scrap pad

impersonating Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson's Credit Card!

making a backpack, part 1

went to JoAnn Fabrics for backpack parts, spent too much and didn't find what I needed. Came home and found that REI has everything I need, buckles-and-straps-wise. (will return crap, order what I need online.)

REI sells the 'hook' and the 'loop' parts of velcro seperately... and for different prices. heh.

43 things

forgot about this site. I don't like the interface. It is neat to see so many idealistic to-do lists. me on 43 Things.

britney spears on a bearskin rug

ew ew ew, had to share it with you: "Monument to Pro-Life" (via uncertain principles)

steve jobs quotes

Steve Jobs quotes at Wired via kottke.

pecan pie guitar tabs

tabs for "Pecan Pie" by Jeff Tweedy/Wilco (more music for wilco songs)

money belt

ugh, money belts. Eagle Creek UnderCover™ Passport Money Case - eBags

packable backpack

been designing a little backpack in my head, it's like this Patagonia bag.

addictive flash game

Fly The Copter - Seethru Zine

travel sleep gear

The big debate in my head is whether to bring a sheet or a sleeping bag. My dad says that the first thing he did in Europe was buy a sleeping bag, but other people say the first thing they do is get rid of their sleeping bag. bleh. silk sheet for hostel sleep?

Turing Machine

Finally I pretty much understand them! Because of this explaination of (a) Turing Machine at Good Math, Bad Math (a math blog!)

from the same blog, proof by induction clarified (at the bottom of a post on recursion).

tax forms

Federal forms at, Maine forms at tax rate schedules are there too.

time warner cable support page

called because our connection has been v. slow recently; the twmaine support page has a connection speed test (at the top, in the center)


It says "dragon ninja assault" oops I mean "Super Homosexual"

Creative Commies

been admiring these tshirts forever. got the hoodie for kb for christmas. copyleft "Aeroflot" shirts

Quiz: Does Your Weblog Own You?

It owns 6.25% of me. nothing there for the casual or compartmentalized blogger. Quiz: Does Your Weblog Own You? (via Uncertain Principles)

physics sub-fields

physics sub-fields at Uncertain Principles

(bitching about my mental bad habits)

Very often it's obvious how superficial my interpretation of news is. It's frustrating and embarassing, and makes me not want to open my mouth about news at all. My first analyses are based as much on my emotional reaction to reading or listening to an article as they are on the content of the article. I remember inflamatory bits and pieces quoted by blogs or half-heard snippets, not sources or context or related articles. Ugh.

more cunt

I told her about my classroom discussion of the word cunt, how I speak of the goddess Cunti, the source of law and life, order and death, creatrix of the world. The one whose name is origin of country, kin and kind, of cunning, ken, and cunnilingus. How her powers and ours were divided and defamed. The power of the universe reduced to one part of woman's body, cursed on the street and at home as cunt. For thousands of years, the word caught and caged like our beautiful furry bony part. But if we don't use this elegant word, what are we to use? Do we go on saying down there, as if our bodies hold hell, the underworld, a place forbidden to venture?

from p. 111 of S/He, by Minnie Bruce Pratt, ©1995. (borrowed from/lent by Jen recently)

On a side note, there is a mythology around a lot of feminism; I don't necessarily dislike it, but it's taught alongside feminism described as necessary justice and as ethics, and I'm uncomfortable with mixing the two.

I like the word "creatrix."

And I think that the combination of woman-pride and stress on the importance of gender fluidity is weird, interesting, and oxymoronic. Though it doesn't have to be.

(I was thinking about cunt last month)

backpacking gear reviews

this site is really informative/has thorough reviews. I mostly read the sleeping bag section.


Crystal Body Deodorant: "The Deodorant Howard Stern calls, 'Fantastic!'"

"The iPod Juggernaut"

Daring Fireball aka John Gruber, as usual, pins it on the nose with his take on Apple's iPod strategy. Noted from there: iTunes is in the top 10 US music retailers, says the BBC. And "iPod peripherals are a billion-dollar-per-year industry" he says, linking an article at the NYTimes entitled "The iPod Ecosystem." Sick.

"Straight? Unhappy?"

Watt, operator of the Justinsomnia blog, says he exercised free speech when he parodied the Exodus billboard, which says, "Gay? Unhappy?" Wyatt re-created the billboard on his site so it read, "Straight? Unhappy?"

heh. quote from USA Today. more info at justinsomnia. via boingboing.


Neither Blogger's nor my dictionary has the word "transitioning" in it... not under the variants of "transition," not on its own. does, though, under "transition," but points you to "transitioning (transgender)." My initial thought was, 'does this word not exist outside of the transgender context?'

( has it, Merriam-Webster does not. huh.)

too much information

I fee like the issue of transitioning from reading crushes' blogs or social networking profiles to talking to them is a little more complex than this:

If you stumble onto your lust object's blog, go ahead and read it—but then never let on that you have. You must pretend to be astonished by discovering your mutual passion for zydeco music and lawn bowling. Otherwise, you're the Mayor of Stalker City.

(from Mistress Matisse's column this week in The Stranger)

Granted, I've been honored with the "Key to Stalker City," but I feel like there has to be some acknowledgement that you've been reading up on each other's intimate details (like, uh, favorite books and tv shows). I tend to solve this (with pretty neutral results) by coming out as a major dork and trivia and internet addict, before I can slip up. Recently, though, I've cut back investigating people's online presence.

ultimate frisbee

Portland Ultimate frisbee message board.

NPR Live Concert Series

a bunch of interesting-looking concerts, at NPR. "Interesting looking" because flip4mac won't play the WMV files, and I'm not willing to download realplayer. Concerts I'd listen to there, if I could: Arctic Monkeys, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Belle and Sebastian, Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy, The White Stripes. via m3 online.

voice comments on blogs via odeo

"my odeo hackathon" at anarchogeek. via the odeo blog, and waxy or kottke or somebody.

math for programmers

blog post about the inappropriateness of highschool math for computer science, and about learning math in general: math for programmers. I don't entirely aggree, but the article and comments are fascinating. via waxy links.

"continuous partial attention"

"CPA stems from our desire ... to be 'a live node on the network.'" -- Linda Stone, quoted in this article at newsweek. (via slashdot)

I notice that I've developed bad attention habits, not because I'm constantly available or communicating, but because I'm constantly expecting information input. When I get bored in class, I just switch from my window of notes to whatever articles or documentation I'm reading, or whatever scripting project I'm futzing with. It's only marginally better than falling asleep, which filled the same hole before I had a laptop.

music video remixing by audio input

sCrAmBlEd? HaCkZ!. the video really shows it off (it's on the site or on YouTube). via hack a day.

The video is broken up into pieces by looking at its sound; the sound pieces are indexed in a database as "192-dimensional vectors" (did I hear that right?) (alternative expression: indexed in a database by 192 attributes. or something). When sound input is gathered, it's broken up into pieces and compared to the database. Then the closest-matching sound, with its associated piece of video, is played. Apparently one of the intents was to use this live, playing it like an insturment, though in the demo video I preferred the just-goofing-off bits.


I have been tagged "cutest_boy_ever": me at

(can I brag, for a sec? -- I've been there since it was Uber Personals. Anyways, it's all straight hipsters revelling in their supposed dorkiness.) Since this isn't supposed to have an audience, I'm not going to worry about stupid posts.

Summer plans

This week has been a big one for summer planning... I got my WWOOF independants membership, and have been reading through the farms lists. Tonight I bought my plane ticket. Boston -> Dublin, round trip, with two months overseas. Hopefully I will be back in time for the Burdock gathering, and to take a trip to Nova Scotia, before heading off to AmeriCorps. Speaking of, I have nearly completed my application. The program I'm applying to is in the middle of Washington state.

plane ticket shopping notes: Aer Lingus has, as they claim, the cheapest flights to Europe. Their booking interface, while not quite eye-candy, is super usable: very clear, snappy, and solid. They even show you fares on days in the week around the day you want to fly out! Plus, they didn't make me create any account. My flight was $200 cheaper than anything shown on (which has a nice interface, a million times faster and less touchy than orbitz), or that I could find through other airlines' websites. I'm a very occasional traveller, so I don't have anywhere I usually go to get tickets. S3 storage service

Was I too engulfed in Pi-Day-Party-preparation to notice this? Amazon recently came out with a 'web storage service.' Arstechnica article (web 1.0 = five nines (goal) / two nines (actual), web 2.0 = four nines...). Also, this can't possibly be an official Amazon blog, right?

50s subculture

girls wearing distinctly masculine fashions: Teddy Girls. Less, but still, cool: teddy boys, 'reviving' Edwardian dress in the 50s. another take on "Teddy" fashions.

the cabin

this year, last year (just because I am wearing exactly the same outfit doesn't mean it's the same day/year...)

I <heart> NY spoof

tshirt at threadless

Free Speech Movement speech in Battlestar Galactia

Interesting when a tv show has a direct historical (or something) source for its material: Peterme recognizes a speech from the season finale (spoilers), the speech is by Mario Savio.

bookmark: May Sarton

My women's studies teacher handed out bookmarks. I got one with May Sarton on it.

Tom's of Maine mostly bought

"Colgate to buy majority stake in Tom's of Maine."

dry and wet earwax

Japanese Scientists Identify Ear Wax Gene - New York Times. via mimi smartypants.

internet statistics

want a couple big numbers about the internet? miscellaneous tech data contained in a Morgan Stanley "Global Technology/ Internet Trends" report: In 2004, cell phone users sent 1.1 trillion SMS messages, generating 50 billion USD in revenues for the operators and Peer-to-Peer traffic was 60% (and rising) of Internet traffic in 2004 (half of which BitTorrent).


I meant to link this before: surveymaker! the in-progress version (0.0.3) is somewhat better styled, though there are a few bugs (in the html preview, and with the 'clear form' button, plus it will probably crash Internet Explorer). I'll bump it to version 0.1 when those are fixed. I am really proud of this! Mostly because I had avoided JavaScript until I made this, and now I'm fairly confident that I can put it together. I make no claims about code elegance, though d:

man, I get excited about putting version numbers on things. I declared another work project of mine 1.0 today! I mean, it's three wrapper functions, but... 1.0!

tab mix plus - firefox extension

just installed, but have not yet tried, Tab Mix Plus, a firefox extension recommended by the dude at slackder manager. it has tab close undo and session saving.

overloaded vehicles

"photos of crazily overloaded vehicles" (via kottke, via boingboing)


the AmeriCorps sub-program I'm applying to: Intermountain AmeriCorps. It's in Washington state, I never thought I would spend any time there.

words describing bush

defective yeti comments on part of this poll: "six people describe the President as 'President.' What, did they conduct this poll at a National Association of Literialists convention or something?"


the puppy is a tangle of legs next to me on the couch.

blogging live from the "Commemorating Frances Perkins" conference

I'm here, but the room is full and I can't hear.

ah, steve.

Steve Jobs magazine covers (via kottke)

cute analogy about journalism and beer

kottke quotes it: "Without formal training and using cheap equipment, almost anyone can do it." RTFA is overrated.

email misinterpretation

this study on email misinterpretation is one of my favorites recently (I cite it about once every 48 hours): "According to recent research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, [people have] only a 50-50 chance of ascertaining the tone of any e-mail message."


those piña coladas were fucking gross.

Herb's Gully

Herb's Gully has a website. (portland, maine)

loud-sex neighbors

this is my roommate's girlfriend Asking MetaFilter: How to keep the peace with sex-fiends? His room is the one with a thin floor/ceiling, and over the neighbors' bedroom; I have, so far, not been subject to the issues our apartment has had. knock on wood.

shoe shopping

looking for a pair of shoes to travel in. my sneakers are too light, hiking boots to hot, and doc martens aren't for hiking/working. a vented light hiker would do the trick, but I also want something that is not too informal/sneaker-looking, and that doesn't have an akwardly thick sole.

tonight's shopping was marginally less painful than last spring's shoe shopping. 9 shoes, in order of favoriteness:

  1. men's have better colors (gray) than the women's. vibram soles, up to 40lb loads. water resistant (gore tex), breathable, leather. not swishy. I judge way too much on looks. expensive.

    women's vs. men's: I wear mostly men's shoes, but whichever fits better.

  2. best value. these rank highly because of that and their ventilation. the gray is ok. mesh/well ventilated. again, m/w: whichever fits.

  3. merrell edge m/w $90

    merrell seems good for comfort, but they don't talk about the shoes' intended use. leather. looks kind of like a skater shoe.

  4. north face men's esker ridge hiking shoe $70

    bleh, standard issue light hiker. 25 lb loads.

  5. llbean gore tex mountain treads, low cut $109

    ugly, but possibly a more technical option than the ventilated pathfinders. "for light backpacking" etc. breathable, waterproof. vibram.

  6. garamont women's eclipse xcr $56

    I might go to EMS and try it on, but otherwise I'm not interested. light blue. waterproof, "mesh," etc. vibram.

  7. north face women's buildering hiking shoe $75

    why do they call this a hiking shoe?? possibly because it has a vibram sole? do they mean "bouldering"?

  8. merrell chameleon II traveler $100

    more formal than others on this list (because of the seamless leather upper). I hiked with someone in merrell chameleons and she did ok, but the soles are so goofy. kind of basketball shoe shaped, which I hate.

  9. ems women's mesa ventilator II $75

    bleh, too sneakerish. wouldn't like them if I saw them in person. lots of mesh, in an obnoxious way.

This is the part where I am a nerd about websites. For my own future web design reference:

I like the North Face website best, because it sums up the shoes in a clear, matter-of-fact, information rich sentance. It also has a bulleted list (why narrower than the column it's in?) of information, which I like, but some list items are pure jargon (bleh). It has good clear pictures, but no top views of the shoes. Also, the "interactive" aspect is annoying, I expect a page to stay static unless I click it. I think I like it best only because the intro text is in a wide column, and it uses the whole page.

the LL Bean site is great, has good pictures and the different colors show up quickly. The larger view windows were too small for the larger pictures. They provide reasons for each technical aspect of the shoes. Rock. I enjoy the descriptions. I would call them perfect if they had snappy intro sentences like North Face, though. That is what web-shopping should be like. The text column is too narrow, so the flow of words is choppy. The whole page is crammed together.

Merrell's website has an obnoxious scroll box, obnoxious header graphic (it moves), and obnoxiously jargon-filled descriptions and useless 'technical specifications.' Their pictures are good. They don't use the whole page (they stay "above the fold"). The navigation is hover-navigated dropdown image-based stuff, and isn't always visible. Merrell uses sensible color names.

EMS has pale, uninspiring pictures, all taken at the same vaguely disconcerting angle. It uses stupid overenthusiastic words in the descriptions. The 'specs' chart is very clear to read, and includes wicked useful info like weight, sole flex, terrain, and waterproofness. You have to click a link to see it, though (but it's a javascript toggle, which is ok, better than a page reload).

Summary: important things are information presented in a readable way and clear pictures. My favorite shoes come from my favorite sites. It'd be nice to have sock links at the bottom, especially at LL Bean, which recommends "midweight socks" with their hikers. Visually, none of the sites had any suggestion of terrain on the same page as the shoes. I tend towards judging by looks (angles and clarity of pictures are important), gathering information (readability and diction are important), and drilling straight to shoes rather than spending time on navigational pages (some of which had terrain pictures).

"sex safety"

Safe sex sounds like limited sex, controlled sex, modified sex. It sounds like one way to have sex, like I'm being asked to have sex in a different, more boring way.


Safer sex sounds just as oppressive and boring, and as a bonus it sounds like a failure. Oops, it isn't actually safe; it's only safe-ish.


Sex safety, on the other hand, sounds like a skill. That's empowering. Now I'm not being asked to limit my sex with rules, I'm being offered sexual skills. Sexual skills are actually sexy, which is stunning for a health care strategy.

All About My Vagina : Please call it “sex safety” (March 08, 2006)

liquid nitrogen

Ha ha! Holy shit: liquid nitrogen explosion. that one's crazy, this one's silly (read the silly one first for a better sense of what's going on. basically: liquid nitrogen is very cold, and boils at room temperature.)

alcohol stoves

again wanting to make an alcohol stove. differant kinds of stoves, the one I want to make, also a windscreen/pot stand.

homemade sterno

Zen Gelled Alcohol Stoves - Sterno-like Stoves - scroll to the bottom for how to make gelled alcohol fuel.

Windows on the MacBook Pro

xponamac.jpg. Kelly showed this to me.

Pi Day is approaching

some pi pies:

Portlanders, if I haven't mentioned it to you, contact me about my upcoming Pi Day party.

cell phone + egg = fake

I, along with the rest of the internet, linked the article on cooking an egg with two cell phones. The NYTimes points out that it was a spoof: Take Egg Off Speed Dial - New York Times (paywalled after 3/22/06 I think). Should be obvious from the sort of newsletter put out at Wymsey ("dubious goings on"). Makes me sad, though. Maybe it's because the NYTimes dude didn't use a radio.

the size of elephants

defective yeti: Research Day: How Much Does An Adult, Male, African Elephant Weight?

uploaded some photos

from work, and from kelly's birthday. Flickr: Photos from bec.w

work blog

did I really need another blog? work scrap pad. (yes. yes I did.) I will be double-posting some stuff from here over there, as well as some original content. heh, "original."

JavaScript Shell

JavaScript Shell

JavaScript re-introduction

excellent slideshow, A (Re)-Introduction to JavaScript, by Simon Willison. Read through it this morning, but need to read through it again (stats class tomorrow AM?) It was really helpful with thinking about [custom] JavaScript objects, which totally baffle me, thou a little less now [prototype??]. notes:

  • js objects (through slide 77)
  • "short-circuit logic" (cute)

    The && and || operators use short-circuit logic: they will execute their second operand dependant on the first.

    • This is useful for checking for null objects before accessing their attributes:
      var name = o && o.getName();
    • Or for setting default values:
      var name = otherName || "default";
  • extending core objects
  • memory leaks: I should take care to be aware of this esp. because I am writing stuff entirely in firefox.
  • and then the summary of the convoluted stuff, at least. after reading the entire slideshow, this still makes me blink.

linked in this post. there's a link to a pdf of his notes there too.

Wilco will be in town on April 19th

WILCO at the Merrill Auditorium, Wednesday, April 19th, 2006 @ 7:30 PM. Tickets are a million dollars ($38) but I'm going anyway. (Portland, Maine)

Combahee River Collective statement

well, it can be found here: Amazon search inside the book: Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology. (Home Girls at amazon)

identity politics

random email list post (google cache): "The term 'identity politics,' as an articulated theoretical/political idea, probably begins with the Combahee River Collective..."

I am looking for a copy of the Combahee River Collective's 1977 statement.

more Natalie

Holy fuck, Natalie Portman has a mohawk (as of last August.)

speaking of Natalie Portman

She is wicked hot with her hair these days (or back at the Ep. III opening). (from this post, commentary there is painful.) I'll take this opportunity to reiterate that I haven't ever thought she was attractive until today.

Also: everybody who shaves their head gets it rubbed at some point but not everyone gets it rubbed by George Lucas. I enjoyed that photoset, but they're all wearing stupid outfits, Portman looking topless in some shots and Hayden Christianson unsuccessfully trying to pull off the skinny tie. Undoubtedly after seeing it on me.

choice of major

Well, heck, if an online quiz says so, I guess I should.

You scored as Engineering.

You should be an Engineering major!





























What is your Perfect Major? at via grrlscientist

space noises justified

in a comment at Uncertain Principles:

My personal favorite explanation for battle sounds in space is that they're computer generated on war-capable ships. Creatures evolved in atmosphere expect and can gain advantage from auditory cues about their environment. Sensor systems tie into analytical processors that assign useful sounds to various phenomena, preferably broadcast through discreet surround speakers for locational data.

Natalie Portman raps

SNL. Natalie Portman raps in an SNL skit. originally via waxy links. Most days I don't think Natalie Portman is awesome. [edit: orig youtube link gone]

recycled plastics

plastic things ground up and made into sheets. *love* this. smileplastics. cd slivers in water-bottle plastic. or, not ground up: cell phone faceplates, rain boots. via boingboing.

more javascript... the DOM

I'm in the process of reading this. Don't know when it was published. Rough Guide to the DOM at sitepoint.

javascript objects

I've been playing with JS and the DOM, and this helped me realize how limited javascript objects are. It's also interesting and potentially useful. Rethinking JavaScript Objects at sitepoint.

also, tony does a webcomic

this one is wicked, and so is this one. they're not all photo based, see this one.

more jumping

apparently, people do that shit right here in Portland, Maine: Le Parkour de la Portland

crazy jumping video

things I thought while watching this:

  • "holy fuck this dude is jumping like a video game"
  • "this dude is set when the revolution comes"

russian climbing - Google Video. via tony on his lj

macbook pro review

Apple Laptop Has Looks and Brains - New York Times. mmm, mac porn.

my dad recommends

this recipe at the New York Times: Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry. He hasn't tried it yet, though. (published March 1 2006, so free access expires 3/15/06 or something)

Women in Science

Women in Science: "Adjusted for IQ and working hours, jobs in science are the lowest paid in the United States."


looking for minestrone-soup-pasta or porn? ditalini - Google Image Search Apparently, 'ditalini' is the plural of the Italian word for female masturbation. everything2 on ditalini (e2 is not loading for me right now). (roommate is making soup tonight)

beautiful petri dishes

beautiful petri dishes. lots of this has been linked recently; boingboing, kottke, this.

uniform nitpicking

I found ESPN's Uni Watch by Paul Lukas articles pretty fascinating, especially this on the Olympics. Silver should go to the winner:

For most of recorded history, female figure skaters wore their skates over their stockings. But in recent years, there's been a growing trend toward wearing the stockings over the skates. What's the deal with that? Like, are we supposed to think the skate is a fleshy extension of the skater's leg, like some bizarre appendage with a blade growing out of it? Uni Watch urges a return to skate-over-stocking normalcy, pronto.

found via kottke's link to this post on jersy lettering: "In order to promote VAL [Vertically Arched Lettering] awareness and appreciation, the NBA, NHL and MLB shall use revenue from the tax to jointly purchase the trademarked term "Arch Deluxe" from McDonald's and use it as the slogan for a VAL publicity campaign."

Animals Have Problems Too

comic. "this shirt came out of the closet"

check on this sometime

The Reverse Cowgirl (blog). not active yet. joey comeau recommends it. I've been linking to nearly every link he makes posts, which is silly, but I like having my own record of things.

video - going the speed limit

four cars block off a highway by going the speed limit. other drivers pass them in the breakdown lane, flip them off (duh), etc. there are shots from an overpass (starting at about 3:30), showing the line of non-speeding cars and the traffic behind them. A Meditation On the Speed Limit - Google Video

Kacy recommends

the band Metric

Christine recommends

the band Kings of Convenience

travel packing for backpacking travel

What to Pack - travel packing for backpacking travel (what to take)

how to tie neck things

How To Tie a Bow Tie, how to tie womens' scarves

Air Travel - Prohibited Items

Air Travel - Prohibited Items


who I am