Sunday, February 29, 2004

And Best Picture

I always forget it's the "producer" award.

Here goes.

Lord Of The Rings -- The 11th win tonight -- this ties with Ben Hur and Titantic for most wins.

Best Actor FINALLY

Sean Penn -- wow, what a group this year.

Best Actress FINALLY

Charlize Theron -- I'm surprised, but I didn't see the movie. It looks incredible. So does she.

Best Director

Peter Jackson, The Lord Of The Rings. "You're giving us a most overwhelming night." Yes.

Diane Keaton Dressed Like Annie Hall

I love what Diane Keaton is wearing -- looks like her original Annie Hall getup.

Errol Morris Finally Wins An Award

He is great, nice to see him win.

"Forty years ago we went down a rabbit hole in Vietnam. I fear we're going down a rabbit hole again." First, political anti-war message of the night.

Billy Crystal, "I can't wait for his tax audit!" Best Line All Night.

Oprah on Mystic River

She's just so damned good at presenting. Like her dress too.

Kate Hepburn Retrospective

My, she was yar.

New Zealand Night At The Oscars

"It's now official, there's no one left in New Zealand to thank." says Billy Crystal. Boy that's for sure.

My Picks -- Update

Here's what I guessed earlier today and here's my YES and NO additions:

Best Picture: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King YES
Leading Actor: Bill Murray NO -- Penn
Supporting Actor: Tim Robbins YES
Leading Actress: Diane Keaton NO -- Theron
Supporting Actress: Marcia Gay Harden NO -- Zellwegger
Directing: Sofia Coppola -- NO -- Jackson
Best Animated Feature: Finding Nemo YES

They haven't gotten many awarded and I'm falling asleep here at 10:25. When does this END?

[Finally ended after midnight on the East Coast.]

Best Make-up Award

Peter King and Richard Taylor from Lord Of The Rings. Is that the 423rd Oscar the film has scored tonight?

Dan's Dog

Was so sorry to hear Dan's dog is gone. I remember when we had to put my dad's dog to sleep. That night in the house -- it was so silent -- so empty -- it was all wrong.

Lord Of The Rings Again

All right, they won something else ... EDITING?! I was doing the dishes, sorry.

Master And Commander

Loved this movie more than I expected to. Saw it on a plane on the way to California. I want to see it in a movie theatre. It was great.

Music By Annie Lennox, Alison Kraus, Elvis Costello, Sting

Wow. The music segments at the Academy Awards usually stink. But tonight, the songs from Cold Mountain and Lord of The Rings were INCREDIBLE.

Also just plain wonderful to see people PERFORM -- it's what the whole thing is about, isn't it -- to see people entertain us with voice, body, emotion. Amazing musical performances.

Charles Schwabb Commercial

Good One. People asking for all sorts of service and all the other investment guyssmiling "Yes," but saying "No," and turning them down. Schwabb offering a range of services.

Bob Hope Retrospective

"I love you," says one pretty actress to Bob Hope. True, true.

Big Hello To Our Servicemen and Servicewomen

Our thoughts are with you and we thank you -- says Billy Crystal.

Right on.

Best Supporting Actress

The Oscar goes to ... Renee Zellwegger. Cold Mountain. First Academy Award ... wow! I thought she'd won before.

She's overwhelmed and a pile of tears.


Cool Motorola Ad.

Best Animated Feature

Finding Nemo. Big thanks to Pixar and Jobs.

Scorcese AMEX Commercial

Pretty damned funny.

Best Supporting Actor

And the WINNER is, "Tim Robbins" -- 1st Academy Award. Excellent. I love him.

Funny Montage w/Billy Crystal

Funny montage of all the movies up for best picture -- with Billy morphed into all of them.

76th Annual Academy Awards Starts With Bond .. JAMES, Bond

Love Sean Connery. Love to hear his REAL accent too. Lovely.

Renee and Nicole

Zellwegger and Kidman are yucking it up, with the wrong accents -- weirdly, I expect Nicole to sound American and Renee to sound British. It's confusing the heck out of me.

Tom Hanks -- I Think There Might Be One Person In The World Who Doesn't Like Him

Hank's advice on enjoying the oscars, "you must start with the understanding, that at any time, you might stand up and say the stupidest thing in the world, that would haunt you the rest of your life."

Angelina Jolie No Date Tonight

Pretty white silk dress, very Hollywood. The interviewer asks her who she's with, "I'm alone tonight." Good answer.

Johnny Depp "This Is A Horse Of A Different Color"

He's swell and has a low sexy voice ... kinda get the notion he's smart and busy being a parent.

Sofia Coppola Sounds Like A Real Person

Nice simple plain black dress. She's a writer, whatever else she is.

Bill Murray "What Are You Wearing Tonight?"

Murray says, "Boxers."

Catherine Zeta-Douglas

She's great.

Jude Law Has Some Helluva An Accent

What the heck ... boy does he have an accent.

Pepsi Commercial -- I Fought The Law

Cool commercial with a girl prosecuted for downloading music. "I Fought The Law."

The Dervster Is Partying

So Dervala is jet-setting in from Ireland to hit an Oscar Party in New York tonight. This girl, man she rocks.

Red Carpet

Tim Robbins and Susan Saradon are the best. She always looks great. Scarlet Johansson in a very green dress -- has some sort of tiers of green ruffles.

Will Smith -- so damned hot -- and his wife is a babe. DANGER ZONE: The Smiths talking about how much they love one another ... spells d-i-v-o-r-c-e, but hope not.

At least this fast cut red carpet coverage is a little more fun than the usual slow, torturous stuff.

Johnny Depp -- insanely hot -- and boy, oh, boy, can he wear mascara.

Naomi Watts looks sweet and humble. Pretty dress but pretty boring.

Ben Stiller upstaged by Owen -- so hokey. Maria's got her diamondy dress on.

"The little girl from Whale Rider she stole my heart ..."

"Examine your heart ..."

"Are those real, btw?" -- he means the diamonds on her bodice.

She Makes Them All Cry

Barbara Walters makes them all cry, including Shrek. Then Shrek (Mike Meyers) remembers how to go to his "happy place" and dodges her "make-him-cry" question.

School of Rock Not Just A Little Good

School of Rock is a LOT good. It's so funny. If you didn't see it, you should rent it for sure.

Red Carpet Fashion Disasters Covered Here

I'll be back to cover the Academy Awards Fashion parade and say really catty things. See you later!

Barbie And Blaine

I still can't get over this announcement, one day before Valentine's Day, that Barbie had dumped Ken for an Australian boogie boarder named Blaine. She's 45, Ken's 43 and it's over, just like that. What does this mean for American Alpha Males?! A bad day for our guys. I couldn't even bear to write about it until now. The San Jose Merc covered it faithfully.
Toy maker Mattel let it leak that Ken's failure to commit was at the core of the couple's troubles. He simply would not ask Barbie to marry him, despite subtle hints like Dream Bride Barbie. Why Boot Camp Barbie didn't propose first we'll never know.

Clearly, there were issues around intimacy. Armed with stiff, plastic fingers, Ken couldn't even hold hands. And, it's true, Ken was not anatomically complete, which may have given him pause on the issue of a wedding and a wedding night
Well, hey, give Ken a break. It wasn't like Barbie had all the right equipment -- she doesn't even have nipples!

It is sad to imagine Ken wondering, "What's Blaine's got, that I ain't got?!"

Hey, Scott

I've met Scott Rosenberg at a bunch of conferences a bunch of times, but kept forgetting to blogroll him. Just wanted to say, "Whoops, sorry, Scott" and get his name up on my list. Believe me -- nothing personal -- I've just been lazy and you're in very good company with a bunch of other brilliant people I've forgotten to blogroll.

Dean Supporters Will Back Edwards -- Watch

Whether Dean comes out publicly or not, I suspect Dean supporters will be the wild card on Super Tuesday and they'll go with Edwards.

Debate: Sharpton Brings It Back To Earth

When he's not being too hot-headed, he brings the discussion back to the real world nine times out of ten and I appreciate it.

Debate: Dennis K Is Strong Today

He has a lot of good things to say. Seems like you can finally hear him now that there are only 4 of them debating.


Did Dan Rather really ask John Edwards that question? He's giving a great answer -- it's NOT a personality contest. Edwards says, "Voters aren't stupid. They look you in the eye and decide whether they trust you or not." Also brilliant and polite that Edwards started by saying simply, "I like John Kerry."

Debate: The Funerals

500 funerals and Bush has attended none. I knew this would come up. It's such a touchy subject. I don't think they addressed it fully or well.

Debate: Edwards On Iraq

On the Bush administration's foreign policy: "They have squandered our credibility around the world," says John Edwards.


Debate: Hammer And Nails

On one point -- "This President does not understand what's going on in people's lives," Edwards nails it.

In response to Kerry being asked if he's a liberal, he delivers a good statement about whether you can call Bush a conservative, detailing his fiscal irresponsibiity and his other radical policies.

Sharpton's right on with "there's a lot more than two Americas".

It's about more than wealth and class, Edwards supports Sharpton.

Debate: Blond Girl Vote

Boy, I'll tell you Sharpton's not winning my vote by ripping the blond woman reporter to shreds over the idea that she has a right to speak.

[To be fair, she did keep jumping in at all the wrong times, cutting people off mid-sentence.]

Debate: Kerry vs. Edwards

Very interesting to see them up close at a dinner table setting. Kerry looks like the tired old dad that won't give his spunky young son a chance to talk. And Kerry won't LOOK at him.

Debate: I Believe

Dan Rather's opening question for the debate, asking the nominees to fill in the blank after "I BELIEVE ----- " was really weird. And he used the word "religiousity" when I think he simply meant "religion." Was this because it's Sunday morning? Want to make sure we keep blurring issues of church and state?

Debate: Democrats On Red Carpet

Can't they walk the red carpet in sexy evening clothes to spice things up? The debates get more and more dull. I want to see these guys in tuxedos.

Face The Nation Audio

Okay, will someone tell me why there's a serious debate about gay marriage on Face The Nation with a very loud audio track that sounds like someone filling a metal sand bucket with rocks and sand? Are we at the beach? Clue me in here.

My Academy Awards Picks

What I think will happen:

Best Picture: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Leading Actor: Bill Murray
Supporting Actor: Tim Robbins
Leading Actress: Diane Keaton
Supporting Actress: Marcia Gay Harden
Directing: Sofia Coppola
Best Animated Feature: Finding Nemo

What I wish would happen:

Best Picture: Lost in Translation
Leading Actor: Johnny Depp
Supporting Actor: Benicio Del Toro
Leading Actress: Diane Keaton
Supporting Actress: Renee Zellweger
Directing: Sofia Coppola
Best Animated Feature: Finding Nemo

Feedster Feed Of The Day

Wow! Thanks Feedster -- I'm Queen For The Day! I mean, the Feedster "Feed of the Day" which is very cool.

Here's the good deal for you new readers and old readers. I'll be adding all my subscribers to my blogroll, so if you don't subscribe, please take a minute to do so since I want to be sure to add everyone to my roll by the end of the day or so.

Tiny Spy Plane

These fly-boys are little old bees.

Phoney Baloney Capture of Bin Laden Likely Timed To Super Tuesday

I'll betcha this is all a set-up to announce Bin Laden's capture late Monday or during Tuesday's elections to eclipse that news. We've seen it all before.

Before Sunrise

It's still before sunrise here, but I was referring to this romantic movie I watched last night. It's a good story about the first time two strangers meet and the 24 hours they spend together falling in love.

The kind of movie that reminds you, you never really can anticipate the twists and turns your life might take. Some consider it similar to Lost In Translation.

Not Even Close To Done

Still fixing my blogroll listings, so email me if you think I've missed you and you want me to add you. It's halley at yahoo dot com.

Got Your Ballot Ready For Voting?

I mean for this kind of voting.

Metal Mouth

I'm getting over this cold slowly, but I have the weirdest metallic taste in my mouth from some of the medicine I've been downing. Maybe after this bout I'll rise to find I look like Jenny, the Teenage Robot.

Sadie Hawkins Day?

Much confusion on which day is which. Whatever the case, today's the day you're supposed to ask that shy guy to marry you, ladies.

But may I say girls, with the authority invested in me by the state of Massachusetts, as a priestess of alpha male knowledge, all good things come to those who wait.

Better not to ask, but intstead, wait to be asked, like Daisy Mae here.

Sushi Guitar

The geisha girl sushi guitar that Zannah aka #!/user/bin/girl pointed to is still playing in my mind.

Christ, Ed!

I liked Ed Cone's review of Gibson's The Passion. He's the first to mention the spoken Latin and subtitles. I still don't want to see it. I particularly liked Ed's comment about the gore:

But Gibson is hardly the first to fetishize the violence done to the Son of Man -- been to a good European museum lately?

I can't decide if I liked this post more than his recounting of the harrowing trip back from a Duke game in a snowstorm that snuck up on him. Both were great.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Saturday Night's All Right

Elton John
Bernie Taupin

It's getting late have you seen my mates
Ma tell me when the boys get here
It's seven o'clock and I want to rock
Want to get a belly full of beer

My old man's drunker than a barrel full of monkeys
And my old lady she don't care
My sister looks cute in her braces and boots
A handful of grease in her hair

Don't give us none of your aggravation
We had it with your discipline
Saturday night's alright for fighting
Get a little action in

Get about as oiled as a diesel train
Gonna set this dance alight
`Cause Saturday night's the night I like
Saturday night's alright alright alright

Well they're packed pretty tight in here tonight
I'm looking for a dolly who'll see me right
I may use a little muscle to get what I need
I may sink a little drink and shout out "She's with me!"

A couple of the sound that I really like
Are the sounds of a switchblade and a motorbike
I'm a juvenile product of the working class
Whose best friend floats in the bottom of a glass

Sweet Painted Lady

Elton John
Bernie Taupin

I'm back on dry land once again
Opportunity awaits me like a rat in the drain
We're all hunting honey with money to burn
Just a short time to show you the tricks that we've learned

If the boys all behave themselves here
Well there's pretty young ladies and beer in the rear
You won't need a gutter to sleep in tonight
Oh the prices I charge here will see you alright

So she lays down beside me again
My sweet painted lady, the one with no name
Many have used her and many still do
There's a place in the world for a woman like you

Oh sweet painted lady
Seems it's always been the same
Getting paid for being laid
Guess that's the name of the game

Forget us we'll have gone very soon
Just forget we ever slept in your rooms
And we'll leave the smell of the sea in your beds
Where love's just a job and nothing is said

The Perception of Intimacy

Interesting piece about Viagra research going nowhere when it comes to women:
Indeed, getting a woman to connect arousal and desire, Dr. Legato said, requires exquisite timing on a man's part and a fair amount of coaxing. "What we need to do is find a pill for engendering the perception of intimacy," she said.
Thanks to Scripting for the link. There's an Elton John song this reminds me of ... I have to remember which one. It has a line about something like hunting for honey with money ...

Hot Saturday Night Bath

Just what the doctor ordered. Love a bubble bath followed by blueberry body butter.

Minor Miracle

This POM pomegranate juice is perhaps -- according to them -- a minor miracle. I just hope it helps me get rid of this cold and it's got to be more interesting than all the standard fluids I've been forcing for two days. Bottoms up.

Blogroll Building

Been meeting so many cool people and reading so many great blogs, I'm going to start adding a big bunch of them to my blogroll. If I've forgotten you, email me your link. Thanks.

What I Meant By My "10 Trends of Political Blogging"

At the O'Reilly Emerging Democracy Conference on February 9th, 2004, I spoke about 10 Trends of Political Blogging, but some of my points were not too clear -- so I wanted to explain them. (One thing I missed completely which I think will have a lot of impact this year is the gay marriage issue.) Alll my new comments are in italics.


I think these are the issues that will matter this election year.

1. Political blogs are simply political. Regular-people-telling-the-truth-about-their-lives blogs are subversive and radical. [I love to read the politico-blogs but learn more about the way the country is going from the day-to-day blogs.]

2. The blog swarm giveth, the blog swarm taketh away. (What bloggers write about -- jump all over -- swarm all over -- put at the top of the charts -- these issues can define the discussion, not because they are necessarily more correct, more fascinating or more important -- but because they are so FAST AND FRESH.) [Let's watch and see how this affects the elections at key junctures.]
3. FDR: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Bush: "We have nothing so profitable as fear and fear itself." [Nothing has given this administration free reign like the terrorism and anti-patriotic memes. Making people fearful has allowed them to write blank checks and condemn anyone who disagrees with their policies as anti-American.]

4. Cheney is not, and never has been the Vice President. [See this link to a conversation between Imus and Andrea Mitchell. They were talking about Karen Hughes leaving as Bush's right-hand person and whether Mary Matalin might want to leave Cheney to work for Bush. Mitchell's comments make it clear the Mary would be crazy to leave the guy who's really running things -- Cheney -- to work for the mouthpiece guy -- Bush. When I said this, I meant Cheney has been behind everything and he's never been visible and the press has done a completely lousy job of uncovering what the heck he IS DOING. Cheney is all about power -- in the way corporate bigwigs are all about power and operate often with no regard for the welfare of others, the country or the environment. He's never been a politician, with some altruistic sense that he's serving the people. And I can't believe how the media have allowed him to remain untouchable and un-reported-upon.]

5. "It's the credit card economy, stupid." [I'm referring to two things here. 1. the indebted middle class and, 2. Bush's ballooning deficit. More people are in more debt than ever before and this will mean a lot of bankruptcy and a lot of shaky economic ground for the evaporating middle class. These people will be wild cards in the election. Also, Bush's deficit blindness and pretending not to notice what all that debt will do to the future of the country will cost him moderates and many Republicans, I think.]

6. There are no more Democrats. There are no more Republicans. [All the core constituencies of both parties are getting very shaken up. Unions are hardly leading the Democratic agenda these days. Fiscal conservatives seem to be out of step with top Republican initiatives. I think we're seeing a transformation of politics away from a binary model and I'm not at all sure where we are headed, but we may be looking at more than 2 parties and even then, the Dem and the Reps will not be who they were even two decades ago.]

7. We should kiss Europe's ass for reminding us who we are as a nation and who we must be and who we can not be. [The push-back from Germany, France and others in Europe about going into Iraq doesn't seem so crazy anymore.]

8. Remember the video of the LA Riots -- dads smashing store fronts, moms carrying away jumbo pack diapers. [This economy will not recover this year and this will make things very polarized this summer.]

9. The Diebold Riots will not be pretty. [If there's any sense that voting procedures are the least bit fishy, all hell will break loose.]

10. Blogs opened our hearts, our minds, our lives. Dean opened our hopes. Meetup opened our homes. Can you spell C-O-M-M-U-N-I-T-Y? There is no going back. [Blogs are letting us share the stories of our lives. When we start realizing that others are going through the same difficulties that we are -- average joe blogger guy not getting a job unrelated to his personal skills, but because there ARE no jobs -- not being able to pay their bills, not because they are personally lazy, but because many people are having trouble paying bills in this economy -- not being able to pay their taxes because wealthy people made out under the Bush plan and average joe and 100's of his friends are also getting screwed -- all of that adds up, taking any reasonable thinking person from the PERSONAL to the POLITICAL. Blogs let you stop and think, "Hey, wait a minute ... maybe this is bigger than me."]

New Blogs

Trying to get some new blogs into my blog roll and my mind. Like this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this.

No Shame 4:33am

There's no shame being awake at 4:33 am EST since it's that delightful Friday nighty 1:33 am in Californ-i-a and elsewhere, it's afternoon tea and nearly dinner and a hundred other slivers of time, like ripe melon on a plate, little sunny yellow and moony silver slices of time.

Fire up some IRC -- international raging chat -- and say hello to all the buddy pals in all the time zones. I wish whoeever is busy blowing a hole in the ozone would blow a hole instead in these zany time zones. They don't seem worth keeping around for much longer. They are just silly as a concept. We keep walking right over time zones and date lines in our slippers, sneakers, swim fins, slip-ons and spectator pumps. Time zones might as well float like currencies, yen and yawn and dollar and euro and wake-up calls from the front desk. Hotel room phones ringing a world away. Ringing the world awake.

One Big Bad Boyfriend -- The Way We Worked

I was talking to someone -- okay, okay, I'll come clean -- I was talking to ... no forget it, you don't need to know. Anyway we were talking about how your old job sucked. Anybody's old job. Everybody's old job. Your old job was like one big bad boyfriend -- you knew there was everything wrong with the relationship, but you just weren't sure how to get out, until he dumped you.

And you hung around the house loveless, but free. You hung around the house jobless, but free. You learned to live with less. You were jobless but FREE for a while, for QUITE a while and then one day you realized, you'd never go back. Hell no we won't go.

Memories of the way we were. Memories of the way we worked. I mean THE WAY WE USED TO WORK. I mean when we were OFFICE CAGE MONKEYS. When you went selling your body -- yes, you were selling your body like a hooker -- to an office from 9:00 to 5:00 and they kept coming by to check to see if your monkey butt was still in your swivelly chair. That was the idea of work. Even in 1999. It was no different from 1899 really. That's the strangest part of it, that we didn't notice in a century it hadn't changed the littlest bit, but then it changed big time. But now you don't have to sell your monkey butt no more. The song has changed.

This is that stealthy side of this "jobless recovery" -- very off the grid -- but hard to explain, even harder to imagine how we go from here. That we won't have THOSE jobs anymore, they are gone like one big bad boyfriend. And instead we cobble together something else. Something we can live with. Something that's about living first, working second.

We say, "here's what I can do, here's what I need you to pay me." And we make it clear that stepping into their monkey cage is just not going to happen -- well, to be fair, maybe it will -- once a month, not much more.

And we say to someone else, "here's what I can do, here's what I need you to pay me." And we say it again. And we say it again. And we say it again. Until we have a portfolio of bosses and if one of them gets out of hand, we tell them "We're terribly sorry, but we're going to have to let you go." We don't cry when they leave, because we remember they didn't cry when they dumped us either. And we can replace them with a new boss.

I saw this called "Boss Diversification" by Scott Adams in an article a long time ago. He was absolutely dead-on.

Shopping Late At Night

I like the feeling too. I like doing a lot of things at the wrong time.
I love grocery shopping at night, when it's quiet and the store is mostly empty. Especially in a large, nice grocery store. I used to do it quite a bit when I werked from home, when my schedule was all backward.

It wasn't even particularly late today when I went - 10pm - but it's pretty late for most people to do their shopping in this area. I have my choice of parking spots in a normally packed lot.

It's nice to be able to walk leisurely through the store without bumping into people, and I don't mind the boxes they've set out into some of the aisles to start restocking. In fact, I think I find it sort of comforting in an odd way. It's a little like being backstage at a theatre.

It seems that the night staff is more laid back, too. . . Or is it me? The cashier and I hold a lazy conversation as he packs the groceries, unhurriedly.

Outside again, the night air is warm. I walk slowly to the car, swinging my grocery bags slightly. I should do this more often.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Just Like

Queen Mary, she's my friend
Yes, I believe I'll go see her again
Nobody has to guess
That Baby can't be blessed
Till she sees finally that she's like all the rest
With her fog, her amphetamine and her pearls.
She takes just like a woman, yes, she does
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl.

It was raining from the first
And I was dying there of thirst
So I came in here
And your long-time curse hurts
But what's worse
Is this pain in here
I can't stay in here
Ain't it clear that--

Oh Geneva My Girl

Okay, okay, I admit, I'm on a complete NYQUIL KILL-ME-NOW high. Just half out of my feverish brain. My throat -- I wish I could describe it -- feels like some very narrow, rigid garden hose -- not good at all and everytime I swallow I think maybe it will just stop working -- feels like I'm swallowing sand, not saliva -- and did they call it saliva so you know if you've got some you're still ALIVA? My cough sounds delightful like two pieces of sandpaper rubbing together in a rugby brawl. Dry, rough, not good.

Anyway, I gathered enough girl power this morning to call Sprint and actually pay them -- they have a nasty habit of expecting you to pay them or they turn your phone off -- and I was kindof liking the thing OFF -- it's a rude little thing, ringing or beeping or vibrating at the most inconvenient times. And I was wondering if I even really wanted to stick with Sprint now that your phone number, as well as your fingers can do the walking.

So I called Sprint and this nice woman answers and I ask her what her name is and she says her name is Geneva and that's a stopper for a person like me with a weird name and I said, "What a beautiful name. Have you ever been there?" And I instantly knew I shouldn't have asked because she sounded like someone stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again.

Geneva said, "Where?"

"Geneva," I said.

She laughed like it was the weirdest idea in the world to actually stop being a Sprint Customer Service Representative and get on a plane to Geneva, "No, never been there," she said.

"You should go, save your money," I said, "or get a guy to take you there."

We were definately off script, I could tell by her nervous pauses.

"Listen Geneva, I just paid my bill electronically with your phone system and then I watched as you guys sucked it out of my bank account -- I saw it -- right here on my computer, it took like, I don't know, like 12 seconds, it was so fast, you wouldda loved it, but then you guys are saying I have to wait 12 hours for my service to be restored -- what's the deal? 12 seconds to take my money, 12 hours to get service. Not fair, what can you do for me, Geneva?"

She was mumbling something ... something like, "Up to 12 hours, sometimes it can be faster." I could tell she was up to something, something she wasn't supposed to be doing, but still reading from the script.

It's a girl thing -- I knew she was flipping a switch or clicking a box or something, I could tell -- girl intuition. I backed down. Everyone hassles her all day long, I figured.

So I say, "Hey, Geneva, thanks for your help and have a great day." And she perked up, "You too." And I know just by the way she said it, that it wasn't on the script.

I hung up. I looked at my phone.

I looked at my stored numbers.

I punched a button -- the thing dialed -- my friend answered -- WAY TO GO GENEVA!

Makeout City

Makeout City is really good. I think I haven't blogrolled it because everytime I think of doing so -- I'm never sure if Jay would rather have me list it under Makeout or under McCarthy or Jay or City or WHAT. Let me know, man.

Remember "all you need are kisses to start a makeout party."

Coins In The Pocket Of My PJ's

For some reason, when I'm sick, I paddle around the house in my pink pj's with coins in the big square patch pockets on the front of the top of the jackety part. I do not have a newstand or a vending machine in my humble abode. I do not intend to go anywhere and spend this money. I don't even know why I have it rattling around in my pocket.

It does make me feel safe for some reason. Like those dying Irish people who want to put coins on their eyelids to pay the River Styx guy, it just seems lucky to have some pocket money on me, in case my sickness gets dire. It's good to leave this world with some spending money. Gotta have it if you're gonna visit that big mall in the sky.

Not to worry, I'm nowhere near that sick. I am a lousy sick person. The whole thing makes me mad and I am ansy as shit trying to just get back to WELLSVILLE. I'm blessed with darned fine health and don't get sick much -- here it is nearly March and this is my first cold this winter I believe. I seem to consider illness some very bad bus ride I never signed up for. I wish they'd pull over and let me out at the next station. I can walk my way back to HEALTHYTOWN faster.

Just Plain Sick

I've got a cold that just won't quit. So can you take Nyquil during the day? I know there's something called Dayquil, but I just wanna hide under the covers and get better.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Alpha Females

So the lemurs have something to say on the subject of alpha females -- I fear they are a little rough on the guys.

Leader Of The Pack

I'm actually doing some research on alpha males -- here's some dog pack info. I need more background on alpha females -- that's the angle I'm really getting interested in.

Weinberger New Harvard Berkman Fellow

Big congratulations to David Weinberger who was named a Berkman Fellow today by Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Bravo!

Is It About Howard Stern or Free Speech?

You know what I think -- whether you like Stern or not, it's NOT about him. It's about free speech and it's not okay. Check out Jeff Jarvis on the subject.

Can We Save The Corporate Soul?

I'm looking forward to meeting David Batstone this week who's written this interesting book called Saving The Corporate Soul.

One thing I find rather scary when it comes to Enron was the sense of moral "slippage" that took place. Can people really so drunk and caught up in a heady environment that they start thinking, "Well, if he did that, I might as well. If he thinks that's legal, well, I guess I'll go along with it." Didn't anyone (save Sharen Watkins, I guess) stop and say, "Hey wait a minute, this is amoral and possibly illegal?" Do people just not KNOW anymore what is ethical and what is unethical?

It brings the conversation around to moral absolutes of right and wrong. Are there absolute wrongs? When you take your kid to church every week and talk about these things, you hope you can keep answering their questions as they get bigger and bigger. My kid's almost up to my shoulder. When he's taller than I am, will I still have all the answers he needs?


I had a "above and beyond the call of duty" customer service experience on JetBlue recently. Just wanted to mention I think they are TERRIFIC. Their DirectTV in the back of each seat is also great -- you can watch CNN or MTV or whatever the whole flight -- or a terrific video of Cirque de Soleil.

And their blue chips are pretty cool too.

And the safety instructions card sits next to an additional card that has stuff on it like how to do yoga stretches in your seat and instructions to make the flight better like

1. Be Nice To Others

and other unusual but reasonable suggestions.

Check them out.

Joho Baby Cake

David Weinberger is puzzled by the classic Mardi Gras "King Cake" where they bake a little plastic baby inside the cake. He's right, the warning label is way weird "CHOKING HAZARD, NON-EDIBLE BABY INSIDE THIS CAKE!"

We had one at church on Sunday and ate a lot of slices trying to find that darned baby. Mardi Gras is all about partying as it ushers in Lent which is all about NOT partying, but giving up stuff. I'm still trying to decide what to give up for Lent. Chocolate is a usual choice, but I don't really want to go THAT far.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Blue Jello Nascar Racers

Yep, we have a Jello Nascar Racecar Mold that makes sleek bright blue raspberry racing car jigglers. Yes, life is sweet.

Untold Seismic Story

I think the fascinating thing about Bush's anti-gay stand is that he really doesn't think that gays matter! He doesn't think they are a political force! He doesn't think they are an economic force! He so totally does not "GET" who they are and what he's done!

And even if he understood their enormous positive influence in this country, he still doesn't understand the power of the heterosexual population who LOVE them. Does he not realize they have mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, cousins, neighbors, bosses, co-workers, subordinates, fellow church-goers, colleagues within industries, just scores and scores of people who love them and honor them and value them, who feel violated now?

The San Francisco marriages were a rumbling of something powerful to come -- joy and love escaping from deep under the Earth's surface. Something that could not be held back. Does Bush not know what new earthquake he's set loose?!?

He's Just Plain Right

Andrew Sullivan says it all today. I've cut and pasted the whole day's posts.


THE WAR AND THE CONSTITUTION: It behooves me to wrestle with a question that many of you have asked me about. I have long been a strong supporter of this president's extraordinary leadership in the war on terror. He has made some mistakes, but I stand by his broader record entirely. This isn't because of some personal liking for Bush (although I've never been able to loathe him). My support for the war is inextricable from my love for America. When this country was attacked, like many others, I was distraught. I was enraged because America's promise of a new world had been threatened by a murderous gang of theocratic thugs. Call it the wrecking of an immigrant dream. I still believe passionately in taking this war to that enemy, of not apologizing for the United States, of opposing appeasement and weakness in the face of evil. As a gay man, I could also uncomplicatedly support a war against some of the most brutal homophobes on the planet, men who also targeted Jews and women and anyone who dissented from their theological bromides. It was because I believed in the Constitution of the United States that I felt no qualms in backing this president and in fighting rhetorical wars on his behalf - because that Constitution was under attack. I grew up in a country where there was no separation of church and state and had to attend a public high school that was anathema to my own religious faith. America has therefore always signified religious and political freedom to me. So when I wrote after 9/11 about the threat of religious fundamentalism abroad, this is how I finished my essay:

In this sense, the symbol of this conflict should not be Old Glory, however stirring it is. What is really at issue here is the simple but immensely difficult principle of the separation of politics and religion. We are fighting not for our country as such or for our flag. We are fighting for the universal principles of our Constitution, and the possibility of free religious faith it guarantees.

The religious fanatics of 9/11 despise the American Constitution exactly because it guarantees equality under the law, freedom of conscience and separation of church and state. The war I have supported is a war, ultimately, in defense of that Constitution. And that is why I am so committed to it.

THE PRESIDENT'S CONTRADICTION: So you can see, perhaps, why the bid to write anti-gay discrimination into this very Constitution provokes such a strong response from me - and so many other people, gay and straight, and their families. It robs us of something no one in this country should be robbed of - equality and inclusion in the founding document itself. When people tell me that, in weighing the political choices, the war on terror should trump the sanctity of the Constitution, my response is therefore a simple one. The sanctity of the Constitution is what we are fighting for. We're not fighting just to defend ourselves. We are fighting to defend a way of life: pluralism, freedom, equality under the law. You cannot defend the Constitution abroad while undermining it at home. It's a contradiction. And it's a deeply divisive contradiction in a time of great peril.

THE NEED FOR UNITY: To those who say that this amendment is merely a codification of existing marriage law and doesn't target homosexuals, the answer is obvious. If it weren't for the possibility that gay couples might become equal under the law, this amendment wouldn't even exist. Pro-marriage amendments could have been introduced before now every year for decades - to ban no-fault divorce, for example. But none was. This one is entirely designed to single out gay couples for Constitutional exclusion. It therefore seems to me that I'm not the one who needs to defend his position. It's the president who has to answer to the charge that in wartime, he chose to divide this country over the most profound symbol there can be: the Constitution itself. I refuse, in short, to be put in a position where I have to pick between a vital war and fundamental civil equality. The two are inextricable. They are the same war. And this time, the president has picked the wrong side. He will live to be ashamed that he did.


I love this guy.

Working Out

When do we decide to get fat? Sometimes, you just give up and stop working out and stop working at it and decide it's okay not to be fit. I think anyone who is battling a lot of weight and wins -- they are amazing. It's so much easier just to give up.

I've been volunteering at my son's early morning before-school fitness program and it's so great to see the way the kids play and work out before the bell rings and then they are stuck sitting at desks all day. Gets me all reved up too.

The good weather is coming back here and I just want to run and jump and walk and be outside all the time. One of the big problems with living in such a crazy climate as the Northeast is having to sit around much of the winter and not exercise. I HATE THAT.

Last year I went skiing tons, but this year was a winter of little snow and brutal cold -- not very inspiring when it comes to winter sports. They go from fun to dangerous when you more likely will get frostbitten than fit if you venture outside. I'm so glad it's nearly OVER.

So Slow

My email lately is moving at a snail's pace. I don't get it. Better check into what is going on.

Hit Me With Your Pet Shark

Sometimes I get the lyrics mixed up ...

Well you're the real tough cookie with the long history
Of breaking little hearts, like the one in me
That's O.K., lets see how you do it
Put up your dukes, lets get down to it!
Hit Me With Your Pet Shark!
Why Don't You Hit Me With Your Pet Shark!
Hit Me With Your Pet Shark!
Fire Away!

You come on with a "come on", you don't fight fair
But that's O.K., see if I care!
Knock me down, it's all in vain
I'll get right back on my feet again!

Hit Me With Your Pet Shark!
Why Don't You Hit Me With Your Pet Shark!
Hit Me With Your Pet Shark!
Fire Away!

Well you're the real tough cookie with the long history
Of breaking little hearts, like the one in me
Before I put another notch in my lipstick case
You better make sure you put me in my place

Hit Me With Your Pet Shark!
Come On, Hit Me With Your Pet Shark!
Hit Me With Your Pet Shark!
Fire Away!

Hit Me With Your Pet Shark!
Why Don't You Hit Me With Your Pet Shark!
Hit Me With Your Pet Shark!
Fire Away!

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

He Actually Must Not Know Anyone Gay

That's all I can figure. Wait until Jenna Bush comes out. Whoa, Daddy! BTW, like everything else here at Halley's Comment, this is complete fiction, designed solely for your entertainment and amusement.

House Of Cards

What drug is Greenspan on? Despite record mountains of consumer debt, household finances are in good shape??? Everyone I talk to admits they are either:

1. in too much credit card debt;

2. are barely making ends meet;

3. have too much month at the end of the money;

4. filed for bankruptcy last week and are finally sleeping through the night for the first time in months.

You Didn't Really Need A Mortgage Anyway, Right?

Check this out. Bush will make sure we're all in rags pretty soon. Mitch Ratcliffe tells the tale in Red Herring.

The Cross He Bears

Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday week is as good a pick as any for launching Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion"

Hate When This Happens

Typepad is down I guess. I wanted to bi-blog the post below at my other blog,, but I guess I'll just have to do it later. That's a place where you can add comments to my posts.

Girl Thing

Yesterday, the eye doctor I saw was a new doctor I hadn't seen before. All the doctors I'd seen at EyeBoston were men and I assumed WRONGLY this one would be too. But instead this doctor was a pretty redheaded woman who seemed a little standoffish at first. I'm one of five kids -- four girls and a boy -- so I spent most of my life before 21 (including attending an all women's college for 4 years) mobbed by girls, women, moms, aunts ... in short, FEMALES. I spent almost all my summers from age 10 to 18 in a summer beach town -- Orient, Long Island -- with three other families full of girls. My pre-age 21 life was all about estrogen. I was Harriet The Spy, Anne of Green Gables, Pippi Longstocking, B is for Betsy and every other spunky girl character you can imagine.

After college, taking a fateful step into a software firm in downtown Boston a week or so after graduation, changed everything. Once I started working there as a secretary and got cozy with a PDP-11 and began learning all about programming in assembly language (something I have no talent for, but did give me a window into all things computer-related), I seem to have spent the second half of my life mobbed by boys, men, male geeks, alpha male businessmen, salarymen, male professors ... in short, those of the testicular trade. I find the whole thing strange. It's as if I've gotten a chance to balance one side of my girl life out with a big dose of boy life -- including having a son instead of a daughter.

The woman doctor and I were both rather cordial and professional at first, but then ... I'm not sure what it was ... but some subject got the two of us GOING and we went into that thing that women seem so good at ... instant sorority-type blood sister BONDING. Within a few minutes we were telling all our stories, secrets, you name it. We were instantly talking about very intimate personal stuff.

Later, I walked back to the car with the male friend who took me to the eye appointment. (I can't drive myself since my eyes get all diliated and weird). We've become friends because he's been through eye surgery too and for a million other good reasons.

I was telling him something about a radio producer on public radio who had interviewed me the week before. It was about women bonding and women's networking ability and in particular the blog I'm involved in and what I thought about how women will participate in, lead and innovate all forms of social software. He reasoned that we are naturals when it comes to connecting and communicating and networking.

My friend who was driving me home from the eye doctor is married with three kids, two daughters, one son, so he's had good experience with women's communication styles to test my theories.

I had told the radio guy and I told my friend that when it came to business, I found women were NOT that good at networking.

I honestly feel we are not ... and we were puzzling over this as we drove out of downtown Boston, past Mass General, over Longfellow Bridge, onto Memorial Drive, past MIT, past Harvard, watching the Charles River lose its hard crunchy ice. Also, he's an entrepreneur in high-tech, so that helped the discussion as we were both coming from the same place.

I told him about the doctor and our instant rapport. I told him it was NOT always that way in business with other women. In fact, it was often the opposite.

"But maybe there's nothing to compete over with the woman doctor," he said, "maybe like any underrepresented group -- say like African Americans in high-tech -- maybe women in high-tech know they are where they are, because they fill a "token" slot for a women in a given organization. If they help other women into their sphere, they run the risk of losing their position. Maybe it's not a good idea to encourage your competitors."

He had a good point. Maybe that IS part of the game. I hate to acknowledge it.

I mentioned speaking at conferences. "You're right. If there are 3 women on the program and 17 men and I suggest to the organizer that there's a great woman speaker they should consider, I run the risk of putting one of the three of us out of a speaking gig, not going to a 4 to 16 ratio."

And then I thought of that notion when it came to jobs, professorships, corporate board appointments. If I were one of three women on a ten-person corporate board and I recommended a great woman to join the board, I still believe she would be considered for a "woman board member slot" not for one of the ten slots and in some ways, women are still being treated like tokens -- a bit like pretty wallpaper to brighten up the boardroom. I'd be crazy to champion the person who could push me right off the board.

I've seen older women who have operated under this premise throughout my working life. They seem to betray their gender on an ongoing basis and are often very tightly aligned with the male power players in their area of expertise. It's a frustrating reality. They do not share their access to privilege. They are queens at court who only hire ugly, inept ladies-in-waiting, if at all. And those ladies will wait and wait and wait, never to be promoted and are dead meat if they're ever found messing around with the king.

I've been accused of doing this. This is actually NOT the way I operate. I'm trying hard to promte women in a number of public and not-so-public ways.

We talked about another angle. I volunteered this -- not him. I mentioned how men in groups often keep the conversation less PERSONAL than women do. In a work ssituation, men might challenge you, yell you down, battle a point with you, but there is often a feeling when the meetings over, there are no grudges held, it's on to the next thing. Again, maybe I'm wrong, but you can cross a woman and it can become a mess of hurt feelings and a very PERSONAL wrong. Hell really may have no fury like a woman scorned. Some have written about this and that men growing up in a sporting culture, being on teams at an early age and learning that one day you win, one day you lose, get better training in not taking everything personally. I know women reading this will absolutely crucify me for saying so, but I do think we take things so personally sometimes. More personally than business merits. It's just work, it's not the end of the world.

I told him I think it's much easier to deal with men in groups than women at times. Power is weilded overtly by men, women learn that being powerful is not attractive and we are often taught to be powerful in very passive aggressive ways. Maybe it's what we learn in families -- I don't know -- but there are dynamics afoot there. I know it's something we have to really examine as women get into more and more powerful positions in the world. Still, we're damned if we do and damned if we don't use our power openly. There's still a culture of powerful men looking decisive and powerful women looking like pushy bitches. I guess the issue is to figure out WHO is defining this? I hope lots of people disagree with me and tell me I'm OH SO WRONG about all of this and that we see powerful women in the same way we see powerful men.

Monday, February 23, 2004

What A Mess

I was talking to a friend about how it's hard to talk to people sometimes who are not parents. I don't mean to be rude, but being a parent teaches you a lot of things that non-parents will never grasp. You learn levels of forgiveness, patience and complete degradation most people without children never get to experience.

Like tonight, when my kid is really tired he often tries to raid the kitchen for something to EAT, instead of just going to sleep, even though it's obvious in a million ways he's not hungry, but exhausted. So he did a kamikaze attack on my fridge about 2 minutes before his bedtime and I caught him in the act and said, "Hey, Kitchen's CLOSED, it's time for bed." He was mad so he slammed the fridge door shut a little too forcefully.

I didn't back down, but sheparded him down the hall to his room and into bed. He was asleep -- no surprise -- in about 7 minutes. He was beat.

I go back into the kitchen to clean up.

I open the fridge.

There was a bottle of teriyaki sauce with the cap half on, standing in the fridge door area where we keep jams, jellies, relishes, sauces. He had upended the bottle when he slammed the door. There was thick, sticky, brown teriyaki sauce all over the bottom shelf of the fridge, soaked into everything -- a bag of flour, I had a plastic zip lock around most of it, but it still got the top edge, along with the cardboard box that holds Diet Cokes, a bunch of other dishes and food, and other boxes, all brown and sticky.

It was one of those messes that as you try to clean up, starts flowing everywhere and only gets worse. Edges of the fridge door frame, under the fridge on the floor. It was incredible where the stuff went -- and it look like a brown blood bath.

This is the fun stuff parents get to do at night. Of course, no kids will gever willingly go to sleep because they think the minute they close their eyes, all sorts of adult partying and fun starts up.

Oh yeah, nothing but one big party around here.

Ideo Ideas

If you don't know about Ideo, go check out their site. They come up with great stuff. Like this.

Get Your Butt In Gear

You know, it's almost bathing suit weather again -- AGGGGHHH!

20 Million LOUD

Check it out. Talk about rock the vote. If you're 18 to 30 we need to hear from you.

The Blog Post You'd Never See Here

I've been thinking of what might be the most unlikely blog post I can come up with. It wouldn't have to do with romance, wouldn't have to do with music, wouldn't have to do with kids, would have nothing to do with Boston ... okay, here goes.

Wait, it would have nothing to do with movies, little to do with religion, absolutely nothing to do with food, drink, fun ... oh my god, what would it be like?

I know!

Some boring law of physics! I'll go google it.

Of course, this is the first thing I found and I love it.

Prime The Pump

Blogging up a storm here because I've been so "off duty" lately. Decided I better get back in the groove.

Some Like It Rough

Too much of a good thing, I'm afraid.

The Power of Love

Serious stuff -- the power of love and animal attraction -- two of my favorite subjects.

Healthy Sex

Time Magazine did an issue all about sex, love and romance, in their January 19th issue, which they contend is are three of the healthiest things a human can get mixed up in.
Studies are showing that arousal and an active sex life may lead to a longer life, better heart health, an improved ability to ward off pain, a more robust immune system and even protection against certain cancers, not to mention lower rates of depression.

We're Talking Major Backlash

I think people are going to pulverize Nader. I think there will be major backlash. People do remember him as the guy who destroyed Gore. And we're all beginning to wonder if Gore was sent to destroy Dean. This election is reading more like a sci fi movie than a political event.

HP Digital Happytime

In this past month, I've experienced something very interesting in a number of homes in a number of states -- California, Florida, Massachusetts -- and that is people really having fun with digital cameras and HP photo printers. And what I'm seeing is a SOCIAL ACTIVITY which is based on technology but feels a lot more like a social activity and a lot less like technology.

In a number of homes, I've met rather non-techy people, both old and young, who are enjoying doing this WITHOUT computers. They take pix with their digital cameras, they come home, put the memory card into their printeres and print index sheets and great photos, right then and there. Many then put together scrapbooks with them, or glue them to card stock to make postcards or do other cool things with them.

The folks I've met who are doing this, are doing it as a group -- friends and families gathered around the printer -- almost in an atmosphere that reminds me of a quilting bee or a party. Sometimes it's happening AT a party.

The people doing it are every age from young to old. Sometimes the young are showing the old how to do it. Sometimes the old are showing the young how to do it. People are really having fun doing it.

I blogged about this six months ago over here. And now I'm seeing it everywhere.

Busy And Happy

I almost hate to say it, but one of the reasons I haven't been blogging very much is that I've been busy and happy. That's saying something.

It's saying that sometimes blogging is a way to complain and whine and bitch and moan and get what you want when the world won't give you what you want. Soapbox, yes and I don't think contented, happy, busy people jump up on soapboxes as often as unhappy people. I'm sure a lot of you in the blogosphere will TOTALLY disagree with me on this, but I'm telling you, there may be something to it.

If you like the world the way it is -- maybe you don't have that pressing need to change it.

Valentines Today

I got two Valentine's cards today. Good day. A little bit late, but all the sweeter.

Chicken Pot Pie

Good Monday night dinner I think for a almost chilly, almost spring sunny day. I hate those crusts of old grimy snow that lay around like old nibbled pizza crusts -- we've really had enough WINTER, thank you!

EyeBoston Is The Best

This is where I had my surgery and they are really terrific. They know their way around cataracts, that's for sure. I've had them since I was 16, so it's high time I got them fixed.

Big thanks to Dr. Bradley Shingleton and all his other doctors -- Baylus, O'Donohue, Price and all the office assistants as well -- Andrea, you're the best!

Glaucoma Test

And if an eye exam weren't bad enough, you may know about the glaucoma test where they must press on your eyeball. For some reason, the eye drops they used to use to numb my eyes before this procedure made me feel both faint and nauseous.

The doctor where I had my surgery actually mentioned this is common for people who are allergic to the standard drops and he had a way of putting in the dye separately from the numbing drops that kept me from having that reaction. Since you need to hold your head really STILL when they do this test, it used to get me even more freaked out to know I might faint or vomit WHILE they were performing the test. He saved the day by telling me about this small detail and they marked it in my chart so every time I've had the test since then, I've had no trouble. THAT's excellent customer service. It used to be the reason I dreaded all eye appointments. Not anymore. EyeBoston rocks.

See You Next Year!

Today I had a final check-up on my new eyes -- I'm one month past cataract surgery for my second eye. It was wonderful to hear them say "See You Next Year!" for my next eye exam.

I've been doing SO MANY eye exams and dealing with diliation and drops and 3-hour long doctor appointments which I can't drive to or from and therefore need to continuously beg rides and gobs of time from friends and family for what seems like a solid year. It's so great to be done.

I'm watching my son and his friend play Jak and Daxter II (video game) and the colors are so gorgeous and I can see it so precisely, even across the room, the detail is nearly crunchy it's so clear. What a blessing.

Kos Goes Edwards

Ed Cone points us to a new endorsement -- Daily Kos supports Edwards.

Dean Will Rise Again

Mass voters still have the choice to vote Dean -- check out the Mass for Dean site. Here's the net movie my friends at Cinemetrix did for Dean.

Vacation Week

Think business and the economy is picking up?! I think it is for sure. Just like Dave trying to schedule a new event, I've been trying to get a few people together for a meeting and March and April are SO BUSY I can't get over it.

As for the week of 17 April through 25 April -- that's the kid's vacation week -- or spring break for big kids.

Off To The Beach

Sometimes, you just want to find yourself at the beach with the beach cam spying on you.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Jeneane's Been Writing Great Stuff

There's no news here. Jeneane ALWAYS writes great stuff. Just make sure you're reading it.

What Makes You Happy

I've been noticing some people are just fun to be around -- make you feel happy when you see them -- and at the other end of the spectrum, some people are really depressing to be near.

People wear their personalities like a weather report -- some are so stormy, some others so sunny, most of the rest of us somewhere in-between. I wondered what we can learn from the bright ones.

Here's something about simply APPRECIATING what you have in your life. This article reminds me how simply being in nature can help your mood. For us Bostonians stuck in the house during this cold cold winter, it's good to remember.

Here are some other parts of the piece:

Being in a beautiful place just naturally sets off my feelings of appreciation. However, it’s not always possible to be in that type of setting when you want to shift out of feeling stressed.

Fortunately, you can do an Appreciation Audit in any quiet space in which you can take three to five minutes to think about some aspect of life for which you have a deep feeling of appreciation. Many people will do this during their commute. It works wonders to intersperse some appreciation into your life three different times during the day.

The essence of the process is simply focusing your mind on something you appreciate while blocking out all other thoughts. When the negative thoughts pop up, tell you, “Not now. I’ll deal with those problems later.” And refocus your mind back onto the positive images that make you feel good.

You can choose anything to focus upon. It may be the savory sensation of a piece of chocolate melting in your mouth, or the love you have for your family. It may be the memory of being in a peaceful place that made you feel incredibly alive.

Another method for focusing on positives is to construct your own Top 3 lists. Think of whom you would want to include in your list of favorite people to be around, or your top 3 favorite pieces of music, or the 3 reasons that you love your spouse, or 3 things you dream of doing before you die.

While you are concentrating on what you appreciate, allow the calm feeling that will come over your mind to drain down into your heart. Notice how your heartbeat can slow down and develop an easy rhythm.

Some people will have difficulty doing this exercise because they have lost touch with what’s good in their lives. Because we live in a society that is fear-based, we can become accustomed to focusing on what is wrong in the world or what we fear may go wrong next.

I'm trying more and more to get those BAD WEATHER people out of my life.


Lately, I've been feeling so lucky to have a group of great friends who always seem to know what's best for me, better than I know. They call and invite me out to dinner at just the right moment when I'm feeling a little lonely, they offer me a chance to go swimming and have a fun meal afterwards on just the right Saturday afternoon, they share the difficult times they've gone through as women, parents, single parents, people who've been through loss, or are going through it right now. I really don't remember ever feeling so blessed as I do lately with all these great friends. I wonder if I was just not appreciating them when I was married, perhaps taking them for granted, but these days, I feel so lucky they can put up with me, be friendly with me or just plain care about me. It's wonderful.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

There Are A Few Things

At Christmas, I noticed for all the nice things I got, there were a few things -- just little things -- that weren't even necessarily gifts, that I bought to use wrapping gifts and writing out tags, like this new Scotch tape dispenser that I really loved that were just wonderful to have around my house. Also some new gel pens I got that I'm particularly fond of.

Is it odd to be so ga-ga over a few small items that are designed in a simple and beautiful way and just make my day? In some ways I'm more fond of them than any of the other "big" gifts I got this year.

Here's the tape dispenser. It looks like a lovely one-horse open ice sleigh, dashing through the snow.

Here's the pen I love. It's called the Uni-ball Signo Gelstick. I only have the black ones. I like their funky torpedo shape.

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Great rainy grey morning to jump on the couch, open your cereal box, munch on Capt Crunch and watch cartoons.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Plaid Shirt Conference

Yes, I do own some flannel plaid shirts and I always try to wear them when I have the lucky chance to catch up with Dan Bricklin -- as this is his signature look.

We had a great lunch yesterday and did the usual brain dump, word tumble, "hey, did you hear about ..." intense conversation that bloggers seem bound to have when they get the rare chance to hook up in person. Thanks Dan for taking the time.

About Oddblog -- I Mean, Audblog

I was telling a friend about Audblog this morning. I always think of "Oddblog" when I hear the name which makes me think, of course, of Oddjob. And I'll tell you, I think Audblog is even cooler than Oddjob. Do check them out!

Powered by audblogaudio post powered by audblog

Mix Of Clouds And Sun And Snow And Freezing Rain And ...

Heading out to ... goodness knows what weather ... looks like a good weekend for movies. I feel like making Potato Soup, just need a good recipe.

Always Blame Sally Hoot

If I get in trouble for doing something, I always blame my alter ego, Sally Hoot, who is a completely out-of-control wild woman. I would never have as much fun as she has. Or at least, if I did have THAT MUCH FUN, I don't figure I'd live to tell the tale.

"Me? Do that? ... Oh, no, never ... that was Sally Hoot, I'm sure she did it."

Go Back To Bed

This is the problem with going to bed early -- you're wide awake way too early. I'm downing a glass of warm milk with cinnamon on top, then diving back under the covers for that LUXURY SLEEP from 5:00am to 7:00am when the dreams are wild and romping and the sleep is exquisite and fatty.

Gigantic Gobs of Spam

I am getting gigantic gobs of spam lately. I don't know why it's suddenly so enlarged, this big gob of spam. Speaking of enlarged, they seem to have finally given up on my penis -- thank you -- but now are urging me to refinance a home I don't own, in a town in California I don't live in anymore.

Bonnie Lass

Who doesn't love Bonnie Raitt?

Sittin' in front of your house,
Like rain in early dawn
Workin' on a love letter
Got my radio on.

Got my eye on your window pane
And i smoked a lot of cigarettes.
Mercy, mercy but love is strange
And you haven't even kissed me yet.

Look comes to push,
Push comes to shove,
Shove comes to touch,
Touch will come to love.

Workin' on a love letter,
Listenin' to a love song,
I'm writing you a love letter, love letter,
Got my radio, radio

Hope you get the message baby.
I know that you're gonna let me in.
It's real in your neighborhood
And this is more than i'm gonna bend.

Look comes to push,
Push comes to shove,
Shove comes to touch,
Touch will come to love.

Why don't sit waitin'
Why don't behavin'
Love's waiting in the car,
In the car and rain now.

Workin' on a love letter,
Listenin' to a love song,
I'm writing you a love letter, love letter,
Got my radio, radio

Look comes to push,
Push comes to shove,
Shove comes to touch,
Touch will come to love.

(3 times with adlibs)
Workin' on a love letter,
Listenin' to a love song,
I'm writing you a love letter, love letter,
Got my radio, radio

Indulge Me

Sometimes this blog feels like a shop window where I arrange pretty stuff -- put a pink felt hat with a big plume on a wooden mannequin head, right up front next to the glass -- or other stuff for all to see. Or set out something lovely and lush -- a little diarama of Hawaiian hula girls dancing under breezy palm trees, fronds flopping -- for others to notice as they pass by on the busy thoroughfare outside.

And other times I want to say -- SHOP CLOSED -- and I pull down the blinds and go off for the day on some private adventure -- maybe to the Zoo, maybe strolling on a faraway beach in a dreamy way, maybe off to track down a long lost button to put on an unusual and impatient coat, maybe to see a not very popular, but very interesting French film at the artsy theatre around the corner with a girlfriend who I talk into ditching work. We eat red licorice.

And lately, I've felt like that, and even more private and quiet, pulling down all the blinds and cleaning out the back storeroom, doing inventory, sweeping, restocking the shelves, so I ask if you would please indulge me as I put my shop in order. I expect a GRAND RE-OPENING any minute, as spring is finally beginning in these parts. I feel a wonderful rumble of spring flowers poking their heads out of their beds in the windowbox, just watch.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

I'm Shooting Across The Sky

Yahoo's new search engine makes me # 2 and puts Edmund Halley the astonomer ahead of me at #1 -- which I've said is much more appropriate than the way Google puts me first and the star man second.

They have really wonderful sexy pictures of me too.

We Meant 26 New Jobs, Not 2.6

White House reading, writing and 'rithmetic initiative in full force. No child, including George, to be left behind.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The Pentagon's New Map

New book coming out soon by Thomas P. M. Barnett (U.S. Naval War College) which is really interesting. Thanks to Critt Jarvis for telling me about it. Check out these links. There was a piece in Esquire Magazine last March by Barnett which "laid out a revolutionary new U.S. defense strategy for the post-9/11 world," as the publisher of the book, Putnam describes it.

Dean Ends Presidential Bid

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Mark Twain Move Over -- Read Barlow

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It's Not Garbage Day

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Pink Dear Dear Diary

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Taking Out The Garbage

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My Kyboard

Is totally screwed up and if life without the J and C keys weren't bad enough, now th ky .... I MEAN THE 'E' KEY rquirs th forc of a sldghammr to mak it work -- so I'll b doing a bunch of audio blogging today.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Red Red Wine

Drank some wine the other night. Just thought I'd mention it.

Adam in Iraq

Adam Curry is blogging from Iraq as you all must know, but I wanted to say how great his stuff is and how it just gets better every day. Don't miss it.

Weinberger on Politics As Unusual

And as I was saying below, David talks about "Ralph and Howie" over at his column Loose Democracy at Corante.

Politics As Usual

There isn't any more politics as usual. I was chatting with friends yesterday about all the weird and wild transformations going on in the political arena these days and we were left with the feeling that ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN and even the thing you least expect can happen.

Extraordinary Kindness

It's nice to be turned on by people who make a conscious choice to show not only their sexy and romantic side, but also their extraordinary kindness. Rare enough in this world.

Hit The Mats

Getting back into working out now that my surgery is over and I can really exercise. The eye doctor doesn't go into any bloody details, thank goodness, but after eye surgery they don't want you jumping around or throwing your head down and over suddenly, putting pressure on your healing eyeball. So all the aerobic stuff and much of the yoga -- think downward dog -- is probably not good. I didn't want to risk it, but I hate my flabby old February butt. Time to get ready for the beach! Worked out hard this morning from 5:30 - 6:30.

Working At Blogging, Blogging At Work

I'm heading up to the North Shore for lunch with Ray Ozzie from Groove today. Maybe I will get a cheese sandwich for lunch after all. I want to hear what he has to say about blogging at work, as he still seems to be the one CEO who condones the practice. A lot has happened with blogging since both of us worked on the piece in Harvard Business Review about an employee who blogs last fall. I wonder if he feels the same way -- or if I do for that matter. I'm not working at the same place anymore, but I didn't leave because of any blogging issues. I'll report back on all cheese sandwiches consummed.

Cheese Sandwich

I love what Mena Trott said at Demo as reported by Doc. "People do want to hear you had a cheese sandwich for lunch." I think she's right, but goodness knows I'm biased.

Not only that, but Ben and Mena won a FAST COMPANY FAST 50 award! Congratulations!

Monday, February 16, 2004

New Day

I am awash in feeling blessed this morning. For one thing, my eye is NOT awash, which is to say, yesterday was the last day of eye drops I had to take every day for the last month since my cataract surgery. In the week immediately following the operation, you do drops more than six times a day. I had three little bottles. I had to stop whatever I was doing, lie down, do one drop in my eye --- wait 3 minutes -- do the next drop -- wait 3 minutes -- do the next drop -- wait 3 minutes. Doesn't sound like a big deal, but it reminded me of breastfeeding schedules, which when you read them BEFORE you have a baby sound reasonable, but once you have your baby, you suddenly realize, "Oh, I get it, I'm going to spend every minute of every day breastfeeding this baby!"

So after a week of three drops six times a day, you go to a week of four times a day and then a week later you go to two times a day. This was a very weird transition -- unexpectedly difficult -- by the time you've done this intense two weeks of drops almost at every meal time, to cut back to twice a day makes you feel very confused, sad, a little thrown off, you MISS your drops -- it's so odd. So week three is twice a day -- you realize you're healing, you're getting back to normal -- and even this makes me feel different -- maybe it was kindof special to be the "patient" and get special attention from family and friends, or at least some sympathy -- but now you're on the road to normal. You should be thrilled, but just as the new mom starts weaning her baby eventually, you lose a special status in the world.

And after twice a week, you go to that most strange last week of once a day eye drops. You've been carrying around three little bottles everywhere for a month and now the three little companions are about to desert you -- for your excellent eye sight -- as they should and as you should be more than happy to welcome, but life is a funny moody roller coaster, isn't it and even blessings can be mixed.

And you might have noticed how little I have written about my new eye. And there's a very big reason. Just as my first eye's improvement was so dramatic and I was gushing daily about it, this second eye's improvement as been ALSO extraordinary. But it has taken me down a path much more difficult to walk. My eyesight is so good now, I am seeing things that I just don't want to see. I am seeing very line, wrinkle, blotchy mark, scar of every face I encounter -- especially mine -- and that is sobering I must say. Sometimes it's not beautiful.

When I got eye number one fixed I went from terrible sight to a front row seat at a deliciously beautiful and colorful circus. I was seeing Cirque de Soleil from the best seats in the house. When I got eye number two fixed, I found myself backstage in their makeup trailer, seeing every imperfection of their faces before they applied their makeup, every slight unraveling or tear of their pretty costumes, every old clown trying to look young, every terrified grimace (usually hidden) when an acrobat makes a landing the audience never sweats but the team knows is viciously difficult and could result in harm. I am WAY up close.

It's not easy to get used to, but finally, I admit, it is a blessing in disguise. It lets me see a real world; a real world of work and worry, of disappointments and tears, but also of real love and real hope and real people. I guess that's the best word to use -- real -- my new eye says, "get real" and real isn't so easy every day -- but what it might lack in shimmering fantasy and trompe l'oeil artistry, it more than makes up for in truth.

I live in a world of bumps and scratches and arrive newly born, nearly age 50, with my old face in the mirror, wonderfully blessed to see the world as it is, and tell the tale.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Tuning In Late

I saw a concert on TV of this great woman singer, but they didn't put her name on the screen or even have a commercial break mentioning who the artist was. It was driving me crazy trying to figure it out. I didn't know who she was but I did know I loved her music. I remembered one song and scribbled down the words because I liked them so much.

"But this just the beginning
We're already wet, and we're gonna go swimming

Why can't I breathe whenever I think about you
Why can't I speak whenever I talk about you
It's inevitable, it's a fact that we're gonna get down to it
So tell me
Why can't I breathe whenever I think about you

Of course, it was Liz Phair -- someone I keep hearing is so great and I guess not only did I tune in late to the concert on TV, but tuned in late to how terrific she is.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Have Yourself A Very Merry

A very merry Valentine's Day to all!

Friday, February 13, 2004

Fly Boy

Go on, surprise someone in a distant city with a big heart-shaped box of chocolates. It's a risk, but maybe worth taking. Life is short.

Heart Sore

Bittersweet candy heart for those of you down ON love, instead of down with love.


A good word for today -- frisson -- a sexy shiver of anticipation.

Romance Redux

I suppose I could write something romantic and NEW, but maybe I'll just put some of my earlier stuff up for a warm-up and spend the day dreaming up some new stuff.

A recent one about fur.

An old one about a kiss.

A classic about ... well, you know, my favorite alpha males.

Too Much Trouble

On the day before Valentine's Day, Erosblog points to a very funny piece about why kinky sex is just too much trouble.

Since blogs are all about innovation, the writer is helpful enough to imagine a new service industry:

I think there should be a kinky sex van that roams around the neighborhood like an ice-cream truck - but instead of a white van that plays "Pop Goes The Weasel," it should be a jet-black limo with a stereo system blaring "Pull Up To The Bumper." The kinky sex van would cruise through the neighborhood as adults flocked out of the house and ran after it. Eventually - because the Kinky Sex Driver would be like all sadistic f***ing ice cream drivers, who would drive an extra fifty miles just to watch the kids collapse in exhaustion behind them like the Bataan Death March - it would pull over, and everyone would get their wish.

For a mere fifty dollars, the Kinky Sex Van Driver would walk into your home, chloroform your kids, tie your wife to the bed in a very professional manner, and walk out, leaving you to f*** with eagerness and joy. When you were done, he'd come in, gently untie all concerned, collect all of the chains, clean up the chocolate sauce and whipped cream - and leave, saving you all of the effort. If you wanted extra partners, there they'd be in a box in the back! Not prostitutes, mind you, but just happy-go-lucky folks who liked to have random sex with droopy middle-aged fat people.

Kerry -- Who Cares?!

I used to have a boyfriend who would blame me for everything. I could do no right by him. My mom told me how to combat this ridiculous guy (and to dump him). If it was a "you left the toothpaste cap off the toothpaste tube" allegation, she suggested going into the bathroom and leaving about 5 or 10 other lids, caps, tops off of any available bottles, tubes, jars, and tell him how right he was to accuse me, that I was guilty as charged and point out that my behavior was far more egregious than he even imagined. Whenever he wanted to play "You're so bad and I'm so righteous," she taught me wisely to play "Oh, yes, you're so right and I'm so much worse than you know." With her good advice, I drove this guy crazy and drove him out of my life.

The Kerry rumors, and all these political rumors remind me of my mom's good advice. It's time for all politicians to fall on their swords and say, "Oh, yes, yes, yes, we're so bad, bad, bad." It's time for us all to start flooding this silly system with so many ridiculous rumors that none of them matter at all anymore. Time to say, "who cares?!"

Time for America to grow up and remember the guy is running for President, not Altar Boy.

And remind me, are all Americans squeaky clean and above reproach in their private lives, and therefore can demand the same from a leader?

Why do we require an unstained boy scout to run our country?

And when (and if) there's any solid evidence that Kerry or anyone did anything wrong -- send me a telegram. Otherwise I'm hitting the snooze button -- the story's already a bore.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Hugs And Kisses

Always a good thing, right?

Eric Norlin

Just added Eric to my blogroll. He's in a good neighborhood -- better than Marvin Gardens and Ventnor Avenue -- right there between Ed Cone and Erosblog.

The Star You Are

David Weinberger and I were coming back from a meeting I'd set up for him, not that he couldn't have done it himself, but we had a conversation about why the folks were willing to meet with us and ended like this, "You're famous," he said to me. I hated the idea. "No, I'm not," I said, "if anyone is, you are. Not me!" I told him. "You are," he insisted. I still disagreed.

David and I met when he needed help editing the book he was writing two years ago, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined" and I was finishing up some projects helping people write, edit, shape book manuscripts. We became friends. We would meet in Chinese restaurants -- actually one Chinese restaurant in Brookline -- and I would give him my notes on his chapters. Were we famous? No. He was better known for sure than I was then, if we have to discuss degrees of alleged "fame" but I only thought of him as my friend. I thought of us as just two people having lunch in a Chinese restaurant -- one writer trying to help out another writer.

Is there an "A List" of Bloggers? Are they famous? Are they stars? This notion is swirling around the ETech Conference in San Diego this week -- that there is an elite set of bloggers and that they are an exclusive community, perhaps not receptive to less "famous" folks' desire to engage in conversation or discussion or dinner with them. It's really a complicated issue.

I think you must examine two things to begin with. First of all you have to define what blogging is as a medium. Then you have to open the larger conversation about what social software is and in particular the social network software of which Friendster, LINKEDIN and Orkut are examples.

As for what blogging is, you could say at one end of the spectrum, blogs are simply online journals. But you might go to the other extreme and agree with what Alan Webber of FastCompany Magazine once told me, "Blogging is performance art." It's not the definition everyone would use, but it points to something important about this "fame" discussion. It would be a lie to say we aren't trying to draw attention to our sites, our selves, our writing here on our blogs. I'll personally take Joi Ito to task on this point. When he posts pictures with him, his fiance and Steven Spielberg on his site -- come on, Joi, get real, you can't say this is to make you look like Joe Regular Guy or Mr. UnFamous, right? He and I have talked about this stuff. And I would say I'm guilty of the same name-dropping and "guess where I've been and what cool people I'm hanging out with" blogging. Still, when we are at a conference, we have our friends there and since we rarely get to all be in one place at one time, perhaps the time we spend with them can look exclusionary of others. I'm waffling here, unwilling to say we were snobby or we were justified in our behavior, but I can see it from both sides. It's hard to explain what it feels like when you just want to talk to 3 friends, but 30 strangers also want to talk to you. And you know those 30 might be equally fascinating, pleasant, and articulate but there are THIRTY of them.

There's another subtle level to it. Joi Ito the person and Joi Ito the blog are different. Halley (me in my skin here) and Halley's Comment Halley are different. When we take our bodies for a visit to a conference and we meet with our friends who we chat with, email with, blog and comment with, we are being ourselves mostly. But people are also reacting to us as our blog performance art persona. It messes with your mind.

I was at the Bloggercon event last October and at San Diego for ETech this first week of February. Something has changed in the world of bloggers since October. It may be the fact that blogging is getting much more attention in the national media and that many more blogs have been set up and there's a larger community now, but the effect Clay Shirky had forecast seems to be happening, i.e., due to power law distribution, many more bloggers makes a few very very famous.

A persistent theme among people writing about the social aspects of weblogging is to note (and usually lament) the rise of an A-list, a small set of webloggers who account for a majority of the traffic in the weblog world. This complaint follows a common pattern we've seen with MUDs, BBSes, and online communities like Echo and the WELL. A new social system starts, and seems delightfully free of the elitism and cliquishness of the existing systems. Then, as the new system grows, problems of scale set in. Not everyone can participate in every conversation. Not everyone gets to be heard. Some core group seems more connected than the rest of us, and so on.

Now, notice if I'd said "the effect Clay had forecast" instead of "the effect Clay Shirky had forecast" -- the former obviously makes it sound like Clay's my big buddy and we're in the same social circle, the latter merely a conventional attribution to an original source by the writer's name. This small omission makes all the difference. In fact, I have not met Clay, so it didn't seem appropriate to suggest that proximity.
It's not unimportant to note that the claims by some folks attending or hearing about the ETech Conference that there was an elitist and exclusive parading around of the so-called A-List bloggers, comes right on the heels of the big brou-ha-ha over Orkut, a new social software network.

To return to the format and intent of my essay mentioned above -- define blogs and then define social network software like Friendster, LINKEDIN and Orkut. At their best, these social networks, collections of people's names and profiles that supposedly facilitate community, give members the chance to make contacts for work, fun, family. At their worst, they are one more lame attempt to name and categorize who's cool and who's not. That "cool" game, and privacy issues, were the reasons I did not join Orkut. I don't like that kind of exclusive club. I haven't used Orkut so I have no right to criticize it, but it feels just like the local country club that won't invite jews, blacks or women, depending on the decade.

If there's any justified fame to be found here on blogs, it should be a "fame of talent." If you write well and people value your writing, that should be the beginning and the end of it. That people want to see, study, talk with, flirt with, drink with, point at, dance with our real live blogger selves is something else entirely.

The place I find interesting is where the two overlap and create disappointment -- where blogs and social networks create a false zone of "intimacy" -- making all parties feel they really "know" one another. Perhaps when we gather together in the real world, there's a sense that if we've played and chatted in Orkut or IRC, read the most personal details of a blogger's life and have had one another's email addresses in our address books for years, we should have equally intimate access to those same people in the lobby of the hotel. As many have written lately, social webs are just a lot more complicated than that and very hard to reduce into a flat software app, and as we stumble our way along, we'll have to watch social network software evolve and take on some of the complexity of real life relationships, or vanish from the scene.