February 01, 2003
I am so tired. A Saturday morning class, after a night of concert-going and road-tripping, without the support of coffee, is brutal. But no need to feel sorry for me. I'll be heading to Boston shortly, woohoo!
Oh no! The space shuttle
Oh no! The space shuttle Columbia has disintegrated over Texas. How could this happen again?
February 06, 2003
"Admit It: You Don't Care
"Admit It: You Don't Care All That Much About Seven Dead Astronauts. Here's Why." The bluntness of the title took my breath away. At first, I was thinking, how could he write this? But then again, I know what he means. A lot of people must see the shuttle's destruction like a plane crash - terrible but removed from their lives. And I do remember the sadness, but also the relief, of all things, when that plane crashed in November and it turned out to be mechanical problems, not terrorism. I read an article yesterday about why the loss of the astronauts touches people more than mass statistics about people dying of cancer or from car crashes. People identify with people, with names. It's a survival instinct, caring about others, retaining our social bonds. But it's balanced by the instinct for self-preservation - at some point we have to learn to cope, tune things out, or just acknowledge we're too distant to have a deeper connection. Otherwise how would the human race go on, if everyone remained paralyzed with grief, carrying everyone's burdens? We reach out, try to help shoulder the pain for the ones who suffer, but our loss isn't as hard to bear as it is for the families and friends, the people who really knew them.
So we move on, not necessarily forgetting, still having compassion and providing comfort to those who need it, but inevitably we are taken back by the humdrum details of our lives. Although the circumstances are always different, the equalizer is that we will all be touched by pain and suffering, by terrible loss at some point in our lives. But the opposite is also true - there will be instances of happiness and joy, of great contentment. That is what we should strive for. Our mortality is a given, let's not waste time on the things we can't control. Let us be kind and generous with our love and friendship, our zeal for life. And in living so, we'll honor the memories of those we cherish, and miss.
I still cried, though, as I read the paper on the train home last night.
February 07, 2003
My first blog meetup. Scott's
My first blog meetup. Scott's coming with me, and Zeebah will be there, but I feel awfully shy nonetheless, especially since some of the (blogogentsia? bloggerati?) will be in attendance.
February 08, 2003
Brf BABB Rcp
We met at Zanzibar, a place clearly intended for the young, beautiful, hip New Yorker, which I am not. A $9 vodka tonic? I went with a pint of Sam Adams, a bargain at $6. Thus fortified, Zeebah and I plunged into the mix. (The ever reliable LIRR proved to be too much of a hassle, so Scott never made it in to town.)
And? It was fun. I sampled a marvelous ginger snap baked by Pitchaya, who also described the motions of zen archery for us. I met Asparagirl, Mike, Gary, and Mr. Swill. There were many others; apparently the turnout was rather swell, but there wasn't much room to commingle. We shimmied intricately, balancing drinks, making room for the waitress or others to scoot past; it reminded me of the party scene in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Yet in that brief bit of square footage, there was much conversation and merriment. I scooted out before ten, needing to drag my grad student ass out of bed early this morning. But I'd love to meet you folks again!
February 10, 2003
Not a Hipster
There's a book just out called The Hipster Handbook, a review of which appeared in the most recent NYT Sunday Book Review. There's a quiz you can take to determine whether or not you qualify. I answered honestly, down to the fact that my hair tends to look better after the use of a hair dryer, and that I did not currently have a Betty Page hairstyle, even though I'd like to. Maybe if I'd fibbed, that would've put me over the top. My heart bleeds. I so wanted to be a conformist nonconformist!
It's hard enough trying to be myself.
February 11, 2003
The Total Information Awareness System
The Total Information Awareness System is the key project being developed by the Information Awareness Office (IAO), under the umbrella of DARPA (grandfather of Internet) - ultimately, under the Pentagon. The objective of TIA is to uncover information about existing or potential terrorist activities through the data mining of such disparate sources as credit card, medical, school and travel records. Privacy advocates and civil libertarians are naturally a mite suspicious, especially since the overseer for TIA is John Poindexter. Perhaps you recall the name - he was a key figure with a conviction (later overturned because of an immunity deal) from the Iran-Contra affair. A recent press release indicates that "TIA has never collected, and has no plan or intent to collect privately held consumer data on U.S. citizens."
A logo had been created for the IAO. There's a pyramid, an all-seeing eye, and a Latin motto "Scientia Est Potentia" which translates to "Knowledge is Power." Criticism, ridicule or both have caused the logo to be withdrawn, or perhaps scrapped altogether. Because we Americans have a mordant sense of humor (well, some of us), especially as to Big Brother type organizations, an enterprising fellow has made available the opportunity to purchase t-shirts, caps, mugs, even thongs emblazoned with the logo. Profits are donated to the ACLU. Click here to buy something, if you dare.
UPDATE: In today's NY Times [2.12], Conferees in Congress Bar Using a Pentagon Project on Americans. According to the article, "House and Senate negotiators have agreed that a Pentagon project intended to detect terrorists by monitoring Internet e-mail and commercial databases for health, financial and travel information cannot be used against Americans. The conferees also agreed to restrict further research on the program without extensive consultation with Congress." Says Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) of the Pentagon, "They've got some crazy people over there." So TIA is in check, for now.
February 19, 2003
Last week was an abbreviated but hectic one for me. Work crush through Wednesday, a training day on Thursday, and then a jaunt out of town with Scott - a surprise Valentine's visit down south to visit our friends and their new baby Miss Evelyn, as well as to celebrate a milestone birthday for S. The look of surprise on my friend's face and the viselike hug she gave me were completely worth the effort - her husband and I had been scheming by email since early last year.
Miss Evy is completely adorable. I thought I'd be terrified holding 12 pounds of infant, but she seems pretty agreeable to letting sundry people coddle her and make faces at her. Still no baby pangs, but the auntie pangs are being nourished. Scott introduced her to some a cappella renditions of party rap and funk; Evy seemed especially receptive to KC & the Sunshine Band, bouncing and boogying as we held her up.
I like road trips - racing down the highway, picking up junk food at the gas station, trying to decipher the vanity plates of other cars. We picked up a new portable CD player - our last one had to be set on a cushion in order to have a semblance of skip-free music. It even has a remote, so you could set the player on top of the dash and only handle it when switching out albums. Sweet! We usually make mix tapes for our trips, but lately we haven't had enough time for that. We're going to make another attempt to get our burner operational and move into the world of mix CDs.
For future trips, it's a good idea to check the weather beforehand. I had no idea the weather was going to be this bad. We barely got out of our friends' driveway Sunday afternoon, then crawled along in a single lane of traffic on I-95, pretty much most of the way from Virginia to NY. The storm got worse, visibility lessened, and the roads became thicker with snow and ice. Scott, good man that he is, did the driving - it didn't seem the best time for me to learn snow driving in the midst of a blizzard. We couldn't stop for the night - when we tried to find a motel, the driveways were all too snowy to enter. But we knew we were back in New York when just after exiting the Lincoln Tunnel, a drunken girl hailed and flailed the cab in front of us, rushing towards it and flashing all of us in the process. She fell down and lay in the snow; fortunately her more sober friends were there to pick her up and see if the cab was actually available. (It wasn't.) We got home around seven on Monday morning and conked out for most of the day.
February 21, 2003
1. What is your most prized material possession?
My wedding ring - a solid heft of gold, with delicate Celtic swirls.
For sheer materialism, my collection of Crowded House/Neil Finn bootlegs.
2. What item, that you currently own, have you had the longest?
Uh…my person? Although given today's curtailments on civil liberties, perhaps not for long.
3. Are you a packrat?
I don't think this term is sufficient enough for me, but yes.
4. Do you prefer a spic-and-span clean house? Or is some clutter necessary to avoid the appearance of a museum?
My mind longs for spic-and-span. It's so zen. But I'm always astonished at the pictures in the house and home magazines - where's all the stuff of daily life? Your keys, the mail, your current reading material, the music you're spinning on the stereo…. My ideal is sort of a cozy English cottage type feel - everything is tidy and orderly, but there's a sense of life to the place.
5. Do the rooms in your house have a theme? Or is it a mixture of knick-knacks here and there?
If the apartment has a theme, it's in medias res - ongoing little projects. Clutter, clutter everywhere, with hardly a space to think. I realize this doesn't advertise well for me as a librarian, but my work life is more together than my home life.
What's your political compass reading?
What's your political compass reading? I'm -4.62 on the economic left/right axis, and -4.46 on the authoritarian/libertarian axis - basically, I'm a moderate liberal, according to the graph that's generated after you answer a series of questions. If you do look into this, you should probably take the survey before reading its analysis. I'm sure someone with a better grasp of methodology will be happy to offer a critique. (Thanks to Eggnog for the link.)
NinjaBurger - Filling a long empty niche in the fast food industry.
Team Nicole - Obsessive fans of Nicole Kidman, whip out the rubber underpants.
Online Magnetic Poetry Generator Thanks to Dive Into Mark, who offers up a darling new web toy. [Hint: Change the last part of the URL to one of your choice, as I've done with mine, and voila! Instant online magnetic poetry.]
February 22, 2003
An interesting article(?) over at
An interesting article(?) over at LawMeme: James Grimmelman's "Accidental Privacy Spills: Musings on Privacy, Democracy, and the Internet."
One hopes one's friends don't just forward private emails to people who shouldn't see them, but it's always, always possible. Although I think the above incident is more of a tempest in a teapot, then again it didn't happen to me. Just look at poor Claire Swire or the dumbass Peter Chung. Of the latter, for whom I've absolutely no sympathy, I actually received the email as it made its way around the world likely millions of times over. Interestingly, with each forward, people didn't snip headers or email addresses, so I was able to see how the email eventually got round to me at my firm at the time. On this particular thread it traveled from other major law firms or investment banks, with attached comments like "I know this guy; what a jerk, he really deserves this!" And now such material is archived on the web for all to see, forever. Yikes.
Escribitionist was told by a
Escribitionist was told by a guy she reminded him of a librarian. She didn't realize at first that guys are attracted to girls with glasses. People typically have in mind a negative stereotype of what librarians should look like. Sadly, there are those who continue to perpetuate that image - but we come in all shapes and sizes, bespectacled or not. The next time you wish to woo a librarian, here's a few pickup lines you could try.
I lost my glasses New Year's Eve, the first pair I've ever been happy with - black and edgy, kinda retro. I need to get a new pair! ;-)
February 24, 2003
I'm experimenting. Do you like my daily titles as I've been doing - regular print in bold, then getting on with the body of my text? Or do you like the title as I've done it here, all caps in bold (or does regular type in bold look better?), with a line break before the main text?
Other tweaking - at last, the Armoire's archive has been retooled. And if you leave a comment, you might find alterations there as well. But don't be fooled by the rocks that I've got, I'm still Lady Crumpet from the block.
GRAMMY REHASH ON NPR
Scott: What?!? Simon and Garfunkel performed?!? TOGETHER?!?
Moi: Um, yeah.
Scott: That's it! Hell hasn't just frozen over. It's the Apocalypse!
OUR LAWYERS CAN BEAT UP YOUR LAWYERS
This could be the firm's unofficial pitch when MoFo woos clients for business.
Potential Client: So why should we hire you?
MoFo: Well for instance, we can handle the new corporate governance requirements, 'cause we're baaaad mutha -
PC: Shut yo' mouth! We need ball-busting attorneys - you're hired!
February 25, 2003
BECAUSE WE'RE WORTH IT
In Manhattan, whether you actually live in the city or just work here, everybody's got a file or a basket of takeout menus. So MenuPages is just absolutely bloody brilliant.
Wired on Wheels provides reviews regarding wheelchair accessibility in restaurants; it is national in scope, so you can see if a place in say, Topeka, is truly accessible. Also, people can write in and contribute reviews of places they've been to. [Thanks to Mike at randomness personified]
GOOGLE IS NOT A VERB
It was bound to happen. As other companies with trademarks such as Xerox, Kleenex or Band-Aid have learned, having a distinctive name means having to defend the intellectual property rights for that name, to prevent it from becoming a common, generic term in everyday language. Google finds that it faces this issue as well. [via LISNews]
UPDATE: Something I'll want to check up on, but it would seem that there's some wiggle room as to the extent of trademark protection on using a protected name as a verb, as the debate on the American Dialect Society listserv would suggest.
I'm tired. I'm cranky. I'm
I'm tired. I'm cranky. I'm hopped up on Dayquil because I have a cold. And I've got cramps too. Yaaaaay.
There's a lot of fear-mongering going on, and it makes me angry that 9/11 is used to justify what's going on at home and abroad. It seems that if you disagree with how things are being done by the current administration, then you're irrelevant. You might as well be guilty of treason, whether the issue is foreign policy or the economy or the First Amendment.
Recently I got a call from a friend who lives out in Kansas, and she worries about me, working as I do in the city, riding the subways. I guess I'm inured to the sight of all the cops and National Guardsmen roaming Penn Station. I didn't run out and buy rolls of duct tape. I don't go about feeling petrified all the time. Then I read the news, and something like despair settles over me. But I shall conquer this.
In the novel Dune, there's a litany that Paul Atreides calls upon to give him strength:
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
February 26, 2003
Happy Birthday Zeebah! A year ago I barely knew you. Today, we are blog sisters.
February 27, 2003
A GOOD MAN
Oprah is reviving her book club, apparently finding literature suitable enough for her standards - the literary greats, like Shakespeare, Faulkner and Hemingway. This is ultimately a good thing, although it's annoying that people need her direction to find a good book, rather than hunting one out themselves.
February 28, 2003
Back to innocuous content.
1. What is your favorite type of literature to read (magazine, newspaper, novels, nonfiction, poetry, etc.)? Novel.
2. What is your favorite novel?
Pride and Prejudice. "You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you." Please do, Mr. Darcy.
3. Do you have a favorite poem?
"Suzy's Enzyme Poem." (I ran to the library at lunch to look it up and found it under a slightly different title in Zimmer's most recent anthology.)
An Enzyme Poem for Suzanne
What a drag it must be for you!
I slog along, ignoring you like my heart beat.
I gurgle and mold like an old fruit cellar,
Then suddenly you'll walk through a door
And foam me up like an ancient cider in heat.
Then I'll fall all about you, blathering
With lost time, making you numb with words,
Wanting to mix our molecules, trying
To tell you of weeks in fifteen minutes.
Sometimes you must wonder what the hell
It is with Zimmer.
This is to tell you
That you are my enzymes, my yeast,
All the things that make my cork go pop.
4. What is one thing you've always wanted to read, or wish you had more time to read?
The Golden Bough, not the single abridged volume, but the massive encyclopedic set.
5. What are you currently reading?
*sigh* Should I really admit this? The Book of Shadows by James Reese. My coworker lent it to me, because I saw a blurb on the cover from another writer I like, Diana Gabaldon. There are witches, demons, incubi and succubi, as well as sundry supernatural perversions.