Wednesday, August 27, 2003


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

Still Sad

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Blogger Honor Roll For September

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

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

Email Female Hemail Shemale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Construction Workers

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

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

Late Afternoon

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

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

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

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

Giddy Kid

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

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

A beautiful, sunny August morning and a fruit stand.

And I mean a FRUIT stand.

She keeps walking.

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

She turns to see I'm not with her.

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

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

I wince. Exquisite.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Book of Hours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I open my new improved eye.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surgery A-OK

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

Going Natural

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

Oh yeah, try to relax.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

MIT's Sherry Turkle "Technology And Human Vulnerability"

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

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

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

Fact or Fiction?

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

Suit Yourself

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

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

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

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

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

Person Place or Thing -- Person

Animal, Vegetable or Mineral -- Animal

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

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

Seeing Beautiful Things

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

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

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

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

Beauty In The Eye Of The Beholder

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

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

Glove Girl Is A Babe

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

Microsoft's Glove Girl?

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

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

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

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

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

Harvard President Not Winning Mr. Popularity Contest

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