Friday, December 28, 2007

Taking stock

Well, I've been home for a full week now and I am not tired of it yet.

I watched all of Veronica Mars, Season 1 with my mom. It was just as good the second time around. Besides that I haven't done much. I am also halfway through Buffy season 3, which is really damn good.

I also finally finished "The Corrections," which means my "From the Stacks" challenge is officially complete. I'd say that this was my least favorite of all the books I read for this challenge, although it was still very good. Also, objectively it was very good, but personally it was sort of a painful reading experience. On to what I hope will be some lighter fare.

Also I'm drafting a list of New Year's Resolutions. So far I have 30. At least a couple of them are basically to-do list items for the month of January, but I consider those resolutions just because I'm giving myself a deadline to start those tasks. Anyway. I feel like (ok, I know that) 30 is far too many resolutions, but so be it. I will post those soon.

Monday, December 24, 2007

the best Christmas movie ever

God bless YouTube.

In Lolcat news...

(via I Can Has Cheezburger, clearly)

More Sufjan

And just to add to the Sufjan-ness of the blog today, here is a video of a show I wish I could have gone to. Or really just a tour. I love the wings.

Put the lights on the tree

Quite frankly, not the biggest fan of the animation itself. But I love Sufjan's Christmas songs. I am in the mood for them right now.


Finally, after months of wanting to (when it came out I had about one friend in the city, and it was my roommate, and he kept saying he wanted to save it for a date, the bastard), I watched "Once" just now. I am actually glad I waited to watch it by myself (in the dark, on a laptop, after everyone else was asleep, which is actually my preferred way to watch most things these days). I'm not really sure what to say about it, really, just that it was pretty devastating. Some people told me it made them feel good about love. I don't know if it made me feel good or bad. I think it would depend on my mood, which right now is sort of in a purgatory of neutrality, and also my willingness to base my opinion on my learned English major rationale versus on my incurable overemotion. (The same mood/willingness is what makes me so fickle on the Laurie/Professor Bhaer debate that I've written about before.) I know for sure that the music will be stuck in my head for days (I had sort of resisted listening to the soundtrack until I saw the movie, but now I guess I'll dig it out of my mp3 folders).

I liked that it was just a little, sweet, plain movie, no pretensions. Sort of comforting that way.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

True dat

"If you don't have someone calling you on your shit, you're lost."
--Michael J. Fox, in the January 2008 issue of Esquire

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Google Video(s)

(As always the opinions expressed here are my own only, not those of my company.)

One thing I really like about Google are the videos that get put out for various products. I like that we let our engineers and product managers and what have you get to speak for their own work, and I like that we let these normal people represent the company, because one of the best things about Google is how enthused and committed the employees are to their products and the company's mission and most importantly to the users. From the very bottom up. The people "on the line," by which I mean the hundreds of software engineers or everyday non-executive employees are the heart of the company and I like that. So as a result I like our videos. Here are a few lately that I think are cool.

This one is cool because my roommate is in it and helped make it (she is the third person):

And this one is cool because I love how committed people are to Gmail. I am also a huge huge Gmail fan (my favorite Google apps are Maps, Gmail and Reader, without a doubt, but Gmail comes first) and I really think it's a great product so I like that our Gmail videos lately have been very much about user feedback and participation.

Finally on a non-video related note we released the Google Zeitgeist last week. It's basically our top gaining searches -- not the top ten searches period, but the ones that happened more this year than last year, a lot more. The site with all the data is here -- you can click on the menu to the left that shows a few subcategories of searches, like politics and entertainment and stuff. Most interesting for me was this one, showing the top results for questions like "what is" or "who is" etc. What are they? "What is love" "Who is God" and "How to kiss."

Important questions, eh. It's amazing how something as simple as an aggregation of popular search queries can give you a bit of a window into human nature.

Daily Coyote

I've become increasingly a fan of the blog Daily Coyote. I wrote about it a bit before. The woman who writes it lives in a one-room cabin in Wyoming with her cat and a coyote she found when he was only 10 days old. (I still don't know how she has Internet, because her cabin sounds pretty damn far from anywhere: "a town of 300 people, where it's a sixty mile trip to the nearest grocery store and not uncommon to swing by the post office (or bar) on horseback.") I'm kind of fascinated with her, because she was once essentially another young urban professional woman and then, on a cross-country trip on a Vespa, she decided she loved Wyoming and wanted to live there. (I have yet to go back and read the archives of her "Vespa Vagabond" blog which I believe chronicles the story of that decision in more detail.)

So now there she is, with her coyote.

And he is amazing looking:

Just look at those feet!

Anyway, this has become yet another one of my kind of moments of Zen every day -- this and the much-blogged-about 3191. This is kind of a cross between 3191 and CuteOverload for me... it's cute but it's also sort of silent and incomprehensible in a good way. Filled with unspoken emotions.

And to continue on that consumerism thread of mine, I'm considering buying the 2008 Coyote calendar because if there is one place offline where it's marginally ok to admit your love of adorable animals, besides volunteering at the SPCA or something, it's with a calendar in your cubicle. Is that true, or am I just justifying myself?

EDIT: I think part of the reason why I like the coyote and the cat in these photos is that big poofy tail, kind of like my (parents') kitters (or Knucklehead or Waffles, or whatever his name is):

(Not the best pic, but you get the idea.)

Leave it to Indexed...

to make a poignant statement about Jamie-Lynn Spears getting pregnant.

(The title of this post was "Like, a future of their own?")

Indexed is one of those blogs that makes me feel good about the Internet.

Makes me think of Roman Holiday (or Sabrina)

This sums up that "better life" yearning I (and probably a lot of us) have all the time. So carefree and unstudied and bohemian.

(via Rach -- over in the Tumblr world)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I am bad at titles

I went to Target tonight and discovered an almost-awesome thing. There are all these new two-packs of DVDs that sell for like $9.44 or whatever stupid price Target sets up, and they have sort of thematic pairings of two older DVDs in one case. They are cheap and cheesy and should be really a sweet deal except most of the cases have like one good movie and one terrible one. For example, "You've Got Mail" (yeah, love it) and "Must Love Dogs," that crappy John Cusack movie that just came out recently. Or like, "The Fugitive" and "US Marshals," which I guess isn't actually terrible although it's not good and I don't want to watch it again. Or "The Truth About Cats and Dogs" and "Nine Months" or whatever that movie is with Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore or someone that I am sure I've seen but do not remember. I suppose this is some giant conspiracy sponsored by Target to con you into buying tons of these "cheap" two packs just because you think it's such a good deal and you like one of the movies. I know I was tempted. They had a double pack of "The Secret Garden" and "A Little Princess" except I totally already own a double pack of that. And they had a double pack of "Space Balls" and "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" which quite frankly I almost bought. Instead of buying any of those though I just for some reason went on a weird DVD buying binge (I am totally a financial disaster) and got "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" because I am about twelve years old and also cry whenever I watch that movie (which has been about four times) and "Sense and Sensibility" for $4.75 and "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" because I've kind of been wanting to watch it again and it was there and I have no self control.

I think if you took a computer and tried to track the complicated processes that go on inside my head while I'm shopping at Target, it would explode. It's a delicate balance of indulgences, necessities, picking-up-and-putting-back-down, and very rough cost estimates and memory-searching to establish my current debt to credit ratio and so on and so on.

December 19th.

Oh my God, it's December 19th!!!

That pretty much merits a post on its own... did you see this coming? You know, this incredible speeding-up of life, so that you have been admiring other bloggers' Christmas countdowns (gift guides, "Advent Calendar" accounts of Christmas preparations, photos of gingerbread making and Christmas-tree decorating), and then suddenly you realize your plan to do that yourself it already kaput because it's DECEMBER 19th!!!

If you still can't feel the shock/panic of this realization, well consider how you'd feel if you still haven't recapped your Thanksgiving, which happened on the 2nd of December, and if you can't buy any of the lovely handmade gifts that are in those gift guides written by other bloggers because it's too late for shipping, and if you really still haven't done gifts at all and have only sent 27 of the 75 Christmas cards you are planning to send this year, and only have tomorrow night to do them.

Yeah. Try that. Now, feel the holiday panic.

"Journey Into Night"

Not normally the biggest David Sedaris fan...

In an effort to appear respectful, I’d already missed the first movie cycle, but I didn’t know how much longer I could hold out. Up ahead, in the cheerful part of Business Elite, I heard someone laugh. It wasn’t the practiced chuckle you offer in response to a joke but something more genuine, a bark almost. It’s the noise one makes when watching stupid movies on a plane, movies you’d probably never laugh at in the theatre. I think it’s the thinness of the air that heightens your reactions—and not just to comedy, either.

Take my seatmate. The man was crying again, not loudly but steadily, and I wondered, perhaps unfairly, if he wasn’t overdoing it a bit. Stealing a glance at his blocky, tear-stained profile, I thought back to when I was fifteen and a girl in my junior high died of leukemia, or “ ‘Love Story’ disease,” as it was often referred to then. The principal made the announcement and I, along with the rest of my friends, fell into a great show of mourning. Group hugs, bouquets laid near the flagpole. I can’t imagine what it would have been like had we actually known her. Not to brag, but I think I took it hardest of all. “Why her and not me?” I wailed.

“Funny,” my mother would say, “but I don’t remember you ever mentioning anyone named Monica.”

My friends were a lot more understanding, especially Barbara, who, a week after the funeral, announced that maybe she would kill herself as well.

None of us reminded her that Monica had died of a terminal illness, as, in a way, that didn’t matter anymore. The point was that she was gone, and our lives would never be the same: we were people who knew people who died. This is to say that we had been touched by tragedy, and had been made special by it. By all appearances, I was devastated, but in fact I had never been so happy in my life.

The next time someone died, it was a true friend, a young woman named Dana, who was hit by a car during our first year of college. My grief was genuine, yet still, no matter how hard I fought, there was an element of showmanship to it, the hope that someone might say, “You look like you just lost your best friend.”

Then I could say, “As a matter of fact, I did,” my voice cracked and anguished.

It was as if I’d learned to grieve by watching television: here you cry, here you throw yourself upon the bed, here you look in the mirror and notice how good you look with a tear-stained face.

Like most seasoned phonies, I roundly suspect that everyone is as disingenuous as I am. This Polish man, for instance. Given the time it would take him to buy a ticket and get to J.F.K., his mother would have been dead for at least six hours, maybe longer. Wasn’t he over it yet? I mean, really, who were these tears for? It was as if he were saying, “I loved my mother a lot more than you loved yours.” No wonder his former seatmate had complained. The guy was so competitive, so self-righteous, so, well, over the top.

But periodically I appreciate him, because despite his newfangled Parisian pretensions, he sometimes really skewers a point. I do feel so self conscious these days, about everything, and this speaks to one aspect of that sensation.

via the New Yorker, but more accurately because Peattie reminded me of it tonight and it inspired me to read it before bed despite the Greyhounds and the tiredness.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Short and sweet

We call this kind of entry "cleaning out all the Mozilla Firefox tabs that have been open too long and are slowing down my browser."

-Alright, I find it ridiculous that The Tales of Beedle the Bard sold for almost $4 million. Actually, that's understandable, because the ridiculous thing is that JK Rowling has this crazy franchise with millions of fans and she handwrote only 6 books of an apocryphal nature that none of her fans will ever see, unless it's somehow scanned and uploaded to a torrent site somewhere (God willing), and will just resent her for. Yes, I know it's for charity. But you took Harry Potter away and then spent all your time giving us useless information about Dumbledore's sexual orientation, and then hand wrote only 6 copies of another Harry Potter related book for your special favorite fans, and left the rest of us feeling grumpy and deprived.

-I somehow came into ownership of a One Laptop Per Child, and Dan and Ace and I have been playing with it a bit (ok, more Dan and Ace than me). The OLPC is a pretty inspiring project, even if I don't understand the laptop at all (I actually think I'm too old for it). But it's a great design, it's got a ton of functions, and it's pretty amazing to think of kids in impoverished countries getting these laptops to play with and learn on. You can read more about it here on the OLPC wiki, and there are a few pictures of kids in Uruguay with the laptop here. And of course you can get one give one here. (Related: Google is partnering with OLPC and Unicef to get stories from around the world, in particular from kids using the OLPC.)

-This is the best Christmas movie ever. Screw you, A Christmas Story.

-I'm becoming sadder and sadder I didn't go see Daft Punk in July with Dan and Justin.

-It's wrong that I want this cape, right? But only a little wrong that I want these shoes?

-This Saturday I think I'm going to have a life changing experience. I will report back afterwards... but I want to keep it a bit of a surprise for now.

-Thinking about this. Don't you think it would be good for me?

-Wondering if I fit into any of these categories:

Some researchers divide perfectionists into three types, based on answers to standardized questionnaires: Self-oriented strivers who struggle to live up to their high standards and appear to be at risk of self-critical depression; outwardly focused zealots who expect perfection from others, often ruining relationships; and those desperate to live up to an ideal they’re convinced others expect of them, a risk factor for suicidal thinking and eating disorders.

I know I'm not the second, and I am pretty sure I'm not the third. But lately I am feeling like I'm not living up to my own expectations. Guess I should figure that out. It's times like these I really realize how much of a product of American culture I am.

-I love all of these little figurines... I can't help it. I really want a credenza in a big house where I can put all these little whimsies out, at different times of year. I think I like "Lucky" the best.

-I feel obligated to post about this, for some reason... my ex boyfriend got the Marshall scholarship. I know he really cared about it, so that's good. And I won't say anything more than that.

Say Cheese

Ok, I have to admit right off the bat that the title of this blog entry is really cheesy, and me using that word to describe it is cheesy, and I feel like a real dork right now. However, this is an entry about cheese, so I have no choice but to use these terms and hackneyed phrases.

I am wondering how hard it would be to learn how to make cheese. I always think of the cheese maker (fromaggier? what is the term?) Sara on "Top Chef." I feel like I know so many people who are DIYing their own food (so very Bay Area) -- everyone I know seems to brew beer, a ton of people at my work grow their own veggies, we have homemade yogurt at work (and Casey knows how to make it, and I actually would like to learn), people brew kombucha, Dan is making pickles... so why not cheese? It seems to be a frontier yet to be explored by the foodies in my life.

But cheese is so good. I am not kidding when I say it is my favorite food. Lately I've been ordering cheese baskets for holiday gifts for work folks and I got distracted on Cowgirl Creamery's websites by this... a dictionary of all the kinds of cheese you can special order from them. That led me down another path, which is trying to discover what kind of blue cheese I ordered with my friend Peattie at brunch at Foreign Cinema. (Yes, we ordered a cheese plate for dessert... after brunch. We are apparently ridiculously awesome.) I think it's St. Agur, a French double-cream blue (what does double-cream mean? I think it just means it's extra fattening and good, but I am actually serious, I want to know). I don't usually like blue cheese but this particular cheese won me over to the genre. Do you ever have that feeling, once you have had a particular food, that you just need to have it again, or else you won't ever feel quite contented? I have been experiencing this lately with certain foods I had in Italy -- the mozzarella burrata, which I wrote about recently, and all'arrabiata pasta. But I'm also having that feeling about this blue cheese. I bought a cheese that looked similar at Rainbow last weekend, but it isn't the same -- more crumbly, less creamy, and more blue-y.

All of this just means, in my opinion, that I need to become more of a cheese connoisseur. Perhaps I should just work my way down the Cowgirl list... Or maybe I should finally put my money where my mouth is and host a beer & cheese party (like a wine & cheese party, only, not). OR! Perhaps I should just buy this cheese-making kit and settle down with some recipes and try my luck at being a fromaggier... or whatever that word is.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

From the Stacks - three down, two to go

I finished Cloud Atlas today -- you can read my review here. That was my third From the Stacks book, and I have two more to go -- and more than a full month to read them in! I'm going to tack on a sixth book to the challenge. So my next books are Jesus' Son (I think I'll read that next since it's short! I'm shameful), The Corrections (daunting, for some reason), and then The Book Thief, since I have been meaning to read it for a long time and Casey's review on was the tipping point.

This is clearly the kind of blog entry that is almost just a note to self, but I tell you all to keep me honest. Aren't you glad you are my conscience as well as my reader?

Oh, and...

Yesterday we watched Ratatouille at Laurel's house (and made ratatouille). It was awesome. Seriously, I grinned throughout the whole movie. I was almost embarrassed by how much I liked it. Only, I'm not, because I really think it's just about as close to perfect as a movie can get. It was funny and smart and cute and the animation is really good. It's sad, too, in a way, at times. But still heartwarming, like you would expect. Anyway, I put off seeing it long enough so the rest of you don't have to. Go rent it! Now! Make ratatouille, the easiest French food you could ever make, and settle down and watch the movie. You will thank me.

(I think my favorite detail of the movie is that when Remy, the rat, is scared, and running around Paris or whatever, he gets that sad, panicked animal look, and his heart beats really fast, and you can see his tiny chest rising and falling, and you can just imagine how fragile he would be if you could pick him up in that moment and feel that little flutter in his chest... like picking up a scared bunny. It's that kind of touch that made this movie really realistic, and moving, despite the fact that it's a cartoon.)


Ok, I admit it, I've finally fallen for Gossip Girl. I watched the first few episodes, but wasn't much impressed. Then I kind of stopped watching it altogether, and didn't bother to keep up or worry about spoilers at all (I totally missed that whole Vanessa -- a.k.a. Anna from the OC/requisite interloper girl person -- plot). Then, I watched the Thanksgiving episode with Dan, who for some reason loves this show. And the Thanksgiving episode was good! It had elements of Veronica Mars in it, meaning all the weird fade-y flashbacks, and Serena's mom kicks ass, truly. (I am actually being serious when I say I think she is a good actress, but more than that she is just a really intriguing character.) Anyway, so that episode sold me.

Dan and I just watched the episode following that, which was the obligatory someone-punches-someone-at-a-deb-ball episode we all know and love from the OC. Not too shabby, and a lot of the characters are building into people I really like. Plus! I actually love the plotline between Dan's dad (Rufus) and Serena's mom (Lily). It's intriguing. And I forgive them all the weird Oedipal generational deja vu.

Anyway, all of this just goes to show that I've reached the Googling portion of my attraction to this show, and through that I found the actual Gossip Girl blog, which is basically episode recaps and totally useless information, not at all an attempt to be the blog of the show ("Spotted: Lonelyboy does something we care about minutely"). My favorite part so far is this (the blog sucks and does not have links to individual entries, so I am just going to cut and paste all of it):

November 19, 2007

Gossip Girl's In depth profile on Dan Humphrey

Lives with: dad, Rufus, and little sister, Jenny, in a loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Dan's mother, Alison, moved to Hudson, NY over the summer
Likes: Adventurous blondes, The New Yorker, the L train, NPR, Netflix, reading, writing, coffee, Dartmouth, good values, saving the day, politics
Dislikes: Pretentious people, the ice capades, rumors and drama, college legacies, alarm clocks, mean girls, dancing (he's not very good at it)
Best Friend: Vanessa Abrams
Current Crush: Serena van der Woodsen
Favorite fashion accessory: T-shirts
Favorite places in New York: the Angelika, Gray's Papaya, the Tea Lounge (great place to see live music in Brooklyn), New York Public Library, Communitea, the Whitney
Favorite Music: Lincoln Hawk, Beastie Boys, Kooks, Wilco, Rogue Wave, Beck, Of Montreal, Band of Horses, Arcade Fire, Jose Gonzalez, Eliott Smith, Hot Hot Heat
Favorite Authors: JL Hall, William Faulkner, David Sedaris, Dave Eggers, Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, JD Salinger
Favorite Movies: Harold and Maude, Rushmore, City of God, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, ET, History of the World: Part I, The Kid, The Bicycle Thief, Play It Again, Sam
Favorite designers: Um...he just wears whatever looks and feels best
Favorite TV Shows: The Daily Show, anything on PBS, Arrested Development, The Office (both versions), Law and Order: SVU, Six Feet Under, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Battlestar Galactica
Heroes: His dad, Rufus
Motto: "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger."

Essentially it's his Myspace profile, if such a thing existed. I love how writers design characters these days... it's like the High Fidelity before Rob's epiphany way of creating a believable person: you are what you like, not what you are like. Notice the strategic combination of cult classic films (Harold and Maude), cult new films (City of God), and rockin' 80s classics that everyone has seen but you know some people are really into them for almost no reason, just that they still love them and the movie can't get old? (Ferris Bueller, ET). (Terrible punctuation, forgive me.) The TV shows really crack me up: Battlestar Galactica is clearly his geek guilty pleasure, and Law and Order he'd put on the profile because he secretly watches marathons just like all the rest of us do. The books are clearly namedropping, albeit somewhat consistently. I get the feeling that half of the writers for these shows are frustrated English major women inventing their ideal mate, and they assume that the man they are looking for reads Faulkner, even though I have never met a man who has read any Faulkner. (Is that weird? It just occurred to me that that is weird.) They must be doing a decent job though, because I found myself saying in the middle of this episode, "I need a man with a cardigan." (Short order, really, wouldn't you think?)

Anyway. I could analyze this fake profile of a fake person for quite some time. However, I do have the last two episodes of Buffy, season 2, and I believe I must be going.

I just had a thought! Maybe I should live blog Gossip Girl... just like I did for OC season 4. Ooh, that kind of gets me excited. I shall consider. Next new episode is a week from today...

More on Australia Rape Case

It keeps getting worse:

As reported yesterday, Queensland judge Sarah Bradley (pictured), who said the ten-year old "probably agreed" to the rapes, did not hand out a single day of jail time to any of the nine perpetrators, all of whom pled guilty. (Some of the assailants, who were minors, came from some of Queensland's most prominent Aboriginal families, and even 26-year-old Raymond Woolla, who had a prior rap sheet of child-sex offenses, was given a six-month suspended sentence. Bradley told Woolla in her sentencing statement, "If you get into any more trouble in the next year, you could end up in jail.")

Prosecutor Steve Carter described the rape in court as "childish experimentation" and further claimed that "I can't say it was consensual in the legal sense, but in the other - in the general sense, the non-legal sense, yes, it was." Carter also said that the rape was "all by arrangement." What Carter failed to mention is the ten-year-old in question was born with fetal alcohol syndrome.


My face!

I discovered this blog via my friend Kevin a long time ago. You send in a picture of yourself and the dude illustrates it for you. The only downside is that it takes forever. I sent a picture in May, and it was only when he lost his e-mail inbox and I could "jump the queue" as he put it that I got in now, in December. (He recovered his inbox, so the rest of you just have to wait.)

Here it is:

Check out my 'stache.

The original is here:

(At Zeitgeist.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Perhaps it's just me being weird about my middle-class-ness (and yeah, I get that I'm pretty privileged, especially being white and all), but this strikes me as sort of mind-boggling:

Harvard University announced on Monday that it would significantly increase the financial aid it offered to middle-class and upper-middle-class students, seeking to allay concerns that elite colleges are becoming too expensive for even relatively well-off families.

The move, to go into effect in the next school year, appears to make Harvard’s aid to students with household incomes from $120,000 to $180,000 the most generous of any of the country’s prestigious private universities. Harvard will generally charge such students 10 percent of their family household income per year, substantially subsidizing the annual cost of more than $45,600.

The skeptic in me said it's just because those wealthy kids' families will end up putting money in Harvard's coffers anyway (but I suppose they won't be endowing any new programs or building gyms or anything). But then I read on and realized that families making $180,000 a year were previously putting $30,000 of that into Harvard each year... You'd hate to have more than one kid, with those kinds of bills. So I get it.

Still, it seems like such a shame that only the wealthiest schools are making it easier for people (including wealthier people) to go to college, when so many people are finding it hard even to pay for a local junior college. Good for Harvard? Sure. But it's too bad they don't have the ability to make the UC system cheaper.

(Also, I think it's amazing how distorted my sense of money and class is. According to the president of Harvard, and you know presidents of Harvard are always right, this change affects the middle class. Apparently you are middle class if you make between $120,000 and $180,000 a year! Are you fucking kidding me!??!? Moments like these are when I remember that I'm never going to have enough money to buy a home.)

On the other hand, had Harvard put some of these programs into place earlier, I could have ended up there instead of Stanford. Which would be weird. And which would maybe make me not as judgmental of Harvard privilege as I am currently...

In brief...

Alex Trebek had a heart attack. Is it just me who finds this profoundly disturbing? Like, to my TV psyche?

On a more serious (than a heart attack?!) note, this is awful:

A judge's decision not to jail nine men guilty of raping a 10-year-old girl in an Aboriginal community has triggered outrage in Australia.

The offenders were either placed on probation or given suspended sentences for the 2005 rape in the Aurukun settlement, in northern Queensland.

In her ruling, Judge Sarah Bradley told them that the victim "probably agreed to have sex with all of you".

I was just trying to write something to properly express my outrage.

Disillusionment, or something

Hmm. I thought that the northern lights had something to do with Dust....

Monday, December 10, 2007

San Francisco Neighborhoods

I almost love this poster... especially in the green color (on the website). But I hesitate to buy it just because I feel like some of the neighborhoods are off. Like, where is the Lower Haight? It was absorbed into Hayes Valley.

I may still buy it. Yesterday we went on a sort of driving exploration of some parts of the city I've never seen... I need to do that more often. (Maybe that would give me more of a perspective on the neighborhoods and their delineations in this poster.) Just take a sunny afternoon and drive around for a few hours. Stop only for adorable strange coffee shops, parks, and perhaps a bakery or two.

(via design*sponge)


Guess I'm not re-subscribing to Blueprint magazine. Bummer. I actually kind of liked it. Perhaps I will (finally) subscribe to Martha Stewart Living as a consolation prize...

"a land in which it seemed always afternoon"

I just realized that my picture of the sunset, with Dan's silhouette pointing, reminds me of a poem I haven't ever read, except for the first few lines, which I read via Laura Ingalls Wilder. For some reason this is what that pointing silhouette makes me think of.

“COURAGE!” he said, and pointed toward the land,
“This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon.”

Weird tricks of memory.

(The Lotus-Eaters)

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Literally the best sunset I've ever seen. It was amazing... right when the sun dipped low to the water, all the people on the beach slowed and stopped their activities to watch it sink. The wet sand was blindingly reflective of the sky. And the sun wavered just on the horizon for what felt like minutes, while we watched it flare like explosions in the distance. And then suddenly, almost without me noticing it, the people on the beach started moving again and going back to their routines. It was pretty cool to see a beachful of people aligned to watch one event in nature, unconsciously bound together as witness.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Staying In

I am supposed to be out at Bootie tonight... instead, I'm already in bed. Last night's party was pretty ridiculous, as expected, and I really just didn't want to deal with more booze, people, or really anything. So here I am instead.

Dan and I had a kind of nice quiet day. I returned from Palo Alto around three, and then we went on a little field trip to Rainbow Grocery. It's such a San Francisco kind of place, it's sort of like heaven for foodies, as long as you don't expect any meat. Tons of delicious bulk food, cheese, organic what-have-you, produce, more yogurt and kombucha than you would ever know what to do with. We basically just wandered for an hour and bought things we didn't need. I scored some cinnamon and cardamom olives, some wheat berries (so delicious, you have no idea), nettle tea (curiosity), pumpkin ravioli, and -- this is the real victory of the day -- some mozzarella burrata, which is apparently mozzarella with cream in it. Literally its a little soggy ball of mozzarella and when you cut it open it sort of spills out this creamy softer mozzarella and it pretty much is to-die-for good. I had it in Italy but you can't really find it around here. But Rainbow's cheese section came through for me, so Dan and I had an appetizer of burrata, rosemary potato bread with rosemary butter (Dan's doing), and basil prior to a dinner of ravioli stuffed with goat cheese and pear, in a red pepper sauce. YUM.

Now I suppose I'm about to watch some long-neglected Buffy the Vampire Slayer. First:

Our new spice tins, some grapefruits from Rainbow, and home grown broccoli! It sadly grew flowers before we could eat it, but there are a few more broccolis starting to grow on the plant, and this one is pretty to look at. Plus, we've munched on it a bit and it's pretty tasty.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Grace is Gone

The other movie I really want to see is "Grace is Gone." It's supposed to be good... was screened at Sundance earlier this year. (I would really like to go to Sundance sometime.) It's odd -- on one hand it fits into the category of movies about death that I try to avoid (too much risk of something like "Stepmom" happening), but on the other hand it looks different... plus, I am really interested to see John Cusack act like, well, a dad.

You can see the trailer here.

It's out in "limited release" right now which means it's nowhere in the city of San Francisco (I really would think that in a city with so much culture we'd get more movies.)

Winter coming

Guess why I like this 3191:

I really hope they turn these into a book sometime. Two more recent good ones:

It's clear and cold and windy out and all the leaves are fallen on the ground after the rain last night. It's beautiful out. I don't know how to take advantage of it.



More Juno. I already wanted to see it but the little clips here make me want to see it more.

(via Rachel)

(On a totally unrelated note... on Monday I cut my righthand pinky finger on a wine glass. Today I cut my right hand index finger on a can of Campbell's split pea with ham soup. I am apparently cursed. But cut, I mean like, well, I won't go into detail, but it's not pretty.)

The Golden Compass

The first five minutes of The Golden Compass are online.

I wasn't sure about the first minute or so, because I felt like it gave away too much. I hope the rest of the movie doesn't do that. Although the initial veil over the Radcliffe Camera (big round Oxford building) does indicate some nice foreshadowing of the second book. Still, the rest of the clip looks pretty good. Lyra looks about as I would want her to -- sort of pretty and peaked and mean looking all at the same time, and not a bad actress either. And I can't wait to watch Lord Asriel's snow leopard slink around for a few hours.


The past and present, or future

Oh my god... Ace and Dan and I are sitting in our living room in a sort of daze and we just realized that the Jay Leno episode that is on TV right now is from 1996. HELLO. That is insane. Chris O'Donnell is on it.

Also we have come into (as they say) a One Laptop For Child and it is fascinating. Dan is currently making it make weird sounds. We don't understand it, but perhaps Third World children will. Here's hoping.

And! I did not blog today/yesterday. What a shame.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Happy Birthday Jesus. Sorry your party's so lame.

Jesus Christ, I'm a sap. I just watched the following video, made by one of the regular OfficeTally contributers, made for the cast, writers, and crew of the Office because... and this is I think the origin of my sappiness... there is probably not going to be an Office Christmas episode this year. Kill me now. I've been missing the Office, of course, but I've been so busy that it hasn't been a really visceral missing. Still, the lack of Christmas episode is a big deal to me. So it is perhaps not surprising that I got kind of sentimental at the end of this video (inserting that quote right there on the end credit page is what did it).

Despite the fact that, like many Office fan vids, it's totally cheesy. At least it doesn't play that Snow Patrol song that was on Grey's Anatomy. (Seriously, so many Jim/Pam videos use either the Fray or Snow Patrol. It must be a rule.)

On the subject of Office fan vids, this is one of the best. The song sucks but the synchronization is so good:

Shit. I need to watch me some Office.


I just had a horrible thought. I'm on the side of the writers against the producers, but I still download music illegally.

Hypocrisy's a bitch.

This is a Cute Animal Post

Who knew sloths were so... loud...?

And, a baby coyote who is friends with a cat! It's actually more beautiful and awesome and weird and cool than it sounds.

(Both from CuteOverload)

Kelly Kapoor knows all

2:46 PM Kim: my new dress just got here, i have to try it on and make sure it fits
2:47 PM me: oh your party dress?
2:48 PM Kim: yeah
me: cool.
2:49 PM yeah i finally got mine yesterday
i had ordered one online and it did not fit
so i had to do a sort of last minute shopping trip

8 minutes
2:58 PM Kim: can't decide if it's frumpy or good
me: haha
Kim: indeed 3:00 PM also, the color is not quite what i pictured
me: in a bad way?
Kim: no...i don't think
just in a different way
like, the picture makes it look brighter, it looks more dull in person
3:01 PM also, i think i'm annoyed b/c i bought it on sale for $125, and now it's on more sale for $95
3:02 PM me: lame
how did you find it?
dude its a miracle it fits at all, if you ordered online
Kim: recommended by O magazine, and also by kelly from the office
me: HA
i am posting that on my blog

(edited for modesty, not to mention my typos)

Morons, your bus is leaving...

Teen pregnancy on the rise for the first time since 1991

However, some experts said they have been expecting a jump. They blamed it on increased federal funding for abstinence-only health education that doesn't teach teens how to use condoms and other contraception.

Some key sexually transmitted disease rates have been rising, including syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. The rising teen pregnancy rate is part of the same phenomenon, said Dr. Carol Hogue, an Emory University professor of maternal and child health.

"It's not rocket science," she said.


The new report offers a state-by-state breakdown of birth rates overall. Many of those with the highest birth rates teach abstinence instead of comprehensive sex education, according to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

And research has concluded that abstinence-only programs do not cause a decrease in teenage sexual activity, Planned Parenthood officials added.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

On Jo

I just watched "Little Women" again (for the god-knows nth time) over the past two nights. I think I started watching it just because Cristina had mentioned the theme music to it recently, and also because it feels like a winter movie, and also because I think that re-watching my favorite movies sometimes really helps me get centered. It's sort of strange, really, because on one hand I think that movies totally mess with me, with my generation, with whoever, because they give us these unholy insane ideals that reality can never live up to. But on the other hand, sometimes I think ideals are a good thing (and I realize that sounds like a "duh" statement). What I mean is, in college we had speakers talk to us about the completely unrealistic scenarios in movies, ones that made girls believe that they could reform the bad boy, that they would at some point be swept off their feet, that relationships were easy and the plot was over when the wedding happened, that when you fall in love you know, instantly. And the speakers (ok, I'm really only thinking of one, and he's one of my heroes) talked about how all of that makes you ill equipped to handle real relationships. And yes, I think that's right. But I also believe that some aspects of these movies really are worth savoring and holding on to and maybe taking as a certain kind of lesson, if not an absolute truth.

What does this have to do with "Little Women," you ask? Well, there's been an ongoing debate amongst my female friends about who was really meant for Jo, Laurie or Professor Bhaer. And I've always felt totally torn, because I know I'm supposed to like Bhaer but Laurie was just so much more dashing and boyish and energetic. Clearly this is an intellect-versus-emotion thing, like so many things in my life (specifically my romantic life, such as it is at the moment, which is not much). I've completely straddled the fence on this one. Tonight I watched from the proposal scene with Laurie through to the end, and I had, as usual, a lot of complex reactions, the upshot of which is that I became more sold on Bhaer. It wasn't that I liked Laurie less (although I have a hard time with a) his really weird moustache/goatee thing he has going that is supposed to show that he is older and/or more mature and/or throwing propriety to the wind, b) his declaration that he wants Amy because he "has always known that he should be part of the March family" --boo-- and c) his happy crazy revelation to Jo that he has married her younger sister, with apparently no awkwardness over the fact that he had proposed to her like a year before). It was more related to the fact that I have been re-evaluating, or trying to, my sort of mental list about what I really am looking for in a partner (I'm not actually "looking," but I mean). I felt like Bhaer met some high standards, matched some ideals, that I often have to remind myself are the most important. Such as: maturity, and intellectualism that isn't arrogant, and this certain indescribable quality, which as best as I can describe it is basically an openness to sharing Jo's world and interests and caring about them without having them be his own interests. These seem like sort of obvious things, but it seems to me that they are rarer than you would think.

This is why I think idealism is good sometimes. I want to remind myself to be like Jo, to hold off, to stand steady.

And I don't just mean this in relation to men. I always related to Jo because she was the writer, but I feel more and more like her now than I ever did before. And I still feel sorry for Jo, because she lost out on opportunities that she deserved (going to Europe, the line in the movie -- I realize that this is obviously all based on a book, which I love, but I think the movie is a great interpretation of it so I'm running with this -- where she says "I should have been a great many things"). The reason Jo couldn't be all those things was largely due to her gender in a time when women couldn't go to Harvard like Laurie could, when women's writing was dismissed as sentimental, etc. etc. etc. I guess I should feel lucky. I have had chances she never could have had. But I want to stay close to Jo's model, and dig my heels in until I figure out what I really want.

(Wow. So whenever I watch the end scene in the rain, I always think of the title of that chapter in the book, "Under the Umbrella." I just now went back and skimmed the text of it online. I completely forgot how it went. If it's been a long time since you read the books -- and for me it's only been three years since I read them for a class -- you might want to go back and read them again. Seriously. Wow. I have so many thoughts.)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tell it

"Over the mysteries of female life there is drawn a veil, best left undisturbed."

--Mr Brooke, Little Women (the movie)

Facebook in 02138

(I can't actually believe I'm putting a disclaimer in my blog, but please remember that any opinions expressed here are mine only and not those of my employer.)

I've kind of been ignoring the whole Facebook ConnectU lawsuit, since I don't think anything will come of it, but my attention was caught by the article in 02138 (the classy Harvard alumni mag, truly ridiculous really) that went into some depth about the founding of Facebook and the controversy. (Mark Zuckerberg's lawyers tried to get the article removed, but it didn't work.) What was fascinating was actually Zuckerberg's journal excerpts, which gives you some sense of who that 23 year old billionaire founder of one of the most controversial companies out there really is, or at least, was (I can totally give him some benefit of the doubt, but I think becoming a sensation before you're of drinking age is not necessarily the ideal way to develop as a person).

(It also strikes little ol' public (high) school me as kind of amusing that a bunch of boarding-school educated rowers are fighting with a Philips Exeter grad over their share of $15 billion which is still, at this point, not actual money, all because of their idea(s) for an Ivy-League-exclusive social network that they started while attending Harvard. Not that their point isn't valid, if they indeed have a case.)

Damn the man. Save the Office. Etc.

OfficeTally published a letter she wrote to Jeff Zucker at NBC, supporting the writers' strike. Ever since I found out all the writers are asking for is a percentage of any online profits (not a number, a percentage) I'm totally on their side. This letter articulates the principle of the matter.

(Last night's Urban Family Thanksgiving was a huge success. I'll post more on that later.)


I am a big fan of the Feministing blog. Sometimes I disagree with the folks on there, but usually not, and of all the blogs I read this is one of the most interesting and educational. (A true example of a "good" blog that actually functions as a form of citizen journalism -- here I guess it's not so much breaking stories as pointing out the times when mainstream journalism fails to tell a story, so it's more like citizen editorials or something -- as well as a great forum for discussion.) Last week they reviewed Robert Jensen's book about porn and masculinity and such, and the result was a pretty captivating debate. I know where I stand on it, but it was still good to skim through.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


I didn't even realize NaBloPoMo was over until just now... congratulations to me for writing a post a day for November. I plan to continue with it.

We got the axe

Well, that was a surprise. Now I'm sadder I didn't go to the actual game... rushing the field would have been nice. (And apparently at halftime they let everyone in for free. Given I missed the first quarter anyway, I wouldn't have missed much more if I'd done that. But how was anyone supposed to know?) Still, we had a good time at the Nuthouse, and it was a really tense (therefore captivating and awesome) game to watch, especially given the couple of plays that went under review towards the end. Hurrah!

(I feel good about this partly because it connects me to Stanford again. I haven't felt really tuned in with the school in a while, so it was good to have a rush of school pride.)

Saturday, December 01, 2007


I'm sort of crazy excited about going to Big Game today. I had to dig through my belongings to find some Stanford gear and finally came up with a sweatshirt and a Sixth Man t-shirt, and that got me more excited, too. It's been a really long time since I even stepped foot on Stanford campus. And I was just reading Wikipedia on the game (why? I have no idea, it's not like I didn't go there) and got sort of sad about not actually going to the game. (We're just going to tailgate, very disorganized-like.) Still, it should be fun. A bunch of us are taking Caltrain down, which will make me feel like a college student again. Which I think is fun... I think.

And I have to hope that we won't lose too badly. The last time we won was my freshman year. I'm crossing my fingers...