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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

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i liked xmen3 more than i liked assassins. that's just sad. but sara jane moore patted me on the knee & they sold cracker jacks.

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1. who thought this day would come? after years of michaelmas' generous contribution to my .mac email-only address, carl added me to his "family" to become a full .mac member!

2. though we've been carefully tending the garden in the back, we haven't mowed the lawn since we bought the house; it now softens the edges of the house with a fringe of tall seed-bearing grass. one of the side effects of this neglect has been a steady stream of lansdcaping flyers & cards & solicitors at our door. if i could figure out an attractive alternative to our strip lawn, i'd love to transform it into something else. it's mostly clover, anyway: maybe i can keep bees.

Monday, May 29, 2006

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happy memorial day! susan might understand why i choose to relive my manitou springs penny arcade memories by going to our local wunderland, even if it is all indoors and doesn't have space harrier. alex & his family got there even before sven & i did. we played skeeball (where i was rewarded with enough tickets to trade for a small bottle of invisible ink), pinball, prop cycle, donkey kong, tempest, and a terrifically kinetic game called panic park that was entirely in japanese. michaelmas even stopped by to play a couple of games of air hockey before we all went to xmen 3, which was a wildly adequate beginning to the summer movie season. and it's a good excuse to watch the inimitable ian mckellen. AND i had the best movie popcorn ever. afterwards, we went to dinner at chez jose and when i got home, i discovered packetwarp dan posted his grandfather's wwii pix. so i had FUN, damnit, the first fun of the season. back to work on x360 tomorrow.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

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* not only did the smithsonian agree to give its filmmaking rights to to showtime, it did so for 30 years! even 10 years would seem like a very long time for the shifting television landscape, but it's even worse than that: the smithsonian can only do 6 other television programs outside of showtime each year, which means filmmakers will have to fight to produce anything based on smithsonian holdings -- including its experts. in essence, the smithsonian is renting its archive to showtime for 30 years. compare this to the bbc, which is opening its archives to creators. and this "deal" happened entirely in secret. in fact, much of it is still secret, as the contract is largely confidential. i can't even believe it. i know public-private partnerships are all the rage these days, but this is ridiculous.

* this sounds a deep, dark warning bell inside me somewhere: the southern baptist congregation is voting on a resolution to enable an exit strategy from public schools, primarily due to evolutionary teachings and homosexual influence. they call it an "exodus mandate." this is the third year it's been proposed and the next vote is in june. if it occurs (and even if it doesn't happen this year, i don't see the baptists getting more tolerant next year, or the year after that), i think it will move us one inch closer to the republic of gilead.

* oh, and if you ever get an invite to attend one of omsi's "member only previews," stay away! it's better to go when it's a little less packed and a buffet table w/ a long line isn't taking up most of the space. sven got seduced by the call of robots, though.

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apple lost their most recent case against bloggers publishing "trade secrets" based on info from confidential sources, establishing a precedent that online journalists have the same rights regarding confidential sources as offline reporters do.

some quotes from the full decision:
"We can think of no workable test or principle that would distinguish “legitimate” from “illegitimate” news. Any attempt by courts to draw such a distinction would imperil a fundamental purpose of the First Amendment, which is to identify the best, most important, and most valuable ideas not by any sociological or economic formula, rule of law, or process of government, but through the rough and tumble competition of the memetic marketplace."

"The court also agreed with EFF that Apple's subpoena to email service provider Nfox was unenforceable because it violated the federal Stored Communications Act, which requires direct subpoenas of account holders."

scylla! charybdis!
"Apple also invokes the safe harbor provisions of the SCA, under which a service provider’s “good faith reliance on . . . a court warrant or order . . . is a complete defense to any civil or criminal action brought under” the SCA. (18 U.S.C. § 2707. This provision is obviously intended to protect service providers who would otherwise find themselves between the Scylla of seemingly valid coercive process and the Charybdis of liability under the Act."

vive la revolution!
"It is often impossible to predict with confidence which technological changes will affect individual and collective life dramatically, and which will come and go without lasting effects. Any of them may revolutionize society in ways we can only guess at. The lawful acquisition of information necessary to anticipate and respond to such changes is the birthright of every human, formally enshrined for Americans in our state and federal constitutions. The publications at issue here fully implicated that birthright and the interests protected by those constitutional guarantees."
thanks, eff! of course, there's probably another appeal coming, this time to the california supreme court...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

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this is a request for my media geeks:

am i missing something really obvious about feedburner (or other rss enclosurizing)? if you have to include a link to a media file, anyway, then why can't the link simply speak for itself? what's the bonus about feedburner, which looks like it just includes a redundant icon & link? does it just depend on your rss reader (i am only using safari)?

(what AM i talking about? to me, it looks like "7, 8 sit up straight" has 2 links while "9, 10 start again" has none. both have embedded video in the posts themselves.)

Friday, May 26, 2006

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hooray, we've finally paid off the spanish-american war! the "luxury tax" tax on our long-distance bills has finally been rescinded, but only after 6 lawsuits against the department of the treasury. i guess now we have an idea of how long we'll be paying for this war....

Thursday, May 25, 2006

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the wailin' jennys' "starlight." man. heard that on opb coming home tonight and it almost took my breath away.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

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overheard from our window: "hey! hey, why are you touching the gay person's car?"

yet another fine example of why i hate our neighborhood. what gave us away? the "no on 36" sticker? the rainbow flag? the bisexual triangle? or is it trixie's poetry magnets that make us gay? argh.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

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man, it's too bad i don't really use any omni products, because i'm really liking one of their shirts.

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augh! how did i miss the comet? "Many sky enthusiasts will be on the watch for a particularly active meteor shower tonight as the Earth made its closest approach to orbit of Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 late yesterday." and where should i go see the meteor shower tonight? :)

this should teach me not to lose track of Astronomy Picture of the Day. *grumble*

Monday, May 22, 2006

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the conclusion of the "bittersweet" saga (see also: "devil's food"):

mph shamed me into emailing saint cupcake, though i didn't relish being told i was a bad customer or spending a lot of effort to be ignored (i emailed them a couple of months ago about something unrelated but never heard back from them):
Hi, there. I'm a big fan of your cupcakes and have praised them to anyone who would listen to the crazy woman raving about cupcakes. Does Saint Cupcake have a rosary? :)

I'm writing because I found the recent "i like mine without sprinkles" post disturbing. And now that you've removed it without comment, I find myself even more disturbed. Deleting a blog post without comment is an unsettling omission -- letting it stand as a part of your history would be best, but even acknowledging it w/something as simple as "You know that post we wrote? We were a little cranky that day so we deleted it. We mean to spread sunshine & sweet, not scorn!" would be better than erasing it as if it never happened. It's a trust issue: acknowledging a mistake is more difficult but more trustworthy and honorable than trying to cover it up.

I've been a little afraid to write because I don't want to look like one of the ungrateful customers you've been writing about, even if I'd also like to see a "some without sprinkles, please" option. I don't want to to write something that could be interpreted as "complaints that are dressed up like suggestions." I certainly don't think anyone has the right to be mean to you! But please let us care and voice our opinions, please let us want even more luscious goodness from you. I was glad you wrote about your charitable contributions and am looking forward to the new cupcake flavours. Vive la cupcake!

surprisingly, jami (the owner of saint cupcake), wrote me back fairly immediately, saying (in part) she had already read what i had to say on the blog: "i was impressed with the paragraphs you devoted to our 'sprinkles' entry - although i was slightly disturbed with the comparison to the bush administration that you made. i did indeed remove the post, but not in an attempt to somehow cover up the past or to try and ignore that i ever wrote it. it certainly wasn't done because i'm not honorable or trustworthy. in fact, i removed it because i'm creating a page that touches on the likes & dislikes of our customers and the reasons we can and cannot do some of the things our customers would like."

she said the she was prompted to write the "sprinkles" entry because "the second i see a customer start to talk to one of my employees in a nasty way, i react. i react because i love my employees and it's my job to protect them from problem customers. the entry i wrote wasn't so much about sprinkles, but more about how people come into my shop and expect us to be like burger king or starbucks - then get super pissed off when we won't let them have things their way, right away... i'm sorry if my entries have caused you to question what we're about...or what i'm personally about. i truly appreciate your note, and i'm glad you gave me a chance to explain a little of what's been going on at the cupcake."

impressed to receive a response so quickly (and in all lowercase, hooray!), i replied (in part): "i was surprised at my reaction, too: i must really, really like your cupcakes! it sounds like you were very frustrated and i think you're absolutely right to protect your employees. mean people suck. but please don't take it out on the rest of us. i think the public reaction probably created a chilling effect for people who would want to respond rather than keeping the bitter people at bay." i still think there were better ways to deal with the post than deleting it entirely, though: "there's value in complexity, and admitting mistakes inspires loyalty and compassion."

but i didn't hear back after that, so i guess it's considered settled. enough for me to slip in and try one of their new cupcakes, at any rate. and even though they've been so overwhelmed by cupcakes, they've been promising pie during the nw fruit season, which i am anxiously awaiting. :)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

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thunder! lightning! and dancing! oh, my!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

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man, i love the new macbooks, but i miss the 12" option, which was just the perfect size to carry around, about the size of a normal piece of paper. the extra inch makes a difference!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

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more on the "bittersweet" saga:

eagle-eyed reader dan reports that saint cupcake has removed their "i like mine without sprinkles" post. thank goodness google has a cache, but when that disappears, here is that post for posterity:

i like mine without sprinkles.

portland is such a weird town. loads of people in these parts are decidedly anti-corporate types who like to frequent small, locally owned businesses - and they take pride in the fact that they make choices that can help the little guy out. but it seems that an equal number of people who do shun corporate stuff want their small, locally owned businesses to operate exactly like a corporate chain.

what in the world am i talking about?

take, for example, the people who tell us that they'd enjoy their cupcakes without sprinkles. or those who say that we put too much icing on our cupcakes. or those who get mad that we sell out of cupcakes almost every day, or any other 'suggestion' (read: complaint) that we get on a daily basis...are these the same people who think that their tiny, hand-made cake is actually being produced by a machine in some giant factory somewhere? where we can make each cupcake to meet each customer's exact specifications? we're not a corporate cupcake shop with a giant factory - 4 or 5 people make thousands of cupcakes everyday to make (at least a few) people think about that the next time you want to comment on our hours of operation, our use of sprinkles, our icing, our counter crew or anything else.

yes, we're open to suggestions - but we can see right through complaints that are dressed up like suggestions. sure, you can complain! of course you can complain - but if your complaint has something to do with the fact that you think we put too much icing on cupcakes - well...hmmm...maybe they guy next to you will eat your extra icing.

we love to make cupcakes. we love our customers - but we're not a corporation. thanks for understanding.

so obviously they regret the post -- or more likely, the response the post has generated. DELETING the post w/o comment, though, is a very corporate tactic: better to own up to it, to acknowledge the issue rather than covering it up, even if it's something as simple as, "well, maybe we shouldn't have written that. we were a little testy that day." (possibly as part of their "hey cupcake customers" post.)

what cupcake? i don't see a cupcake.

update may22: "sweet tooth"

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vote vote vote
unless you are a candied yam
'cause candied yams can't vote.

(have you voted yet?)

Monday, May 15, 2006

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this weekend:
a trip to Seattle which included visiting the Museum of Oregon History and Industry, a walk on the waterfront, dinner at the mighty fine Carmelita's (a vegetarian restaurant which makes food so delicious it's an art), attending a 40th birthday party for a friend where we gave the perfect gift for someone about to go on a month-long European trip (plus an impromptu floral arrangement: "there's rosemary, that's for remembrance"), a dip in the hot tub w/ the rising moon, exploring the Seattle Public Library (though its third floor was under repair).

after waiting 2.5 years, i got some old photo smartcards back from steve so I could see some pix from the trip to australia i took to w/ michaelmas in 2000 and a trip I took to joshua tree even earlier than that (my hair was so long!). many of the australian photos have been damaged: very little from the "picnic at hanging rock" set survived. i might send them out for one last-ditch recovery effort, but i'm very grateful to have them back. thanks, steve!

these are some of the least damaged pix: click to make them bigger, and be kind because this was a cheap digital camera i bought in 1999. there's a cranky koala in the lower left corner of the leafy photo.

i also agreed to help create a vlog for an inspiring friend with an irresistable British accent who's been doing this amazing "travel around the world by human power" thing for 14 years. i'm a little nervous because all i have to go on is "rss 2.0 with enclose," but he's always had faith in me & is very gracious, and i respond well to those things.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

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happy mother's day to everyone who has chosen to be one! may you & your family be blessed w/ joy and peace and love.

in related news, i find myself unable to write much about those who would like to choose -not- to be mothers: i signed up for the NARAL and Planned Parenthood lists and get announcements 3 or 4 times a week. "political work" is a category on my voodoopad todo list every day and every day i keep seeing it slip down the list below "water the garden" and listing what i eat via nibbles. everything i could be, should be doing overwhelms me and i know this is the time to act, but which alert do i choose? i can spend 6-8 hours trying to figure out the best way to respond to something. (and then i can repurpose it, but the hard part is generating the first letter, you know?). there are so many little erosions; i feel if i don't take care of them, too, they'll become emergencies later.

in -another- related issue, i'm having the same problem with net neutrality: so much to say and something new every day to respond to or act on. ask a ninja made me laugh so hard i cried, but i think it only benefits those who already know why you should care about net neutrality.

oh, and don't get me started on the proposed myspace restrictions for children. gotta keep those kids from talking to each other or expressing themselves. they might revolt or something.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

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i cannot begin to tell you how much i loved saint cupcake, how many special events i've introduced their cupcakes to, how often i've referred them & praised them to others. i was horrified when they were robbed and have always thought they represented the best sort of portland entrepreneur. and how moist the cupcake, how luscious the icing, how cute the dot! the cupcake i adore. the company, however, is disturbing me, as its blog has become increasingly shrill and defensive.

in "i like mine without sprinkles," the owners equate suggestions with complaints and kindly tell us to shut the fuck up. as small business owners, it boggles me they think suggestions like "maybe you could keep a portion of your amazing cupcakes sprinkle-less" is somehow asking them to become corporate monsters. in fact, i suggest exactly the opposite: if you're just in it for our money, then you've become a corporation.

and it's not even like the requests have been mean, which i would be terribly sensitive to, and if i had sensed that i would have more understood this hugely defensive reaction. but it's been very gentle: "i really, really, really like your cupcakes and regularly buy them. you have a blog, which indicates you want to communicate with us. it'd be extra super cool if some of the cupcakes didn't have sprinkles on them, because sprinkles just don't do it for me. it's not like i'll stop buying your cupcakes; it's just a suggestion!" but instead saint cupcake snarks, "we can see right through complaints that are dressed up like suggestions."

you're not failing, saint cupcake, it's just feedback. when anything other than praise is considered a negative suggestion, then you might be a little overly sensitive. sort of like the bush administration. dissent is patriotic! if people make suggestions to you every day, maybe it's because they care about your future. LET US CARE! LET US WANT MORE rather than requiring us to line up single file, take our cupcake without looking you in the eye and meekly say yes, miss & thank you, miss. please don't implode, saint cupcake. please treat us at least as well as Pix or Sahagún or Simpatica. pretend we mean something to you. you say you love us but your actions are clear.

update may16: "devil's food"
update may22: "sweet tooth"

Friday, May 05, 2006

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well, the plan was to go to the oregon potters association ceramics showcase for about an hour, then head to the cinco de mayo celebration for fajitas and fireworks. but we ended up staying in the convention center until they kicked us out, and then we raced to omsi just in time to catch the fireworks boom across the hawthorne bridge, reflecting in the skyscraper windows like digital confetti. afterwards there was the traditional burgerville strawberry shortcake that accompanies our annual cinco de mayo foray. then home again, home again, jiggety jog.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

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i've been surprised to discover myself using the radio more often in trixie. i've always used CDs before; i even toyed with an itrip and removed the car's antenna. but now i bounce between opb, knrk94.7 & kink102. i could live without the commercials, but i've been enjoying hearing a variety of things i wouldn't expect or in a sequence i wouldn't expect. and it makes me feel a bit less like i'm in my own little hybrid bubble.