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Monday, March 31, 2008

Chron Vs. Stanford?

I'm beginning to think that someone at the SF Chronicle has a grudge against Stanford.

There's been a steady stream of articles this year about Stanford's financials and the relation to the students. First there was the article about our enrollment numbers and how it's such a low percentage of applicants. Then there was the article about our rise in the endowment. A month later, there's the article about our tuition grant program with the none too positive headline of "Costly Stanford Tries for Affordable Tag". The headline itself is a jab, and the university is offering to pay tuition, room, and board for everyone who gets admitted whose family earns less than $60k a year and tuition for everyone under $100k a year. Even though the announcement is overwhelmingly positive, the article still digs at how that only covers 30% of the admitted student population and how Stanford follows similar moves by Harvard and Yale and how low-income students still have a hard time. So this morning I look at the SF Chronicle, and we're on the cover again, this time with an article about how "Low Income Students Feel Left Out at Stanford". Because now that they're admitted and given tuition and room and board, they still don't fit in with their peers who come from a wealthy background. (Well, duh!) Clearly, no matter what Stanford does, it cannot win in the mind of this writer. And as it turns out, it is one writer - Carrie Sturrock - writing most of these articles. So what's up? Why has the Chronicle given this person a soap box to pick on Stanford? Where's the articles picking on the University of San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Santa Clara University, or any of the CSUs? The articles themselves seem rather slanted towards painting Stanford as the elitist bad guy. Whatever happened to fair and balanced reporting? And I say this as someone who has a hard time imagining being a student here, someone who graduated from a nice state school (UC Berkeley) and who worked a lot of hours while carrying 15-18 units to pay for my education, and who would've easily qualified for the free room, board, and tuition had it existed at the time. But come on - give Stanford a break! They're trying to do something right. How about some kudos instead of another slam?

Classifieds vs. Craig's List

On Friday night, I slept in the guest room. I moved there because I was stressed out from work stuff and I'd dozed off for 20 minutes before taking a shower, and that was enough to keep me up reading, trying to shut down, for over an hour. So I shuffled into the other room and read some more, slept fitfully, occasionally being wakened by Colin who seemed rather put out that I was sleeping in there and had to tell the world about it, occasionally wakened by Dixie's little collar bell, and other random noises in the night. What I did note though was that the bed in there is very comfy, but that the frame leaves a lot to be desired. It makes an overly bouncy bed even bouncier, since being on wheels on hard wood, it seems to basically float once a bounce starts.

So I thought, let's check Craig's List and see what's out there in the way of bed frames. I searched, narrowed to the South Bay, flipped through listing in the Peninsula and East Bay, reviewed photos, emailed myself copies of three listings for comparison. After 40 minutes of searching, I had a good idea of a reasonable price, a clear picture of what was available, and had contacted one seller to make an offer, sending her a link to a comparable item at a greater distance, offering to buy hers at their price, all without leaving the single modality of my computer.

On Sunday, we're driving down 87 and I'm listening to another story about the changes to the newspaper business. Classifieds used to be 40% of the revenue for newspapers, but that is being gobbled up by little upstarts like Craig's List. Um, well, yah. I can't feel bad about this really. The newspaper business got way too comfy and complacent. I looked into posting a classified years ago and it was going to be about $40 for a two line listing, replete with obnoxious abbreviations and no photo, advertising my phone number to the whole world and forcing me to field calls asking for details.

The newspaper business is getting a lot of coverage about how their world is changing, but really, it's okay. It's good. It needed to happen. Why do we need to produce temporary, quick information on paper every single day? Why do we need to have thousands of people across the country driving around delivering this paper edition daily? Why do we need to get our fingers coated in ink just to read the news? The truth is, we don't. But the news industry really seems to be struggling with the switch to digital, complaining that while people read the full page ads of yore when printed, they close them when they popup on screen. Well... yes... because the full page ads of the paper edition never get up and move in front of the article you're reading.

The news industry really needs to take some lessons from Google. People used to read and notice the full page ads and circulars in the newspapers because they applied to their local needs. They were not just generic advertisements geared toward the broadest audience. The ads were based on specific, current sale prices at local stores. Bananas for 29 cents a pound at the local grocery? Great! Compare turkey prices at various grocery stores the week before Thanksgiving? Yes! Spring clearance sale with big 40% off sale prices coupon at Macy's? Sure! Random refinance ads or Punch the Monkey? Um, no, never.

And that brings up another point - people paid attention to newspaper ads because there was a specific reward for doing so. Clipping coupons was the national obsession of the eighties. Internet advertising generally doesn't get you anything additional for acknowledging it.

Ah well. The owner of the bed frame accepted my offer, and we picked it up Sunday afternoon. No inky fingers. It looked just like the photo in the ad. The entire process was completed with one phone call. Now it's set up in the blue room, easy as can be.

Clothing Swap Redux

The clothing swap was a big success. As per the norm, my favorite old items all found homes and I actually managed to take away less than I offered up this time, so I count that a victory. Turns out that Ari's old shirts are a pretty good fit for me, so I've got some lovely new work shirts and a cute little halter top sweater. I think Rene was the big winner for the evening as everything super cute seemed to look totally fabulous on her. Also, Karen from Decadance seemed to be the perfect size to fit something from everybody. Apparently we've all passed through her size at some point, so she kept finding totally fabulous stuff.

We bagged up everything at the end of the night and I hauled it off to the thrift store this weekend. Turns out there was enough that it actually ended up being two trips to the thrift store, so I decided to hit two different stores. Saturday night I headed to the second thrift store, the Savers in Milpitas, and handed off the remaining skirts and tops. The Savers is slightly evil (in a totally good way), because in addition to your donation receipt, they give you a coupon for 20% off in the store. Danger! Yeah, so I ended up being a bit later to Anselm & Gerbille's housewarming than I planned, but I totally scored at the Savers.

Turns out, Naturalizer makes (or has made in the past) a wide shaft boot, and there was a pair there for $6.99 in size 7 1/2. Now my usual experience with zip up boots is that I slip my foot in, start to zip, and get to my Irish dance calves and give up. Or I get to my calf, struggle, make an indent in my finger of the zipper pull, and then give up. With these, I slipped my foot in, pulled the zipper, and zipped right to the top of the boot. Blinking in disbelief, I read the tag more carefully. No, really, "wide shaft" means "fits dancer calves". So, nice new-to-me boots. Yay! Add to that a cute little navy pleated skirt, a green long-sleeve tee in just the weight and shade I'd been looking for, and a little grey ribbed turtleneck, and all for less than $20.

Unfortunately, while rummaging through the attic last night, I stumbled on my other, previously pulled bag of clothes for a clothing swap. Doh! Well, I'm ready for the next one already, so I hope someone has another one soon.

Friday, March 28, 2008

There Must Be More Than This Provincial Life!






Find Out Which Disney Girl You Are!
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Belle

Dancing furniture, singing spoons, and a man who needs a serious haircut - sound familiar? Well it should! Belle was a very independent spirit with alot on her mind, much like you are! But in life, there is a needed balance - learn when to speak your mind, and when to hold it back. Sometimes offending someone isn't the best way to go!


Belle


75%

Tinkerbell


71%

Cinderella


67%

Snow White


67%

Esmerelda


58%

Jane


58%

Megara


58%

Mulan


54%

Violet


50%

Pocahontas


50%

Aurora (Sleeping Beauty)


46%

Ariel


38%

Jasmine


38%

Alice


33%


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ninja!

Having a minor ninja day. I still love done. Today I finished:
- writing six related web pages on EFS
- publishing four video helplets on EFS
- updating the Stanford Email & Calendar communications plan
- writing a kinder, gentler BigFix popup message
- writing a BigFix for Macs limited roll-out participant greeting

There's a whole bunch of big lines through stuff on my white board. I love that. Tomorrow I will erase it and start a new list, but today I feel mighty.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Putting My Ranty Pants On

Be warned. This is a rant.

On campus we're being offered the opportunity to get fitness classes for a reduced cost, if we jump through a few hoops. The first hoop is to sign on to a social networking site with a fitness bent called BeWell. Okay, fine, whatever. The second hoop is to fill out a health and fitness survey online. This started me getting grumpy because the last section is all about your willingness to change. Here's the thing - I don't need to *change* my lifestyle to be more healthy. I just need to continue doing my best practices. I already exercise at least 3 days a week and usually more, and usually for much longer than the minimum periods. I already eat pretty well, making sure to have a side of whole pinto beans at lunch most days to get my fiber (since finding fresh, hot veggies on campus isn't easy). I eat oatmeal for breakfast every work day. Sure, I've got my vices - coffee and Diet Coke - but I aim for moderation there. I don't smoke. I don't drink save for one or or maybe two cocktails at a party maybe once a month but usually less. I could eat more fresh veg and less empty-calorie carbs, but I do okay. So I get done with the survey and it gives me a bunch of feedback about how my unwillingness to change is the biggest barrier to improving my overall health. There's this explicit assumption that we all must not be taking care of ourselves. Additionally, there's the omnipresent BMI calculator result that says I'm overweight. Hell, it says my boss, who works out every day, doesn't eat normal human food and probably hasn't had a slice of bread (let alone with butter on it) in 20 years. He's the healthiest guy I know, and it said he's overweight. Um, no, actually, he's fit and has muscle, which weighs more than fat, and so doesn't work in the BMI scale. Grr.

So the third hoop to get cheap fitness classes was to attend an "interpretation workshop" which is a one hour session that's not about interpreting your results, but is instead about sitting in a lecture hall getting the lecture about all the stuff in the results section as if they had not been tailored for you to read already. So the lecturer goes on and on about how you have to eat a diet mostly based on plants, choose whole grains, eat fish, blah blah blah. Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, heard it all before. But here's the thing - back when I was working way too many hours and heading home after the grocery stores (or at least Trader Joe's) closed. I did not have time to cook food. I did not have time to pack a lunch. I did not have time to plan ahead. But there's plenty of dining options on campus, right? Well, yeah, sure, if you want burgers, fries, pizza, burritos, noodles, sandwiches and so on. If I want fresh steamed broccoli, I'm out of luck. If I want yummy green beans (like the ones from Whole Foods on Saturday... mmmm...) then no chance. If I want a nice stir fry with lots of fresh cabbage and carrots and spinach and onions and... well, suffice to say I'll have to go elsewhere. Yes, I could have salad, but that never sounds good on a cold winter day. There used to be a Fresh Choice at the Stanford Shopping Center, but that's gone, so even the salad choices are kind of feeble and not very colorful.

So I raise my hand, preface my comment with recent time issues, and ask if there are any plans to bring more healthy, veggie-based food onto campus. She suggests planning ahead and bringing food from home. Um, no. Then she goes onto the next slide and starts talking about BMI. Gah! Then she says if that doesn't work for you, then just go by waist size - less than 35 inches for all women and 40 inches for all men is for the best. Really? So Christyn, who is 10 inches taller than me doesn't get any leeway for a bigger waist than me? I'll now grant that my waist is 28 inches, so I make it well under their marker, but for my body type and size, if my waist gets much bigger than 30 inches, I need to be doing some serious personal reevaluation.

This was the part where I had to tune out and just read my book. Do not argue with the presenter of the required 1 hour course. Just sit. Just wait for the hour to end. Just go back to your desk and sign up for the nice, newly lower priced fitness class. Do not stew about how the campus (or the rest of the United States) is so eager to facilitate bad eating habits and then to chastise you for doing what is easy and available.

Yep, I'm really enjoying reading this book.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Dude!

Okay, so I still don't have a jet pack or a flying car, but regrowing fingers (or other body parts) with a bit of powder? Hell yeah! I love science! It totally rocks!

Girly Clothing Swap

I seem to be failing at successfully inviting everyone, so if you haven't received an invite yet, here it is:

It's that time again. As the seasons change, let's take a moment to dig through our closets, figure out what worked for us this year, and what needs to find a new closet to live in. Don't be shy - girls of every shape and size will be there. That dress that's just a little too big for you will look great on someone else. That blouse that gaps at the bust line will look like it was meant-to-be on a friend.

Here's how it works:
Everyone arrives with clothes. Clothes are laid out around the room according to size and type of item (top, bottom, dress, jammies, formals, etc.) and once everyone has laid out their clothes, had a cocktail, and some munchies, we'll all march into the room of clothes and start digging in. A clothing free-for-all will commence. Take away as much as you like. I'll have a couple of mirrors for fitting.

Once everyone has made a few trips around the room, trying on their first choices, trying something daring, trying a few that don't quite work, finding a something that works far better than it ever did for its original owner, and so on, then we'll have big bags to take home your picks. After that, we'll bag up the leftovers. You can take yours home with you, or I'll be happy to take it off to Out of the Closet for you.

Hope to see you there!


This time it's Thursday evening at my house. If you need more information, ping me. And sorry boys, this one isn't for you.

SF Celtic Festival

The SF Celtic Festival was great. I danced til my legs couldn't go anymore. I arrived in time for the first Tempest set and promptly dove into dancing. Then I ran upstairs to teach ceili for an hour. After cleaning up I came down and wandered into Shirleigh's hard shoe class. That hurts my brain just like Campbell's tap class. Luckily, taking Campbell's tap class made it hurt just a little less. Sometime soon I want to get either Joan or Richard talking about the historical relationship of American Tap and Irish hard shoe, because lordy, the similarities cannot be fully accidental, but how did it develop? Anyway, after that class, I had designs on getting food. I'd heard a rumor of a nearby Whole Foods, but when I wandered into the main hall, Avalon Rising was playing a great set. So, more dancing. Following that, food became imperative.

I walked out with Christophe and Karen and Paul, rounded the edge of the building and beheld the enormous new Whole Foods. Egad! I wondered what all they'd had to tear down to build that, but Christophe said it was just an old Cadillac dealership. Very cool. A quick perusal of the offerings pointed me at the steam trays full of Indian, Mexican, southern, Italian, and so on, all by the pound for $7.99. I put together an eclectic box including caprese salad, cole slaw, green beans, and lasagna. It was so super yummy. The lasagna was an especially flavorful lasagna and the green beans were fresh and crisp. It was such the perfect thing. I just wish the Palo Alto Whole Foods was of this new breed rather than the older, smaller stores.

After this brief respite, I headed back for the second Tempest set and managed to get a huge line of Fairy Reel going across the front of the stage on their second song. It was a mixed bag of new dancers, dancers new to ceili, and ceili regulars so it seemed to work well. After the Tempest set, Anthony started the FNW set in the other room. This kicked off well and I called a Haymaker's Jig for everybody. Unfortunately, I'd sent Anthony the super-peppy version of the Capercalie edit that Fred did, so this was a very high energy dance for everyone, but everyone seemed to survive, so woohoo! After that, I ducked across the hall to see Culann's Hounds. Their accordion player Renee used to drop in on Mondays at the Plough from time to time and would always set the floor on fire. With her own band, the reels and jigs came fast and furious. It totally rocked. Even Anthony finally gave up on doing FNW stuff in the other room because he wanted to see the band and he said, "I can't compete with that." Yeah, I guess not. I picked up a couple of their CDs, but for better or worse, they seem to have the same issue as most Tempest CDs - the CD just does not capture the amazingness of the live band. Ah well, I'm sure they will be a band to see live again and again the way Tempest has been for the past 15 years.

Anyhow, it was an amazingly fun day. I learned stuff. I taught stuff. I danced til I couldn't dance any more. Can we do this every weekend? Okay, maybe not, but how about we do it again next year?

Art Project

I really love this little video:

It reminds me of old days with Kevin in Berkeley putting together his little brainstorms. Just seems like something we'd do. And it's just so gentle and zen while being discordant, but not in a harsh way. I like it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Spontaneous Musical

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Live Journal Strike

I was just commenting on Dawn's blog, but actually I think this begs a broader discussion. On the strike, the thing is I think they are really blowing it by taking away the free accounts. I don't use my account to post a blog, but I do use it to read other's blogs and to be able to comment. That interoperability of LJ friends-locking posts and allowing only logged in users to comment will be destroyed if there is no basic account. And no one charges for other similar types of accounts on MySpace, Tribe, Friendster, Facebook, or Blogger. There are other places to go for free if LJ becomes inhospitable. And it will take a year or two for enough of an issue to develop where people move their journals to other providers because they can't properly control permissions via LJ anymore without their friends being paid members.

Suffice to say, I think it's a absurdly stupid move on LJ's part, but I also think that the boycott for a day will have no particular effect. What would be more effective is a communication campaign to the business owners explaining the valid business reasons for keeping free accounts. And "because all of your competitors offer them" is an extremely compelling reason.

So if we all migrate to another platform, what would it be? What offers the easy functionality of posting photos and text and allowing filtering of posts by your affinity lists and allows limiting of comments to registered users? Additionally, what else allows an aggregated page like the LJ Friends page for consumption of the compositions of your selected affinity group? I can honestly say that Blogger is insufficient to the task. I've wished for some time that I could selectively block certain users, but Blogger doesn't have that function. If the owners of Live Journal are intent on alienating potential new users, what is the recourse of the consumer? Where do we go from here?

I'm also really hoping the answer isn't MySpace. I have never encountered so many unnecessarily loud pages as I have when I've clicked on links to MySpace. It seems like everyone has some awful music that instantly blares at the reader without permission or warning whenever you open a MySpace page. It is not a place for grown-ups.

EDIT: Yeah, honestly I didn't realize it was that they were just making free accounts ad based. Ads are fine. The service has to be paid for somehow. People need to get a grip.

What a Great Weekend!

Okay, so this weekend pretty much rocked. But there is too much. Let me sum up.

Eric and Lisa's wedding was super cool. Dave took great photos. There were just the right number of FNW/Gaskells/Fezziwig/Ceili dancers there to keep the affair lively and the dancing rocked. It's been a long time since I've been to a very Christian ceremony. The hymns and prayers and stuff didn't surprise me. What did catch me off guard was that they started at 3:30 promptly just like it said on the invitation. My brain thought, "Oh, right, they don't operate on Pagan Standard Time. Wacky." Anyway, lovely couple. Glad they found one another. I still remember how fabulous they looked and how made for one another they seemed at the Browncoat Ball in 2006. I was reminded of that last week looking at David's photos. They swept across the dance floor that night and people kept asking me, "Are they professional dancers? Are they a couple?" All I could say then was, "No, just friends, sort of maybe dating." And the other guests would just say, "Wow." Turns out, that was the night of their first kiss. Well now they've had their fairy tale ending. Let's hope it all goes as well from here on out.

Sunday I got up and headed to San Ramon to babysit Katy and Logan so that Sean & Elizabeth could go out, be coupley, and enjoy a show. They did, and I enjoyed hanging out with the kids all day. Logan and I played Wii and watched Empire Strikes back while Katy did her homework. As it turns out, she's a bit behind in Algebra and has a mountain of assignments to catch up on. Logan and I went out and fetched supper and came back to eat and get ready for bed. We read The Scariest Monster in the Whole Wide World and Egg-Napped. I had a great time. Katy is definitely a teenager, struggling with those teenager issues. Logan is definitely a six year old boy, playing with his Bionicles and his Nintendo DS. Sean and Elizabeth got home and I headed home about 11, with a stop by the grocery store for cupcake fixings. I got home and started baking Zucchini Cupcakes for St. Patrick's Day. They turned out super-yummy with cream cheese frosting and green sprinkles.

Monday was the Irish Holiday. First we danced to Driving With Fergus at Oakland City Center. Then nine of us headed to Le Cheval for lunch (with yummy Singapore noodles). Then Tracey and I headed to Alameda for a massage. After a brief stop for wireless and coffee at Javarama, we went out in search of live music and beer. First we went to McGees. No live music. Then we went down the street and found an actual smoky bar. Still no live music though. Then we went out to Lincoln to find McGrath's. Still no live music. Finally we gave up and called Sherman and decided to head to Forbidden Island. Once again, we were totally thwarted - Forbidden Island is closed on Mondays! Argh! So we walked past the house Sherman is in escrow for and then headed back to Park Street to meet up with Chris at the taqueria. Dinner was had without live music or green beer. But then we headed upstairs to the ceili. Truly brilliant chaos ensued. It was packed and the band was a little thin, but we had a grand time. Shelly arrived late and kept playing after Dave had to head home. We danced til 11:30 and only stopped because we really needed to get out. So we cleaned up after our cake and Guinness and scones and soda bread and other wide assortment of treats, vacuumed up the crumbs, and headed home.

Anyway, the weekend rocked. I'm tired now. Is it Friday yet?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Irish Dance in the Bronx!

Okay, so this story totally overjoyed me. You have to go read it on the NY Times site. If you don't have a login, borrow one from BugMeNot. And watch the video. Here's a little excerpt of the story to whet your appetite:
With a student body that is 71 percent Hispanic and 27 percent black, Public School 59 does not seem an obvious home for a thriving Irish dance troupe. And when Caroline Duggan first arrived from Dublin at age 23 to try her hand as a New York City public school music teacher, it wasn’t. Many of her students had never heard of Ireland. Why, they wanted to know, did she talk funny?

Then, to stave off homesickness, Ms. Duggan hung a “Riverdance” poster in her fifth-floor classroom, and one thing led to another. The children pointed to a long-haired dancer on the poster and asked if it was her. No, she laughed, but I could show you a few steps. The impromptu lesson grew into a wildly popular after-school program and, for the first time last year, a trip to Ireland that still inspires dreamy looks among those lucky enough to go.


Wow. Just wow.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day

I loved this movie!

And it's a totally safe-for-my-grandma type of movie, which is incredibly rare!

Anyway, it was a perfect little fairy tale, with Amy Adams doing a first rate impression of Nicole Kidman as bombshell and Frances McDormand chewing the scenery as the older, wiser, smarter guardian. Ciaran Hinds and Lee Pace also sneak in and steal the show. And the costumes and the hair of that late 30's glamour! Oh such fun!

See the trailer at Apple.com.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Five til Five on a Friday

We're piloting BigFix for Macs. Mac users on campus have never seen the scary "Reboot Now!" messages from BigFix before. Apparently, not everyone who has it installed was informed they had it installed. This crisis began at five til five on Friday when my manager came down the hall, freaking out because it happened to him. Crap.

So, I just spent the last hour and half wishing I had a time machine while writing an emergency article on the BigFix for Macs pilot and an emergency user email message that should go out immediately to all pilot participants. TGIF?

The Regency Dress

For those who wanted to see photos of my Regency dress, many thanks to Kim and David for taking my picture.

I asked David to make my portrait.

And Kim was amazing with catching natural action shots throughout the evening. Here's a lovely shot of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy dancing a country dance with me.

And then there were waltzes, including a thoroughly shocking dip!

Oh my! No wonder the waltz is perceived as so scandalous!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Gonna eat your brains!

Okay, so there's the whole, "God made dirt, so dirt don't hurt" playground statement. So your food got a little dirt on it. It won't kill you right?

Some days your little personal fictions get smashed into a million pieces. Take for example the amoeba that lives in dirt, and is more prevalent in California than elsewhere, and that amoeba eats your brain!!! Whimper.

I know, I know, it's probably not from eating dirt. And I know, I know, this is like number 6,212,741 on the list of things that are likely to kill me, but come on! That's a horrible way to go! I mean really - do you go camping and sleep on the dirt and the amoeba crawls into your brain through your ear (like Chekov in Wrath of Khan) and eats your brains? Or do you consume the amoeba in food and it gets into your bloodstream and goes for your brain as a tasty snack? Or what? Ye gads that's not what I want to consider. It's one of those weird things that makes people turn into OCD bubble boy shut-ins. Gah!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Pixel Hearts Me


Pixel, in his infinite cuteness, makes me much less likely to die of a heart attack. It's nice to have his snuggle attacks quantified.

Irish Day!

St. Patrick's Day is fast approaching and this year it lands on a Monday. This happens every few years and in the past it has generally meant that even though it would normally be a night at the Plough, on the most Irish Day of the American calendar, the Irish dancers got the boot in favor of the Plough making money. Can't blame them - for an Irish pub, it's like Black Friday, the one day a year that will make up for all those other days that you don't break even.

Well this year, we're dancing at the Alameda Ceili, which we rent for the same price as any other night of the year. So we're having a blow-out! I got permission to have treats in the lobby, so we're going to have a bit of a potluck. I also suspect we'll have a nice big beginning class full of folks who want to try it.

In my fine tradition for St. Patrick's Day, I'm taking the day off and dancing myself senseless. Driving With Fergus is doing their annual show at Oakland City Center. Hopefully enough folks will come out and good dancing will occur. Lunch after that, then I hope to go find some more places for some pick-up dancing, or go relax and read a good book, or something else. Then off to the ceili at 8. Maybe dinner somewhere walking-distance before hand? We'll see. Anyway, I'll be celebrating my way. While for most Americans use St. Paddy's Day as an opportunity to sip green beer while singing Danny Boy in that pub they overlook for the rest of the year, I'll be dancing my legs off, sharing good times with good company and good music.

Add to that the SF Celtic Festival on Saturday in Oakland and it will be a week of dancing til I drop. The line-up Scott has pulled together is absolutely amazing. Can't wait!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Soon

It will be better soon, but Jo-Ann, ready as she is, still has to get settled. And I have to help get her settled. And I have to keep up on everything else while I'm helping get her settled. Net result - yet another late night at the office. It will be better soon. Soon.

PSA - Don't Bother with The Other Boleyn Girl

The girls had talked about seeing The Other Boleyn Girl together, but Rick really wanted to go to the movies on Sunday, so I figured I'd be game for seeing it again later with the girls.

I have rarely ever been so bored by a movie. I love costume flicks. I enjoy stories about this period of English history. I enjoyed the book. This film was the tedious Cliffs Notes version that had the depth of your average afternoon soap. For some reason the director opted to waste time on showing Mary & Anne's labor and delivery rather than spend any time developing Mary and Henry's relationship. I honestly thought til the last moment of the movie that they'd collapsed Mary's first and second husband into one character, but no, they just looked alike. There was one moment where the music/scene transition was edited so badly that the audience reacted audibly.

So give this one a miss. Or save it til some rainy afternoon when you're sewing and don't want something you'd need to pay attention to. Even then, I'd give the BBC P&P another view instead. Or Stage Beauty. Or Lady Jane.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Viewlet Builder Tutorial

Okay, remember my blow-up about Captivate and how cool Qarbon Viewlet Builder was? I finally finished something that I can post as an example. It's a rather unglamorous tutorial about time-tracking at Stanford. But it gives you an idea of what's possible with the Viewlet Builder. And you know what's really really cool about it? It works. It doesn't eat my files suddenly. It doesn't freak out and stop letting me edit. It doesn't randomly revert to old settings. And you would think those would not be especially high expectations, but after 3 versions of Captivate, I've had to reevaluate my standards. I'm still learning my way around in Viewlet Builder, but what I've seen so far really impresses me.