Almost there...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Busy Season

It's that time of year again where I know what I'm doing every day of every weekend from now until January. That always scares me just a bit.

This weekend is Fezziwigs rehearsal. Now is the time of year I should pull my costume out of the attic and ensure that everything fits, that all of the buttons remain in place, and that there's nothing wonky I promised myself I'd fix right after Dickens.

I remember planning to host a party at my house before we got here. Oh well. I guess I'll do that in January.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ammy: 0, Yard: 3

How come people frequently describe themselves as "outdoorsy" but you never hear anyone say they're "indoorsy?" Heck, even my spell checker in Firefox says outdoorsy is a word and draws a little red line under indoorsy. The time has come to change that. I'm an indoorsy kind of person. Well, mostly anyway. I'm really good at lots of indoor activities. Outside is where that giant flaming ball of gas lives and tries to fry me to a crisp.

Suffice to say, my yard and I didn't get along well this weekend. I got a bit of tree in my eye. Having done this before and knowing better, I should've been wearing goggles, but I said it aloud, then went back to my trimming like a fool. Moments later, I was fumbling down the step-ladder, sliding off first one glove and then the other, throwing away the clippers and running to the bathroom. All the flushing and splashing and rinsing and blinking did nothing to make it feel better. I thought I got it and that things must be just irritated, but hours later, there was still stabbing pain. Careful inspection found something blackish way up under my eyelid. A syringe of water shot at it finally dislodged. But oh lordy, my eye was so angry with me. Meanwhile, I'd stabbed my hand with a rose bush and it was getting infected rapidly. That required soaking til I could pull out the leftover thorny bit with a needle. The next day, while cleaning out my dryer vent with the ShopVac, a bee stung me in the armpit. This, as it turns out, is an inconvenient place for a bee sting because your arm brushes against your shirt when you walk. Sigh. I'm actually looking forward to going back to the office tomorrow where I sit safely in a comfy chair and do work that doesn't involve nature.

On the other hand, thanks to much help from my dad and Erik, my yard now contains a few loose leaves and twigs, one fruit tree, one flower tree, one other tree, a small rosemary bush and a few calla lillies. Also, a lot of bare dirt. Also, my garage has electricity that runs through an actual conduit to a junction box. This is a novel experience for me after five years of having an extension cord stretched across my back yard. I really should've taken before and after pictures, but I didn't realize what we were getting into until it was well underway. My dryer vent has been blown and vacuumed out, removing five years of accumulated lint. There is also a four foot by eighteen foot pile of yard trimmings in front of my house. We'll see what happens when the trash guys come on Thursday. Either, it will magically disappear, or I'll call the city and see about other options. The next weed that dares to grow back there is getting yanked out immediately. It shall remain bare dirt until an actual plan is hatched for proper use of the space.

And let me just say again: Thank you so much to Erik and my dad. This couldn't have happened without your help. I'm so grateful to walk out to flat ground rather than the angst and frustration of the overgrown mess.

Friday, September 18, 2009

LJ Fixed!

RSS feeds are back up and running on Live Journal! Woohoo! I've missed a week's worth of science news and LOLCats. How ever shall I catch up?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This Goes Beyond Spring Cleaning

Since first moving out of my mom's house, I regularly moved every few years. Then I bought a house in San Jose. Five years later, I feel like my house needs that floor to ceiling, wall to wall cleaning that houses only get when you move in or move out. I have a freakishly burning desire to take a day off work, magically move all of the furniture out of my house into the garage, and clean EVERYTHING, then move back in again, deciding once again where to store things and how to arrange the kitchen and what items go on which shelves. I know this is unrealistic, because it couldn't possibly be done in a day and I'm not really interested in doing it for more than a day or two, but it's still remains a weird fantasy as I walk around my house.

Alternately, I've considered emptying one room at a time to see how it goes, probably starting with the kitchen or quite possibly the dining room, which has never worked for me the way I wanted it to. Still, even doing this much is more than I could legitimately do on my own. I mean, it's not like I can just toss my dining table and buffet over a shoulder and move it out to the back porch all by myself.

So what's a girl to do? How do you achieve that "just moved in" freshness in a place you've lived for years?

Meanwhile, I'm going to vacuum today during my "lunch break", because one thing is certain: two orange cats produce a lot of orangeish dust bunnies.

Dissatisfied With My Options

This blog has chugged along now for nearly 10 years, happy as a clam. Quite a few years ago, Google bought Blogger and I figured there'd be some major upgrades to the platform. I continue to be disappointed. I briefly flirted with the idea of moving to Live Journal, but their weird coding and corporate issues were off-putting. So I stayed in my merry little venue, figuring that either it would improve or something else would emerge as the platform of choice.

But Blogger has increasing issues with struggling to publish posts. I see the "This is taking longer than expected" error with increasing frequency. And LiveJournal hasn't picked up my last two posts in 3 days because it says the next time it's scheduled to check is 9/12/09 at 12:05. I haven't a clue how to kick start that to play nice.

So I've been flirting with Facebook. There's a lot to like there, and a bit to be concerned about. And there's some UI issues I really don't like. For instance, if I go to read a note (akin to clicking a cut tag in LJ), then hit the back button, it refreshes my newsfeed back to the most recent top 25 posts, so I mostly avoid clicking through on people's notes, making it a far less satisfying platform than LiveJournal for keeping up with more than the barest basics of people's lives.

The net result being that there's not a solid platform I'm completely happy using. My current combination of platforms is also failing me. So I guess I sit around and wait for Facebook to improve, or waiting for the Next Big Thing, limping along, knowing that the next major nuisance with Blogger will probably be the final straw, but not knowing where to go from here. There's weird factors like my grandma reads my blog, and I like having that way to communicate with her, and my grandma isn't on Facebook. But should she be? I'm not sure.

And well, I'd ask my friends what they think, but who knows if/when this post will ever make it to LiveJournal. Harumph!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Freshman Move-in

I volunteered to assist with Freshman Move-in. It was fun at first, but now it's just tedious. There are 4 keys remaining. Four keys for four freshmen, and up to 3 hours to wait. Meanwhile, I'm sad to report that the music IS too loud. I can't hear myself think. I can't hear the person sitting next to me without leaning in. I guess that means I'm officially old. But oy, too much bass!

At least I've got my computer so that I can work on redoing a survey, but it's too loud to do anything that requires actual thinking.

You kids get off my lawn!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rain? Hunh. Go figure.

Friday night I went to bed and periodically throughout the night, I'd wake up, hearing something that sounded an awful lot like thunder, but always thinking, "That can't be thunder. What is that noise?" Then I got up, got dressed, and found my car covered in rain drops.

On the way to faire, there was lightning over the bay. At fair, it wasn't raining when we arrived, but by the time of our first dance set at 10:30, it was more than sprinkling. My brain still struggled to wrap itself around the idea of rain, here, in early September.

But then the rain departed until looking up from our 4:30 dance set on Sunday, it looked threatening again. This was no mere fluke little rainstorm. By the time we left the grocery store, it was sprinkling again. After a shower, it was pouring outside. And it didn't let up for several hours.

For the record, it smelled FANTASTIC! Everything is refreshed and clean. And the weather was kind enough to limit itself mostly to times when I didn't need to be outside. Watching the rain come pouring down from the sofa is the perfect way to end a long, dusty day at faire.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11/09

Eight years later, it's still fresh. The video below shows the second tower getting hit, largely from various stations who already had live cameras on the first burning tower. It's fascinating to watch observers go from, "Dude, what just happened?" to "Oh god. It's intentional. It's not an accident. Oh god."

I still have crisp memories of waking up to news on NPR, thinking it was a weird dream and hitting snooze, then realizing the second time that something was up. It was back in the days when Kev worked at Yahoo and lived in Berkeley, so he'd stayed the night. I went in and woke him up. We all huddled around the television. I started recording CNN on the Tivo. And then I thought, "WWJD?" (What would Janelle do?) And then I made waffles. Waffles were comforting. And while we ate, a tower disappeared, leaving only its smoke behind to drift away in the shape of what remained of the building that had once stood.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Taming Facebook

Facebook is rapidly replacing all other social platforms. Friendster and Tribe are things of the past. I see the traffic on LiveJournal dwindling. I never did find joy in Twitter. All the other options seem like background noise. Still, Facebook just feels so... invasive.

But knowing that it's likely to be the platform that persists for the next little wave, I figured it's time to tame the beast. Jeff posted an Ars Technica article on Facebook Privacy and so I took a moment to go in and separate folks into a few discreet groups. Colleagues and Close Friends should not have the same access, and now they do not.

Then Sharon posted info on how to get rid of all the Farmville and Mafia Wars (or other silly games I'm not playing) posts on the news feed. It's easy, but I never stumbled across it on my own. As she said, you just:
1) Find a post from the app you are trying to get rid of and hover over it with the curser. A box that says "Hide" with a drop down arrow will appear at the right.
2) Click this box and you can choose to hide posts by that person or for the app itself.
3) Resume your facebook life without wandering black sheep or organized crime!"

I feel like Facebook is like my backyard. If you leave it alone for a moment, suddenly there's weeds growing everywhere, critters moving in, and everything gets out of control. But with a little conscious pruning, it can be a nice place.

Tuesday Night Dance Classes

It's here! There's a once a year opportunity where Richard teaches beginning waltz and swing. If you're just starting to learn to dance, or just thinking of starting to learn to dance, then this is the best starter you can take. It's a fabulous foundation. Sign up now because the class fills fast!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Finding Your Target Market

I just saw an ad for Carbonite.com, a site that does backup and encryption. The ad was on the Sci-Fi (ugh... SyFy) channel. In one second, I thought, "Ha! Carbonite! That's awesome. Like my data is totally frozen in carbonite." And then I thought... wow, go marketing.