more time for the next project. Instead, he or she becomes the one the organization looks to to take on the most difficult, hamstrung projects.

What Would You Do With A Brain If You Had One?

Dorothy allegedly says this to the Strawman. Can you imagine anyone coming up to you on the street, or even in the forest and saying that. It's rude and impertinent to say the least.

We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

Not really. But I'm having a super intense day at work and suddenly realizing why people always read blogs during the M-F 9-5 window.

When I was freelancing, mostly not in an office on a regular basis, I so did not get it. Now I get it. I need a break. I've been calling people all morning to follow-up on stuff I sent out. You just need to give it a break sometimes. So the more interesting, irreverent, gossipy or just plain mind-expanding the blog the better. I really am beginning to get it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Watch The Fish

Relax. Breathe. Muse. Imagine. Sigh. Dream. Swim Along. This is the best kind of aquarium -- one you don't have to clean.

Serious Addicted

Okay, I'll come clean. There are some products I'm really hooked on for no good reason. Like these weird Listerine Pocket Paks which are also referred to as ORAL CARE STRIPS and they are ... how to describe them ... well, breath mints that look like tiny blue pieces of shiny rice paper -- they melt in your mouth. Check this gonzo marketing of theirs out.

Where did I come across them? My 7-year-old saw a display at Costco and had a hissy fit about them -- he wasn't going home without them. He'd already seen them on TV is all I can figure. Now this is killer marketing. Once you get my 7-year-old, I'm a goner.

Joueb in French -- Weblog en Anglais

Voulez-vous joueber avec moi ce soir? Or wanna blog with me tonight? "Joueb" is a contraction of "journal" and "web" which is a loose translation of a "web diary". Thanks to Les Nouvelles de Scripting for the pointer.

Happy Birthday Jean!

Hey, call me -- believe it or not I don't think I've got your number. Hope you're having a swell day. Miss you. Hope the weather in Venice is wonderful.

One Man's Fish is Another Woman's WiFi Hub

Holy Moly -- Doc's had a UFO land at his house -- actually it was delivered by Fed-Ex. Kevin Marks was scouting around for a Wi-Fi hub for me and linked me to this and boy do I need what Doc's got. Kevin you're a logistical genius. Keep pulling rabbits out of your hat.

And now I need one more peripheral -- Doc -- he says he can't come to the conference because he's moving into a new house and needs to pack on that day, but I'm trying to persuade him to come up to the Cupertino Conference.

Maybe I could get all the LA bloggers to go over and help Doc pack the day after or before and then he's got no excuse -- anyone in the mood for a barn-raising?

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Ask And Ye Shall Receive

Thanks for the stuff on audio fonts. There's more going down in that area than I expected. Still not as far along as I'd wish. I mean, for nstance, there's no Gary Turner audio font yet, but soon, soon. We must be patient.

Monday, September 23, 2002


Well Holy Heck -- Kevin Marks just called me and he's a Brit! Boy, did I get that wrong. When is someone going to create AUDIO FONTS for Christ's sake. I'd love to write email and then put a Katherine Hepburn audio font all over it, if I were in that mood. Or maybe Dolly Parton. Or, hell, go all the way and add a little Bridget Bardot.

If they had audio fonts, Kevin could highlight his email with a little bit of a Pierce Brosnan accent and a girl could get a clue. I mean Helvetica Bold is nice visually., but I need some audio enhancement.

The name is Bond ... James Bond.

I've been trying to call all the bloggers I'll be meeting next week at my conference to get friendly before the event. What if they all have weird accents I didn't expect? Maybe Denise Howell sounds like Greta Garbo. Maybe Doc sounds like John Wayne. Maybe Dan Gillmor has an Irish brogue. Wow!

Reporters Find New Outlet And Concerns in Web Logs

Okay, so how long did the NYTimes copy editors spend trying to decide if it's "Weblogs" or "Web Logs"? Today's paper takes a timid toe-dip into the big blog pond and makes some not so stunning assertions about big J Journalists running risks by blogging. Glad to see our friend Dan Gillmor mentioned there. As for the story all round, they really could have dug a little deeper for a more meaty piece.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

And In The End

And in the end the love you take / Is equal to the love you make. -- Beatles

Thinking of my dad's death today for some reason. Actually thinking of the exact moment he died -- the precise moment he drew his last breath. A precious, intimate, heart-stopping (mine) ... or should I say, heart-stopping (his) moment.

Like walking a child to school at some point, you reach the big door and you must let go of their hand.

And so, you could say I walked him to the end of a long hallway, a life, in fact. And strangely, the day before he died, more than half a dozen family members were there to do the same walk with him, but he wasn't ready to leave. Did he wait for me until the next morning? I can't know.

But I was there the next morning -- only me after long months with him in bitter weather, crunching through ice and snow many mornings to be with him bedside.

Yes, on that last morning, on that last walk, I wonder if he didn't wait for me, because he had a secret to tell me. He wanted to tell me about love. He wanted to teach me how to walk that walk, which I will walk someday.

This is what I was trying to explain to someone today, this strange walk with my dad, who, of course, could NOT walk on that day, but it felt as if we were strolling and he turned to me and he told me a joyous secret, that there would be great love coming my way, powerful love to envelope me and sustain me, an amazing thing and I turned quickly to look at him, I wanted to know more, I wanted to say, hey, wait a minute, give me the details, and I looked up quickly at his face and that sly guy ... he was gone. Just like that.

Going To Church, It's Big With Mercy

It's a lot like going to the gym to workout, if you haven't gone lately and then you go, you think, "why was I staying away?"

Today, I really got hit hard by this hymn and the words stuck with me, the small morsels like "You fearful saints, fresh courage take" and the phrase "He treasures up his bright design" seemed particularly sweet and sustaining:


God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.

You fearful saints, fresh courage take: The clouds you so much dread are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace; behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

Deep in unfathomable mind of never failing skill He treasures up His bright design and works His sovereign will.

Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain; God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.


Saturday, September 21, 2002

Splish Splash

Off to go swimming and play at the gym. Here's a link. This is such a great place. You can swim, you can shoot hoop with the Celtics, you can blog, you can get a manicure, you can get a massage, you've got hot tub, sauna, steamroom. Yes, I'm so spoiled.

Embarrassment Of Riches

My extremely sharp learning curve vis-a-vis 802.11b continues. There are so many people and so many sites available if you want to learn anything about anything these days, it made me think of how limited we were when we were doing time in that house of correction called school. It was so thin on information and links -- we were doing 12 years hard labor -- the teachers were a veritable chain gang pounding stuff into our rock hard heads with sledgehammers.

And now we have an embarrassment of riches. Just the fact you can link and move so quickly and deeply into a subject. It was a quick leap from one river rock to another this morning ... that is, I linked from Scripting News to one of Dave's links 802.11b to find Glenn Fleishman's terrific, simple "about" page and all the other rich stuff.

What is IEEE 802.11b?

The IEEE 802.11b specification allows for the wireless transmission of
approximately 11 Mbps of raw data at indoor distances from several
dozen to several hundred feet and outdoor distances of several to
tens of miles as an unlicensed use of the 2.4 GHz band. The distance
depends on impediments, materials, and line of sight.

This specification started to appear in commercial form in mid-1999,
with Apple Computer's introduction of its AirPort components,
manufactured in conjunction with Lucent's WaveLAN division. (The
division changed its named to Orinoco and was spun off to the newly
formed Agere corporation with a variety of other Lucent assets in early
2001; these assets were resold to Proxim Corporation in June 2002,
although Agere continues to make the chips.)

Digital Damsel In Distress

Good Lord, in a very short time after word went out that I need help getting Wi-Fi going, I've had so many brill folks come to my aid. I want to quote some of the responses, but need to okay that with a few people first. Back soon after I get some okays.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Girls Talk Tech

Okay, okay, I mean Women Talk Technology. So Rebecca at The Cypress Hotel knows her wireless shit. I have to admit, I didn't think she would. In fact I would have bet on it. I'm sure she knows her endive from her arugala, but I was pretty turned on to have her know her wireless hub from her T1 line. But there I go being sexist again.

Only problem -- it's way expen$ive -- a bit like ordering a Coke in a hotel and when the bill for $25.00 arrives, holding it up to the light to see if the bottle was made by Waterford Crystal. There must be a work-around. I'll noodle on that. I'll go see what Eric's doing in Denver at the Hyatt for his conference.

Wi-Fi Blog or Bust

I won't soon forget the disappointed expression on David Weinberger's face this week at one of our conferences here in Boston where there was NO WI-FI AVAILABLE. Holy Heck! It's was something out of Dickens. Pure Oliver. "Please sir, may I have some more ... connectivity?!" Poor kid.

So with two weeks and counting until our conference in Cupertino, I'm taking on the challenge of making sure we're good to go with Wi-Fi on Oct 3 at The Cypress Hotel. And BTW, I am not a terribly technical person but I'm ready to become one.

Dan The Man

What an evening! To spend the night with Dan is really something, I must say.

It starts by certain parties remarking that I still didn't have my DSL up and running after moving three weeks back and how annoying that is since it's hard to reach out and touch. Yes, true but maybe I have a few million other things to wrangle. Important stuff like, where's the garlic press? And ... why can't I find that big bunch of trash compactor bags and where's my bedside copy of The Cathedral and The Bazaar?

So I finally got a quiet moment ... try 3:05 am and I'm wide awake ... and I get Dan from Verizon on the line and boy does that guy know his router from his ethernet cable. I mean when it comes to this male plug goes into this female port ... well, Dan's your man.

To make a long story short. All I can say is POWER READY LINK and wow, we did it! Dan you rock my DSL world. Big thanks.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Not To Be Missed

Dave Winer wrote yesterday about Health and the Web. Make sure to read it.

David Weinberger and I were in line for lunch at the Tuesday conference at the Ritz and I said, "Did you hear someone on the Web wrote that Dave Winer should drop dead -- even knowing what he's been through -- it's indecent."

And David said, "That's an understatement."

Something really sick happens when you become famous enough to be treated like a thing instead of a person. What is that about? I thought this was a community of friends and supporters.

Oh, I guess not, ... it's a community of brave souls who dare to hold strong opinions and a bunch of cowards who take pot shots at them. Great.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Great Conference

The conference we threw yesterday in Boston was awesome. The room was packed. I even got to sit next to David Weinberger at lunch. Very cool. Can't wait for our next one in Cupertino on October 3rd. The VC's better watch out -- some great stuff coming their way from Clay Christensen. And Andy Grove on leadership -- that will rock. Much less Gary Loveman from Harrah's -- how can you go wrong?

Monday, September 16, 2002

Caught In The Act

If you care, and I figure most people don't, here are some pictures of me -- caught with fellow bloggers giving David Weinberger the unfinger in the park. I'm also appearing at a blog near you in these pix (see Saturday post). I've been out and about quite a lot lately. Finding my adventures out of pocket to be much fun.

Monday Dance

All right, everybody. Rise and shine and do the Monday dance. Please remind me though, is it really necessary to do everything in the world by Monday at 10:00am? We know you were up late watching the Sopranos, don't pretend you weren't.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002


I really hope work doesn't come to a grinding halt tomorrow. I still think September 11 was as much economic terrorism as anything else.

Yes, we need to commemorate the day, but after solemn rememberance, let's keep working too. It's is the good old USA, isn't it?

Still Hot

The weather's still hot here in September and I'm getting a craving for an ice cream cone. Can I have a lick?

Monday, September 09, 2002

Where Were You?

This is still the most frightening video of that time for me. Something so eerie about how we all asked one another, "Where were you when you heard that the WTC had been hit?" We all shared that dreadful moment with our friends and so did he.

OBL: We had finished our work that day and had the radio on. It was 5:30 p.m. our time. I was sitting with Dr. Ahmad Abu-al-((Khair)). Immediately, we heard the news that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We turned the radio station to the news from Washington. The news continued and no mention of the attack until the end. At the end of the newscast, they reported that a plane just hit the World Trade Center.

Shaykh: Allah be praised.

September 11th Memorial Service at Harvard

Wednesday promises to be a somber day. Here's what's happening at Harvard.

What's In A Name?

I've become aware that there is some confusion about the pronounciation of my weblog title and not surprisingly, my name.

Ready, ... Halley rhymes w/Sally. Got it? So it's HALLEY'S Comment, if you catch my drift.

However, being more than open to new naming schemes on the web, feel free to call me 12 for short.

AKMA Goes Joho

AKMA and family sited in the Boston Common at 1:00 with me and Steve Himmer, then later appeared under dark of night in Brookline to hang with David Weinberger and his wife.

We sucked down rainbow slushies, they discussed hermaneutics or some such thing. I guess it's different strokes for different folks.

Love Monday

Feels good to get cracking. Tote that barge, lift that bail, open that bracket, backslash that H1 and off we go.

Freudian Slip

Was just reading someone's blog about the "semantic web" -- my eyes are barely open and it read the "romantic web" instead. Get that cup of coffee, Halley.

AKMA-ites and Steve In The Park

Great meeting on Sunday. I wore my cross, dashed down to the Boston Common after church to mix it up with Steve OnePotMeal Himmer and our fav priest AKMA, lovely wife Margaret, daughter Pipster and very tall son Si -- and THEY skipped church. Don't tell anyone!

Saturday, September 07, 2002

Oh Yes! She Knows My Soul

In the car, I've got a CD holder on the visor -- only one CD there, Aretha's Greatest Hits -- managed to leave all the others in the house. And left Eminem at a party -- drat! And I slip it in -- goes in nice and easy -- and I've forgotten how great Aretha is. Make me feel so good inside. Dr. Feelgood and Daydreaming and Do Right Woman and of course this:

Lookin out on the morning rain (Ah-ooo)
I used to feel so uninspired (Ah-ooo)
And when I knew I had to face another day (Ah-ooo)
Lord it made me feel so tired
Before the day I met you
Life was so unkind
But your love the key to my piece of mind

Cause you make me feel
You make me feel
You make me feel
Like a natural woman (woman)

When my soul was in the lost and found
You came along to claim it
I didn't know just what was wrong with me
Till your kiss helped me name it
Now I'm no longer doubtful
Of what I'm livin' for
And if I make you happy
I don't need to do more

Cause you make me feel
You make me feel
You make me feel
You make me feel like a natural woman (woman)

Oh baby what you done to me! (What you done to me!)
You make me feel so good inside (Good inside)
And I just wanna be (Wanna be)
Close to you
You make me feel so alive

You make me feel
You make me feel
You make me feel like a natural woman (woman)

You make me feel (hey)
You make me feel
You make me feel like a natural woman (woman)

Friday, September 06, 2002

AKMA's One Pot Meal on Sunday

Looks like we'll be getting the priest, the pot-man and Ms. Comment herself together on Sunday here in Boston. Bloggers unite! Hope we can pull off the logistics!

[Editor's Note: Hello! AKMA will be here Sunday, not Saturday -- Thanks Steve Himmer.]

Wake Up West Coast

I've been calling people on the West Coast today at work. They're still asleep! I remember when I first moved to LA and one day, I picked up the New York Times -- we had it delivered 'cause we couldn't stand being without it and I looked at it, rather shocked, thinking, "This is old news. These New York people have been up for three hours making more news and we've been sleeping and eating mango slices like lazy idiots. I hate them. They're beating us." Of course, now I'm back east and miss the West Coast non-stop.

Kinko's Guy

Don't fail me now guy. Tap into the network, yes, great slogan, but I need this stuff by noon. P2K = Print 2 Kinko's -- I can email my docs to Kinko's and they'll do all the work and maybe I'll get them by noon or maybe not and then I'll hop in my car, drive to Harvard Square and zip into the store and wring your neck. Got it?

People Who Know What They Want

How rare. How exciting. How interesting to meet people who know what they want and ask for it.

Our Eyes Locked

He looked at me. I looked at him. We both thought, "What the hell are you doing here?" Right there about a foot away from me, on my back porch on the first night I put out my new deck chairs. I could have reached out and touched his furry head. But I didn't. I scrambled for safety. Dove through the sliding doors and whammed them shut, crouching on all fours, heart beating wildly, peering out at him.

A skunk in full technicolor black and white. Yikes. Don't get your smell on me man, I'll never get it off.

[Editor's note: A blog problem -- this should have followed the next post, what the heck.]

Drenched in Silence

Last night I set out my new deck chairs and watched the trees, grass, sky fade into night. It was lovely. I was drenched in much needed silence. The woods were talking quietly, whispering like a lover to me. But then something happened.

My Treat

I have a lot of hard boring work to do today. I just do. So I'm playing a game with myself -- I'll make my list of stuff to do, knock of one thing at a time and then get a little bloggin in as a reward. I'll get a little treat blog -- like gobbling fast food when nobody's looking -- every now and then. Every whipstitch, as my mom used to say.

Negotiations of Loss

I'm beginning to think that the one who is best at losing wins.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Andras Grof

I'm really enjoying Andy Grove's memoir, Swimming Across, especially the poignant memory of having to change his name -- his mother teaching him at 5 years old to stop using his Jewish-sounding name and go by a Christian invented name or risk death.

After reading about his harrowing experiences growing up, I can't think of a better person to lead us through these difficult economic times -- another reason I'm thrilled he'll be at the Cupertino conference.

Here's a bit from the Amazon review: Andrew Grove has earned fame and fortune as chairman and cofounder of Intel. But, we learn from this remarkable memoir, he began life under very different circumstances, narrowly escaping the Holocaust and the closing of the Iron Curtain. Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1936, Grove--then called Andras Grof--grew up in a modestly prosperous, secular Jewish family. Through foresight and sheer good fortune, they avoided the fate of many of their fellow Jews, fleeing the Nazis into the countryside and living in a dark cellar in which "the sound of artillery was a continuous backdrop." Under the Communist regime that followed, Grove distinguished himself as a student of chemistry and was seemingly destined for a comfortable position in academia or industry--until revolution broke out in 1956 and he found himself in that cellar once again. --

September Song

So what was the lesson of 9-11 that the US has failed to learn? I think it's that God doesn't think we're as important as we do.

Dave Winer has much to say about next week's 9.11.01 anniversary. Don't miss it. The hellish moment when people on the top floors were forced to defenestrate themselves will alway remain impenetrable for me. We can not know their terror nor their courage.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Dress Up

In the lockerroom, after a complete flop-out in the steamroom -- almost falling asleep, but not quite, an icy shower brought me back -- I'm noticing all the women's bodies, each so different, all alluring in a strange way. How did we ever get stuck in this woman's magazine wasteland that dictates so narrowly how we should look?

A tall woman, a veritable Alice in Wonderland after a DRINK ME bottle, stretches skyward, her hips knife-sharp and almost non-breasts like two tiny pink targets painted on a flat board, pretty like 2D rosebuds on a china cup -- and makes me think maybe being SO THIN ain't so good. I had a very skinny boyfriend once, nothing to hold on, didn't like that, and rolling around in bed was as cosy as dancing with a skeleton. Thumbs down. Get some meat on those bones.

And bending towards another locker, there's a really large woman. I think to myself -- how do you get like that? And I think, bravo to her to come to this gym at all. And in the steamroom, a lovely girl, strong and shapely, beautiful thing to see, gets me feeling sexy and makes me think of a few men I know.

We dress and it gives us a distinction or lack of, but surely divides us. A woman, quite pregnant, waddles in and I smile to see all of our curves and bulges, muscles, bellies, women in every manifestation. We go home to our lovers, our husbands, our sons, our daughters, our bodies.

Wanna Be In NYC September 11th

Really wanna fly from Boston's Logan down to New York next week. I'll have to figure out a way. Hmmm.