July 2008 Archives
Tues July 29, 2008 - This morning at 11:42am, SoCal had a nice, lovely rolling earthquake. I was sitting on my couch showing my Mom how to use the Mac Powerbook that I am loaning to her when the whole room started to roll, and shake, and roll, and move. And we decided, after years of previous such experiences, that it wasn't going to get big enough to move, so we just watched and chatted the whole time the earthquake was quaking.
As it was ending, I took the Powerbook from her and typed in the USGS.gov website to see if it was reporting the size yet (hello, how fast is it in 3 seconds, silly me). Within 3 minutes the USGS site had all the pertinent details of which I twittered (although initially they reported the quake as a 5.8). Mom was very impressed. After the initial real time novelty had worn off, we looked around my living room and noticed that not a thing had fallen out of one of my many bookcases or out of my beloved china cabinet.
Good earthquake proofing. Here is my secrets: Put all the heaviest books / stuff on the bottom two shelves, invert all glasses or other breakables so that the widest part of the object is on the shelf not in the air, if the bookcase is over 5 feet tall then bolt to a wall stud, and when looking for places to live choose an older place as they are better built (older wood framed one stories can live through the biggest of earthquakes).
The only thing that went awry in my apartment is that one kitchen cabinet door opened a bit. All the numerable bits of crap on the bookcases swayed but did not fall down. w00t!
Mon 07.28.08 - Earl assembling the paint sprayer.
Sun 07.27.08 - Scruffy and Belle enduring apartment torture.
Fri. 07.25.08 - Earl and Jeremy are painting our apartment building. They have spent this week sanding, scraping, power washing, and patching in prep for next week's painting.
For the last 9 days, I have been suffering from a pinched nerve in my neck / base of my head on the left side. Who knows how it started... slept on it wrong or something.
The upswing is that everything has been painful. My teeth on the left side of my mouth have been sensitive to hot & cold. My back is mad at me for sitting or walking. Pain shooting down my left arm and leg, if I move wrong. My head so painful that I can't find a comfortable position to sleep. I have slept very badly the last week to the point of waking up in such pain that I was crying.
Yesterday, I went to a message therapist who worked on my neck, back and sciatica. She thinks the problem is not just my neck but also my sciatica nerve at my left hip.
Regardless, the last few days I have been so sleep deprived and in pain, that I have felt confused and at loss what to do next.
Today is the first day I have felt better and I am going to go to bed early.
Wed. 07.23.08 - While sitting at the Wine Tasting area of the OC Fair, one of my brother's old friend's from high school, Louie, came up with his family and said hi. It was excellent to see, even if briefly, Louie, Janine, and their sleepy, tuckered out little people.
Wed 07.23.08 - I took Alex and Jackie to the Udupi Palace for a lunch business meeting. Amusingly, as we departed, Alex said, "They don't get many punks here do they?".
I have spent the last 4 plus days upgrading the Barflies.net from Movable Type 3.36 to Movable Type Open Source 4.2b with a complete update of templates, adding of a few new features (author archives) and a big back end information architecture re-org (only to be seen by contributors). In wanting to update the Barflies.net Movable Type install, I found myself trying to accomplish a few tasks that aren't necessary in a one person blog.
One of the little things I wanted to do was to combine the RSS / Atom feeds from the main blog with the RSS / Atom Feed of the SoCal Calendar to make one feed for folks to subscribe to. When I Google searched this, I could not find any real answers, so I emailed the Six Apart Pronet list had a good simple, elegant answer from LaRosa Johnson within minutes:
"add blog_ids="all" to the MTEntries tag of your Atom Feed and that should do it"
And I did, and it worked.
Now how did I do it? In my case, I didn't want all the blogs on the Barflies.net MT install in the feed, only two. Barflies.net #15 and SoCal Calendar #30, so I set the blog_ids to blog_ids="15,30".
Everywhere in my RSS and Atom Feed templates that there was an instance of the mt:Entries tag, I added blog_ids="15,30", saved & published, and then tested the feeds. Happiness.
Here is an example of one the mt:Entries tag that that I altered in the Atom Feed:
<mt:Entries blog_ids="15, 30" lastn="1">
Fri 07.18.08 - I love it when folks customize their cookie cutter track houses.
Thurs 07.17.08 - Bird themed day - As seen in Earl & Sharon's living room while standing on Earl's couch to look at the nesting morning dove and her two newborn chicks just out the window. The photos of the dove and her chicks were obscured by two windows and a screen, thus you must settle for a puzzled cardinal.
Photo taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N95 at Dog Beach.
Wed 07.16.08 - After Scruffy's vet appointment today, I treated Scruffy to a walk at Dog Beach. As he ran along, I walked looking for photos. For the first time ever, I came across a shell that still had its animal in it (the "pod" as in foot, still attached).
I poked the pod lightly and it did not retract the pod, so I assumed it was dead. Also, this is the first time I have seen this style of shell on the beach. In shell shops yes, in the tropics yes, but on a beach in Southern California being washed up by the high tide? No.
To memorialize our friend the fairly long traveled shell, here is your photo with a piece of seaweed.
Tues 07.15.08 - Scruffy, Belle, and I met David and his human while walking today. Scruffy and Belle barked at David, David screached back at them. I am not an interspecies translator, so I don't know what they were talking about... ;o)
Fifteen years ago this summer, I was in the midst of the summer of weddings.
On July 10, 1993, Vicki married Rick in Brea, Ca. I was a bridesmaid.
On July 24, 1993, Annemiek married Ken in Gouda, Netherlands. I was a bridesmaid.
On August 7, 1993, Kimberly married Dave in Long Beach, Ca. I was a bridesmaid.
On August (something, 2 or 3 weeks after K & D), 1993, Naomi married Stephen in Shaver Lake, Ca. Blessedly I was NOT a bridesmaid. I had some other function of which I can't remember.
I ended that summer a lot poorer in dollars, but richer in bridesmaid dresses. By the time the summer of 1993 ended, I had been a bridesmaid 6 times. I swore that after that, I would only ever be a bridesmaid for Erika or my sister. When I moved to Boston in 1994, I sold all the above bridesmaid dresses at a garage sale (except the one for Kimberly & Dave's wedding, which bizarrely is still in my closet).
After the first wave of marriages within 2-4 years of graduating from college, there was a lull for about 10 years. Now the second wave of mid-to-late thirties marriages seems to be subsiding. With the big 40 birthday this year (yikes!), I have been doing a lot of reflecting on my hopes & dreams since college, as well as my friends and their hopes & dreams. I have thought about who we were and who we are now. I was so hopeful then.
Last Friday, Kimberly and I walked Scruffy down to the River Beach and let him run. I did the numbers in my head, and announced, "OMG! You and Dave will have your 15th Anniversary this year!" [[BRAIN EXPLODES!!!!]]
To all my friends who got married in the summer of 1993, Happy Anniversary! May you look back at 15 years of married life with pleasure.
Sun. 07.13.08 - Today I went to the Udupi Palace in Artesia for lunch. I decided to branch out today by deviating from my usual Sada Dosa and trying something new. New today meant the Coconut Uttapam, which was, while tasty, so filling I could only eat half. Now I have lovely coconut uttapam leftovers for breakfast tomorrow morning.
Sat 07.12.08 - Painter Ryan Callis and Poet Chris Davidson decided nearly a year ago to start an art / writing / music salon every two months in Seal Beach as a way to lure the Silverlake hipsters out of their lairs and out into the big wide world of SoCal.
The Salon has been quite successful with 30-50 attendees (mostly artists and writers) the second Saturday of the odd numbered month. I went last time (May) and had a good time listening to folks present their work and talking with other attendees of the artistic and writerly persuasions.
Ryan approached me about presenting some of my work at this month's Salon two weeks ago with the statement that the web has been under represented so far. I decided that I would promote all things web / mobile and photography by showing some of my India photos from the Urbanista Diaries adventure.
The other presenters were: Los Angeles painters Liz Carney and Feo Voronov, who displayed and spoke about their paintings (Photo of Liz Carney above with one of Feo's paintings on the wall next to her). Poet Patty Seyburn read from four of her poems. And Summer Darling played an acoustic set.
The constraint for the evening was that I had to show my work, describe my process and be done in 10-15 minutes.
Thus, I decided that I would actually present on a dual set of subjects: One being the adventure and process of geo-mobile-photo-blogging with the Nokia N82 on the Urbanista project and the other being the phenomenon of photowalking and making friends through Flickr groups. How would I cover so much ground and images in 15 mintues?
I distilled my presentation down to the bare minimum facts on mobile photo blogging and then specifically talked about the 4th Chennai Photowalk. I took all the photos that I took from the Chennai Photowalk and put them in a slideshow that played while I spoke on the Nokia Urbanista event and on the Chennai Photowalk folks. It was great fun and the audience liked not just the Chennai photos but also the whole idea of photowalking.
All in all, Salon #5 was delightful.
Sat 07.12.08 - As seen at the local garden center.
Fri 07.11.08 - Actually these were "Late Afternoon Glories".
I have posted my restaurant review of India Sweet & Spices over at The Happy Tastebud:
India Sweets and Spices is the main place for my Pea-a-Palooza festivals as they regularly serve peas & cheese (Mattar Paneer), as well as Potatoes and Peas. Most of all I like the surprise of showing up and looking at the six lunch hot choices, choosing two for my $4.99 plate which will also include rice, raita, fresh crunchy veg plus a lime pickle or two.
Due to my gluten-free life, I usually get a rice/lentil papad or two instead of the wheat-ful chapati or poori. The nice folks who run the lunch counter at India Sweets and Spices in Tustin are very accommodating about substitutions.
If you are not up for a great veggie lunch, then there is always the Beef Palace in Huntington Beach..
Due to being deep in my second "Blackout" period of the year whilst working away on a web app, I have no interesting thoughts or photos for you all today. But I do have a few tidbits:
1) Magnus the Pom-huahua (or Chi-meranian) came over to visit and have a play date with Scruffy today. A few notes on Magnus:
a) Magnus dropped off a few fleas and shared them with Scruffy. The fleas bit and then jumped off Scruffy due to his Frontline protection, but now Scruff has a bunch of inflamed flea bites on his tummy. I need to call the vet to ask what to do about this when we are only two weeks since his last Frontline application (minimum time between Frontline applications = one month, maximum = 2 months).
b) Magnus is as bad as Belle about letting me work. He repeatedly climbed on me and my computer trying to get attention.
2) I have made a To Do List breakthrough... The highly detailed list with over 32 points on it that I made a few weeks ago... Well, I checked off the final undone activity today when I washed my apartment's curtains. They are now very clean and slightly wrinkled.
Do I seem like the sort of human to own an iron? No, the iron is loaned out right now. Do I seem like the sort of human to iron my curtains when they come out of the dryer?
((She runs for the hills, screaming...))
3) I have entered, as mentioned above, my 2nd "Blackout" period of the year. This is where I sweep out all distractions and work on an a web application for two weeks. Day one is going very well so far. Am excited. Since my last Blackout in late March, I have been able to piece together a lot of code bits, IA and UI bits, as well as the large picture structure, and am as a result, I am prepped, ready and very excited.
My goal is to have the app to Alpha Testing phase by Saturday. I think I can do it. Why Saturday? Well, I am speaking Saturday night at an Art / Music / Writing / Web Salon and it will be the perfect time to recruit testers. An Art Web App needs Artists to test it, right? Right.
Impetus. Determination. I promise I will not try to procrastinate with housework, as I have got 95% of it done*, well, except bleaching the bathroom ceiling**.
4) After struggling most of last year with trying to realize my application ideas in Ruby on Rails or PHP, I have tossed both to the winds and am now developing in Django and am MUCH happier. PHP is too messy for my minimalist streak. Ruby on Rails really is oriented for the programmer to do web developement, but Django is a lovely framework for web designers to get into development with. With no apologies, I will say that I am having a lot of fun with Django only a few struggles. Yeah.
* This past weekend, Erika very kindly helped me completely rearrange all the furniture in my living room & bedroom, except my corner cabinet, bed and 3 bookcases. We did all of this so I wouldn't be distracted this week.
** This is my favorite inside joke, as when I was writing my Master's thesis, I got so stressed out that I stood on the toilet to bleach my bathroom ceiling and thus broke the toilet and dripped bleach on to me. When the repair guy came, he did not believe the truth whatsoever , but thought I was up to some sort of naughty on the toilet. No naughty, just serious out of control procrastination - totally different.
Reason Magazine on "Baby Bust" - 'At the heart of any fertility incentive lies an attempt to encourage a particular group of women to orient their bodies in a traditional way. Every pro-fertility policy is an effort to slow cultural transformation, to stabilize a society's ethnic composition, to ossify a current conception of a national culture by freezing the genetic makeup of a nation. From Poland to Singapore, swollen wombs are a bulwark against change.'
The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating
Sat. 07.05.08 - While walking Scruffy this afternoon, I ran into Paul and Tanya Bonaventura at the Seal Beach Pier. As we were chatting, Paul asked if I was ditching the Hootenanny, too. Yes, I was. So were they.
I seriously thought the past month about going to the Hoot today. Wanda did. Sandra did. And so did Tink. But I just couldn't justify paying $40 plus TicketMaster Rape Charges of at least $15-20 to see the 2 bands I wanted to see on top of the bad parking, gang fights, hot weather, overflowing porta-potties, huge lines for an overprice beverage. I am sorry, I love my friends and want to support the bands, but...
I decided it would be much more fun to sleep in today, hang out with Erika, walk Scruffy, and make dinner rather than get my annual case of heat stroke at the Hoot. Looks like Tanya and Paul were in the same boat.
On an additional note, HAPPY Wedding & Marriage to Tanya and Paul. They got married in early May and I am pleased as punch to see them happy together.
On an extra additional note, on the same walk today, I saw the pink food domes that became today's Happy Tastebud post.
Fri 07.04.08 - As seen on my Fourth of July bike ride to the Huntington Beach parade. This photo was taken riding south along Bolsa Chica State Beach. Oriole the dog and his human, the 9-11 year old shaggy haired surf kid, were running / riding down the bike path.
Why all whited out? Sometimes with the Nokia N95, if you try to push the camera button too fast, repeatedly, while it is trying to test the light and focus, it will take a whited out photo. In this case it worked, as all the best parts were saturated with color enough to define the images.
Impatience can work.
Wed 07.02.08 - Lucky Laura came over tonight, we had a glass of wine, talked and laughed. It was good to catch up and hear all the stories as well as tell a few of my own.
Wed 07.02.08 - More on the opening of the weekly farm box over at the Happy Tastebud.
Upon, first reading about this to do, I wondered why such a big brouhaha now - given that the about Violet Blue posts were removed a year ago at BoingBoing - when not a peep has been written about KT's whole section of Blogher Editor posts from the last year or two being removed lock, stock, and barrel over at Blogher.com over the weekend of June 14-15, 2008.
Now, I don't think that BlogHer is as highly ranked as BoingBoing, nor do they have the readership, nor do I think that KT was getting it on with one of the BlogHer management in a way that would feed salacious gossip, as Violet Blue was getting it (supposedly) with BoingBoing's Xeni.
What I also know is that BoingBoing has a better designed site that is easier to navigate both on the website and over time then the BlogHer site, which seems to be redesigned every year before the summer conference and get more unusable than the year before.
Furthermore, what I also know is that BlogHer had a prominent post on the top of the front page to allow readers comment on the new site redesign on Monday, June 16, 2008, but it had no mention of the departure of a good daily editorial BlogHer. And all the comments about the redesign of the site were only gushing, positive comments by other editors of the site. I was the first, and apparently the last, to make a few critiques of the redesign & its usability in the comments. The post announcing the redesign disappeared off the front page within the day.
How do I know that KT's posts disappeared? I have BlogHer on my feed list, and day in and day out 365 days a year for at least the last year if not longer, including holidays, KT's daily astrology post would be on the RSS / Atom feed, as well as on the BlogHer website as the editor post for the Astrology section. KT's posts stopped on Fri. June 13, 2008 and have not reappeared in the feed since.
More telling a few days after the BlogHer redesign was announced and launched on Mon. June 16, 2008, all of KT's posts were deleted from BlogHer.
Now I am not going to make a big to do about the why or wherefores, but what I would appreciate is some editorial / leadership transparency on the part of the BlogHer folks about KT's departure. Whether this is in the style of Anil's metafilter comment about how to deal with a split or TNH's BoingBoing post today it doesn't matter, what does matter to me for BlogHer's credibility is that they acknowledge the departure (good, bad, neutral) of an editor and her daily column.
I don't care if BlogHer chose to take down all of KT's posts or if KT took down all of her own posts, nor do I care about why or the personal politics about the departure, just make an announcement. Say goodbye.
Why should BlogHer say goodbye? Well, BlogHer's whole premise is an all inclusive community of women bloggers that values diversity, transparency, and honesty. Blogher, live up to your explicit and implicit values.
BlogHer, in the meantime, please please please please hire someone to re-architect your website, it is unusable and I am only viewing posts in my feed reader to be able to see if the content is worth while, as my reader sorts everything nicely. I am very sad to see last year's design go, as it was the only one I enjoyed clicking through to and seeing the content on the site in, this year's site is very vanilla corporate.
As a side note to wrap up this post, amusingly enough, I have noticed that Xeni's sex posts have declined over the last few months. I do think Valley Wag may have hit the whole brouhaha on the head.
Since I have a food blog, I will be food blogging daily during the month of July over at The Happy Tastebud, as well as continuing the 365 daily posting challenge here at Black Phoebe :: Ms. Jen (going strong! Thanks mobile blogging!).
Today's post over at The Happy Tastebud is "Whole Foods v. Pavilions". Yes, people, I *actually* comparison shopped today. NO, I did not use coupons, I have my principles.
"Drunken Swede tries to row home" - BBC News on a drunk Swedish man who stole a dinghy to row home to Sweden from Denmark. He fell asleep half away across the 5km Oresund Strait. This is good local news.
"The Worms Crawl In" - NYT article on using hookworm infections to quell allergies. As an allergy sufferer, I will wait for the researchers to figure out the hookworms dampen one's immune response and wait for a pharmaceutical pill that is not a live parasite! Ewwwwwwww!