On Sparrow.

Posted: July 20th, 2012

As soon as I saw the news, I was saddened. And maybe even a little angered. (I’m a little ashamed to admit that.) What the hell were these indie developers, these heroes, doing? I grumbled for a few minutes and thought about the money I’d spent on their products. Granted, it was only something like $25, but all the same.

But then I saw Andy Ithnako’s tweet, realized that I gave up using Sparrow on Mac ages ago and on iOS about a month ago, and let go of that grumbly feeling. I am a Gmail user, regardless of how I feel about Google as an organization. At this point in my life, I can’t quite imagine trying to get work done without keyboard shortcuts. So if the Sparrow guys can improve Gmail further, I’m all for it.

This may seem like a pointless post, but for me, it’s always refreshing to realize when I have been wrong. It’s an exercise in self-improvement. I am not always right and there is hope for internet giants to improve their products. The End.

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…this can’t possibly be real, right?

Posted: July 27th, 2011

Except it totally is.

And the fact that someone got paid to make this while I am waiting tables makes me want to weep.

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Game reviews? Oh no.

Posted: June 14th, 2011

If you know me at all, you probably know that I’m a giant nerd. And part of my nerd-dom is that I love playing games. I’ve been intending for years now to blog about some of my favorite games—not in any serious fashion, no sir, but more of a “here’s a general feel for what I enjoy.” And if I turn someone on to a new game or two, well, I’m not sorry.

An important note: While I own both a Wii and an XBox 360 (as well as the computer on which I’m typing this), the majority of the time I spend gaming is on iOS—specifically on my iPhone. Thus, these occasional posts may be less than interesting to you if you’re not an iOS user.

Without further adieu, I give you Edge (developed by Mobigame).

Aside from having a fun 80s-esque look to it (seriously, I’m a huge sucker for slick aesthetics), Edge is both fun and maddeningly frustrating. I finished the game a few years ago, pre-Game Center, and have since lost all my scores. I downloaded it again tonight, and can report that it is most definitely re-playable.

$2.99 on the App Store.

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Getting Dressed

Posted: June 9th, 2011

While this is the sort of thing I would typically put on my tumblr, somehow given its subject matter it seems a little more appropriate here. This is one of my favorite ads of all time—and astonishingly, it’s for LYNX, which is just AXE, except overseas. I feel like I should give credit where credit is due, and say that I’m pretty sure it was Kevin Roddy who first introduced me to this ad, way back when I was still an undergrad. In any case, this is a beautiful example of how important writing is, even when there are no words to speak of.

Lynx “Getting Dressed” from Spot Welders on Vimeo.

EDITORIAL: Spot Welders (Work)

EDITOR: Rich Orrick

DIRECTOR: Ringan Ledwidge

AGENCY: Bartle Bogle Hegarty


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The magic of doing stuff.

Posted: February 11th, 2011

Being “creative” is a fucking struggle, amiright? Every creative suffers from “imposter syndrome” every so often. Who are we, we ask, to call ourselves creative? How is it that saying we are “creative” magically makes it so? The truth is, the proof is in the pudding. Which is to say, so long as we’re just doing it (whatever “it” may be), we are. And so long as we’re not, we really aren’t.

Just think about it. How cool is it that just doing something magically makes you into something? Maybe most people become runners, once they start running. Or they become musicians once they pick up an instrument. The point is, these states of being are completely dependent on activity. And that’s both good and bad news. The bad news is that if you’re not doing it, you’re sunk. You stop feeling like you are that thing. “I am not a runner,” you say. “I am not running. I have not run in weeks.” “I am not a writer,” I say. “I have not written jack in longer than I care to recall.” But the good news is, it’s relatively easy to turn it all around. It really is. I really don’t want to bring Nike into this picture, kids, but I will if I have to. It is a requirement that we do a particular activity in order to earn those magic transformative labels—I mean, you can tell anyone you are whatever the fuck you want to be, but you’ll also know, deep down, that putting “reading” on your resume under “interests” is complete bullshit unless you’ve lifted a tome or two in the last week.

I’m not saying all of this to make anyone (least of all myself) feel bad about their indiscretions when it comes to labeling ourselves. By all means, you are a creative, you are a reader, writer, runner. It is completely within your power to be these things.

So. Get off the little slobby sofa that you constantly recline on in your brain (you know the one I’m talking about—it’s burnt orange, sagging, and one arm has been clawed to death by the resident cat) and do some calisthenics. Then slap back on that beauty queen sash (gardener, rocket scientist, chef) and feel good about settling in with another local microbrew and three episodes of your current sci-fi tv show obsession.

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How to puncture a cat.

Posted: July 28th, 2010

I have been conspicuously absent from The Social Internet due to the following:

Yokelly we are dealing with a sick cat. The vet says it is probably kidney disease, which is common in older cats. This requires repeated bouts of subcutaneous hydration to flush out the system, which you can pay the vet to do or do yourself. Step one is to stab the cat with the functional equivalent of an upholstery needle. Step two is to start the fluid flowing so as to convert the cat’s back and sides into a water bed—pockets of water form bulges under the skin. Step three is to stand out of the way when the cat vaults out of the administrator’s lap on feeling the fluid entering under its skin. The actual stabbing appears to be a case of “this hurts me more than it hurts you,” but apparently it is unpleasant to have water flowing in under your skin. Because you’re not trying for intravenous, an amateur can do it. The best I’ve been able to do so far in half a dozen stabbings is 150 ml. This ayem she escaped with about 35 ml inside and another 5 on the coffee table. As the YouTube video says, if the cat pulls away from the needle, massage the spot to close the hole and stick the needle in again. This experience, coupled with stuffing our flimsy camping tent into its long stuff sack—which always reminds me of barn scenes in All Creatures Great and Small—has convinced me that I did not miss a calling in veterinary medicine.

So there you have it.

For more gems like the one above, check out my dad’s blog.

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The dangers of silken tofu.

Posted: July 20th, 2010

Silken tofu and I are having a naughty relationship.

Every two weeks, I buy a 12oz package of silken tofu in the minuscule natural foods section at my local Fred Meyer. (Seriously, the percent of the store from which I actually buy edible goods is probably about 1% of the building’s floorspace. Three aisles and one freezer of natural / organic / vegan / non-dairy / gluten-free / cruelty-free goodies. But I digress.)

The silken tofu has a very specific purpose: to make the best re-creation of Yumm! Sauce that I can muster. If you’re among the uninitiated, Yumm! Sauce is the staple of Café Yumm!, which is a fantastic eatery based out of Eugene, Oregon (and is spreading like wildfire—yay!). In any case, Yumm! Sauce is used to make Yumm! Bowls (I know the exclamation points are a little repetitive, bear with me), which are an amazing mixture of rice, beans, cheese, tomatoes, black olives, avocado, cilantro, salsa, sour cream, and Yumm! Sauce. When I was living in Eugene we’d eat there once a week-ish, and there would always be a liter of this stuff in the fridge so we could make our own bowls (and slather it all over baked potatoes).

Cut to the part of this sob story where I moved away from Eugene and landed in Fairbanks, Alaska. There is no Yumm! Sauce for sale in a several-thousand-mile radius. So I’ve been using this pretty reasonable recipe I found for “Yummy Sauce.” In any case, it calls for soy beans (the non-edamame kind), which I’ve been unable to locate in Fairbanks. And that’s where the silken tofu comes in.

I’ve taken a rather circuitous route to simply say that the recipe calls for 1/4 cup of the stuff, leaving me with a ton of silken tofu that would go bad by the time I was ready to make my next batch of Yumm! Sauce. So despite having bought the tofu for healthy purposes, this is what’s been happening: I’ve been making vegan brownies. Oh. My. God.

The problem with vegan desserts is that they don’t seem so decadent. (And if you’ve ever had the vegan chocolate mousse cake with raspberry topping at Sweet Life in Eugene, you know just how decadent they can be.) I mean, my recipe replaces all animal products with tofu and margarine. As a result I end up inhaling the entire batch within two or three days. I mean, they’re vegan, which by definition means “this is good for you, you dirty hippie!”

In any case, it’s a good thing that I’m participating in that activity I mentioned in my last post. A very very good thing.

P.S. Dear anyone from Café Yumm! If you’re reading this, the moment I move back to a place where I can buy honest-to-God Yumm! Sauce I will stop making my own, cross my heart and hope to die. Mine is just not quite the same. Hugs and kisses, Me

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Posted: July 1st, 2010

I feel like an impostor.

All my life, I’ve been skinny-fat. That is to say, I’ve never had weight issues to speak of, but moreover, I’ve never been an athlete. Even back in elementary school when I played rec soccer, I was never particularly sporty, much less good at the game. (At the time, I had a soft spot for playing defense. I was convinced I was good at defense, in fact, because I kept getting put in there. The clarity that “adulthood” brings…) Point being, I dreaded gym and the mile run and in high school I completed my physical education requirement via correspondence. I was a nerd, flabby and skinny. And that was fine with me.

That part about being skinny-fat, earlier? That was a lie. In the last few years, I clung to that illusion as my body went from skinny-fat to fat-fat. This is temporary, I would think. I’m just dealing with a lot of stress right now. Just wait until X happens. When X rolls around, I’ll lose all this weight like THAT! I would snap my fingers, mentally, with a flourish. And then I’d order another brownie sundae online from that café around the corner that does delivery. Because X wasn’t slated to happen for a few more days, as far as I was concerned.

Sometimes, reality brings us things. For me, it came in the form of a cross-country move, a breakup, and chronic unemployment. Granted, none of these things were exactly inflicted upon me—instead, they were all choices I’d made, to some degree or another. I was determined that my move and breakup bring about a fresh start—a New Me, the sort of thing that the Disillusioned envision around December 30th of every year. (Never mind that when January 1 rolls around, we’re all too hungover to begin to contemplate hauling our sorry asses to the gym.) I wish I could say that I turned over a new leaf on that bright morning of Tuesday, February 16th, 2010. Instead, I climbed into bed and stayed there for much of the day—nursing an emotional hangover, if you will.

Point is, I did not become a new person on February 16th. I am still living at home, single, and unemployed. But, I am 20 pounds lighter, and still trending downwards.  Now for that part about me being an impostor. On February 17th, 2010, I climbed aboard my parents’ NordicTrack treadmill, iPhone in hand, Couch to 5K app at the ready. Ten weeks later, I completed the program and could run a 5K in the requisite 30 minutes. Now I’m working on the Bridge to 10K program with the help of this handy app. I’ve battled lactic acid and blisters and I’ve had to start over once due to injury, but I’m still plugging away.

I felt like a faux-runner for a long time. I was just some fat-fat-skinny-fat trying to wheeze her way through 30 minutes of being coached by a disembodied electronic voice. And now (oh Lord, here comes the smarm factor—it’s unavoidable) I’m a plain-old runner.

And to prove my point, I’m going to go get on the treadmill and log another 4-5 miles, completing Week 1, Day 3 of the B210K program.

Follow my running progress on Daily Mile—better yet, join and add me as a friend!

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Media Consumption Log: Update

Posted: July 14th, 2009

In January, I started a media consumption log, keeping track of every piece of media I took in during the day. I quit after a single day.

The truth is that keeping a log of every bit of media I consume is a huge honking task. For instance, off the top of my head: today I listened to The Moth podcast, the Tranquility Du Jour podcast, the Savage Love pocast, and the iProcrastinate podcast. I also watched way too many episodes of a certain popular television show which ran for 10 seasons and went off the air in 2004. Furthermore, I caught an interview with Merlin Mann, and watched a few video podcasts of an interview with Jesse Thorn. I also caught up with my RSS feeds. And that’s just what I can remember at the moment.

Maybe it makes more sense for me to do a media consumption log once a week or once a month. It keeps me tuned in to what I’m listening to/watching/reading, but it takes quite a bit of time to track. So, that’s the plan.

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Things I continue to hate…

Posted: July 10th, 2009

Making bureaucratic phone calls. Really, being on hold waiting to engage in a bureaucratic phone conversation. (See my previous post from August of last year on this topic.)

I just spent eight minutes on hold waiting to update my address for my health insurance, because the first person I called was unable to do so. At the end of the eight minutes, I was sent to voicemail. This is reminiscent of last year, when I called about my Permanent Fund Dividend, and was disconnected twice after being on hold for ten minutes each. Seriously, why couldn’t I have left a message when I first called? This is a symptom of UI designers not using what they’ve created themselves—granted, a phone menu system being used by the State of Alaska probably didn’t involve a UI designer to begin with.

Oh, and just for the record: The shmaltzy soprano sax song from last year’s State of Alaska bureaucratic phone calls—complete with “your call is important to us”— is still alive and kicking. Does anyone really like Kenny G?

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