Liloia.com Archives: March 2004

March 31, 2004

Another for the Lost and Found:

danah's trying to find the thieves who crashed her party, stole the contents of her purse, and racked up fraudulent credit card charges. Some commenters condemn her posted photos of the alleged thieves — but I'm sure I would have done the same... drawn on the power of highly-networked people to distribute the chore of fact finding. I tried it myself when my brand new digital camera went missing at a 2am Dean rally in New Hampshire without much success. I hope it works better for danah.

# By Tara @ 11:55 AM


Star Trek and Sun Sensitivity

Chapter Four in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction made me think back to the only Star Trek convention I've ever attended. I was sick in the summer of 1992, my face half-paralyzed with Lyme Disease, forbidden from being out in sunlight because of the strong antibiotics in my portable intravenous drip. So my parents brought me to the sunny Jersey shore for a week.

My brother and I discovered that the increased G-force of the The Sea Serpent roller coaster on Morey’s Pier forced my blood back into the heparin lock taped to my arm. Instead of a nearly-invisible clear tube, it became a blood-filled snake widing up my forearm, which only spurred us to ride it more.

Walking past the convention center, I saw ads for the Star Trek con going on inside. Surprisingly, my parents sprung for the entry fee and brought the entire clan to the convention. Most of what happened is obscured by an illness-and-drug-induced haze, but I remember Nichelle Nichols offering an amusing keynote and a lovely song, then graciously signing a photo for me with a few kind words. There was no one dressed as a Klingon, but there were a few pairs of Vulcan ears.

I saved my autographed Nichelle Nichols photo until just a couple of years ago. It came with me to college and hung in my dorm rooms. It was packed up after marriage and zig zagged the country with me. But Nichelle didn't survive the move to Boston, it was torn badly and I had to throw it away.

# By Tara @ 11:08 AM


Danger, danger, danger...

This story is all over the place now, but here's an email that was passed to me last Friday in case you haven't heard about the combustible dinner rolls.

MARCH 26, 2004

TO ALL WHOLESALERS

SOUTHERN LIVING 10400, ISSUE 04/04 NEEDS TO BE REMOVED FROM ALL RETAILERS AND TAKEN OFF-SALE

PLEASE REMOVE ALL COPIES OF SOUTHERN LIVING (10400), ISSUE 04/04 FROM ALL ACCOUNTS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. NATIONAL ON-SALE WAS 03/23/04 AND THE COPIES NEED TO BE PULLED OFF SALE AND DESTROYED IMMEDIATELY.

THERE IS A RECIPE IN THIS MAGAZINE THAT DUE TO INSTRUCTIONS CAN CAUSE A KITCHEN FIRE.

IF YOU CANNOT GET TO RETAILERS PLEASE HAVE THEM PULL THE COPIES AND PLACE THEM IN THE BACK ROOM UNTIL YOU CAN PICK THEM UP. THEY MUST BE DESTROYED.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE CONTACT MY OFFICE AT [details omitted].

Finally, an email that truly merits all caps.

# By Tara @ 10:50 AM


March 30, 2004

Commuter Rail Conundrum

Approximately one week ago I noticed that the trash can on the Franklin/Forge Park commuter rail was blocked off. The sign on it read "Temporarily out of Service" in nice, big letters. Since I generally only ride in one car at a time, the sign didn't raise any red flags for me. I just assumed it was broken.

The next morning the sign was still there. My pattern for riding the train is very consistent, so this was likely the exact same car as the day before. But, what kind of repair could take more than a day? And since when do garbage cans break?

Friday afternoon I left work early and hit the station in time to grab the 4:45 train. Again, garbage can marked off. Then yesterday I took a later train and it was there again.

This morning I decided to check it out. Instead of sitting down right away I walked through a few cars. Each car has a garbage can in each end. ALL of them were blocked.

I mentioned this to Tara when I got home tonight. The cunning lady that she is, she immediately said "Oh, yeah. That's what they do when there are bomb scares. And don't forget the train bombing in Spain a few weeks ago."

The bombings in Spain happened on a commuter train, which were hidden in garbage cans. Holy cow!


After some searching I was able to find this: MBTA Riders Can Clean Up On Terrorism. They reference a "pamphlet" that is being handed out to riders. I haven't seen one. Also, when searching on Google, this subject listed on 4 hits in the best result. Is it too soon after this was implemented to show up? (Yet another reason why blogs are more powerful than search engines)

Has anyone else seen this happening on their trains? Let me know.

# By Dave @ 10:29 PM


File Sharing has Little Effect on CD Sales

"[Researchers] concluded that file sharing actually increases CD sales for hot albums that sell more than 600,000 copies. For every 150 downloads of a song from those albums, sales increase by a copy, the researchers found." — Washington Post

Uh oh. There goes that theory.

# By Tara @ 01:41 PM


Unsolicited Whuffie

cover-small.jpegCongratulations to Cory Doctorow on making the Preliminary Ballot for the 2004 Nebula Awards. I'm on a Doctorow kick right now, currently reading both Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Science Fiction. Cory's voice is casual and fun to read. I kept putting down Kavalier and Clay for Down and Out, which is why I didn't have it done in time for my book club meeting.

I pitched Down and Out to the club (accentuating the "freely available online" angle) but I got a "Scifi, ew!" reaction, as if I had dumped a handful of pillbugs on the table. They want to read "clah-sic" literature. I hoped that in the post-Matrix world we'd get past the genre divisions and live as one big happy novel-reading family. Or that at least the wedgies in gym class would stop.

# By Tara @ 12:38 PM


March 29, 2004

Dragons in Jars = Publishing Contracts

I don't know whether to cheer the guy on or wail in frustration that I didn't think of it first. In either case, I'm tempted to start a little potential author one-upmanship.

My book deals with a kidnapping, you know... do I hear a gauntlet hitting pavement?

# By Tara @ 10:33 PM


Lessig Read-a-Thon

I'm a participant in the Free Culture read-a-thon, supporting a full free legal audio version of Professor Lawrence Lessig's new book, Free Culture Or, Why am I a sucker for any event with "Thon" in the title?

AKMA had the fantastic idea to record chapters of Lawrence Lessig’s new book, Free Culture (made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 1.0 Creative Commons license) in mp3 format. Like a colony of ants, a group of people attacked the book in sections. Most of it has been recorded, with just a small effort on the part of each individual.

Here’s what we have so far:

Preface: Kevin Marks, available here

Introduction: Raph Levien, available here

Intro to the “Piracy” section (thanks for noticing this!): Chris Farmer, available here

Chapter 1: Doug Kaye (download it here already! And it’s terrific), George’s version here (I’m glad they took this chapter; I’m not ready to try to pronounce doujinshi.)

Chapter 2: Victoria and A. J. Wright available here

Chapter 3: Victoria and A. J. Wright Now available here.

Chapter 4: Eric Rice (may be able to help with hosting), Adam Brault available here

Chapter with Governess and Bodice-Ripping: Halley (I want to hear this)

Chapter 5: AKMA (done — here it is, hefty at 15.67 Mb; anyone should feel free to compress it if you see a way to)

Chapter 6: Les Hall, Guan Yang

Chapter 7: Michael Shook (probably can’t host) Available here.

Chapter 8: Suw Charman available here

Chapter 9: Tara now available here, Chuck Welch

Chapter 10: Giles Hoover

Chapter 11: Neel (can probably host it), Dave Winer (available now, here!)

Chapter 12: Dave Winer, available here

Chapter 13: Jeneane Sesssum

Chapter 14: Ted Fletcher

Conclusion: Enoch Choi, available here
Notes (ahem!): techt

Executive Summary: Halley “Executive” Suitt (no, it’s pronounced to rhyme with “root,” not “bleat”

Graphic: David Weinberger


For my part, it took several hours of work because I wasn't set up for audio recording. Most of the time, I played around with software, microphones and mp3 encoders in order to end up with a clear, manageable file. (And then Trevor got his hands on the mic and recorded songs about bananas and whoopie cushions for an hour.)

What I used:
Audacity worked extremely well for the recording itself. It's one of those applications which is fairly intuitive to operate as a novice, but offers many features for the expert. After a couple of false starts, it worked best when I read a paragraph, paused the recording for a drink or paper shuffling, then hit record again and did the next paragraph. I got through 80% of chapter without any major errors that way. But when I did make a mistake, it was easy to stop the recording, chop out the mistake and begin recording at the spot where I left off. Audacity mixed my final take seamlessly. I'm dying to take a crack at Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom with this software.

Audacity is great, but it won't get you to the end of the line. I had a perfectly serviceable WAV file at the end of the night, but it was 71.4 MB. A mite too big for the Web. The Alt WAV to MP3 & WMA Converter was not as easy to use, but it got the job done. My primary problem was that it repeatedly told me that my finished product would be 33MB. I spent a good deal of time trying to shrink that by playing with settings until I gave up and hit encode anyway. The file came out to 11MB instead. I don't get it, but I accept it.

The microphone was a chintzy little Compaq clip on that looked unassuming, but produced crystal clear sound with no background noise.

The file is hosted on SmelltheCandy.com (a side project in progress) with space and bandwidth provided by UltraCheapHosting.

The seltzer was Zazz.

The hour was late, and the girl was tired.

Enjoy... Chapter 9: Collectors

# By Tara @ 11:10 AM | Comments (5)


Diabolical

For the last week I have been trying very hard to keep my blood sugar in check. I am a type 1 daibetic who has been keeping poor control over my disease for quite some time now. As I approach my 30th birthday it is becoming more and more important for me to improve my health and get on track.

During the day I seem to be doing much better and my sugar levels are not going much higher than 150-180 (this is good for me). The problem I am having right now is what the sugar levels are when I first wake up in the morning. They are consistently well over 200 even though I haven't eaten anything in over 12 hours. I need to schedule an appointment with my endocrinologist.

Anyway, the point of all of this is that I am thinking about starting something of a support group. Between stress at work and the hectic life that most adults lead I am finding it hard to focus on my health. On top of all of this, I am not really in the right mindset to deal with my disease sometimes and I would imagine that other 20 something people in a similar situation might be in the same situation.

I would like to organize a group of similarly aged diabetics in the Boston area to just get together and talk. Nothing special, maybe we can all go out to eat (which would help us both identify and implement low carb eating in our diets). If you know anyone that might be interested, let me know. I may create a Yahoo group for this.

UPDATE - The ideal group would be 20-40 yr old diabetics in the Boston Area. Further details may come out later as I figure out what I want out of the group.

# By Dave @ 10:26 AM


March 28, 2004

Bloody Skulls

Tonight we headed over to the Natick Mall to do some shopping, and along the way stopped off at the arcade. After $3.00 of quarters we amassed a grand total of 16 tickets and went up front so Trevor could claim his prize.

For 15 of the 16 tickets he picked out a lollipop. The guy behind the counter, while agnst ridden, was nice enough to give Trev two instead of just one. What did my boy pick out? Only the most appropriate candy for this family. Black lollipops with white skulls on the front.

The best part of it all? When you lick the lollipop the white skull turns all red as if it was bloody. Trevors toungue is still blood red.

# By Dave @ 12:16 AM


March 27, 2004

Good Time

Last night I went out in Boson with some friends from work (Dave, Dave, Fred, Phil and Aviva). First we headed over to The Tiki Room where everyone who enters gets laid...er..um..I mean lei'd. We all had a few drinks and shared a PuPu platter which was pretty tasty. A former coworker Andy met us there and hung out for a while before splitting to grab some dinner.

After that we tried to head upstairs to Jillians, but much to our dismay they have removed all of the video games and have left only the pool tables. Doesn't that kind of alter the entire purpose of what Jillian's is supposed to be? Who knows, because we didn't stick around to find out. Dave W. decided that if we were restricted to playing pool, then we might as well go to Boston Billiards.

As we walked in, it felt like I was with Norm from Cheers. Everyone knew Dave W. and we were greeted by many employees. Boston Billiards is a really classy place with a large lounge area in the front portion of the hall filled with thick leather couches and low tables. The bar was small, but there were plenty of tables and chairs spread around the room so you could enjoy a drink or three while shooting pool.

Dave soundly beat me numerous times while introducing me to his pool shark friends who could make the cue do some amazing things. After a while Deirdre showed up, having come from the Bob Dylan show at the Avalon last night bringing Martin along with her. All of us retired to the video game section where I was lured into playing Golden Tee, a game I have seen frequently but always thought was a waste of time. I was not dissapointed. Great night out with friends, although I am a bit worn out today.

# By Dave @ 02:56 PM


March 24, 2004

Great Rip

A few weeks ago my friend Keith made what was quite possibly one of the most accurate, intelligent and obscure referencing dig on me that I have ever heard.

Keith - "You know Dave, if sarcasm didn't exist in the universe you would be Marcel Marceau."

Wow.

# By Dave @ 10:38 PM


Whacked!

Last year (ok, who am I kidding, almost 2 years ago) season 4 of the Soprano's wrapped and I happily watched the last episode every single time they played it. Soon after I found myself looking at the schedule for HBO and began noticing along with no new Soprano's episodes in sight, there was nothing else coming on at all. No Six Feet Under, no Curb Your Enthusiasm, etc.

We had hit a dry spell for HBO. It was a 3-6 month time frame where they had not scheduled anything! So, the penny pincher that I tend to be, I cancelled our HBO service.

Now we are back into Season 5. I saw the first episode at a friends house but I have been left without my hostility, crime and evil for the last two weeks. Has anyone been taping them? I need my fix!!

# By Dave @ 10:34 PM | Comments (2)


Big bottoms versus bottom lines

I've been banned from the town gym. It seems that I work out too often for their P&L statement and I've been asked to limit my visits to two a week.

Of course, there's more to the story. I'm a member of the Framingham location of this particular franchise, but I have a travel pass that allows me into all international locations. I primarily go at lunchtime near the office, but the last couple of days have been so hectic at work (regular tasks + Perspectives Conference = no extra time) that I attempted to switch my visits to the evenings at home.

But I was stopped at the door with the typical passive agressive lines that front desk people seem to cultivate in a little pot of soil near their vat of candy:

"It's not my rule, I just have to enforce it."
"I'd let you in, but the owner might come by."
"I don't know why they let you do it in the past, that's not my problem."

We've got a heady conflict of interest going here. My goal #1 is to work the hell out as often as I can. Their goal #1 is to sign up as many new members as possible who don't show up. But the upside is that while the gym receptionist has been sitting on her butt, restricting fat chicks from getting thinner, I've been kickboxing my way into shape. Should I decide to just show up and start working out, she'll be powerless to stop me.

"I'm just going to kick outward like this, and if you happen to get in my way..."

# By Tara @ 03:32 PM | Comments (2)


More Zombie Attacks Reported

First Jesus, now the RIAA — who will stop these damned zombies? (via boingboing)

# By Tara @ 10:25 AM


March 23, 2004

RSS and the black and white world

Lately my blog reading has been pretty blah and RSS is to blame. Aside from the occasional odd image, I am drowning in a sea of black on white text streamed through my aggregator. And while the personality of each blog shines through in the content, I'm still missing the peculiarities of each person's chosen layout and color scheme.

Here's what I've been missing:


  • Yukino's fluid lines and calming violet beach. I always want to whisper my comments onto her posts.
  • David Weinberger's screaming fire tones in contrast with the far more soft-spoken content of his posts.
  • Xara's frequent jarring and provocative layout changes that remind me of a strung out and stumbling, (yet still unspeakably beautiful), supermodel.
  • Halley's no nonsense gray on gray with orange "look-at-me!" links. And post titles that jump off the page in a thick, heavy header font, because they deserve to, they're that good.
  • The Oliver Willis smirk.
  • Jessica's frequently-updated bursts of tagline humor. At least... there were funny ones when I used to see them. Maybe they're not funny anymore?
  • Dave Winer's new header graphic. (Dave looks just like my high school Western Civ. teacher who was a general contractor during the summers and told us that he wouldn't hire a man who couldn't sink a nail in two hits. Anything more was a waste of time and energy. Since then, I have always tried to sink nails in two hits and find myself instead creating large circular holes in the walls when I miss. Let us all remember that spackling, sanding and repainting wastes more time and energy than sinking the nail in seven hits.)

# By Tara @ 02:42 PM | Comments (2)


Good advice from Science Fiction

"More than seventy earths spinning about the galaxy and the meek have inherited not a one."

Firefly

# By Tara @ 11:37 AM


March 22, 2004

Favorite. Headline. Ever.

Zombies Drive Jesus From Top Of Box Office

You just can't make this stuff up.

# By Tara @ 11:11 PM


More Average Joe

Average Joe just wrapped up again for this week and Adam has both impressed and dissapointed me.

During the show some of his original Average Joe co-contestants arrived at the house with a busload of hot chicks in bikini's. They all pranced right into the hot tub and immediately began trying to woo him into the water with them. While this is probably every guy's dream, Adam can only think of the feelings that may be hurt if the current women find out about the new batch of ladies.

He recalled his feelings when the "hunks" arrived in his show, and decides that he doesn't want to do the same to these ladies. In a shocking (not really) move, he kicks all of the ladies out and prepares for his group date with the women.

Then in the final moments of this episode Brittany reveals to Adam that she has a 6 year old son. Rather than give her a chance and get to know her, he immediately cuts her from the show stating that he found out about "stuff he wasn't ready for".

Ready for what? She didn't ask him to be the daddy! Adam, for the evening you have zeroed yourself out. Let's see how you do next week....

By the way, did you realize that Lifshitz chick is still there?

# By Dave @ 11:10 PM


Want a summer job?

Seth Godin is hiring three paid interns. This is a phenomenal opportunity — one which I'd be applying for if I had the qualifications.

# By Tara @ 12:10 PM


March 21, 2004

Being a Mom

Means that you have to go see Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London instead of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

# By Tara @ 10:29 AM


March 18, 2004

Ms. Ireland

In honor of St. Patty's Day Deirdre sent me this...

Miss Ireland.JPG

# By Dave @ 09:10 AM


Who else...

Watching American Idol (which I didn't) makes me wonder (which I did), who among today's successful musicians wouldn't be able to make it through the competition anonymously. I think maybe Madonna might get a couple of snide comments. Courtney Love would definitely get booted in the first round.

# By Tara @ 01:07 AM


March 17, 2004

Push the button

3:30

Today, in what I thought was an act of kindness I stayed home longer than normal, ate breakfast with Trevor and drove Tara and Trevor to work and school. It was fun to spend the time with them, and I started my day in a much better mood than I normally do.

3:31

Now, the clock is ticking. I need to leave here no later than 4 PM so I can pick Tara up and then grab Trev before his school pushes him out to the street, and leaves him there for bullies to steal his milk money. (Ok, so that part isn't true but he would be sitting there waiting for us and the teachers would scowl at me when we arrived)

3:32

One of the people I work for is releasing a product that has been on quality hold for months. (Anyone who wonders what I do for a living should pay attention here) The product has been tested and pending the results may be released for shipment. They want these orders to go out today.

3:33

In order for these orders to go out today I have to do the following
- Coerce an item scheduler to move the inventory to a saleable location
- Beg Customer Care in the US to re-enter all of the orders and redate them for today
- Plead with shipping to sneak into our system and redate the international orders for today
- Personally carry 10 boxes of slides to the shipping department for shipping
- Have the item master team change the attributes of the item so I can sell it
- Confirm shipment on all of these items
- Change everything back to the way it was before today so no new orders ship out the door.

3:37

And in order to do that I need "the call" from one person. They were supposed to call me half an hour ago and they still have not done it. I am starting to think that it ain't happening today.


UPDATE 3:45PM - It Ain't Happening Today. Ugh.

# By Dave @ 03:39 PM


Snow, without the Day

There were heaps of heavy snow in the driveway this morning, but school was still open. To a five-year-old, that's like filling the driveway with candy, then telling him not to touch it. He made a last-ditch effort fling himself into a snowbank as I tried to stuff him into the back seat of the car. Snowflakes are halfheartedly flitting around outside my window, but they don't seem really commmitted to making a pile anywhere. Thanks for nothing.

# By Tara @ 12:23 PM


March 16, 2004

Blogathon 2004 Cancelled

I can imagine the insane amount of work that goes into a shindig like the Blogathon, so I understand how a year off will significantly improve the 2005 event. That said, I was really looking forward to this year's marathon of pain. I had a Very Big Plan, which corrected for some of the bugs from last year's event. Like polling. I didn't think polling out to it's logical conclusion. If you have 30 minutes between entries and you spend 15 of those minutes waiting for poll results to come in, that leaves you nearly no time for the actual writing.

But I'm still hanging onto the Very Big Plan...

# By Tara @ 01:40 PM | Comments (2)


The Accident Next Door

A worker at the Framingham Breyer's ice cream plant was killed Monday night in an accident. (video of news broadcast available)

"Police received a call about 1:30 a.m. that a production worker was injured. It turned out to be a production worker who was taken to MetroWest Hospital with crush injuries. The plant is closed for production Tuesday morning while an investigation into the accident is completed."

The plant may be closed, but there are still plenty of trucks parked up and down Sealtest Drive; tankers full of milk that were already en route by Monday night.

# By Tara @ 01:13 PM


March 15, 2004

The Internet

is apparently an amorphous yellow cloud. Or so says Best Buy.

9811453058_235.jpg

# By Dave @ 08:48 PM | Comments (2)


The Chow at Chau Chow

The Liloia clan had an, um... interesting experience at the famed Chau Chow City restaurant in Chinatown Boston on Sunday. After a failed attempt to meet up with some Boston bloggers for brunch, we got a table for three and braved the waters of authentic dim sum.

Now I'm no stranger to odd oriental edibles -- I've eaten salad filled with crunchy red beetles and been faced with a plate of what appeared to be whole deep-fried sparrows (both at the same dinner on mainland China) -- so I figured nothing here could turn my stomach. I should have known better, since Chau Chow's features seafood very prominently. I guess I was being overly optimistic. The philosophy of the cooking staff seems to be, "Shrimp goes with everything." Like Bubba's list: "Shrimp soup, shrimp jambalaya, shrimp soda, shrimp corn..." It's all full of shrimp. One server beamed proudly when we asked about the contents of the cart, "Yes, all shrimp!"

I did find one meatball that was made of either beef or (more likely) pork, but it was lukewarm and pink. Several inquiries to Dave about the cookedness of the ball of meat resulted in no definitive answers, so I passed it off to Trevor. Yes, that's right. I thought the hunk of pork was undercooked, so I sent it over to my kindergartner. I'm a nice mom like that. He speared it with a chopstick and ate it like a popsicle.

The next steamer held three shrimp dumplings. I skipped it entirely and opted for something beef-filled instead. I had a Fear Factor moment with a plate of white beef envelopes. You know those slippery latex water-filled worms you can get at Spencer Gifts? Imagine trying to pick it up with chopsticks and take a bite. It was all gooey and slimy. I tried to chew and suddenly I heard Joe Rogan's voice cheering me on, "Just eat the sheep's eyeball and you'll have fifty thousand dollars!" Only no money.

Another server came by and mumbled something about a chicken dumpling. I eagerly asked for that one and she frowned, "No chicken... spinach!" But a spinach dumpling doesn't mean there's spinach inside, silly. It just means that the gooey outer layer that covers the shrimp is green and salty. I ate the outside and passed the inside over to Dave, who, even though he loves shrimp, was starting to look a little green himself.

I sought refuge in the fried tofu -- but again "everything's better with shrimp." A mound of ground shrimp was magically adhered to the side of the tofu triangle. I was starving. I ate around it.

Finally someone stopped by with a dish of harmless sesame balls. Dave and I dove in, but Trevor declared the inside "yucky looking" and refused to eat anything else. (This, from a kid who just ate an undercooked pork meatball.)

I'm not sure how you get rice at Chau Chow. No one stopped by with it and we didn't seem to have a dedicated server to ask for such a thing. I haven't sworn off the place, but I'm sure it's better with A) a group, which will simply absorb your erroneous shrimpy choices and B) someone who understands Chinese better than I do.

# By Tara @ 06:01 PM | Comments (1)


Bald Republicans - Alert!

Here is yet another reason to vote Democratic this coming November. Bush doesn't want to support Stem Cell research or increase the number of cell lines available. Do you want to support a president that wants you to stay bald??? :)


Yahoo! News - Stem Cells May Lead to Baldness Cure

# By Dave @ 12:04 PM


March 14, 2004

Yum

Gotta go to bed. We are supposed to be heading up to Chinatown tomorrow morning to have Dim Sum at Chau Chow's for brunch with some other bloggers. Should be yummy. Worst case scenario, we get to grab some Bubble Tea before we head home!

# By Dave @ 01:24 AM


Animal Crossed

This evening, Trevor very excitedly came into our bedroom to let us know that he had created a new town in Animal Crossing. He was very excited.

For those of you who don't know what Animal Crossing is, it is a highly addictive simulation style game (like "The Sims") where you are a small animal-creature thingy and you live in a cute town filled with other animals. You earn money to get larger and larger homes, and make friends with the residents of the town. There are a dizzying array of interesting things to do all the time, the town actually changes with the season, and a million new things to find all the time.

For those of you do know Animal Crossing, you know that there can only be one town at a time, and that Trevor just erased all four of our characters. Everything that we earned, collected, worked on over the last two months is gone. Poof.

As Tara sometimes likes to say about her work for the web team, "All I ever do is move electrons". Well, Trevor just moved all of them.

I guess he did us a favor, because on Monday our prepaid copy of Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life will be ready for pickup so we will be ready for a new addiction.

# By Dave @ 12:43 AM | Comments (1)


March 13, 2004

KEPAWT NO

I thought the "Keep Out" signs didn't start until they hit their teens? I had to stand there and decrypt the kindergarten-speak in this one:
KEP = Keep
AWT = Out
The "NO" with the swirly arrow means, "don't turn the door handle." There was apparently a critical part of a Lego city attatched to the door.

# By Tara @ 04:05 AM | Comments (4)


March 12, 2004

Dean Internet Team Launches Blue State Digital

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Key members of Howard Dean's internet team today launched a consulting firm to bring their expertise to Democratic candidates and progressive political organizations. Blue State Digital, LLC, will use the tools and expertise that Howard Dean used to raise more than $50 million and organize hundreds of thousands of volunteers to help Democratic candidates,
advocacy groups, and non-profit organizations nationwide empower their people.

"Howard Dean changed politics," said Clay Johnson, Blue State Digital co-founder and lead grassroots software programmer for the Dean campaign. "He proved that the Internet can not only raise tremendous amounts of money, it can also empower and engage people. We are here to help candidates and organizations harness this power to win elections and create positive change."

By combining years of experience in technology with a deep political knowledge and passion, the people of Blue State Digital will provide clients with cutting-edge tools and techniques to tap the enormous fundraising, communications, and organizing potential of the internet. Blue State Digital will offer clients tools, services, and support that are right for them -- not a cookie-cutter solution.

For more information:
http://www.bluestatedigital.com

# By Tara @ 11:42 AM | Comments (2)


What did I ever do to you?

"We bring the good news to Muslims of the world that the expected 'Winds of Black Death' strike against America is now in its final stage...90 percent (ready) and God willing near,"Washington Post

Well gee, thanks for the heads up. I'll go prepare my official Winds of Black Death First Aid Kit. Are canned goods and bottled water any protection against the Winds of Black Death? Because I stocked up at the ShopRite Can-Can Sale and if 4/$1.00 green beans will stave off the Winds of Black Death, I'm so ready.

If the threat was named the Gentle Breeze of Black Death or the Genial Current of Black Death, I might not be as concerned. But It's a full-on wind. Actually, there are multiple "Winds" and they're capitalized for Increased Potency.

You can't even call out of work for this:

"Hi Kathleen, it's Tara. Just wanted to let you know that I won't be in today. I'm awaiting the dishonorable death of an infidel at the hands of the exalted servants of Islam. So you can mark it like a sick day or a floater? Thanks. Maybe I'll see you tomorrow if the Winds of Black Death don't kill us all before then."

I need a time frame, some direction, a hint or a clue as to when the scourge will swoop down and wash the evil from my country. Should I wash tonight's dinner dishes? Make that appointment for an oil change this weekend? Bother to finish my novel-in-progress?

What else can you do but laugh in the face of a vague threat named like an unspeakable evil from a Terry Pratchett novel? If the Winds of Black Death are delivered by a man named Grievous Bodily Harm... well, let's just say I told you so.

The day that Anderson Cooper comes on CNN and says, "There is going to be a horrific act of terrorism at this latitude and longitude, please move away from that spot," I won't make a single sarcastic remark. Until then, I get to crack jokes about threat colors and other shameless plot devices used to make US citizens feel insecure and helpless.

# By Tara @ 12:26 AM | Comments (1)


March 11, 2004

Cheap SLut Looking....

Cheap Slut Looking for Roomate....

Christine showed me this and we thought it was too funny not to share. It is from here

Great room in a two bedroom apartment for April 1 or April 15 in lively Inman Square. $675 + utilities. The lease is until Sept 1, with the option to renew. Steps from the restaurants and shops that make Inman Square such a great place to live. 12 minute walk to Central Square T. 83 and 69 bus right outside the door.

-bright bedroom with a big closet
-hardwood floors
-eat-in kitchen
-free washer and dryer in the apartment
-phone and cable in your bedroom, option for internet
-great porch
-free off street parking spot
-large living room

Apartment is big, with tall ceilings and lots of light. 3rd floor of a 3 family. Fabulous kitchen - fully furnished in a retro-chic kind of way. If you love to cook and entertain, you will appreciate the kitchen. Your room is medium sized, 12 x 14, large closet with built-in shelves. Bedroom overlooks porch. The bathroom is big, great water pressure and has a skylight. The living room is large, with lots of light. I have some furniture, but am willing to add more, or see what you could bring to the existing pieces I have. Overall, this place is funky, big and in good shape.

I am looking for someone who is consistently clean, but not fussy about a few dishes. I am a 27 year old, cheap and slutty female professional. I work 9-5, but that does not mean my lifestyle reflects that. I am fun and outgoing. I love music, cooking, going out etc. I would like someone in the apartment who likes the same, but also treats this place like a home, not a party. Someone around my age would be best. I would prefer a cheap, slutty, female roommate, but would consider the right slutty guy. Sorry, no cats.


Too bad for the cats..

# By Dave @ 06:02 PM | Comments (1)


Moblogging

As per the request of some people I updated all the entries on my Moblog to include a little bit of text about what the pictures are from.

Let me know what you think. Unfortunately, these days the moblog is my best shot at getting a post up on a regular basis. Later.

# By Dave @ 04:43 PM


Last chance for Celtics drawing!

Everyone subscribed to the Celtics Beat email newsletter by the end of the day on March 11th will be entered into a random drawing for one of these three prizes:

First Prize:
The exclusive Celtics Ultimate Experience prize pack for you and a guest will
include:
- Two (2) courtside seats for the St. Patrick's Day Game, March 17th,
against Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets.

- Watch pre-game shoot around on the court

- Get a picture on the court with a player before the game!

Second Prize:
An autographed team basketball.

Third Prize:
A Paul Pierce jersey.

Sign-up for Celtics Beat by March 11th to be entered:
http://shorl.com/feprutysutrale

Thank you for supporting The Boston Celtics!

* The Celtics will only accept one email entry per person.

# By Tara @ 11:26 AM


X marks the spoon

This is Monkey Spoon.
He would like to know if lesbian spoon prefers strictly girl spoons or maybe goes for a pancake turner now and again.
If not, he's willing to have a go at a long-distance thing with glitter spoon. Even though she seems a little trashy.
Poor Monkey Spoon.
His lack of appendages leads him to overcompensate.

# By Tara @ 10:21 AM | Comments (3)


Not so fast...

"Now we are told by our president and neoconservative mouthpieces that our sons and daughters, husbands and wives are in Iraq fighting for freedom, for liberty, for justice and American values. This cost is not borne by the children of Wolfowitz, Perle, Rumsfeld and Cheney. Bush's daughters do not pay this price. We are told that intelligence has failed America, and that President Bush is determined to get to the bottom of it. Yet not a single neoconservative appointee has lost his job, and no high official of principle in the administration has formally resigned because of this ill-planned and ill-conceived war and poorly implemented occupation of Iraq." -- Salon

# By Tara @ 10:03 AM


March 10, 2004

ANGERED BY SNUBBING, LIBYA, CHINA SYRIA FORM AXIS OF JUST AS EVIL

"An Axis can't have more than three countries," explained Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "This is not my rule, it's tradition. In World War II you had Germany, Italy, and Japan in the evil Axis. So you can only have three. And a secret handshake. Ours is wicked cool."
-- Satirewire

# By Tara @ 11:42 AM


March 9, 2004

Back to our regularly scheduled program...

I feel the political vim and vigor draining out of me faster than Joe Trippi's final Diet Pepsi of the day.

# By Tara @ 09:08 PM


Firefly

Sick days are good for catching up on those shows and movies you always wanted to see. While sipping tea in bed yesterday afternoon, I watched the first disc of Firefly, Season One. I remember planning to watch this show when it was originally aired, but the television set and I are not generally on good terms with one another and I usually end up missing the few shows I'd actually like to watch.

My first thought was, "Man, these battle scenes are so dark. I can't see what's going on." Then it occurred to me that I've said that exact same thing for four out of the last five movies I've watched in the bedroom. I'm blaming innocent cinematographers for my inability to adjust the brightness and contrast.

The second (and more relevant) thing I thought was, "What's up with the space western?" I realize that every one else in the universe has hashed this out to death, but I had never read a Firefly review and I was taken unawares. Gene Roddenberry might have called Star Trek the "Wagon Train to the stars," but Joss Whedon took the theme to a new extreme. Between a showdown, saloon fight, train robbery, and a drawling cowboy lingo, you could channel surf past an episode of Firefly and mistake it for Gunsmoke.

Which is not to say that I didn't like the show, but the space cowboy theme was something I had to get past, not an enhancement. I'm just not that enchanted by the lure of the Old West. At least the Firefly version of a space exploration team is not as bland as Enterprise. I read a few reviews post-viewing and saw some complaints about lack of originality, but I'd like to toss this out in response: Never, in the history of moving pictures, has anyone been outright penalized for depicting a familiar story — (here's the most important part) as long as it was done well. Just look at every single Disney fable/animated feature for proof that the most tried-and-true stories can make successful films.

coverFirefly is funny in a way that Dave and I have always thought television should be funny — there's a scene involving a thug and a Firefly engine that plays exactly as it should, but you still sit there and say, "I can't believe he did that!". And there are no prosthetic foreheads. I'm a diehard Star Trek fan, but I was getting a little tired of the prosthetic foreheads. Oh and I know the Firefly creators foreswore the use of sound in space, but really, that little whooshing pop as ships go into warp/hyperdrive/etc. is so satisfying. When I work for NASA, all of my spacecraft are going to have little whooshing .WAV files that play on the PA when they jump into hyperspace. And sadly, the Alliance has really bad hats. If imperialist fashion has taught us anything, it's that you can rule the Universe, but only with a snappy hat and a well tailored coat.

I want to point out for our American readers that Blockbuster charged me $5.50 to rent the first disc of Firefly. (I'm normally a Netflix-only sort of girl, but I needed a movie fix fast.) There are four discs equaling a $22.00 rental fee for the entire season. If you're the type of person who chronically returns movies late, you might be better off buying the set and selling it on eBay when you're done.

# By Tara @ 08:06 PM | Comments (3)


March 8, 2004

Brought to you by the letter "O"

For "Ow."

1:32am: I can't sleep. My throat is raw from who-knows-what. I need some tea, but there is no sympathetic spouse here to make it for me. I keep glancing meaningfully at the pantry doors, hoping the Universe will take my hint and tea will make itself. But I suspect that all of my Universe-bashing in the post below leaves me on some sort of Infinity blacklist, on which people don't get tea made for them by the Universe.

I'm avoiding bed. At the desk, there are interesting things to read about cigars, donuts, body modification and the most awful movies ever made.

In bed there's just a pain in your throat that seems disproportionately worse because there's nothing to take your mind off of it.

# By Tara @ 01:29 AM | Comments (1)


March 7, 2004

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs...

It's BUY ONE GET ONE FREE NIGHT here at Tara's House of the Apocalypse.

First, Michael Feldman (whom I had the distinct pleasure of meeting last week) posts about a three-headed frog found in a British nursery school.

And if you decide not to click on the link and visit Michael's Dowbrigade to see the photo, let me clue you in on something. This frog isn't three headed the way that some upstart intern at Lucasfilm would make a three-headed frog; a froggy body with three heads jostling for position in the neck area. No. This looks like someone was playing frog baseball (shout out to Beavis and Butthead) and three frogs collided over second base and... well, stuck together.

Or like the frogs merged in some sort of Philadelphia Experiment gone horribly wrong. (Frankly, when doesn't a time travel experiment go horribly wrong?)

Anyway, back to this particular three-headed frog. Apparently he croaked out, "Prepare for the coming of Gozer," to the preschoolers, then spontaneuously combusted (Or hopped into the woods, depending on whose version you believe. Honestly, I wouldn't rely on the memories of five-year-olds. Trust me, I have one). Inexplicably Oscar-neglected Bill Murray offered this understated comment: "So be good, for goodness sake! Whoa, somebody's coming."

And the second sign of the imminent extinction of the planet is this wacky documercial from Volvo about 32 people in a tiny Swedish town who coincidentally bought the same make and model car on the same day. (via MeFi)

I'm not sure that this is a sign of the End Times, as much as a sign that the town was securely located in Sweden.

But if the story is true, and not a Blair Witch-inspired piece of hypaganda, it means (as I have said in the past*) that the universe's random number generator is on the fritz. Somebody start a trouble ticket at support@theuniverse.org.


* That was the point at which I intended to link you to my Very Old Post about a South American town in which winning lottery numbers matched the license plate numbers of cars used in recent suicide bombings. But it's gone. Eaten in the "This is why Dave is the hardware guy and Tara is the software girl" Debacle of 2002**. Oh what, you didn't notice the 18 month gap in posts? We weren't on walkabout, let me tell you that.

**Hopefully, Dave will let me get away with blaming him for the lost year because I'm just so darn cute. I'm counting on it, because the hostility portrayed in the cartoon above is faithfully reproduced from the original.

# By Tara @ 10:29 PM | Comments (1)


Does CHICK + BLOG = CHICKBLOG?

I share my blog with some guy that lives with me. He's clearly insane, as evidence by the fact that he bought a wireless USB adapter for his laptop, then proceeded to connect it to the machine via a six-foot cord. Helloo?? Wire-less?

Anyway... I'd like to attend the "Chick Blogs! A Roundtable on Women and Blogs" session at BloggerCon II, but our site is what I call a "family blog" and not a "chick blog" (despite the fact that my posts are clearly far superior to the other two males who contribute here).

Being a female doesn't seem to come into play when I post. I've posted as a parent, a student, an employee, a hobbyist, an activist, and a writer — but I have I posted as just a woman? If I had my own Tara-only space would I feel differently about the intersection of gender and blogging? I guess I'll have to wait until April to get some answers.

# By Tara @ 03:16 PM | Comments (1)


March 6, 2004

Finally Wireless

Tonight a momentous event occured here in the Liloia household. We are wireless. Well, kind of. I am now wireless on my laptop around the house (except for when I run out of juice and need to recharge), and Tara has a new router so we can setup Trevor's machine in his room again (if he wants).

Tara's next machine will definitely be a laptop, so when we get her hooked up we are ready. Right now I am sitting in the living room watching "Jackie Chan Adventures" with Trevor. I know that I am only 10 feet away from the actual connection, but the fact that I can be online at the same time is really cool.

Having been the one who set it all up, I realized something puzzling. For a family that is now wireless, the setup is decidedly not so. Power stips abound.

:)

# By Dave @ 08:46 PM


No more Bush

It's not all Republicans, it's just George Bush.

If you have other links to proof that GWB is a liar and that his group is truly the new Evil Empire, please send them to me so I can post them here. For a long time I would visit them, and nod knowingly but now I am starting to get angry about the lengths to which they are taking things.

# By Dave @ 10:40 AM | Comments (3)


Shelton, CT

Just when you thought it was safe to be human for a little while, lawyers step in and remind us that they are working hard to kill all the fun in the world.

Jim is being threatened with possible litigation by the Wiffle company because he named his Wiffle Ball team the "Wiffle Sox" and sold some t-shirts to his teammates on Cafepress.

Most importantly, Jim is not backing down. Good for him.
Jim, I would love to support you in this. Is there room on the team, or can we expand it and make a full Wiffle Ball league?

The dizzying array of ways in which this action by the Wiffle company is innaproppriate is.....well.....dizzying

Most importantly I have come to the conclusion that just about everything from Shelton, CT is evil. The town must put something in the water to make everyone there a little bit crazy.

Jim, my company is sending me down to Shelton (again) this week for three days...want me to swing by and "speak" to them for you? I am sure I can clear this all right up. :)

# By Dave @ 10:26 AM | Comments (2)


March 5, 2004

harmonize subscriptivize aggregatize

Dave Winer mentioned his harmonizer last night during the Berkman meeting and I jumped in my chair. It sounded like exactly what I needed to solve my feed synchronization issue. But the tool appears to be built for Radio. I've just invested in FeedDemon (Actually, it was my uber-geeky Valentine's Day gift from Dave. How many other girls you know got RSS aggregators instead of flowers?), and I won't be switching any time soon.

So the problem is that I run FeedDemon at home and at work. I find new feeds in both locations. Not only it it an annoyance to paste feeds into an email to send home or vice versa, I flat out forget to do it. I went to check Goodbye.nu at home, to find that I have it at work only. And I know I added about seven new chick blogs (hey, they call themselves that, I didn't bestow the moniker) at home last night, but darned if I can remember what they were this morning.

Besty Devine (appropriately) suggested using myFeedster as a central repository, but even myFeedster is an inelegant solution. Same for using FeedDemon's sync tool to get the latest copy of my OPML file from Liloia.com whenever I move to the other computer. I want FeedDemon to handle the synchronization effortlessly and invisibly. In the same way that AIM handles contact list updates. For once, I'd like to be just a user.

# By Tara @ 08:02 AM | Comments (1)


March 4, 2004

Spam culture

Is it any wonder that the US is far and away (56.74%) the largest contributor of spam on the planet? Barring connectivity demographics that would probably skew away from a locale like Mexico holding the top spot, we're simply a culture of spammers.

What is spam, but a technology-driven iteration of the snake oil salesman of the old west?

He stands on the streetcorner, hawking at all who pass. Skewing the signal to noise ratio with his irrelevant bleatings. Yelling in the avenue costs him nothing and the entire operation is justified when a single uncertain customer hesitates near his kiosk. He pounces.

Couple cheap message distribution with the pervasive belief that everyone in Amercia deserves to be rich and you get a spam onslaught. Part of the problem is that some of those snake oil salesmen make it big and give flight to the dreams of a thousand other mediocre peddlers. If we would just stop buying, they would stop selling.

# By Tara @ 09:53 PM | Comments (1)


Suave proposal

A response to personalized research that I mailed to a reader:

"You are to good!!! Are you married?"

That's right. I am such a good researcher, my reports inspire men to propose marriage.

Which begs a larger question... are IT research skills a useful benchmark for spouse selection?

# By Tara @ 04:24 PM


March 3, 2004

I coulda been a contender.

From Dave Winer:

"According to a source close to the Kerry campaign, they will announce shortly that they have raised over $1 million through their website in the last 24 hours. This is apparently a record, at its peak the Dean campaign didn't raise so much in one day."

To be fair, Dean also never won nine state primaries in one night. Given that kind of momentum, I think he could have easily raked in over a million via Blog for America.

# By Tara @ 04:38 PM


Survey junkie says NO.

I'll admit that I was enticed by the promise of $40.00 in exchange for completing two surveys over the course of a year. I like answering questionnaires anyway, payment is just gravy on top of the fun. I filled out most of the qualifying questions, then they hit me with the study agreement.

It asked for the username and password to my wireless telephone service. I reread the request several times. Yes, they actually wanted me to turn over not only the call data itself, but direct access to all of my wireless accounts. They added the words, "respected research firm" in front of the study company's name — as if simply printing the words would convince me. By googling the company name, I found a mediocre site that did not assure me of their trustworthiness. It wasn't a recognizable name like Pew or Gallup or even Nielsen.

Do people actually agree to this? Are they willing to take the chance that Barb from "SurveyFun" isn't going to tinker with their phone bill on a slow Thursday afternoon? I would be willing to pay $40.00 to keep a minimum-wage survey grunt out of my wireless account.

I'm wondering if this is actually a psychological study intended to guage how much personal data people are willing to reveal online.

# By Tara @ 09:56 AM


Spam

I love these new email spam messages that are coming into my mailbox these days. You know the ones, they have "an important file" attached to them that is between 23 and 30k, and you receive between 400-500 a day. The text from one I got today cracked me up.

"Dear user, the management of Liloia.com mailing system wants to let you know that, Your e-mail account has been temporary disabled because of unauthorized access.

For further details see the attach.

In order to read the attach you have to use the following password: 01710.

Sincerely,

The Liloia.com team"

Ummmm, in case the spammer didn't notice I am the "Liloia.com team" and I don't remember disabling my own email account. Furthermore, if my email account was actually disabled....then how would I have received this email in the first place? Man, some people are really dumb.

FYI - I didn't open the attach (sic) file. My apologies.

Please surf intelligently.

# By Dave @ 12:00 AM | Comments (1)


March 2, 2004

Voting is for old people.

Not on our street, apparently.

In a row of 12 houses with an average of three adults per multi-family house, I estimate that there are 36 eligible voters on our little avenue. But when I peeked at the clipboard list of registered voters from our street tonight, there were only five names; two of which were us. Dave and I were at the top of the alphabetical list, so no residents whose last name came before "L" were even registered. Disappointing. We can only hope that they're all Republicans.

# By Tara @ 09:55 PM


Orkwad

I misread Joey deVilla's post title as "Orkwad" instead of "Orkward."

I was excited that someone was finally going to address the issue of "orkwads". Like their socially-inept dorkwad kin, orkwads raise the ire of other Orkut members with frequent abuses of the Friend of a Friend mailing feature. Orkwad missives often contain inanities like, "Hey man, saw ur post. It rawks!" and "Anyone want to join my navel-pierced Guatemalan bass fishermen community?"

But, like I said, I misread the title.

# By Tara @ 08:57 PM


March 1, 2004

Beauty 2; Brains 0

So there we have it. In the latest installment of Average Joe, Fox confirms that pectorals trump personality and that Fabio (even in his absence) trumps a hot guy with an ego like glass.

Are we surprised that Larissa (the hot woman), chose Gil (the hot man) over Brian (an average guy)? If we know anything about people at all, we shouldn't be. Frankly, if you attended public high school at any time during the last 50 years, you should already know that attractive people will stick together. No shocker there.

Larissa says, of Gil:
"Sometimes, when I'm out I see things that remind me of him."

Yeah, I think she says:
*giggle* "Look, there's the sun, it's hot... like Gil." *giggle*

Larissa's lame secret turns out to be... what, what?! Is she a man? Is she a former porn star? NO!

Her ex-boyfriend is Fabio. Shocking, eh? A hot woman dated a hot man. Who would have dreamed of such a horrific thing?

In the end, Gil has such a fragile sense of self-worth that he actually breaks up with Larissa rather than risk being compared to the God of the Romance Novel Cover (and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter). The only consolation is that both of the shallow duo ended up feeling miserable and betrayed.

Personally, I'm still crushing on David Daskal.

# By Tara @ 11:05 PM | Comments (1)


Education

I was just reading Holly's blog and came across this great quote by a friend of hers about being an educator.

Some can swim to safety on their own, you help out the ones who are trying to swim, but you just have to let the others drown.

# By Dave @ 12:57 AM


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