February 28, 2006

Targeted Blog Marketing

Yesterday, on a blog comment with a link to this one, I made a comment that included the sentence "Do we get hats or suitably logo'd polo shirts?"

Today, I get SPAM to the email address I use for this blog from the Queensboro Shirt Company with a special $9.95 embroidered company shirts. Mind you, this is a fairly new email account to which I have never gotten SPAM.

Coincidence? Or has targeted search marketing gotten that good?

Hollaback NYC

Because creepy, threatening, and harassing folks (mostly guys) should have their pictures taken and posted on the internet. Yo, baby....

Blog of Death

Uhm, hope I'm not reciprocally linked anytime soon....

Emergence

Slowly coming back to life after a minor bout of illness (sniffly and sneezy cold)

Yesterday was pretty mellow - work, a doctors appointment, yoga, work. A friend dropped by the office (she was in the area and had to use the facilities) and she liked the vibe (light / layout / windows / location) of the new office. She also liked my hair, which she said reminded her of the Flying Tomato aka Shawn White. Not sure what to make of that; my hair care routing that day had involved: shower, spritzy conditioning product, comb it back wet, go to yoga, avoid brushes. He does have great hair. Also a gold medal. I love that snowboarding has become an olympic sport - shake up the staus quo. Not enough to actually watch the olympics, mind you, I had to google FLYING TOMATO to figure out who she was talking about.

I skipped jazzercise, figured I'd stay at 1/2 speed for a few more days. Maximum one exercisish thing per day.

End of the month, so I have a rash of things to do - mentoring status report, end of the month invoicing, dry-erase February and put together an April calendar, some checks to write out.

I have to put together a note for a long-time client; my pricing to them is based on high volume and standardized reports, and the nature of the work has changed (lower volume, more customized reports) so I need to both (a) up the time per report and (b) start to charge them a retainer or bump them up to my regular rates. I'm thinking of putting a small (say 4 hours per month) retainer surcharge when their volume does not exceed 16 hours per month. Cause I spend a lot of time hand-holding and on the phone, and the like which I am not getting paid for, and which is not really cost-effective for 8-10 hours of work per month.

February 26, 2006

Cold Chores FTP Weight Busy

Because I cannot think of a succinct and pithy title....

I've been sniffling through a cold; it happens now and then - usually once in the spring and once in the fall. Seems lessened this morning. Not taking anything for it - just letting it run its course.

We're not doing much this weekend - yesterday was jazzercise, a support group, and watching a Hip-Hop documentary on VH1 (surprisingly engaging). Today seems slotted towards chores - laundromat for some comforters, moving some boxes to the attic / storage hole, further organizing of the spare room, maybe doing some personal filing and sorting.

I have mastered (mistressed?) FTP - figured out a way to set up an FTP site for work that clients can access using a simple browser, set all that up twice (one for a general purpose FTP area, one for a specific client whose need to send me a 17 Meg file precipitated this) and put a "how to" document together that I need to finish up (logo, header and footer, then convert to PDF) and integrate into the work website. Little tweaking fun project. I've been able to FTP all along, but usually I just set up a separate account and tell my clients to go get / install an FTP client; my one client keeps losing his FTP setup when his IT department periodically wipes his laptop. This is a lot easier, long term.

I did get back to WW yesterday (and got applause for "coming back") I did not regain all of my weight from the last go round (maybe 1/2 of it) but with all the exercise I have been doing, I am pretty sure I will drop the first 10 or even 20 pounds pretty quickly. Now lets see if I can punch through to the next level....like I mentioned earlier, having less belly to fold over and less mass to balance and invert at yoga is a good incentive.

And finally, the week ahead looks kind of busy. Lots of errands and chores and appointments, plus the end of the month stuff and taxes needing to be done and lots of sundry work projects.

February 25, 2006

Up and At 'Em

I'm awake courtesy of two dogs - Melina the blind and old Heeler was tick-ticking around the bedroom at 4 am, and Elo the Beagle/Heeler mix stood on my back, whining into my ear, and licking whatever patches of skin were accessible. Bad dogs. I let 'em both out and gave them a cookie, but now I am up. Grumble. They will want to be fed sooner or later. Right now they are worshiping at the church of the holy hot air vent while I caffeinate and blog.

Methinks this morning I am heading back to weight watchers. It's been a long time since I went - I lost 25 pounds or so about a year ago (I last went in July 05), but sort of lost interest - I was plateau'd, I was not being rigorous about eating, I was tired of spending the money for weekly fees and not really working the program. I was kind of hoping that yoga might magically and holistically get my eating into a better place - but nope. On the other hand, doing yoga has made me a lot more body aware, and the incentive of a svelter body with less belly to work around as I do postures and less body mass to balance and invert is good incentive. So.....off I go to a 7 am meeting, which fits into my schedule pre-jazzercise.

Now all the dogs are up - the little hound mix Callie has joined the pack, I suspect I will have to feed 'em soon - cause they tend to fidget en masse.

Not much happening this weekend. WW and Jazzercise this morning, taking MYA to a support group this afternoon. No other serious plans.

Next week could get squirrelly - I have a meeting slotted in for Tues, the Philly trip never firmed up so that still might bubble up, and no decision on the conference....

February 24, 2006

Grave of the Fireflies

An animated movie from Japan (1988). Best in Japanese with subtitles (the voices and language are so beautiful). I'm still bawling here....

Sheesh - how very draining and beautiful and sad.

Same Same

MYA was over last night for dinner, and she banged her wrist on the side of the table and raised a small blister or welt. So I went and got her a band-aid - brought down a box in fact. And for some weird reason, I put a band-aid on my own wrist at the same time. It was a seemingly unconscious action.

Weird of me to do that. This morning while stretching, I realized the band aid was still on, and the realization came to me how meaningful that action was. Her wound is my wound. Same same.

TGIF?

It has been a long time since Friday was meaningful to me in the sense of "a long work week over, getting off the corporate treadmill, two days of rest and relaxation lie ahead" sense of the word. The last time I worked for corporate america directly was 1992. Not sure I could ever go back.....

You see, I really like my work. It's challenging, its enjoyable, its varied. I'll wander in today with a few things that I know I need / want to get done, and some new things will pop up via email or phone. I have a bunch of enjoyable background projects having to do with marketing or long term planning or infrastructure. I will get in early, take breaks for personal things and exercise, put in a long day. If I get curious about something or particularly enjoy something, I will pursue that, maybe put in extra hours. I'll leave at the end of the day feeling like I have more to do and eager for Monday. I may even sneak in to the office a bit over the weekend.

It's hard for me, outside of the corporate culture like this, to get into the rhythms of the work week. I know all over America they are gathering around cubicles on a given morning to talk about the Olympics or America Idol or the hot new TV show or major sporting event. I know all over America they look forward to long weekends, to vacations, to vacations. I know Monday feels different than Wednesday, and Fridays can be euphoric.

Do I pay a price for this? Sure - on lots of levels. But I know artists and activists and social workers who pay much bigger prices. Like a lot of stuff in my life, I try to dance along the borderline between corporation and artist.

Well I look up to the people who are less bought than I
You can show them what you're selling
And they'll only ask you why
And their paychecks don't have lots of zeros
They're my friends and they're my heroes
And the TV sets are angry 'cause they just can't make 'em pay
But I like the way these people read the signs and walk away

Dar Williams - Bought and Sold from "The End of the Summer"

Guess I am in Dar Mood.....time to stream Grassy Hill Radio from the office....where I am sure to hear a couple of Dar songs today....

February 23, 2006

Philadelphia?

I've been hedging about going to a conference in Philly next weekend; not sure if I can justify the cost, the hassle, the travel time. But a client called up today to see what my availability is to go to a site in greater Philly next week - which means the travel expenses will be picked up and the travel time reimbursed. Hmmmm....I sense a plan coming together....

A Nice Visit

Spent a good chunk of the day with MYA; she came to the office and helped me out with tax stuff (sorting receipts, recording check stubs) - which will help me to get my sorry rear end started with taxes. I'd love to have them all done by the end of the month....so having her come over was a good motivator to get me started.

While working, she listened to Boy George / Culture Club via DVD - and listened to the guy in the office next door yelling at his minions and underlings on the speakerphone.

After working, we came back to the house for dinner with her and Zippy's sister. Yum.

Now I'm messing around online and Zippy is doing her federal taxes.....happy happy joy joy...

New Quote

And February was so long that it lasted into March
(Dar Williams, February from Mortal City)

Lying really. February is zooming by this year; I've been busy with the new office and exercise and mentoring and stuff. No seasonal depression or affective disorder here.

But I've always loved this song. I heard Dar play it live before The Honesty Room came out, and I was disappointed that it was not on her first release. It hit me at a particularly lonely time, somewhere in between a separation and a divorce. The verse about planting, forgetting bulbs, forgetting plants and "What's a Crocus?" - so beautiful and so where I was back then.

But Dar.....glad you made it kid. We were pulling for you all these years....

February 22, 2006

Self-promotion

I'm in a self promoting kind of mode and mood. I (for the first time ever) got professionally printed brochures printed up (low quantity, just to see how they came out, they came out pretty great) and today I even hung one up under plexiglass outside my office so the other tenants can see what the woman in A102 does all day (besides drink about a gallon of water and run to the bathroom all day). I'll be tweaking the graphics somewhat and planning a bigger order the next time there is a special.

I also dug up a poster presentation I did for the 2003 PQ conference and hung that up on some empty wallspace in the office. Damn I give good presentation....

Part of this is being in the new office - I feel the need to drum up business to justify the expense of the office. But also, I've been pretty productive and have been knocking things off my to-do list pretty efficiently. One of my larger "churn out the busy work" clients has slowed down a bit, giving me time for other things, but my other long time client has been percolating up with lots of little and medium projects.

I also think its time to drop a brochure, card, and note to a lot of folks I have not heard from in a while - just to keep my name churning.

February 21, 2006

Hair of the dog.....

To hell with Advil, more hot yoga. I am a sicko.

On other fronts, I've been in business 10 years and FINALLY have a decent backup plan for my computer. I set it up today finally - with an external network drive and a comprehensive backup of my documents, email, settings, etc. twice a week, with alternating files. So I should have a couple of recent backups going from here on it. Need to confirm that the scheduling and overwite and stuff works right over the next week, but I think its set with a mimimum of tweaking.

Go me.

On other, other fronts, an old friend tracked down the new blog via blogger search and sent me an email. ::waving::

An Advil Kind of Day

If I were the type to take pain meds for body aches, this morning would be a good day for it. Yesterday brought both a hot yoga session and jazzercise, this morning I am just a wee bit sore are tired. A good thing really, it means I am working the edges in terms of my body's strength and endurance. I guess its good to get out of bed feeling in ones muscles and bones as if one had done something the day before.

As it is, the only pain meds I take are a small enteric dose of aspirin, prescribed based on family history, age, physiology, overall health. Stuff like tylenol, advil, nuprin are all potential liver beaters - so I avoid 'em (along with alcohol, except occasionally and in small doses). My drug of choice is caffeine by way of coffee, and I am increasingly aware that I need to cut back on that.

A hot shower this morning should work out some of the aches.

February 19, 2006

Togetherness

Zippy and I spent the day together. We hung out this morning, then went to the Dog Show in Hartford - did not stay long, but long enough to see the Heelers (Zippy made friends with the first place family, who had two male Red Heelers) and the Springer Spaniels (I miss my old dog Nipsy). There were a ton of Rhodesian Ridgebacks (Zippy's brother has one, named Elmo) as well as a ton of Dalmations. Flavors of the month, canine edition....

I did some work around the house, then we went to RAW to see Five Children and It a UK kids film that was pretty wonderful - Kenneth Branaugh was featured as well as Eddie Izzard as the voice of the Sand Fairy (think Robin William's genie in Aladdin, but with more subtlety and Britishness)

After that, dinner at Tapa's, philosophy with friends, and now relaxing, a bit more organizing and laundry, and then, to bed. Zippy will be watching Bleak House on PBS, I am sure...

Superballs

The television ad for the Sony Bravia features 300,000+ superballs bouncing down a hilly street in San Francisco. Enjoy.

As someone who has always enjoyed rolling ball sculptures or things rolling downhill or following a track or the like, its pretty cool.

February 18, 2006

Final Savasana

YogaBeat tonight, a WHY fundraiser (for OxFam International and Peter's Retreat). Long story why I got there - MYA and I were supposed to go to a pot luck but she ended up with her mom a day early, so I showed face at the pot luck and then made it to Yoga Beat. I sort of went into the day with the idea that if I was supposed to be at Yoga Beat, it would happen. Which it did. So I went.

Anyway, the practice was joyous and sweaty and fun with lots of movement and expression and music. But during savasana, I had a distinct insight - of lying in the grave. The final savasana. Which is not a particularly brilliant concept, Savasana being translated as the "Corpse Pose" but I'll file it in the left brain "knowing" vs whole body "KNOWING" category. However, along with that came the realization that everything from now until then is yoga. And it brought the challenge of living my life like I aspire to practice yoga - building strength, experience, flexibility, wisdom - working hard, sweating, finding the edge.

I love yoga. Both kinds.

A most delicious piece of truth....

February 17, 2006

Gracely and Missed Chances

First off, LOVED Grace Lee Project. MYA and I both went and had a good time. We also had fun coloring an R (me) and an S (her) for the illustrated alphabet by Mordicai Gerstein (apparently, Gersteins R + S painting has been sold) and playing with the interactive work by Camille Utterback. Go to REAL ART WAYS. Now.

Missed opportunities: John Gorka at Cheney Hall in Manchester. Kirtan at West Hartford Yoga. Vagina Monologues at Charter Oak Cultural Center. Probably a couple of other things.

YES DAMMIT THERE IS TOO MUCH TO DO IN HARTFORD CONNECTICUT THIS FRIDAY EVENING.

Who woulda thunk it?

Slipping and Sliding

It was a day that was hard to get any traction. I popped into work latish (7:30) and cranked out a report and some emails - then off to yoga. Then errands and home to change, then back to work for an hour or so. Then off to UConn Health Center to bail out a friend (broken ankle and surgery from XC skiing) - then to the drugstore to get him meds and some supplies, then to his home, where I cleaned up a bit so he could get around.

Then back home, cooked dinner, and now I am off to the pick up MYA to go see a movie (The Grace Lee Project) at Real Art Ways.

Tomorrow - Jazzercise in the morning and a pot luck in the evening and who knows what in between. Laundry. Or cleaning. Or something.

Sunday - ?????

February 16, 2006

Shady Character

My new office has a couple of windows that face south with a slight east tilt:


That, combined with fairly non-descript and translucent corporate curtains and an office layout that emphasized ergonomics for sunlight planning, and I was having issues with glare and sunlight. So I bought a couple of low cost window shades from Home Depot (cut to size) and velcro'd 'em into the corporate aluminum window shades. Pulled down halfway, they look pretty good from in here - I'll have to check them out from the outside.

I am feeling very "mistress of my environment" at the moment - and the sun should not be a negative factor from here on 'in.....

Hot Basil - New Park Road

For those in the funky industrial urban southeast corner of West Hartford, where one can dine well at a variety of noteworthy places (Tapa's, Corner Pug, East West Grill, Fuji, Elmwood, among others) there is new Thai place open. It's in the same building as the old Battiston's Cleaners*, it's called Hot Basil, and its excellent.

From the outside, it looks a little fast foodish (the signage, the name, the storefront, the location) - I've assumed it might be the kind of place you could grab a to-go order of Pad Thai and grab a couple of soda's from the cooler in the corner. However, the inside decor would put Martha Stewart to shame. It's just elegant, tasteful, and extremely well conceived. Great modern urban blocky colors, tasteful art, judicious use of candles and foliage. Hell, the ladies room had an impeccable planter in the corner and a pile of napkins on a shelf that hearken to the high end hotels and restaurants I occasionally get to sample through my corporate personna....

The food was excellent - and the appeal was not limited to the palate - the presentations were well above par. I had Tom Kha Gai (Chicken and Cocoanut Soup) and a Peanut Chicken Salad (Yam Gai), Zippy had one of the entree soups (Chiang Mai Curry Noodle), we were impressed by all. We were in a bit of a rush (U-Conn game, don't cha know) but we'll be back.

Not inexpensive (there are some lunch specials in the $9 range) but with a BYOB policy at present a dinner for 4 would not kill your wallet. This is definitely a date-worthy place.

The folks at East-West Grille are friends and we love that place for its funky ambience, friendly staff, and food, but they have some competition here. Hopefully the market for this sort of cuisine will be sufficient to fill both places and keep them both in business.

* - The cleaners is also under new ownership, and from the outside, it looks a lot nicer inside

February 15, 2006

Oh, and about the office.....

....its working out very well. I am a lot more focused, a lot more "work-oriented" during working hours. Not sure if its the office environment, the peer pressure of being in a space with other workers, or what, but I am really cranking it out.

Good move....so far.

Somewhere Down the Road

Hot Yoga last night. It is a singularly uncool and unyoga-ish thing to compare yourself to others, but there were a couple of young guys fairly unschooled in the yoga thing in class last night. And as I watched them struggle with the postures (one was behind me, so I ended up dristi'd in his direction a lot, especially in downdog), I was struck by how far I have come. It was a "wow - I really can do this" moment, as I moved through the sun salutations. I sort of felt myself being really rigorous in my postures, just because I figured the guys would be looking around the room for direction. Kind of interesting change of perspective from student to teacher, if only by example.

The young men seemed fit and strong and healthy - their struggles were in the twister-like "right foot here, left hand there" aspects of the postures, in the flexibility aspects, and in the general body-awareness involved in seeing a posture and getting your body into the same configuration. Downdog seemed to be just really hard for them to get, I kind of felt bad - their downdogs were more like push-ups - not a place of rest and reconnection, which it has become for me.

Must be a guy thing to jump into a hot yoga class. I skulked around the intro classes, the gentle classes, and the all levels classes for months before poking my nose into a hot class, and even then I sort of ratcheted up with the teachers I knew and was comfy with before stepping into the uber-hot-class where students end up looking like they have been soaked with a fire hose.

To her credit, my instructor rocked in terms of moving the class while spending some time with the new folks. It was one of her better hot classes, I really got some heat going. I did a few extra things during extended downdogs, but really, she worked us. Go her.

Again, great for them to be trying yoga. Mostly, just a realization for myself that this is something I can do, reasonably well. I feel a lot less like the newcomer in the room, all of a sudden.

February 14, 2006

Impressive Entrance, Impressive Exit

The snow came down fast and deep and piled up massively on Sunday.

Tuesday morning, and its melting has been just as amazing. The sidewalks and driveway were completely clear yesterday, with the snow pack receding from shoveled areas and losing depth visibly. Today and tomorrow are gonna be serious melting days, with temperatures teasing 50 F.

I Got a Rock

Referencing, of course, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", and not some unexpected giftage from Lux Bond, Green, and Stevens.

Valentine's Day is a singularly unheralded holiday around these parts. First off, its a polarized holiday, with the man expected to gift the woman. So there is less peer pressure when you are talking about dykes, neither of whom has a ton of expendable cash and neither of whom is particularly romantic. Second, its got christian roots (SAINT Valentine's Day, don't cha know) and we are always a wee bit resistant. Finally, even if it started off that way, its become an uber-commercial holiday, marketed by Hallmark and American Greetings and the candy and flower syndicates.

I still recall schooldays when small valentines (or the lack thereof) were both a sign of loserdom and friendlessness, as well as a threat when an unsought after paramour expressed some interest. At least most of the time kids gave out cards to all the other kids in the class. And making little mail boxes was kind of fun. But still....

Amusing - Paula at Jazzercise put out list for those interested in class tonight. No problem getting names. Either we're a fairly unattached bunch or a fairly cynical group.

February 13, 2006

Never Enough

I did hot yoga today (which was, admittedly, less hot than usual) and jazzercise tonight. I think I need to balance exercise (getting plenty) with better eating habits.

Maybe its time to restart weight watchers. Sweating alone is not cutting it - and I would love to apply my yoga chops to a sleeker, less belly restrained bod.....

City Life

Woke this morning to the remnants of the Blizzard of 2006. I was relieved to see the plows had not attacked overnight - our driveway remains thankfully clear. I have no doubt I'll find a ridge of plowed snow sometime today, but easier to deal with in the sun and relative warmth.

Looking out my window, to a street oddly illuminated by the bright snow, it all looks quite lovely. Our sidewalks and drive are neatly shoveled, with sharp edges and straight lines. Everything in uniform and clean.

Snowstorms bring out the best in people. We said hello to most of our neighbors - this time of year, its mostly nods and waves or a quick call as we move from car to house. But we're all outside shoveling, so we stop over for a few words, to catch up. People are helping each other - those with snowblowers take the time to run them down a neighbors sidewalk, or we'll converge on a newly plowed in driveway like ants. I love this neighborhood; never have I lived in such diversity and connectedness, nor felt quite so safe and supported.

About the only thing that would have made yesterday perfect would have been a trek through the storm to pick up the Sunday paper - but we skipped that. It's not the New York Times.....but the Hartford Courant is still a treat.

February 12, 2006

Whoa, Snow

a.k.a. It's a Winter Wonderland.

It's been snowing all morning - we woke up to maybe 10" and its been coming down steadily every since. I've seen television reports (almost always hyperbole-enhanced) of 21" in West Hartford (we're 50' from the West Hartford line). It's still coming down, but the radar seems to show a break in the action imminent. Let's hope so. We might get as much as 24". Two freaking feet. Yee haw!

On the plus side, its very light and fluffy. We were out once shoveling the sidewalks and a little of the driveway, as well as the back porch for the dogs. We'll be out again - once it all ends.

Ah New England. We love ya. As long as the electricity stays on, and the internet, and the phones.

Stuff We've Done

Friday night we netflixed Hotel Rwanda - not a pleasant movie by any means but a well made and powerful one. The whole artificial Hutu / Tutsi lines of demarcation, the colonial roots of it all, the worlds inability / unwillingness to step in. Pretty horrific. And happening again.

Last night, we braved the pre-snowstorm hysteria to go to the Sounding Board to see April Verch. A truly delightful evening - from Ms. Verch's fiddling (incredible) to step-dancing (impressive) to the interplay with her band (bass, guitar, and her husband Marc on percussion and a creative and talented Bohdran player in his own right). It was really fantastic. Ms. Verch, who hails from Ottowa, has an interesting voice - very slightly like Iris Dement sans twang - more sweet really. She is adorable on a lot of levels.

I was struck mid-concert with how fortunate we are living in Hartford - we have the Sounding Board, University of Hartford's Music for Change right in town, a little further out Roaring Brook and Glastonbury nature centers, the Vanilla Bean, Cheney Hall. Just a plethora of fantastic acoustic music. Almost too much - it can be overwhelming.

And a shout-out to friend TC who volunteers at the Sounding Board and was staffing the CD table.

February 11, 2006

Blizzard Entertainment

I'm digging on this site at the moment, courtesy of Pixel....

Growing Up Catholic...

I'm spitting over on another blog about growing up Catholic. So I figured I needed to expand on that theme here. The object du rant is the recently freed former governer of Connecticut, who was brought up via the catholic school system. As was I.

I started off from a different place, and took a different path. This is what we call a major understatement. But I worked the same system. I learned that it did not actually matter how good or moral or ethical one was, all that counted was looking good, not getting caught. If the nuns, brothers, priests or teachers thought you were a good kid, you were, regardless of what you were up to or how much of a shit you were to your classmates when you were out of sight.

I had maybe one or two teachers in 12 years of catholic education that saw through my facade, and recognized that there was pain and struggle below the surface in this good little kid who played by the rules. I was a "playa" in the churches of my youth and young adulthood - standing on the altar (guitar in hand), hanging in the sacristy. I met the gay* priests, the ones with substance abuse issues, the promiscuous ones - and these seemed to be the most likely to be spewing intolerance from the pulpit. As long as it looked good from the pews....no harm, no foul. The institutional hypocrisy is what got to me.

The same sort of game playing extended to things like homosexuality, birth control, abortion - the official rules were idealistic, sacrosanct, and wholly impractical, so we'll just make believe. Wink wink. I recall a pre-marital counseling session where the young priest (who is now a playa himself in the archdiocese) gave us the "here's the official teaching but pretty much do what your conscience dictates" spiel re: birth control. Lot of leeway and room for error when there are two sets of rules, one of which is completely personal and ephemeral, and dared not be discussed or debated in open court.

It took me 30 some years to recover from that, to recognize that simply wishing for something to go away, faking it until I made it, was not the way to inner peace or enlightenment. My path led through therapy, and facing some difficult decisions in my own life, and left some wounded bodies in its path. Maybe the ex-gov is coming to that realization himself.

So...my catholic rant.

* Uhm, not that there is anything wrong with that. I'm a big ol' queer myself. It's the closetedness and the ability to compartmentalize oneself and rationalize in such a way that one can be gay, sexually active, and yet part of an organization that rejects the concept.

February 10, 2006

Bandwidth is a Beautiful Thing

Funny Commercials

This is what the internet was invented for.

Back in the real world....

Boston went fine. No serious problems found (though I suspect they have some issues that are intermittant will be back, but they are monitoring for that) and I did find a sneak path that might be a design issue with my client's box. So worthwhile trip, all in all. Pretty amazing all of the hospitals in that area (I was at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, FWIW)

Got out about 3, drove to mom's in Framingham, and had a nice dinner with her. She gifted us with one of those little cloth bags to put plastic bags in (Zippy is a saver of both the plastic grocery store bags as well as the clear plastic veggie bags, which she washes out and reuses). I was also given a huge plant for the office (her and sis chipped in) which I need to figure out where to put. I know have 4 plants in a smallish (~14 x ~14) space - I fear a reputation as the horticultural version of a cat lady over there.

Got back about 8 pm to find a box over at the office; Zippy's new LCD computer monitor which is now set up and she likes muchly; it allows her to really use her old small desk; we tossed the old composite sectional one which got taken from the curb on Monday (we live in a recycling kind of neighborhood, much of what gets put to the curb ends up scarfed up for reuse or scrap, not a lot ends up in the landfill)

Glad to have made it up and back in a day - yoga workshop this morning that I did not want to miss.

February 09, 2006

I Love That Dirty Water....

....oh, Boston, you're my home.

Heading up to Boston today for a last minute work project. Yet another opportunity for eternal glory and accolades. Or a couple of days consulting pay. Or something.

February 07, 2006

Killing Time

I know I am a self proclaimed television refusnik but I have a desire to see HOUSE tonight. So I am hanging around waiting for 9 pm.

That is all.

Work Life Changes.....

Amazing how life-changing something as simple as getting an office outside the home is. I noticed this the last time I "moved out of the house" but back then there were many changes in the works, so the home-office-to-remote-office did not have as much impact or import.

What I am noticing so far is that I am planning my day more. I am thinking about what to wear, getting up with the goal of being out of the house by a certain time, plotting things like laundry or household chores when I am back home. There is a lot less "let's just see how the day develops" happening.

I am also seemingly more goal oriented and focused at work - I have a white board filled with projects and to do lists and I am cossing 'em off. It's as if the peer pressure of other professionals in the building who might drop in and might see what I am up to is enough of a push.

It's all very interesting, to step back a bit for a wider perspective and see how this is affecting me.

February 06, 2006

Ned Lamont

Cause Joe Lieberman is a too entrenched and too conservative. For crying out loud his name was out there as a potential Sec of Defense. He's gonna support the US invasion of Iraq (and Iran, probably) regardless of the costs or the folly.

Ned Lamont
for US Senate. Tell your friends.

There is a little part of me thinking we should not be beating each other up and should save it for the right. And there is a little part of me that admires Lieberman's independence. And there is a little part of me that thinks Lamont's campaign will at best push Lieberman slightly left.

Hey, rememeber when Lieberman beat Weicker? I do. I remember the nasty little TV ads with Lowell portrayed as a hibernating bear. Hey Joe - get your bear suit out. We're a coming hunting.....

The Feminist Spectator

The Feminist Spectator ruminates on theatre, performance, film, and television, focusing on gender, sexuality, race, other identities and overlaps, and our common humanity. It addresses how the arts shape and reflect our lives; how they participate in civic conversations; and how they serve as a vehicle for social change and a platform for pleasure. It’s accessible to anyone committed to the arts’ political meanings.

Just sharing the wealth....

February 05, 2006

Weird

OK, so I added The Squid and the Whale to my profile under movies. And then I checked my profile, and clicked on the movie to see who else has it listed. Meat Gun, a 24 year old blogger from Georgia pops up first, and has listed as her interests Wes Anderson (directed The Royal Tenenbaums) and Noah Baumbach (Squid & Whale)

How messed up that I popped to that kinship. I mean, I AM NOT A FILM STUDENT. I swear to god. I was just watching and I happened to notice. Seriously. Leave me alone!

The Squid and the Whale

Just a great small movie. Uncomfortable as all hell, but great.

Reminded me a bit of the Royal Tenenbaums (well, NYC, tennis, dysfunction, and the dad going down in the street, anyway, and Ben Stiller who brings to mind a certain scene in There's Something About Mary - yeah, THAT scene). It's practically an homage, now that one thinks about it.

Oh yeah, I did a production gig at the NY Museum of Natural History (where one can find the Squid and the Whale)

Film geeks will get upset cause there are lots of post-1990 automobiles in the background of a film set in the mid 80's.

Off to the shower - Zippy is watching Bleak House on PBS.

Oh yeah. The divorcee dad's glassware consists of Burger King promo glasses. The aforementioned oddly appealling Burger King was featured prominantly in one shot (hell, the glassware got a credit!)

Fast food is haunting me.

Super Bowl Commercials

I'm not gonna see too many of 'em, but so far:

* Loved the Tostitos commercial (3 guys and the woman working) cause it has a sort of proletariat spin (white collar slackers feeling all superior to the street workers) and a feminist spin (woman doing the work, men taking credit for a team effort)

* The Burger King Whopperettes gets high marks for queerish Busby Berkley vibe. Plus the costumed Burger King is creepy in a likably odd way.

* The McDonald's hamster thing. Being an ex McD's employee, seeing the old "Ronald on the Bench" statue used as a prop was amusingly out of character for what is usually a risk averse company, marketing wise. Nobody messes with the clown's image.

* The High Throttle series. Complete ickness and boring. I guess the special effects are OK but I am not really noticing.

* The Fed Ex cave man and dinosaur thing. Historically bogus but great to see the pterosaur with the cave men (to scale) and then get eaten, and when the cave man kicks the little raptor and then gets stomped. LAUGH.

* The Ameriquest killing the fly with the defirillator paddles. Funny if technically problematic.

* Bud Light is killing me. The office scavenger hunt out of control. The magic fridge. The bear. Fixing the roof. All winners. And I hate Budweiser, conceptually and from a product standpoint.

OK, off to see the Squid and the Whale.

Super? I Think Not!

Super Bowl Sunday? Oh yeah.
It matters little. We're not fans, although I switched it on just now to see the first couple of commercials. I mean - why not?

Hot yoga this morning, then some errands and laundry. Visited the office for a while. Made dinner for Zippy, who was out with a friend most of the day. Going to a movie (The Squid and the Whale) this evening.

I am looking forward to the work week ahead, with the new office and all. Will be a nice opportunity to recover some discipline and rebuild some work habits.

February 04, 2006

Finishing Up the Move

Blogger has been acting weird; I've lost two posts about seeing Transamerica....

A friend came over today and between my efforts and ours, we moved the filing cabinet and desk over to the office. I am officially moved.

Tonight, Netflix gifted us with Daughters of Darkness. Weird, erotic, artful . One of Zippy's faves....she is in love with Delphine Seyrig. Definitely an interesting and erotic film, albeit a bit bloody and art/horror-ish for my taste.

February 03, 2006

It's the computer, stupid....

As of this morning, my desktop computer is now at the office. I guess that means I am officially moved, even if the desk and filing cabinet and chair remain at home, to be brought over tomorrow. But with the computer networked, connected, hooked up to printers and all that, I am officially HERE as opposed to THERE.

Today is going to be a bit more organizing - hope to clean out the desk drawers and re-establish order (the drawers are here) before they are reunited with the desk. But all in all its been a pretty smooth transition (one of my specialties....) and coming as it did, I can still dive into a productive February.

It's kind of homey here - I have a couple of incandescent lanps for task lighting which are warmer than the overhead fluorescents. I picked up a new multi-function scanner / color inkjet. I am planning to get my sorry rear end using online postage so I do not have to stand inline at the world's worst post office (Shield Street) anymore.

It feels pretty good to be back....

February 02, 2006

Not a Pretty Girl

We went to see A Moon for the Misbegotten last night at Hartford Stage. Fell into some tickets via a long string of email connections, and neither of us had anything special going on. I love the Hartford Stage - had a subscription at one point in my life, and would go to Mark Lamos' Shakespeare productions pretty faithfully. Hartford is blessed with a couple of top notch theatres - Hartford Stage and Theatreworks are my personal faves.

I was a teeny bit disappointed in the production: Alyssa Bresnahan's Josie just seemed too smitten with Mr. Tyrone from the start, and I never bought into the "scheming" of either Josie or her father. But I love live theater. I guess I wanted to believe that they are really out to swindle Tyrone from the start (so as to appreciate the change of heart later), and instead I was busy watching the romance and never doubting the eventual outcome. Maybe you have to be a little less obtuse for a Hartford crowd, I dunno.

Souring the evening somewhat was an inquiry from an acquaintance (our "in" to the tickets) who approached me about an artist's project looking for beautiful women to photograph in their element (i.e. - what makes them feel beautiful). It was a singularly uncomfortable moment. I am not a pretty girl. I run from the lens. Invariably when people meet me in person their comments approach "wow you are less unattractive in person than the pictures I have seen indicate" and I take from that a sort of static = bad, dynamic = good vibe. I work best in 4 dimensions, with sound and smell and aura perceptible. In 2 dimensions, not so good. I also actually looked at my body en route out of the shower yesterday and was kind of icked out. So I am not buying the "beautiful woman" thing. It feels a little tokenizing.

It also chafed some of my own issues around outness, around being open to critique from the body-mod factions, around representing my peeps, around putting myself out there as a certain type of success. It just feels uncomfortable. I fear seeing the output and being so traumatized by what I actually look like that my little fantasy world of being remotely presentable as a female gendered human being might shatter into a catharsis of self-hate and repulsion.

But, I guess I am flattered even as I am locked up. I doubt I will do this.

It soured the evening somewhat for Zippy, who often feels that I get a lot of attention and energy from the community ("everybody loves you, nobody notices me"), as did the fact that I, and two acquaintances grabbed a glass of wine and did a little schmoozing at intermission - I switch into a corporate / arts / community networking, light chit-chat mode pretty easily, wheras she does not. So Zippy feels left out and in addition tends to physically recoil from the smell of wine in a sort of off-putting (if you are not used to it) way. She steps back and turns away in the same way one might avoid a dog who got sprayed by a skunk. Which makes for less effective schmoozing.

I guess I am not unlike Josie in a lot of ways. A bit coarse and rough, a bit proud of my work boots, a survivor, with a patina of bluster and innuendo for armor - but pretty innocent and inexperienced and woundable underneath it all.