four minute warning

Two things and two things only

1. I love Top Gear. A lot. I have undertaken torrenting and burning as much of it as I can find. Never have three men managed to race, crash, sink, burn, flip, distort, bend, fold, and mutilate vehicles to such great effect. It made me laugh so hard the other night that my lungs started to spasm and I almost drowned in the funny. You can't argue with that.

2. To dispel an assumption stated this morning: I love Snow, and his cat. Despite misgivings about the latter.

The end.


Etsy :: Sigh.

So etsytools has been up and down. When it's been up, I've been able to wrest from it that of over 5,000 daily sales on Etsy, fewer than 80 were tagged "photography".

The name of the game on Etsy is "promotion". What that means in Etsy parlance is pour time and money into pushing your items to the top of the pile of listings to even have a chance of being seen. I can't find a good number for how many listings there are, total - one Etsy post indicated that there were around 375,000 new ones in one month - and a listing lasts 3 months. So assuming every listing went to its full 3-month lifespan, that'd be somewhere around... 1,125,000 up at a time, which sounds kinda low actually.

So, you have to sink enough time and money into "promotion" to give your items a chance to even see the light, to make it into those 5,000 daily sales, out of 1.1M listings. And for photography, that's only 80 items. Of 1.1M total listings.

It doesn't make much business sense. I'm starting to see that Etsy is a great place to list your excess craft output, to make some friends, and a place to have an instant-on retail outlet. But it's not a place to seriously sell most things. I am going to continue through the winter, running the normal promo schemes, but then focus on real-world venues - and on improving my work.


Etsy :: My Boyfriend is Awesome Edition

This is what I got for Christmas from Snow:

Made by the fantastic Etsy artist Molecularmuse. Isn't it awesome? Yes, yes it is.


Work will calm the busy mind - free to fly

So I was spinning like a top today, trying to get bits and pieces settled before a few day trip to Victoria, BC. I'm actually really looking forward to it. Snow's mom has a timeshare condo thing there, right near the downtown. I recall Victoria being really charming, and I hope to spend some time taking long bundled up walks, maybe playing cards or board games with Snow and his mom.

But, travel makes me bonkers. I hate leaving my home, I hate feeling like I'm leaving things unfinished - long after I've finished my checklists and all of that.

So, Snow asked me if I could make a nice print of a picture of him, his mom and his brother for him to give to his mom. I probably spent two hours messing with it and getting a nice framed 5x7 out of it - and a black and white one for him. I feel happy about having a product, and my nerves are so, so much calmed.

I also got most of my Christmas presents wrapped, which is great. I am avoiding perfection this year - I want things to be rustling and sparkly and shiny. Some things are in amazingly velvet decked paper I got on sale at Papyrus last year, others are in layers upon layers of sparkly metallic tissue.

I have two hours until it's time to head for BART - still enough time to find my pill container, and to take a nice shower. I feel better once I'm in the airport, even when the flight is delayed I have run the gauntlet - the twin demons of time and security haven't snared me and kept me from my destination. Once I'm past those detectors, I am free to fly, confined in my little tin box, but still - free to fly.


The Show Must Go On!

Me: Will you buy me gummy bears?
M: What?
Me: Will you buy me gummy bears?
M: Do you want them?
Me: Will you buy them for me?
M: Do you gummy bears?
Me: Yes.
M: Ok.

So now I have gummy bears. And about a zillion presents to wrap. And a suitcase in need of packing.

I've been really busy. Heading to the Great White North tomorrow. I need to be packing but all I want to do is sit here and stare into space and eat gummy bears.

In a fit of hasty stupidity I bought Singstar 80's last night. It's really just glorified karaoke, but it's fun. If only I could find someone to play it with me...

Much too tired to make anything funny.


Why can't we give love one more chance?

I know this is my second post with a link to a Queen song. But a rough day is always improved by a bit of Queen. Seriously.

Queen - Under Pressure

Just watching Freddie Mercury strut makes everything good.

Sick and sicker

Sutter Nurse's Strike

I am bane to cross a picket line, especially one of people I believe deserve pretty much anything they need. The strike is about adequate staffing as well as health care and retirement for the nurses.

The news is saying that the nurses are not discouraging people from using medical services, which I guess absolves me about going to my OB/GYN appointment today.

I can't figure out for the life of me why we don't pay the people who take care of us when we are sick and the people who teach our children more than the people who spend all day shoveling around play money on Wall Street. I mean, I know why, but it makes me sad.

Maybe I'll bring donuts.


Emotional resonance

Eep. That last bit seemed morbid. It wasn't meant to be.

There is a constant that has run through my life when it comes to art. The concept of emotional resonance, something I've always found hard to sum up. I've been mocked for it, at times. Some have considered me unfair, or maybe just a pretentious twit, for feeling that others don't "get" my work. It's not about that, though. It's something I believe in, something in the same vein as love at first sight or kindred spirits.

It's the vibration of self that occurs when something - words, an image, a sound - connect in some ineffable way. The way a harmony penetrates, or light through stained glass raises a feeling into your chest. And it's unique, and the things that inspire it, the things that create a harmony, are unique for everyone. It transcends "good" and "bad" (which I do believe in, as well). It is much like how we love who we love, often regardless of flaws or rational thought.

It used to be common for me to feel that way - just as it used to be easy for me to fall in love. And maybe it's that same calloused growth that makes it harder to connect over time.

But I do believe in it. People have at times told me at times that my work - writing, or digital work, or photography - touches them. That's a huge part of what carries me when it seems pointless. Because the things I made are from me. Their frequencies originate with me. And when someone find a harmonic with that, it is satisfying in a way that someone simply liking something can never be.

We all want to be loved. I also want my frequencies to be loved, for them to cause a feeling. To exist beyond me, carrying something into the aether.


File: Mortal Coil, shuffling off

For the record:

When I die (an unavoidable though hopefully not immediate eventuality), I want my body recycled, all the bits used for something useful, wherever possible - donation of skin corneas, organs, bone... whatever. And something ecologically reasonable done with whatever is left. I don't care too much what. I won't be there.

I don't really want a big stone memorial somewhere, among a bunch of other stone memorials. I want those who miss me to have a wake with lots of booze and good music to hopefully remember me kindly. Or badly, if that's what it is. I don't ever want to be posthumously exalted.

Sing if you want to. Tell stories. Look at pictures. Hang my art. Plant a tree or loose butterflies. Remember me well, in a manner that fills you with the feeling you want to have.

If you have to have a place, make it the cliff beach in Pescadero, or Mount Burdell, or somewhere similar. Somewhere with grass or water, and natural sounds.

Yeah. So. If I die.

Come into my bardo and see if you can float


In the West, the term bardo may also refer to times when our usual way of life becomes suspended, as, for example, when we are on retreat. Such times can prove fruitful for spiritual progress, as external constraints diminish, although they offer challenges because our unskillful impulses can come to the fore, just as in the sidpa bardo.

I have a lot of unskillful impulses.

Spare me the suspense.

Well, that was kinda traumatic. In a minor, emotional way.

I woke up early this morning from a comfy warm bed with someone I love, unable to sleep. I got up, and found that I for whatever reason, had a burning desire to play Final Fantasy VII.

So, I was pretty sure I knew where my Playstation was, and I even managed to find a power cable. But after checking in a few likely places, I couldn't find any Playstation discs.

So I delved into a few boxes I hadn't looked at since I last moved. And possibly not since the move before that.

One was full of junk - miscellanea, really. The other was full of manuals and warranties for things which I don't even own anymore. I also found some manuals to thinks I actually do have - and the instructions for several Final Fantasy games iwth no discs. So, I went through and threw out anything throw-out-able.

Why should this be traumatic? It was like rifling through what I've come to think of as my previous life. Another time and place, where I lived in brand new apartment, had a high-paying job and a promising career, a family. A man a woman and a child, living together. Of course, I am quick to recall that my ex was an emotionally abusive asshole, I was severely depressed and self-medicating with alcohol, and my daughter wasn't nearly getting what she needed, between my graveyard shifts and his drunken nights out.

But really it's the things that remind me of when Audrey was a baby that get me the most. The receipt for her stroller, the carrier that I wore her in when she was an infant. Manuals for her crib toys, for toddler computer games.

And maybe every mother feels this way - but probably not from rifling through electronics manuals at 6 in the morning, looking for an old game for an outdated console.

My TV is glaring at me, saying "Please insert PlayStation CD-ROM." The drama queen would say "One more thing I can't fulfill!" I'll just say, where's my fucking Final Fantasy CD, already.


Make it STOP.

My mom watches a lot of HGTV (Home and Garden TV for the cable avoidant - a channel which is dedicated to home makeovers), and I watch quite a few Bravo reality shows of my own (Hi, Project Runway. Hi, Top Chef). But there are two phrases I keep hearing over nad over and over to the point where I physically cringe when I hear them. Make it STOP.

I nominate the following two phrases for extinction, effective yesterday.

"Make it POP"

Part of speech: Interjectionish-verb
Meaning: To add a heavy-handed touch which will make something shock viewers into silence.
Conjugated: "I make it pop, you make it pop, he/she/it sees it pop and pukes."
Usage: "And then we'll add some huge painted red deer on the wall, to really make it POP."
See also: Gilding the lilly

Stop it. If you have to explain that you're Making It Pop, you're "Doing It Wrong."


"Wow Factor"

Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: The factor which wows. Which is to say, it would suck, except that this gauche or brassy aspect has been added.
Conjugated: Who am I kidding? Only insane people on reality shows say this. I hope.
Usage: "The five hundred strings of strings made the house blinding, but the real WOW factor was the 30 foot high blinking Santa."

If you use these phrases people will not think you are cool or that you have panache or design sense. They will realize that you watch far too much HGTV. Stop before it's much, much too late.


Apparently, I've been busy

I have these late night bouts of activity and I barely remember them the next day. This is more or less what Photoshop looked like when I pulled it up today:

Stuff! Maybe I'll finish some of it eventually...


Stumbleupon : No unattributed photos vow

I will not vote up or add any site that consists of a grouping of unattributed photos - no matter how cute or funny or pretty. Using someone else's work to promote yourself is wrong. Even worse, if your pages of stolen work contains ads, and stumbleupon (or digg, or reddit) are driving traffic there, they are enabling profit from that theft.

Photographs on the internet are not all yours to use for free. If you don't know the attribution - don't post it, and don't rate it.

crepuscular channelsurfing

Apparently, I am now crepuscular.

Which is cool with me. But not so good for you know. Doing stuff that isn't watching late night tv or eating Chinese food.

On the up side, I can chill with the raccoons. I'm not so down with the garbage rifling though, which makes the whole Chinese food thing a real bonus.

And on the late night TV part... I really hate the words "Paid Programming". I already pay for programming. The fact that the cable company is getting paid twice to not have anything on to watch is totally annoying and unfair. Boo.

On the other hand, TV Land shows reruns of things like Night Court and Wings. Mid 80's and early 90's sit com were a lot of fun. Cheers, Night Court, Cheers, Murphy Brown... they actually hold up pretty well. They seem a lot better than the current crop of "lame people hanging out together" (Seinfeld, Friends) or "boorish family insulting each other" (basically everything else). Maybe I just find myself drawn in by workplace comedy and slapstick than whiny people behaving badly. Or, it could be that I just like mean snarky people who are supposed to treat each other badly (coworkers) better than snarky people who should treat each other well (friends, family). Which would also explain why I prefer Futurama to the Simpsons.

I will now climb under my bed and wait for the bombs to fall on me for mentioning Seinfeld and Friends in the same sentence. Or until dusk. Whichever comes first.


The rain-slick precipice of justice

Jury duty called today. I went to bed at 2 and woke up at 5 - gave up on getting back to bed, and left for BART at 8:20ish.

Got to 12th street, and the escalators were broken. I ran up the stairs with everyone else, only in my typical way, I missed one, slamming my knee into the concrete. The rest of the walk to the courthouse seemed to be dominated by all kinds of rain-slicked surfaces. No nice traction-y sidewalks in sight, just decorative stones, tile, brick.

The orientation movie amused me, but maybe it was the lack of sleep. The frame was something like this -

"California is the greatest state in the union. We totally rock! But sometimes we get pissed off and kill each other. Then we need justice! YOUR justice."

I totally expected the Governator to drop in and drop some thick necked declaration about "Justice is served."

They called a roll of about 2/3 of the people there and sent them off to the courtroom. Ten minutes later they called the rest of us, and instructed us to leave. So, I limped home.

I kind of wanted to serve on a jury. It's not like I'm doing anything else, and it would have been interesting. But ultimately I'm glad I didn't get picked - just being in the real world for a few hours was exhausting.

I've been trying to take an internet break, staying away from Etsy and email. Played a bit of World of Warcraft, but that doesn't count. I just feel far more stressed than I should, lately. Angry, guilty, sad. Better not to fuel my range or self-analysis. Which doesn't explain why I'm writing this now.

Time to let the Tivo control my brain for a while.


Can I get a WTF?

Activision + Blizzard = Crazy delicious?

IF you haven't seen this today

...then you haven't seen it enough. Yeah, it's old. But it's still awesome. The song is better than the animation, so you can just close your eyes if that makes you happier.

The Ultimate Showdown Of Ultimate Destiny

Speaks for itself. No, seriously.


Judge the book by its cover. Go ahead! They've told you all you need to know here.

Awesome Etsyness of the Day



MixedSpecies is a collective of insane people, making funny, vulgar, and wonderful things. Their "When Bad Things Happen To Good People" coasters grace my coffee table, and remind me daily that I haven't been shived. Yet.

They are super krad elite, and I salute them.



So, feeling slightly (but not unexpectedly) let down by my rejection by Trunkt, I got to thinking a small bit. The stuff that's popular right now is lomography, through the viewfinder, and ohter things and effects that make a photo look aged, discolored.

But ten years ago, black and white was how you told someone you were "artsy" and not just a run of the mill snapshot artist.

Now that crisp, clear high-res photos are available to the masses, everyone is looking over their shoulder at "the good old days". As always the glasses that hindsight looks through are rosy. And so looking back at the cross-processed slide film, the flaking Polaroids, the sun damaged Kodachrome that fills the albums of our memory, hearts and minds seek to emulate. Much as black and white supposedly evoked a simplicity of a more glamorous age.

I'm not going to let it bother me. It's not important. But now I think I understand it at least.



Secrets of Success pt. 331

To win at the Etsy game, put a heavy aqua filter on *everything*. EVERYTHING. Do it! Now!

Dear Etsy Photographers,

Photos of your cat are neither "abstract" nor "surreal". And it'd be a stretch to call them "interesting". Categorize accordingly.

Alternately, save them for rec.arts.kittens.mew.mew.mew

Thank you.


I found a new site called Uber. It's kind of a social networking/self-publishing site - it seems like a less red-light-district Myspace. I might do something with it later, especially if they build in hooks to more things. I can't be fucked to update fifteen different places daily. I have no life but that doesn't mean I have infinite time, y'know.

I'm really splendidly happy with some work I've been doing. I've been rescuing photos from the shadowy depths - reworking has been something that I've been ignoring for a long while, and I forgot how much fun it can be. I'm working on a series of 8x8 prints, and a series of 16x9 prints.

I don't know when I became one of the reality TV junkies I despise. I think I blame Project Runway. Which I still like. And Top Chef. And America's Next Top Model, which makes me want to stick a finger down my throat, but I still like. And The Amazing Race, which is just fun. And. And. Oh, I'm going to hell.

It's 3:40am and my shoulder hurts so much I can't sleep, again. This is with vicodin and flexoril under my belt. I'm calling the doctor tomorrow to find out how long this is supposed to hurt. Of course the real answer is that it isn't *supposed* to hurt at all. So much for suppositions.


No, not everything is good.

Hanging around Etsy is a unique view into the human psyche.

There seems to be this prevailing weird idea that all items are equally good, just because they paid the same amount to be listed. And the people who either don't produce a quality or unique product or are overlooked due to crowding in their category get really pissed off that they don't have the same opportunities for free promotion that some of the better artisans have.

Etsy offers paid advertising in the form of "showcases". These are daily rotating galleries of items, all of which have paid to be there. Anyone can buy one - but they aren't very effective.

Free promotion comes in the form of treasuries (curated by Etsy members), Gift Guide spots, and Featured Seller artices (selected by Etsy admins).

Some treasuries get listed on the front page, which is fantastic exposure. Featured seller articles run on the front page for a while.

Now, here's what I find amusing about all of this. People who make stuff which hasn't caught admin's eye get pissed - they complain that it's "unfair". That the front page should be filled with random selectees, to let everyone have their "fair share" of exposure.

Given the item distribution on Etsy, a "random" selection of items would probably include mass-produced supplies, sketchy vintage stuff, handmade junk that people can't foist off on their families anymore, and crude or poorly thought out items alongside a few really nice things. How could that possibly create a positive impression of the site?

Damned right not fair. And it shouldn't be fair. For the same reasons Kmart is more likely to highlight their Martha Stewart collection than their Winnie the Pooh sweatshirts, Etsy wants to highlight the items which they think will draw people further into the site.

The stark fact is that some things are better than others. Some photography, some ceramic, some knitting. Any category has top artists for its other practitioners to look to and strive towards becoming. Working hard is not enough - it's the product, not the process.

Really, really tired of hearing people whine about how they aren't getting what they believe is coming to them. Entitlement is a bitch.



The War on Fun

I've been watching the inevitable Christmas toy ads on tv. What really bugs me this year isn't the standard girl/boy separation of toys (ARRRRGHHHH), but the idea that everything that is "fun" also has to be "educational". Where "educational" means "didactic and lame". Board games, video games, coloring books - all trying SO HARD to put spelling and math facts into every childhood activity - and take the "fun" out of it in the process if at all possible.

There's time for learning. It's called school, and homework, and individual pursuit of interests. And there's time for fun. It's called FUN. Leave it alone!

Fun can be inherently educational. Kids love to chase bugs, to read about animals, to build things. All of these things add to the ability to interact and interpret the world. None of them have floating ABC's in the sky, or mandatory counting and sorting.

Why do kids have to be under constant stress to accomplish things, even when they are relaxing? Nobody demands that Dad study geography while he watches football, or that Mom recite US Capitols while reading a novel.

Even the much maligned video games will teach kids a lot - about risk for rewards, about basic economics, about persistence. They shouldn't be written off either.

There's this huge underestimation of kids, imagining that if they don't have something completely didactic they will fall into some kind of mire. That if they play video games, their brains will rot on the vine. Kids are smarter than people think. They don't need this shoved down their throats when they really just want to have fun.


Bring me serious painkillers and muscle relaxants or at least bring me quiet unconsciousness.



If my family doesn't stop offering me my 85 year old grandmother's clothes that are too big for her now, I'm moving to Siberia. And laying down on the tundra, And not getting up. Ever.


riled and cheesed with cheese please

It's all getting a bit thin today.

Went to the local non-Apple owned Mac store, looking for an odd USB cable for my external drive. I don't have the energy to document it, but the guy there was so rude, so dismissive, so completely jerky that I left cursing under my breath. I haven't experienced anything like that since comic book stores in the mid-90s, before anyone knew girls read comics. So if you ever were thinking of going to M A C (or M.A.C.) computers on Shattuck in Berkeley - don't bother. Go to Circuit City or the Apple Store or anywhere else instead. They're jerks.

And then, more Etsy drama. Oh, Etsy.

They release a "Gift Guide" which is curated by the Etsy admins, with sections like "For him","For her", "Under $50" etc. It's completely fashion-focused, all of the Blythe doll, lomography, through the viewfinder, kitschy shit that's in right now. Great, whatever. All retail outlets conform to fashion - it's just the way it works.

But they didn't, alongside, provide any way to find ALL items "For him", ALL items "For her", or ALL items "Under $50" - so users will come to Etsy, shop the people that Etsy admin thinks are cool, and then leave. It feels like high school all over again.

Then just to grate some cheese on my existing cheese, I read that my prints are apparently supposed to be tagged as "reproduction" - reproduction of WHAT? They are prints. I tweak and alter each one when I make it. I invested heavily in high end equipment to make them. And I get tossed into the same pile as anyone order a poster of a Monet from Wallgreens. Fucking beautiful.

I worked on my actual physical portfolio tonight. I am just about done sinking time and money into this site that epitomizes everything about bad dot-com logic. Run by developers for their freinds - the rest of us just fund it.

I could really use a sedative. If I weren't busy running contests for my street team, I'd take a long break from computers and Etsy over the next few days. Maybe next week.


Etsy Contest News - Win Stuff

California Crafter Club of Etsy is proud to announce our Treasury Contest and Big Giant Giveaway! Lots of fun, lots of prizes.

See this thread for details on how to get in on the fun:

Or check up on the contest blog for up to the minute information:

Treasuries are coming up in less than an hour, so now is the time to get in early!

Good luck and have fun!
elizabeth // sevenbridges



Born to be kings! We are princes of the universe.

The fact that this song was excluded from Guitar Hero 3 makes me weep.

Aside from that, Guitar Hero 3 rocks the party.


Wow. No really, Wow.

So I'm watching late night tv as is my habit... and there is an ad for... I don't know, some toilet paper. It has a red animated bear and a blue animated bear running down a beach towards outhouses.

Yeah, dumb. Not the point.

The thing is... these animated bears were SO badly masked into the beach scene, the pixels were visible - it was distracting. How low budget do you have to be to find a video editor that can't mask an animation into stock footage?

Effects and digital video have come so far, there is no excuse for ugly animation.

Even in a toilet paper commercial.


Too much time too little to do?

It's really not true, I have lots to do... but I just spent like half an hour looking for pictures to support my allegation that Kat von D's facial tattoo looks like Dax from Star Trek.

I still say I wasn't wrong.


Fashion over style, every time

There are things I get tired of seeing over and over again. Discolored, old-looking photos, made in obscure ways with obscure equipment. Photos of third-world kids who didn't have to sign model releases, didn't get to have a chance at the proceeds from the certainly holier-than-thou photographr who took them. Collages of 50's era magazine women and white strips with trite or snarky typewriter sayings.

These things are BORING. They have been boring ever since the person who first thought of them saw the first copy. There is nothing even remotely creative about copying a third-hand fashion because you think it'll get stuff sold. But creative doesn't really matter, does it.

Sadder still, it will! Because once someone sees something twice, they come to believe it's hot, it's new, it's the way it should be done.

There is no room for innovation in the marketplace. There is no room for style in the marketplace. There is only room for Hot Topic, for Clare's Botique, for every sequel to every movie that defiled our screens by sucking so badly. Because we bought it anyway. We bought it, and we'd buy it again.

It leaves me feeling sad and creatively dry. Maybe sometime fashion will turn in my favor. But probably not.


We'll just keep on trying until we run out of cake

That's my new motto. It's the co-motto of "If you're calm, the bees are calm."

Portal is by far the most charming game I've never played. I watched Snow play most of it, and then he was sweet enough to replay the last boss fight (most awesome boss fight ever) and the wonderful, charming, delightful ending. Warning, enormous spoilers. Do NOT view if you are playing or plan to play Portal. Don't say I didn't warn you.

But yes. It makes me very, very, very happy.




Experiments in dawn arboreal examination

Dawn is a dark time. Glow is notable.


Yes, I've been listening to Sisters of Mercy again...

I decided I'd start posting some stuff that isn't right to sell but I like. I used to do this all the time! Those were the days...

random life.

So tonight I bought a frickin awesome hat from skully on etsy. She lives in Wales, and I had a nice fantasy chatting with Snow about living in Wales and raising sheep, goats, and having a field of mice for his cat to torment.

Skully happens also to sell hula hoops, at Hyperloophoops - and has a forum by the same name.

Posts there led me to HoopGirl, who I found out have classes in SF as well as DVDs. Not sure I actually have room to hoop at home. Back to that house in Wales.

Then I found a guide to making a hoop, which led me to Identi-tape, where I've spent like an hour looking at pretty... and possibly useful... tape.

So from the evening, I netted one hat, a desire to live in Wales, a desire for a hula hoop, and a very possible future purchase of shiny, shiny tape.

This is not the sort of random life they talk about on those HP commercials. This is much, much geekier.


something, not a lot

So I quit drinking. And then I quit caffeine. And something or other has killed my libido so I've all but quit sex. I'm not really sure there's much to live for, in this state. I've quit staying up late. I've mostly quit eating.

I'm supposed to feel better now. The fog of self abuse should lift, and light will cascade down from the sky, and there probably won't be any angels, 'cos angels are *so* overdone...

Chock full of nothing. Days slide by. Tomorrow I'll tell my doctor about this hollow, and he'll give me more/better/different pills.

My pill boxes are amazing. I guess that's something.



Ok, that this made me squeal is evidence of my geekery:

American Institute of Architects Architecture and The City


until they make a food pill...

I've lost my appetite. It's a weird thing - I've always had the curse of being able to eat whatever is in front of me. And I love food, so this has over the years contributed to eating way more than I should, putting on more weight than I should carry.

Then about a month ago or so, something happened. I don't want food. It doesn't even interest me most of the time. I've been living on food bars that I force myself to eat, or whatever Snow feels like. The only craving I've had is for pounds of fruit - mostly water and a few sugars - which has passed now that it's cooler.

The food bars, incidentally, are about a billion times nicer than the ones back in the 90s. Lara Bars are incredible all-fruit and nut bars with absolutely nothing else in them - their ginger bar and lemon bar are amazing. The Odwalla bars are also good, but their new trail mix bars are amazing.

I've been losing about 1.5-2 lbs a week since this happened, and dropped a jeans size. I am not even trying to diet, I just don't find myself wanting to eat, nevermind snack.

In addition, I've been walking a lot. Today I walked 3.5 miles, to my doctor's office and back. Snow and I are looking at starting a 5k training program, just to do it. Sometime this week we're going to get new shoes and get to it.

It's weird though. I wonder what switch flipped, if it was physical, psychological, pharmaceutical. I wonder if it will stay this way, or if I will go back to wanting to eat everything I see.

For now I'm not going to worry about it, and just accept that something in my brain or body has changed for the better, and it's helping me change in a way I badly want.


and will the stars collide?

Just to prove that the eternal crushing chaos that will destroy us all is live and well, I refer you to this particularly eventual crossover:

Edward Gorey's "The Trouble with Tribbles"

The end times. They are a'coming.


beer kink


Seriously. The world has now caught up to my 1998 aesthetic ideals.



So earlier this week I watched War Games - a movie that manages to touch on pretty much most of the major modern security problems. It held up really well.

Tonight, I'm watching Hackers, a movie I haven't seen in over ten years. It was cringeworthy upon release, but with time, it's mellowed and aged into something watchable as ficiton - the world that never was.

It had a pretty great soundtrack. Aside from that, the sheer insanity of everything about it is just laughable. I mean, I've known my share of actual hackers, and they are freaks of nature, no doubt. Eccentricities, affectations... but not one used a computer that looks like a relic of the 70's. The LCDs that cast reflections on faces, the fly-through Zaxxon version of hacking... all pretty tolerable, in retrospect.

Of course, sitting here in my labcoat, I sort of wish for a pair of welding goggles. And a pair of in-line skates. Or at least some shiny platform boots? No?

At least I still have my German army jacket and my sexy glasses.

That's where the movie lost credibility, come to think of it - a lack of girls with hot glasses.

Hollywood will never learn.


It's that time again in Berkeley...

It's that time of year when young men flock to the grocery store, in search of... food. Food they don't know how to prepare. They know their mothers went to the grocery store, something happened, and then there was dinner - it's that intermediate step that they can't quite grasp. It's the "???" of the underpants gnomes, in a culinary sense.

You can see them roaming the aisles, alone or in groups, dazedly grasping a loaf of bread or a six pack of beer, unsure what else they are supposed to get. Sometimes one has a head of lettuce. Sometimes a large jar of mayonnaise and a carton of eggs. Sometimes you see the more clever (and better funded) ones with a cart full of frozen dinners.

Yes, these are the freshmen. New to the outside world, they are like neonates, vulnerable and hungry.

Later they will return to the places they live, and have loud, irritating parties. The rigors of school have not yet truly set in, and for now they are free to be the same pain in the ass they were in high school, only without any parental supervision.

Or a decent meal.


how not to be an idiot like me

If you are buying something at Ikea and it weighs 76 pounds... make sure you can lift 76 pounds.



what the world needs now

It's hot and I'm tired and grumpy so I'm listening to old 90's music. Anyone remember Cracker? Probably not. I wouldn't mind finding my Ned's Atomic Dustbin cds either.

Last night playing Guitar Hero 80s:

Me: This song (Holy Diver) makes no sense.
Snow: I think it's about heroin.
Me: You mean like all of the Velvet Underground's songs are about heroin?
Snow: I thought some were about S&M.
Me: No, they were about S&M as a metaphor for heroin.

Guitar Hero 80's is really fun. I think they changed or figured out how to make the songs just... more fun to play. It feels more like playing an instrument and less like Super Mario Brothers.

I am starting to become annoyed by AJAX. Mostly because my computer doesn't have enough RAM, and they're always dragging my poor browser through the murky mire. As I type, the window is proably 30 characaters behind my actual typing, on average. Meh.

I had something useful to say but I've forgotten. Typical.



I went and had a colonoscopy on Tuesday. Not to give too much detail, but everything was okay, so that's good. But I've felt dead and drained ever since. I'm guessing part of it was not having much nutrition for a couple days, missing my meds once, and not having any more of one of them - rectified today.

This is disappointing because I've been mostly feeling pretty good for the last few weeks, and it's a really scary thing to feel so tired and emotionally ambivalent. Even though I'm pretty sure it's just stress and my body being unhappy, I feel like I have to scramble, to do something to retain my better moods.

What, I'm not sure.

Last night I ate a pound and a quarter of fruit. My body was screaming for it. When I get cravings I have to follow them, I have to assume my backbrain is smart enough to know what I need to fuel my insane body engine. Berries and melon and pineapple later, I felt a bit better. Guitar Hero and a bit of salad and feeling slightly more human, but mostly still emotionally and physically wiped.

Hoping I feel rested sometime in the next few days. This is tiresome.


rest my chemistry

The new Interpol is good. It cannot ever match the particular feeling of wandering Campbell at 2am listening to Turn On the Bright Lights, but hey. You can't have everything.

My memory is bad lately. I forget who I've told what to, and repeat myself, like a sad old woman. Particularly zombie-like, the lack of short term memory.

I read Neil Gaiman's "Vampire Sestina" out loud to Snow last night. I enjoy reading aloud a lot - and I've been told I do it well. It occurred to me it'd be fun for me to find Project Gutenberg stuff and read it for podcasts. Someone surely somewhere wants it.

I'm feeling happy about photo stuff even though no one is buying anything. That's ok.

And now, what I really want is a nap.




I want to write a long rambling post about my trip to San Diego, but I haven't been in the right mood. Maybe soonlater.

I did however set up an Etsy shop for my photos.


If you haven't checked out etsy before, you should. It's like a portal for crafts and creators who sell their work. I've bought lots of cool stuff from there.


new good thing

ergo proxy

is pino pino?
is pino supposed to be pino?

also, paranoid android as credits out music. much good.


getting serious

My whole life, I feel sometimes, has been unfocused. First, literally - my eyesight sucks, and it wasn't identified until I was something like 8 years old. My formative years were spent looking at the world through vaseline glass, never quite knowing what was happening.

Once I could see (my god, trees have individual leaves you can see from afar!) the rest of the unfocus set in. There was never anything I cared much about. Depression and anhedonia probably didn't help.

Now I'm getting serious. I am taking art seriously. I'm setting up to be commercial about it - but that's just a proof of a pudding I am certain I have already tasted.


But it's more than that. My body has been making me unhappy for many years. Now I feel like I have a focus for fixing it. I want to be small. Not small like weak, not small like petite, but small and fierce. I want to be sharp, to be crisp. I want to function like a small machine.

In the past I've let failure distract me. I've let life blur my focus and keep me from even seeing what I want. Now, still at times dizzy and confused, still not functioning every day, I have this small amount of burning focus. Fiercely, I will refuse to fail.

Next week I am going to San Diego with my father, to deliver my daughter to her paternal grandparents for a week. My father and I will do some stuff then go home. I hope the weather is beautiful. Berkeley is foggy, and I have summer dresses.



which has a higher ld50
or glue stix?

consumption of each seems to be reaching a plateau, so i won't worry.



I think there was a time, when I was a teenager, that I was intentionally eccentric. It was all affectation, to some degree or another, lacking any real identity or emergent traits. Like most people, I didn't know what I liked.

I've gotten a lot weirder since then, I think.

My current list of "huh?" eccentricitices includes:

Being on over 5 psych meds
Being afraid of lobsters
Wearing tshirts which are so far past worn as to be classified as rags by my mother
Fascination with disaster, risk, and the human factors thereof
A disassociation with my fascination with the purely macabre, and a greater fascination with the oddly ironic
I watch Deadliest Catch, Lost, House, Hell's Kitchen, and Gordon's Kitchen Nightmares with a freaksih regularity.
God bless Tivo.
I've begun to read young adult scifi novels. They're less pretentious than the adult ones, and an easier read. See above about psych meds.

Some that haven't changed:

I still want to be a writer.
I still want to be an artist, and I'm working on a portfolio to some yet unsaid purpose.
I still like to dye my hair and it gives me a sense of control over my life.

I expect to only get weirder as I get older. I live in Berkeley. I see what happens when people just stop giving a fuck. It's not a bad thing. They seem pretty happy, really.

Your search - "i want to drown in saffron" - did not match any documents.



I've brought candles and music and books and medications and beverages into my room and I am staying here in this sanctuary until I feel a lot better.

Which'll be soon, I think. These things heal.



I don't normally post videos, but:

Thou Shalt Always Kill

Yes. Glory.


I rediscovered a song while seeking a cd (which I still haven't found)... "Mild Child", a b-side to the Shins "So Says I" single. It has this beautiful, harmonic reverberation that makes me feel like I'm listening to it in a much larger room.

It's lovely.

Revision to previous prinny-based allegations:

Odin Sphere is the best game ever.

I mean, any game where you stomp around and try to catch onions on the loose so you can turn them into napalm to kill giant teddy bears who regen health from their honey pots...

Yes. good.



It's kind of funny to me, really. I'm not really one to take things in tv shows as personal anthems, or to recite things from movies. I occasionally quote from books, but even then, I always feel like I'm appropriating.

But in the case of one particular passage from Lost, I think back to it on a regular basis. It's the scene where Juliet is trying to compose herself before her book club meeting, just before the plane crashes. She puts on a CD, the song "Downtown", and slowly through the first few lines pulls her head up, wipes her tears, and gets ready to face life, and her group. She fakes it, pretends it's working, until it actually doesw.

I don't know why I think of this so often. There's something really universal about it, a song that makes things mostly okay, that allows you to get back to enough of a semblance of normal to go on with life. That's my life, on some days anyway. On a near constant basis other times.

When you're alone, and life is making you lonely

You can always go




I read books like some people watch movies - which is to say, quickly and repetitively. And sometimes not with a lot of retention, but that's not here and it's not there either. An old teacher of mine said I read books like a cartoon cat eating a fish, sucking off the meat and leaving only the bones - but that's a bit graphic. Any way, fish and cat or mobie and film, I read when I can't do anything else, when my brain is too bent to multitask.

I recently re-read Philip K Dick's A Scanner Darkly, which I enjoyed, again. I mainly meant to read it before seeing the movie, but I haven't gotten around to the latter.

Then, I re-read The Penultimate Truth, which has always appealed to me in the way that tricking large numbers of people into anything always appeals to me. Then I read Jonathan Lethem's Girl in Landscape, which I liked, but which didn't thrill me the way I remembered it doing. Maybe I was closer to adolescence then - that would make sense.

It doesn't bother me to know how it ends. Travelling the path is enough. I chew through books and I go back for seconds. I hit rewind and watch a dozen more times before the thing falls apart.


somnolence and anorexia may result

In my more coherent moments I'm working on a new project. I'm kind of excited when I'm not completely somnolent from the medication or irritated from the lack of it. The warning label also said "anorexia" as a side effect, but no one could look at me and honestly say I'm not getting enough calories so I'm not going to worry about the appetite loss much.

The project actually requires more focus than I have right now but I did get a domain name for it and started filtering and sorting, so I suppose that's on the right track. A very wide track, hopefully narrowing to a useful and sustainable conclusion.

In other news, Disgaea 2 is the best game ever. Prinny, dood!

<3 <3 <3


these comforting sounds you make

I went to see Mew last night at the Fillmore with Snow. I hadn't been to a live show since I saw Dead Can Dance in Seattle... and that was well over a year ago. I used to see live music on a monthly, if not weekly basis - am I an old person now? I forgot how happy it makes me.

The opener was a band from Austin called Oh My, Oh No (or was it Oh No, Oh My?). I liked them, but didn't think I'd like them outside of a live venue. I wondered if Nate knew them, just because you know, Texas. Not that Texas isn't a giant huge wasteland with a few loosely interconnected bands or anything.

Mew were fantastic. Truly wonderful. Their visuals were eerie and appealing at the same time, and unlike most things I've seen projected behind bands, actually really added to the experience. The crowd was good, and by the end I actually saw more than a few people moving their bodies - we are NOT New York, SF people. You can dance if you want to. (If your friends don't dance, they're no friends of mine).

They didn't talk much, but a line which cracked me up - "Is Lars Ulrich here? No? Because he's kind of a hero, the guy who went to America and made it big..."

Seeing live music does something really good to my brain, something akin to exercise or sex. Endorphins and emotional satisfaction, which I guess makes it closer to the latter than the former. I feel really good, I feel like I'm coming out of this period of utter and total mental breakage. I slept when I got home, and I woke at a good hour. It's cold and rainy out and I'm optomistic that I can return to the real world this week.


Radio silence sounds like scary

So just to round out my trio of computer related disasters - the first two being my hard drive and my desktop machine - I spilled a full glass of water right on my laptop yesterday. And it stopped working.

So, I let it dry out overnight, but it wouldn't boot. MBR was corrupted. fsck couldn't fix it. I lost my copy of Essential System Administration years ago.

Fortunately, Snow had a copy of Techtools, which fixed the thing, and now I am back in contact with reality. Or not-reality. As the case might be.

And, I'm going to go see Mew at the Fillmore tonight, which should be lovely. So no more computer badness. I'm burning incense and sacraficing kiwifruit. (Chickens are too messy).


The Martin Luther King You Don't See on TV

This essay really struck me. History has selective memory. Martin Luther King stood for many things, but the official remembrances of him will only remember a few - the sanitized, disinfected, vetted accepted and pre-digested. But there's always more. A whole lot of relevant more.


[insert string of offensive profanity here]

Just when I thought I might be on the mend from a mixed manic episode that kept me more or less completely useless for more than a week (aside, that is, from doing totally useless things like manically building bookcases), I was dealt a really irritating modern life blow.

The LaCie external drive I'd bought about 6 months ago kicked it. I'd just finished moving all of my encoded music (about 80GB worth) and six years worth of digital photos to it, to clear space from my working drives.

It started yesterday, making an odd atonal humming noise, not unlike a woman in line with me at the store the other day, who hummed every note of a song in one of two notes. Then, I noticed it was inaccessable. I tried to unmount it - no go. I disconnected it, powered it down, let it rest, re-did... no go.

I took it over to Morgan's house, after a good cry. He took it out of the enclosure and put it in a spare he has. Same bad hum. His computers at least partially recognized it, but couldn't see any of the data.

So, I might be fucked. The idea of this much data loss is really painful. Yes, some of it is backed up, but it's the goddamned insult to my attempts at an organized or rational world that gets me. I am sick and tired of supposedly consumer products which require expert level interaction, and fail like a sixth grader with a glue habit.

Next comes bargaining, I imagine. The disk doctors, the dropping from 2 inches, the freezing. But I think my music and pictures are gone, and it has rocked my mental stability more than is entirely reasonable.

Perhaps I should be more accepting, try to live a more informationally zen-like existence. Is information a posession? Does the desire to retain information inherently corrupt us, keeping us from a truer state of being?

Or do I just have to dig out my cds every time I want to listen to a piece of music again?


It's amazing how even when I can't function in any other regard, I can figure stuff out. Got the doors on the damned bookcase.

"Click", indeed.


my triumphs, my mistakes : ikea edition

So I got the bug to get some Ikea furniture. Mostly inspired by the fact that I badly needed a new floor lamp and a tall bookcase, things which Ikea is great for.

I somehow coerced Snow into going. He actually hates Ikea more than most people I know, but he needed a tall bookcase, too. So off we went in our Flexicar van

After wandering through the showroom jotting down the aisle numbers of the bits we needed, and dragging through the housewares where I found a couple of very cute lamps and a lampshade for one of my side table lamps, we loaded up our 200 lbs of bookcases, waited in a very long line, and somehow used the combined strength of our flabby limbs to get them up to our second and third floor apartments. (To be fair, I have an elevator, he doesn't - so his was 3 floors of stairs. Ow.)

I got the big tall medium brown Billy bookcase. I put it together this evening, and it looks pretty great. It was actually fairly easy - I am an Ikea veteran, if there is such a thing.

But that's just where the fun starts. In addition to my lovely (and tall - did I mention tall?) bookcase, I got doors. Really pretty etched glass doors. Really pretty etched glass doors with the most incomprefuckinghensable instructions I have ever seen.

You'd think it'd be a bit of Tab A into Slot A, which I'm pretty good at. But no, instead they have illustrations of a man holding the door next to the bookcase while the woman does something INEXPLICABLE which makes the noise, "CLICK".


I couldn't get it to go click. Well, I could get one hinge to go click, at best. But never all three at once.

I messed with it for an hour. Or more. I tried my best, but couldn't get it to work. So tomorrow I'm going to get Snow to help me with it. And you know what? It'll work the first time. I just know it.

It's gonna look cool though. Cool as any bookcase drenched in the blood of the frustrated can, anyway.


300 + 1

I went to see 300 tonight, with Snow. It was actually a pretty good movie - the visual style was spectacular, the light in particular appealed to me. It was unnatural, utterly created, but beautiful. It made a remarkable contrast to the absolute violence of the film, which was executed somehow gracefully. I'm not really a huge fan of violent films, or war films in general, but I was thoroughly engaged.

What broke the scene for me, though, were the fuckheads in the back row of the theatre and their running commentary, their throwing of peanuts, their inappropriate laughter. These little imbeciles managed to nearly ruin a movie that Snow graciously payed $19.50 for us to see. After a fairly polite (or, amusingly sarcastic depending on your view) request from M. for them to shut up, and finally an uncharacteristic outburst from me in the form of a loud, "What the FUCK is wrong with you?", they finally left, leaving the last 10 minutes of the movie for us to enjoy.

This is why people are crazy about building home theatres. No one to throw stuff. No color commentary from the peanut gallery. No sticky floors, no over-loud audio, no skipping video (why on Earth would a movie have visible flaws in it, when it costs that much? It's not reasonable). In short, a perfect movie experience, for only a few grand in audio-visual gear.

When I get a house, it'll be high on my list.

(For those curious, also on my list: fruit trees and a wine cellar)


Plotting a mutiny is very cathartic.



It's summer! Well, it feels like summer. It's warm enough to be summer, and that means my windows are open.

As it happens, my upstairs neighbours have an annoying summertime habit. It's actually more annoying than my previous annoying summertime habit-having neighbours, who used to hibachi grill in such a way that the whole block was full of smoke, and my fire alarm would go off nightly.

Yes. No. Don't do that, kids.

Anyway, when the weather gets nice, everyone opens their windows. That means we're all to one extent or another living outside. We hear each other's dishes clanking, conversations and well... anything else.

Now, keep in mind that these neighbours are what can only be described as vocal in their bedroom behavior, the rest of the year. (See also: I'm pretty sure she fakes it). But they do something even more annoying.

When someone is having a party in another building, or some people outside are talking, they yell at the top of their lungs out the window. Repeatedly. It is in every case more annoying than the thing they're yelling at, so I'm guessing they just want to express themselves.

Anyway, this is all rote neighbour annoyance. What made me laugh was what the first thing that came to mind was --

"I bet they blog, too."


Movie Metrics

Important metric for science fiction movies: Time to First Burning Trashcan

District B-13 won this one on the night we created it, by having one in the opening credits. Huh.