Friday, October 30, 2009


Has everyone gotten a chance to peruse Regretsy? It is a compendium of all the most unfortunate items for sale on Etsy, and there is some seriously bad stuff out there.

Although the "Golden Hands Rabbi Holding Tabby" is kind of growing on me. And it's only $1000!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Made my day

The perfect delicious thumb-size pear. Isn't it adorable?


I just got my flu shot, and the nurse said I could expect to have a temperature as high as 101 over the next few days. I asked if I should take it easy on Halloween, and she told me to drink all the beer I want - it won't affect the vaccine, "And that's what Halloween is for!"

She then told me that her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend are dressing up in the following for Halloween: all black, pig ears, and t shirts with "H1" and "N1" written on them. Swine flu!

I can't decide if it is perfect or disturbing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Back in the USA

I'm back in the US, and back on the internets. Will post a full Sydney-athon later, but first, here's a video that came to me via JStar - it's some (one's) home videos of San Francisco in the 1950's. Super duper neat.

San Francisco 1958 from Jeff Altman on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sydney Day 1

I got into Sydney around 7:30 on Wednesday morning, having completely lost Tuesday en route. I slept ok on the plane (14 hours, I slept at least 8), but I was still fuzzy all day. The Google office is awesome - here's the view from the cafe, complete with the famous harbor bridge.

Despite what the photo makes it seem like, it's actually been gorgeous and sunny. Oh hey, but also, the crows here make a crazy noise. It sounds like babies crying, or cats fighting. Or cats fighting with crying babies. I am pretending they are kookaburras, even though Liz told me they are just crows. But kookaburras have their own super-Australian song! Did anyone else have to learn that in elementary school? Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, mighty mighty king of the bush is he...

Anyway, the aforementioned Liz is a Wellesleyite, and last night I met her at Darling Harbor for drinks at a bar right on the water. Then we walked through the CBD (Central Business District) to the Rocks, which is one of the oldest areas of the city. It used to be one of the worst areas of the city - pestilence etc - but is now full of bars. Classic. There was a fantastic view of the opera house, and we took awkward self-portraits. And Liz took me to the oldest bar in Sydney! Two odd characteristics of Aussie pubs: they are sometimes called "hotels" even though they are not, and they are quite brightly lit. It's like being in an Irish bar at closing time, which is disorienting.

I was proud that I was able to stay up until 10. Not bad for jetlag, right?

Yeah, I cried

I'm not going to lie. 86-year-old WWII vet on gay marriage: "what do you think I fought for in Omaha Beach?"

Tee hee

From today's Publisher's Lunch: "OR Books is issuing GOING ROUGE: Sarah Palin, An American Nightmare on November 17, the same day when HarperCollins publishes GOING ROGUE: An American Life by Sarah Palin."

Why it's legal: "Titles of books cannot be protected as trademarks (a clear rule); trademark protection does not accrue until the mark is used (no sales yet); both books would be "in use" on the first day (Palin cannot claim first use); "Trade dress" does not exist unless the graphics are inherently distinctive (doubtful) or well recognized (too soon); and the "Nightmare" title may even be a valid parody (a good defense). Each of these theories has a countervailing argument, but on each, the legal arguments might be a nightmare for Palin."

So mean, but so good.

Stump shorts

I am in Sydney, and I will definitely write an update later. But for now, I wanted to share two photos from back home. My dad and brother spend their days doing manual labor on The Hill - my parents' property in PA. Apparently they were recently chopping wood and came upon a stump that looked like a pair of shorts.

And behold:

Because why not? I particularly like how they captured two different moods - Ian looks jaunty, and my dad looks like he just dropped a load in his drawers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I just booked a hotel for my first four nights in Sydney next week. It was only a little more than a double room with a shared bathroom in a hostel, and it looks freaking sweet. I'm there alone the first two nights, then Mike joins me next Friday. Yeehaw! But the most exciting part of the trip: we got a friends and family discount at a super fancy hotel on the harbor for the last two nights, so we're going to live it up on the cheap.

Itinerary: walk around, drink, eat, hike a little bit, bike, sit on the beach. And My sharkophobia might be too much for that. Oh, and I'm going to run with the Sydney hash next Thursday. And work from the Sydney office for the two days that Mike isn't alone. I don't know if that counts as a true 100% vacation, but I'm pumped.

I leave Monday!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I realize I am opening myself up to ridicule, but I am home and relaxing for what feels like the first time in forever, and I have already had some wine, so I think I get some leeway. I am 24 minutes and 25 seconds into "Smart People" and Thomas Haden Church just appeared in a Wellesley sweatshirt. Which is, I think, supposed to be Dennis Quaid's dead wife's garment.

Just had to share.

Lianna's book is out!

I Am Neurotic is a real live book! It's particularly exciting because so many of my friends are in the photos. It's like a yearbook, but published by a major press and with tens of thousands of copies in print.


Is the second day in a row that I have sat down at my desk at work and only then realized that I am wearing my shirt inside out.

Go me.

Forgive me, SLC

I feel the need to make amends for bitching about being in Salt Lake City this last weekend. The conference went well, and it was very nice to be in the mountains.


It's settings like this that make me consider running away to a national park.


There are a number of reasons that I did not go to boot camp today.
  • I woke up at 3 a.m. after dreams of running suicides and doing pushups to exhaustion, and didn't really get back to sleep until I reset my alarm from 5:30 to 7:30.
  • I ran many, many hills at the hash last night.
  • I drank beer until 11 p.m. last night.
I like the idea of working out in the rain (boot camp class is never cancelled, no matter the elements), but the 4 block walk from my house to my shuttle stop just soaked my jeans to the knee. And, in case you were wondering, no, my cowboy boots are not waterproof, it seems.

The hash trail last night started by the Marina Safeway and wound along the coast to Ghirardelli Square. We then pumped up several aspects of Russian Hill, and, on one of the descents, came upon at least a hundred sheep grazing in an empty lot, hidden among apartment buildings. Ok then. We ran through the Cannery (In n Out was calling to me), along Fisherman's Wharf, and then back up Russian Hill. The best part: at the top of Vallejo (the very top - we ran up several flights of very steep stairs) there is a little neighborhood with lawns. LAWNS! And is perched on top of the hill, surrounded by apartment towers. It is so very very precious.

And then we drank beer and sang dirty songs. One dude poured a beer down the back of his pants - I don't know why. Here is a blurry photo that appropriately communicates our relief that we are no longer running, and are in fact drinking cold beer from a keg. The end.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Food bank

This is a really cool article on food banks and fresh produce - the Bay Area is doing an increasingly good job of working with farms and suppliers to give out food that isn't canned or processed. I support the SF Food Bank, though I don't donate as much as I should.

Also, there is a great photo of a skinny little dude carrying a big stack of boxes. I am pretending they are all full of potatoes.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy NCOD!

I did not realize until just now that it is National Coming Out Day, which makes me a bad ally. But I am going to jump on the caboose of the day here and say (in Wellesley NCOD tradition) that love is love is love is love is love.

I also wanted to share this video of Obama at an HRC event, because I have been disappointed with his leadership on gay rights, but I do think that he is an ally. I know the HRC isn't everyone's favorite group, but they were the first non-profit that I ever donated to on my own, and I'm not sure that teenage me really knew enough about the gay rights movement to distinguish between different modes and approaches. In any case, I've got a soft spot for them.

This video is on the long side for intertubes embedding, but it's worth a looksy. It doesn't take much to make me tear up on NCOD, but this talk got me going a few times.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Governator eats faces for breakfast

Ok, I am less of a sad sack now that I have seen this Governator twitpic:

Also, how does anyone know when a famous person is twittering or not? Couldn't it be an impostor?

Happy Friday to me

I am sitting in a hotel room in Salt Lake City, feeling way worse for myself than anyone who has just had room service has a right to. But despite the wine and beer I have in my belly, I am a sad sack. Why? Because I am in Salt Lake City on a Friday night.

And I am here for work. I give a talk at a conference tomorrow, and since I am presenting for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, I will be attending the whole thing. Aside from the fact that I am only just realizing what giving up a Saturday does to my psyche, I am also realizing that I need to review the entire presentation I am giving, because I am anal.

So that is what I'm going to go do now. Also, I forgot to bring pajama-type-clothes, so I am not wearing pants.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hiking yoga

Who wants to do hiking yoga with me? 90 minute classes are $15, and "integrate the power of yoga with the cardio of hiking." What that means to me: you get to poke around the city while doing downward facing dog. If that's even possible.

Between this, hashing, and my boot camp, I think I just like hybrid activities. I like my doing-stuff like I like my food: all smushed together. Really.


If I were going to be here this Saturday, I would go to this:

But instead I will be in Utah until 9 p.m. BUT! Sunday is the West Point Inn's monthly pancake breakfast, which I have been meaning to go to forever. Nothing like a wee bit of a hike before inhaling carbs, right? And also located on Mt. Tam is the Tourist Club, which serves beer. It's meant to be.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'd just like to say

That I have great houseguests. They leave me wine and orchid plants and roses, they leave me peanut butter jars with notes on the lid. They leave me body scrub that smells like grapefruit, they leave me drawings of dinosaurs, and they leave me thongs.

The last one was not so much a present as an accident, but it made me laugh hard enough that I consider it a gift.

Boston Globe FTW

I did not really read the Globe when I lived in Boston (The Dig got all my print media loving), but they are doing a great job of making me proud of my job this week.

First up: an article on Google Books, with quotes from some of my favorite Boston publishers. These are my guys, guys! Including my former employer, of course. Those who knew me during my Godine days has to be a little shocked (and awed?) that they are now getting quoted on topics technological and cutting edge. Woohoo!

Then the Globe went and did it again, with an article on (grudgingly) falling in love with Google. Reasons #4, 5, and 6 are about Google Books.

Given the abuse the program takes, it's nice to see a positive article once in a while. For two, I swoon.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bike love

My dad and I spent a lot of time riding bikes this weekend, commuting back and forth to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival. My dad is in love with San Francisco's bike lanes - he thinks it's the most bike-friendly city he's seen. I keep meaning to bike commute to Mountain View more often, but I'm intimidated by the super fast people who ride it regularly - they average 20 mph+ in a pack.

In any case, this is a brief but awesome article about a dude who commutes 44 miles each way - into New York City! - twice a week. Kickass.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Needs a better caption

This photo is in an NYT slideshow on sand dunes in Colorado.

That is a baby sprawled on top of that dude, right? Am I seeing things? Wouldn't it make sense to somehow address it in the caption? Because it's kind of upsetting.


Shades of wolfdom

Jaguar shirt: is it an official wolf shirt, or just wolfy?

(Spotted at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass fest, surprise surprise.)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Trauma x2

Last night I watched "Trauma "on Hulu, because it was better than cleaning in preparation for my father's imminent arrival. It was a pretty entertaining show, for two reasons.

1. In the first 20 minutes, there was an epic helicopter-on-helicopter crash set over the FiDi, and a huge pileup on the Bay Bridge on-ramp, complete with a gas truck explosion.

2. It is totally obsessed with being set in San Francisco. I get that it's about EMTs, and ambulance drivers probably do shout out street names a lot. But with these guys, it's gratuitous.
"Don't take Market!"
"Don't worry, I'm taking Polk."
"There was a big crash by the Fillmore."

New Yorkers might be used to this, but SF usually gets the pop cultural shaft. My second trauma of the last 24 hours is a result of my basic training boot camp thing. I estimate that I held the plank position for a combined total of 5 minutes this morning. My shoulders feel like those of a gracelessly aging MLB pitcher, and I'm walking like I'm fresh out of a helicopter-gas-truck pileup. Other than that, I feel fantastic. Really.