scrap pad


I didn't know PayPal could do that: PayPal tricks at Slacker Manager.

building blocks

building/arcitecture font - simplistic building forms; "positive and negative forms" are both there ("lowercase" and "capital"...). like a bunch of blocky shape-stencils. via coudal. (turns out, all the fonts there are glyph/shape fonts - intricate flowers, people in the park, birds.)


moleskine pen-and-watercolor sketches. via coudal.

chinese pantry staples

Staple Ingredients of the Chinese Pantry. via serious eats.


fonts like Helvetica. via lifeclever.

writing docs

I just wrote documentation for an Excel spreadsheet I made. which makes me kind of queasy. crazy brain-sucking documentation with quotes and capitals. ugh ugh ugh. so thorough, though.

weekly video

new video addiction: Galacticast. Or at least, maybe it will be when I get home tonight. scifi/etc parody.

image styling

swfIR: swf Image Replacement. uses js to replace images with flash, to apply styles to images - rotating, scaling, drop shadows and borders. degrades nicely, to just the image. interesting solution. via simon willison.


Today I finally bought a Canon SD700, just as this years new crop of cameras is coming out: PMA07 Coming: Lots of Cameras So Far, More On the Way - Gizmodo. The midrange new cameras announced so far don't seem to have image stabilization (a priority for me), and the new features seem to be larger LCDs, faster boot and button-to-shutter times, and faster/beter image processors. Also, Canon's new SD750 and SD1000 have cute squared edges.

media access

Ben on the future of cable access tv - it's about access to media production tools, distribution, training, and media literacy, not just cable access tv itself. "Cable Access is television because 30 years ago, television was the dominant media model."

nothing-but-the-best: genius and praise.

blog post on physics' "Cult of Genius" at Cosmic Variance. via uncertain principles. I was pretty disillusioned about people calling me "smart" in highschool, especially after leaving the MSSM because of low grades.

also, this article on praise at ny magazine.

democratic presidential candidates

It freaks me out that the Democratic party starts off the pres. campaign by fighting amongst themselves. Wouldn't open discussion and working towards some sort of consensus be the best way to come up with a good-for-the-nation candidate, rather than tearing eachother down? The race for the primaries isn't constructive at all. ugh.

so this New Yorker article proposes Al Gore and his possible Lincoln-like strategy: let the others factionalize, he'll keep clean. And step forward if he's needed. sounds like a "duh" now. via kottke.

two lists from McSweeney's

molding plastic

shaping plastic with a vacuum. you can use milk jug (HDPE 2) plastic. also, fancy thermoformable films.


joey of asofterworld on being a secret admirer:

The internet is full of people to secretly admire. …

What ever happened to secret admirers? Are they just stalkers now? If you notice someone, if you pay too much attention, that's weird.


"Pluto the cosmic object." heard on this week's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me.

computer scientist

Alan Turing was gay: Alan Turing at Wikipedia. (via this sarcastic post on a woman recieving the Turing Award.)

cc MP3 Player for websites

Flash MP3 Player: plays single files or rss/atom playlists (cool). creative commons licensed. via simon willison.

Vikings spoke Icelandic.

Or, Old Norse, very similar to Old Icelandic, which is more similar to modern Icelandic than Shakespere's English is to modern English. (says this page: Norse Literature). Samples of Viking language, approximately, because I think the kid is speaking Icelandic.

avalanche on the highway to Tahoe

I want to see pictures of this avalanche on Highway 50 after Placerville. I looked on flickr but this is not one.

Code Igniter

I'm excited about Code Igniter, a php web app framework. via daring fireball.


charcoal alternatives for the developing world.


what is MapGuide? I'll read that eventually. some sort of open gis mapping platform. for the web?

how it used to be

I have been reading old blog archives, and am missing the sort of wistful, descriptive posts I used to write. For a while I've been intending to use again.

women as web leaders

I really, really appreciate Anil Dash's response (The Old Boys Club is for Losers) to the women at web conferences kerfluffle that Kottke set off the other day. He responds to John Gruber's (daringfireball) "women aren't interested" bit too.

You’ll note that nowhere in that list do you find gender, race, creed, or any other such parameter. Those things are completely unimportant to me when organizing a conference. (Or, really, when I’m doing almost anything.)

(Eric Meyer) Why is it only affluent white men who think that society will work if we pretend that divisions just don't exist?

why caffeine helps headaches

headache + caffeine study at the New Scientist (oct 2001).

Tension headaches are characterised by dilated blood vessels around the skull. Caffeine constricts blood vessels. "It is that vasoconstrictive effect that probably explains its effects," says Diamond.

drupal unpleasantness

on drupal hogging resources. gross.

word usage hate

I hate when survey results are reported and respondants are cited as "admitting" that they [do some behavior]. It casts the behavior as bad while at the same time it implying that respondants all practice it&emdash;whether they "admit" it or not.

present in many news articles about surveys, but spurred by this bbc article on how information addiction is worse for you than marijana. also obnoxious: taking obvious claims and hyping them 'till they're beyond ridiculous.

php scraps

10 php tips; a few are db optimization related. via stevenf's links.

software: GeekTool

Mac OS X software. displays log output or images on your desktop: GeekTool. been daydreaming about something like this for a while.

word: "bricked"

as in, "half-assed firmware that bricked your gear." from the ex-gizmodo dude's rant on crap gadgets and their fawning fanblogs.


cookie monster spam cartoon (Spamusement - cartoons inspired by spam subject lines).

ArcMap gripe

ArcMap's lack of anti-aliasing drives me crazy. On the screen, everything looks like CRAP. Then it prints, and suddenly the lines are smooth, the type is readable, the colors are five shades off. I guess the lack of antialiasing/color inaccuracies are present in everything under Windows, though. ugh ugh ugh.

custom gradient fills in ArcMac 9.2

so you can fill shapes with any color gradient you want.

  1. open the "style manager" from tools -> styles -> style manager...
  2. in the left pane, expand a folder (probably want to choose the c:\documents and settings\username\... one)
  3. create a "color ramp"
    1. click on the "Color Ramps" folder in the left pane
    2. right click in the right pane, choose new -> algorithmic color ramp...
    3. fiddle to create a gradient, hit ok
    4. name the gradient.
  4. click on "fill symbols" in the right pane.
  5. right click in the left pane, choose new -> fill symbol...
  6. from the "type" dropdown in the top center of the window, choose "gradient fill symbol"
  7. dig around in the "color ramp" dropdown to find your gradient. they're not labeled, or ordered (apparently).
  8. bring the "intervals" number up a bit: more "intervals" = smoother gradient. I do 25.
  9. fiddle. edit the outline color if you want. hit ok.
  10. name the "fill symbol". close the style manager.
  11. to use the new gradient fill symbol, double click on a rectangular color swatch in the "layers" pane. choose the thing you named. it will be in any pane where you select "fill symbols" like that.

ESRI's help article on Creating fill symbols in ArcMap 9.2.

wrapping handlebar tape

how to wrap handlebar tape. I wrapped starting at the bottom of the bars, going from the inside to outside because I ride on the bottom of my bars and tend to put my weight twisting outwards.

wrap inside to outside
self-tightening when you ride on the bottom of drop bars, rotating hands outwards
wrap outside to inside
self-tightening when you ride with your hands on the top of the bars, pulling back

also, I put a pic on amazon.

film fest

tomorrow night I am going to the Davis Feminist Film Festival.

bike tires

oh I am so ridiculous. you'd think I could look at the tire before I despair about finding others narrow enough. the original tire is a specialized armadillo 27 x 1-1/4. fairly low profile (short sidewalls) and more flat-u shaped than pointy-v shaped, but quite possibly that is because the tread is almost entirely worn off. for future reference (both for the type of tire and for an example of me being super lazy about doing obvious things).

skinny bicycle tires

this might work for me: Panaracer Pasela 27x1 Inch Road Tire. $16. repetitive: I have really skinny wheels on my bicycle. I think the rims are hooked but am not really sure (it would be good: higher tire pressures esp. w/ 1" tires). though I suppose I could have fatter tires, maybe just not much past 1 1/4, because that's what my rear tire is anyway.

netflix friends

I'm unexpectedly enjoying the netflix "friends" feature; now that both my roommates have netflix (yes: three subscribers in one apartment), and my dad, and my mom too, I can see what movies will be in the house (so we don't duplicate) and trade ideas/suggestions with my parents. so our discussions of movies are now phone + email + netflix friends.

calculated fields in ArcMap

add a new field (via "options" button in the attribute table). go into editing mode. right click on the field heading to get the field calculator. write a vbscript expression. save your edits. for example, how to add sequential unique id fields. via a GIS Tips & Tricks blog, which is mostly full of ArcGIS stuff.

newline in vbscript

use the constant VBNewLine (from VBScript string constants). ArcMap lets me format labels with VBScript snippets.

TAM on tv, soon

This American Life tv show teaser (quicktime, thanks kb). "what is there to love about a chicken?"

color picker option

sweet mac os x color picker: Shades. except it costs money.


Excel (Mac) crashes on me almost every day. And then its' error reporter crashes.


I think it's fairly likely I'll end up as some sort of analyst, career-wise. More likely if I keep on feeling braindead. bor-ing.


this new yorker article on modern childbirth makes me sad/heartachey. granted, I'm feeling emotional today. via I-forget-who.


I love the shape of the backwards (uh, Cyrillic) 'R' in this title from Solaris:

(Solaris, part two)

Solaris, by the way, is a Russian science fiction movie made in 1972; it is really really beautiful, and I'm angry that I missed the last 15 minutes of because the disc was scratched. It uses a lot of ambient noise, long shots, and that thundery noise you make by shaking a big sheet of metal. It's weird, and not terribly realistic, but it's not cheesy either.

interactive genetalia

vaginas and penises (flash)

online bike stores

places to find stuff: BikeSomeWhere (huge selection of stuff, fancier), Niagara Cycle Works (so much stuff you can't call it a "selection", cheap. not necessarily having the fancy stuff). haven't bought from either yet though.

bike tires

possible tires: IRC Road Winner II Duro Tire, 27" x 1-1/8". my rims are super-narrow; I think the tubes on my bike were marked 27" x 3/4", and the tires were skinny (not more than 1") and slick. maybe 1-1/8" isn't narrow enough. (it seems like there are very few 27" clincher tires available... let alone 27" tires narrower than 1-1/8")

handlebar tape

what I want is the same stuff I had before (ugh, change): thin white vinyl non-sticky tape with a criss-cross pattern. unfortunately, it was just random lying around the bike kitchen stuff, and nobody actually sells it anymore. so, the options:

  • this actually might be the same stuff: eBay: Benotto Handlebar Tape NOS White. Most Benotto tape is vibrantly colored, smooth, and translucent, but they had some solid colored "waffle" tape; I suspect mine was that sort of Benotto. ($7)
  • new old stock Olmo handlebar tape - red. this is approximately the same stuff, but in a more appropriate color for my bike. ($13)
  • Fizik handlebar tape - the modern stuff. red. slightly padded (as opposed to completely unpadded) and pretty flash. it might be more comfortable for longer rides. ($20 at the local bike shop)
  • cork. lots of colors, supposedly really comfy. ($15 I think)

I enjoy obsessing about ridiculous tiny junk; maybe I get too caught up in it.

word: peloton

a peloton of cyclists. (wikipedia.) There's a bike race coming through downtown Sac on Wednesday (sacbee).

both sides of the coin?

I think I try to be both old school and cutting edge, and to be hard core but able to admit my weaknesses. I'm not necessarily successful.

cell phone

I want this phone, but for Sprint (because that's what my dad has): Nokia 1100. I used it this summer and it is tiny, light, has killer battery life, and good predictive text input.

another option is the Samsung SPH-M610. It has a really sharp screen, a 2.0 megapixel camera, and is matte black, thin, and un-ornamented. The menu screen is accebtably ok-looking, too.

also, the Samsung A900, which comes with a usb cable. it has too many buttons on the outside, but it's not silver, and it connects to my computer! and I could set my old number muncher sounds as a ring tone. (I could do that on other phones too, I guess.) the menu is ugly and the phone is chunky (who am I to talk about chunky cell phones?)

(My old cell phone is mostly still in good shape, except its battery slips out sometimes.)

building wiki content

Wiki patterns. patterns for making wikis happen. via simon willison.

snow chains

snow chains are required on I-80 if it's snowing. you need to have them on both of your driving wheels. how to put snow chains on your tires. you can't go over ~40 mph with chains.

sacramento webcam

sacramento skycam. maybe this comes from the cell tower by my house. my office window goes to an airshaft rather than the actual outside, so I watch this, via SlothCam on my Dashboard.

valentine of web 2.0 companies

ouch: really bad web 2.0 pun valentine. bad, but funny. (via the ctcvista mailing list)

gadget blog

Cool Tools. I'm not usually that inspired by gadget blogs. this is a mix of stupid crap and sensibly designed useful things.

british food

an American eats "British Food" and writes about it. I was pretty slack about eating "regional" (haha) foods when I was in Ireland and Scotland this summer, with the exception of chocolate digestives. mostly I ate peanutbutter, quinoa, and ramen. via serious eats.

ms vista design flaw

Hacker, Microsoft duke it out over Vista design flaw. ms vista runs any installer as an administrator; "you have only two choices: either to agree to run this application as administrator or to disallow running it at all." if it runs as an admin, it can install os level things. also: the hacker is a woman! rock.

Multimap API

multimap is a mapping thing. interesting because as you zoom in, the map style changes. prettier than yahoo's maps but not as pretty as google maps. the api has a bunch of features google's lacks (polygons, decluttering markers, routing). Multimap API V1.2. via simon willison (who noted it for the decluttering markers feature).


how to schedule a backup on Windows Server 2003.

LED lightbulbs, and entitlement (I've got it too)

matt haughy on LED lightbulbs. in a few years, maybe complaining about energy efficient lightbulbs will be like complaining that your new compact car doesn't drive like your old SUV. On the other hand, in a few years the bulbs will be better. (also, commenters make it sound like there are better bulbs than what he got). If I saw it, I'd probably agree that the light was the wrong color, but the first thing that strikes me is the feeling that we're entitled to what we're used to having. urm, I'm so ready to rely only on daylight... and my laptop's LCD. hah. so: hypocritical reaction. via kottke.

backing up an office full of windows

you can "redirect" users' "My Documents" folders to the server, pretty much transparently, to back up users' files. or, that's the impression I get from a quick skim of this Microsoft "help" (haha) article: Client Document Redirection.

VISTA Health Benefits

where to find info on VISTA Health Benefits with Seven Corners


"The reporting of wind chill carries with it a paternalistic impulse to explain not just how cold it is, but how cold we'll feel." from a bit on wind chill at slate.

cell phone typing

I think a lot about a chord-based typing system for cell phones. not to any end, just thinking that it should exist; fewer buttons and fewer button presses. except it would have to be two-handed (or otherwise two-factored; maybe you could use the tilt of the phone.) and you'd be able to switch it back to normal number-grid letter input for one-handed times.

giant ships

really big ships that submerge a little to load and unload their huge cargoes: Fogonazos: Sea Giants. via wider angle's sunday thingy.

on indie music and money

making money with music - indie music, on the internet and off. (how and why the Dresden Dolls are critcally acclaimed but scraping by while a few artists give their music away (kind of) and do well).

home remedies

DIY yeast infection treatments. all the classics: yogurt, garlic, cider vinegar.

"sous vide" cooking at home

steak with DIY “sous vide” cooking - cooking meat in plastic bags (restaurants using this technique use vacuum bags). I might do this with fish. via serious eats, I think.

professor anne pringle

I'm listening to an NPR story on a woman who's researching an invasive mushroom species in California, the "death cap" mushroom. She says:

It's a challenge to study something that's so different from you because, you know, a fungus is not a human, it's not an animal, and it doesn't act the same way, so you really have to think hard and challenge your assumptions about everything that it's doing.

Her collegue says, "Fungi are really cool." (On the Trail of the Death Cap Mushroom at

food deserts

mapping 'Food Deserts' in Chicago (nbc5/tv report). the actual "food desert" report (pdf). similar efforts have been made Philadelphia (that story includes a map showing race and class in Philadelphia made in 1890 by W.E.B. Du Bois; early community mapping!). via a post on the All Points blog.


Kvass (wikipedia) - a Russian drink made with fermented bread. like the 'liquid bread' in the Firefly 'Jaynestown' episode. (via today's The World on NPR)

East Germany movie

I heard about The Lives of Others (movie) on Fresh Air/NPR this morning. The film maker mentioned that it's visually very evocative of East Germany just before the collapse of the Berlin Wall; one of the things they did to make it look like that is make sure there were *no* red or blue objects in the movie. It will play in Sac at the Tower Theater starting March 2 (Tower Theatre: The Lives of Others).

social networking for bikes

velospace is a place where people put up photos & profiles of their bikes... and then people "friend" the bikes. which makes me laugh. mostly fixed-gear bicycles. sweet lugs on this one. also: it's made with drupal.

more where that came from

oh man I am way too much on the bad similes/metaphors these days:

outer space is relevant like novels are relevant: noone is eating them, but they sure look delicious!

the idyllic bubbles aren't gender-free zones (gender is hot), but are spaces where gender is redefined/more free; my idyllic Earth still has air on it (air is awesome) but it's cleaner, fresher air.

interacting without gender would be like everyone wearing hazmat suits, all the time.

Drupal question

I asked this on the CTC VISTA Project Drupal wiki page.

Can anyone tell me about Drupal's "file access" features? It seems like it just points to files at "drupalinstall/system/files/filename" and controls access there, but the files are still available at "drupalinstall/files/filename" without access controls. Am I missing something? Do I have to put something in the .htaccess file to restrict access to the "files" directory?

drastically different character shape in italic vs. regular

bizarre how regular and italic 'a's are different, as seen in a Segoe UI screenshot on a msdn blog. a commenter says it's the correct behavior, but still: bizarre.

nice new font in windows vista

Anil Dash mentions Segoe UI, based on (or, a copy of) Frutiger.

Also, wasn't there excitement earlier this year about a bunch of Windows fonts that were new for Vista? (Segoe wasn't among them at that point) Ah, yes: Calibri, Cambria, Candara, Consolas, Constantia, and Corbel.

space exploration like cathedral building

ie, by the rich, for the rich, to make certain people more rich, and offhandedly lend a bit of "progress" to the general population, which they will have to pay for by letting the rich walk all over them, but justified as a natural and important pursuit of the human mind. oh, wait, the article doesn't say any of that.

eminently quotable speech on the "Real reasons" of space exploration. via kb, who calls bullshit but agrees anyway. quotes (incl. quotes of quotes):

When you do things for Real Reasons instead of Acceptable Reasons, you have a chance to obtain Real Success. And so we have a conundrum. The cultural ethos in America today requires us to have Acceptable Reasons for what we do. We must have reasons that pass analytical muster, that offer a favorable cost/benefit ratio that can be logically defended. We tend to dismiss out of hand reasons that are emotional, or are value-driven in ways that we can't capture on a spreadsheet. But, Acceptable Reasons alone don't take us where we really want to go.

In my view, the space business more than most other endeavors suffers from the fact that the most important, the best, and the most basic reasons for doing it are Real Reasons and not Acceptable Reasons.

"A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing," by the character Lord Darlington in Oscar Wilde's play "Lady Windermere's Fan."

the JFK quote about space that I love more than anything in the world, because it evokes exactly the things I'm talking about here tonight, was the one he gave from this lectern at Rice University in September of 1962, when he said "We choose to go to the moon, and to do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."

endangering children

It pisses me off that states criminalize drug- or alcohol- addicted pregnant women because they're endangering their children for two reasons: because the statutes are inconsistantly applied, being used primarily (even exclusively?) against women of color and in a way that both disempowers women and fails to protect the children, and more importantly because they focus on the "crimes" of individuals and ignore what leads people to where they are, and ignores the larger interests that systemically endanger women and their children, be they government or corporate pollution or culturally accepted oppressions. (brownfemipower posts about the criminalization of drug- and alcohol- addicted pregnant women fairly often)

superbowl commercials

superbowl commercials on youtube. there are 51! (I suspect some are duplicates, but didn't bother confirm). nothing spectacular, but a few are ok:

  • Kevin Federline for Nationwide. KF is gross, but he ends up in fast food, which is ok.
  • eTrade bank robbery. everything just happened so fast!
  • Toyota Tundra. It drives over a see-saw! and they say the word "tranny" in an entirely-too-reverent tone.
  • Doritos spicy/cheesy/crunchy/bold. contest winner. cost $12.79 to make. slate says, "...bad news for highly paid advertising professionals. Get ready for a whole lot of sub-$15 ads," which is dumb because not only did the kids who made it not have to pay people/rent things/etc, but doritos paid to hold the contest. while I'm all for the idea of people making media just with resources available to normal people, it's really inaccurate to say the ad cost $12.79 to make. It's like saying brownies don't cost anything to make, because there is already brownie mix in the pantry and eggs in the fridge.


public space without the signage. via

current unfortunate obsession

adding album art to itunes. manually. the "automatically add album art" feature somehow missed 90% of everything. it's exciting to dig up beautifuly huge album covers like this 1425 px square cover of Neko Case's album Blacklisted.

Darby Ram

Darby Ram - lyrics. I love this song; the version I know is slightly different from the three (plus) listed there, but they're great too.

movie to look forward to

new Indiana Jones next year! with Harrison Ford! (via warren ellis, Harrison Ford wants a real whip in the movie, not a cg one.)

tracked changes in word docs

Get rid of tracked changes in Word documents (why isn't there a "save revised version" or "save clean version" or something, that very clearly omits the file's history?). the other solution, easier for most people, is to just copy-paste the text into another document (my exec. director figured that method out before I got back to him with the "accept changes" method).


pretty web site: Wire & Twine. sells tshirts.

trash can mouse trap

I was looking for the 'ramp to a spinning treat over a bucket' mousetrap, but this similar one is really nciely illustrated: How to catch a mouse without a mousetrap.


"femperialism" - a discussion of "how feminist language and institutions have been used to further the aims of American imperialism". great radio discussion, especially before the first break. direct mp3 link. via brownfemipower.

also, it's good to hear someone say that non-Muslim/western women can speak with Muslim women for the rights of Muslim women, and in general that the liberal reliance on "authentic" voices can become a way of validating our unwillingness to incorporate other viewpoints. It's not the *job* of oppressed people to "educate" others about oppression; it's the job of people on the outside to listen, probe, rethink their/our own actions and beliefs, and then find a way to add their/our voices in a non-oppressive and constructive way.

brownfemipower also linked this cleverly named article: "The Missionary Position." I am reading it, but slowly.

dates and times in python

python date and time manipulation examples

tagging and laziness

I am too lazy to tag blog posts. instead of tagging I make sure certain words appear in posts, or I say the same thing in different ways in the same post, so I can find stuff by searching. that's why I title some things "phrase" or "christmas present," why I make sure to have both "bike" and "bicycle" in bike-related posts, and why I add "mac os x" whenever I mention software for mac os x. etc. eventually I want to do some sort of statistical tagging, probably involving word frequency and clustering.

which reminds me, why didn't I link kottke's post on "tag frequency and popularity acceleration" (re: his tagging of his own blog) when I first read it? I'd like to do stuff like that, except without having to actually tag anything.

also in the course of this thought: I've made 1300 posts to this blog over the past 487 days; that's an average of 3/day if I take out 60 days of traveling this summer (2.7/day if I don't). that is more than enough content to start playing with (if only I weren't lazy).

html forms, css

screenshots of form styling with css: "most browsers ignore many CSS properties when they are applied to form controls."


whenever I see "DHTML" I think "dee-haich-tee-em-el." pronunciation!

"I hate Macs" at The Guardian

hating on macs, esp. the new uk mac ads. funny, obnoxious. reminds me of mac vs. pc sentiments six years ago. also, since when are games the fun part of using a computer? what about making stuff? via daringfireball.

on dildos and sodomy in Texas

11 minute clip of The Dildo Diaries (youtube). via meyer. from the very end:

... and they reinstated heterosexual sodomy in the penal code. Warren's at the front mike and he and Talmadge Heffman are high-fiving and slapping eachother on the back—a big double victory—and some of the guys in the press box called over the sargent at arms and said, "Sargent, we want you to go over and repremand both those men because under provisions of the amendments just passed by Representative Chisam it is now illegal for a prick to touch an asshole in this state."

sorry for spoiling the punchline.

cheesy but interesting.

texty video about the web (youtube). absorbingly type-y. lots of fun zooms and via simon willison.

David Sedaris on Letterman

David Sedaris reading an essay about "fashion accessories" (youtube) via waxy links.

on what goes on in programmers' heads

"Programmers don’t like coding, they like problem solving." via daringfireball.

"every single day they come out with a total exploit"

awesome: Joy of Tech comic on Bill Gates' recent FUD-thing. via daringfireball.


what is the connection between Tostitos and the civil rights movement? (comes up because of a reference in slate's article on superbowl ads)

story by joey comeau

Strange Horizons Fiction: Tradition, by Joey Comeau

doesn't answer my Al + steel question

corrosion of metals

online survey tools for nonprofits

Poverty Law Survey Tool - an online survey tool created with a grant/for legal services nonprofits (more info here). I think it's free, but you have to submit a request for an account and have to be doing a certain kind of work. other than that, it seems like there's just surveymonkey, at $20/mo. There are free survey tools that you can install on your own server (though I haven't looked into them) but I was asked about online survey tools 'similar to citizenspeak' (a free email campaign tool).

skip lists

skip lists - a data structure. multiple layers of linked lists, kind of. via simon willision. also, skipdb, a lighweight db based on skip lists.

bike racks

Bicycle Touring 101: Front and Rear bike Racks. bicycle racks are expensive ($40+ new). also: holy shit, touring with 100+ lbs? what is that dude thinking? is he bringing his cast iron cookware? hiking I carried 35ish lbs or less, tent/food/water and all. I'd expect the whole set-up INCLUDING the bicycle to be less than 100 lbs! less than 80 lbs, even, if we're not camping probably 15-20 lbs stuff (food, water, camera, change of clothes) plus 35 lbs bicycle.

comment I left

I commented on Eli's posting on being queer and what it means about who you sleep with. (update: the comment discussion has continuted in an awesome way)

[from another commenter]I am one of those hopeless romantics that thinks, if you've got no problem with the dynamic or your partner's identity, and she or he feels the same, then why does it matter? who cares whether the relationship itself is gay, straight, or whatever?

I've found it really really difficult to have a relationship without identity. As a woman who is attracted to both men and women, but who is not at all interested in being a guy's girlfriend, I've found it really difficult to have a regular (> 3 weeks, non-long-distance) relationship with men because the relationships always fall into that girlfriend-boyfriend pattern, even when I am explicit about that dynamic being a dealbreaker. It's not about being romantic, or even the chemistry between me and a guy; it's just that when someone else percieves only part of my identity, it's like being whittled down to fit that round hole [square peg, round hole]. The same mismatch often happens around lesbians; I'm not a lesbian, neither am I straight. (I'm a dyke-identified bisexual, or a queer woman, or something).

Identity is how we place ourselves in society; how can we have social relationships without identity? The I'm-ok-you're-ok thing is great in theory, but gender (in whatever form) is so important; interacting without gender would be like everyone wearing hazmat suits, all the time. A workable model for some things (having a "business lunch," talking on the phone, handling chemicals) but really not how anyone actually works. So when our identity is not what society dictates/expects, hashing it out is kind of necessary. So I think what makes us queer is that reworking of our identity. Even if our identity superficially fits with a societal norm, there's a path and a process behind it that we are constantly aware of (ball of string in the labyrinth). The gender or sexuality that the world expects of us is a starting point and not a final answer.

revision: ourselves/we/us/our should be more like myself/I/me/mine.

update: 2nd comment.

I am enjoying these responses as much as the original post... esp. your touching on heterophobia; it's something I noticed in myself a while ago but was never quite able to articulate.

I meant to convey something about gender not being optional; As part of a gendered society, we do operate in gendered ways. Whether or not they're traditional gendered ways, whether or not we "want" gender, and whether or not we are working to change ideas of gender.

About it not being possible to "create an idyllic bubble of protection outside of those forces": the idyllic bubbles aren't gender-free zones (gender is hot), but are spaces where gender is redefined/more free; my idyllic Earth still has air on it (air is awesome) but it's cleaner, fresher air.

california ski report

quick ski report for mountains in California

web thinking cards

I like these "Native to a web of MOO cards" by Tom Coates. close-up of one. via simon willison. It'd be really cool to work in a place/with people who did things that involved thinking like that.

what will she do next?

Sometimes men make me feel like a bizarre animal under observation.

burning multi-session dvds on mac os x

BurnAgain DVD, burns multi-session dvds easily. I'll try it next time I need to burn a dvd (tonight). Apple's Disk Utility can burn multi-session disks, but you have to burn from an image, and I don't have the disk space to make images of everything I burn. I tried Disco today and it's ugly (unreadable text, clashes with everythine else) and awkward (didn't ask me to name the cd I burned, I was unsure of what preferences would be applied to the disc I was burning). also, what is with the black? did I mention how ugly it is?

the article that pointed me to BurnAgain DVD also mentions Monolingual, an app that deletes unused language files (oss/free), Xslimmer, an app for intel macs that deletes the ppc part of universal binaries (crippleware), and Burn, an os x disk burner that unfortunately doesn't yet support multi-session burning (oss/free).

update: BurnAgain DVD didn't recognize DVDs in my drive as writable media. so that's useless.

to do in sac

I swear I will show up at the Fool's Foundation one of these days, especially with these upcoming movies (a film noir, media that matters film festival). also, supposedly Sacramento has a "one man band" who hangs out at 22nd and J st.

slide rule watches

watches with slide rules around the edge. also, the first three watches here. via boingboing.


bizarre unicycles. unicycles are weird to begin with, but that page details the tall, short, multi-wheeled, etc. recumbant unicycle!

unicycles are usually fixed gear, but several on that page are not: the 1.5 wheeled unicycle and the one-directional unicycle. there are multi-gear unicycles on that page, but you have to stop and change gears manually. not on that page is the "guni," geared unicycle, with gearing inside the hub, which you can (with some skill) change gears while in motion (by toeing/ankling a button on the fork, I think?). there are only two gears, a 1:1 ratio (normal uni) and 1.5:1. (gleaned from this forum discussion of shifting on geared unicycle hubs) thanks for the distraction, ben.

graphing & data analysis software

Igor Pro - Technical graphing and data analysis. via a comment on a "favorite tools" post on uncertain principles.


the nightly news is "an archaic system of delivering media -- a nightly litany 'of tragedies and catastrophies, followed by the weather'" (from this post on the WNBC New York Bloggers Summit)

so high-level it's funny

windows vista security hole: a sound being played on your computer (ie, from a web page) can make your computer do things (ie, delete your documents folder and empty the trash) if your speakers and microphone are on and you have speech recognition enabled. Microsoft confirms Vista Speech Recognition remote execution flaw. this can be dealt with by requiring a verbal password before accepting commands (mac os x does it that way, afaik). via simon willison.

2006 movies

Kevin Simth's Top Ten Films of 2006. I'm no Kevin Smith superfan, but this list makes me curious about the movies (guess that's the point). via kottke.

twitchy dancing

this movie of guys doing the charleston (youtube) reminds me of the 20's party. via kottke.


After April I will have flown 10 times in 12 months. I have never flown this much before. I'll have paid for 4 of the 10 flights.

schedule: sac->washington on april 3, arriving 7pm est. washington->florida on april 6, leaving 9:30pm est. florida->sac on april 10. whirlwind. I am fantasizing about bringing my bike, but that's ridiculous.

cory doctorow interview

radio/podcast interview of cory doctorow (new book "overclocked", giving away books online, etc. africa?).


Benjamin Franklin: "So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for everything one has a mind to do." (from the New Yorker article on vegetarianism that I linked earlier). quote.


who I am