Archive for October 2003

NYC Jeans Police in the NY Sun

There's an article in today's NY Sun about the NYC Jeans Police, Fashion Police 'Ticket' Bad Jeans:

Thought the "fashion police" was just an empty phrase? Meet the New York City Jean Police. It's walking the beat and is ready to issue citations for denim that's too tight, too wide, or just too ugly.

The fact that only one citation has been handed out doesn't bother Meg Hourihan, the 31-year-old software programmer who posted the concept on her blog -- and who issued the only citation (to a co-worker). But as it's all meant as a joke, she's just happy to bring some light-hearted attention to the problem.

In case you missed it last time around, here's the link to the citation [.922 KB] And here's a citation in "action".

The Admiral at my door

Matt Haughey. Old. Friend. He couldn't resist the opportunity to stick it to me one more time, so he sent me a War Admiral stuffed animal. I have to admit, it's pretty cute, but it's no Biscuit. Now of course, once I get the Biscuit, I can spend my days re-enacting the famous match race between the two, and watch Seabiscuit triumph again and again and again.


Well, for a weekend so full of losing potential, things didn't turn out all that badly for me and mine: Sunday's ended with a solid 6 for 7 performance by my teams. Alas, the US Women aren't going to repeat their World Cup title, which bums me out, but Nebraska won, the Pats won, the Bills won, and another team -- whose name I cannot mention lest I jinx -- won two important games. I suffered many near heart attacks (Jason: "I think your life-expectancy decreased by about ten years watching these games") but am ready for one more big game tomorrow night. (Of course, I don't need to tell you I watched a large portion of the bottom of today's 8th inning with my eyes closed, and filtered through my fingers, like a horror movie.) I am counting the minutes 'till 8:05 EDT...

How is this even possible?

Bush Unsure if Name Leaker Will Be Caught: I don't get it. How can Bush think we'll find Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, but doesn't believe we'll find a snitch on his own staff?

Last night

I simply could not watch, especially after the Jackson/Damon collision. By the 9th inning, I was up, pacing from the living room, down the hall into the kitchen, and back. Again I used my filtering technique: hands in front of face, peering between fingers at the TV, eyes squinted so actual sight impaired by eyelashes. And I was even tempted to plug my ears, but I listened. I listened as Lowe pitched the third strike to Melhuse. 2 outs. "Just one more out, just one more out" I chanted to myself.

It's moments like these -- being a Red Sox fan -- that I can just see it all fall apart. Oakland's tying run is on third, their series-wining run on second. It could be over just like that. So I paced some more, back into the kitchen. My heart was pounding, and fast. There's no way to watch something like this: bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, two outs, 1-2 count. I just stood in front of my TV, hands before eyes, filtering again, watching but not watching. And then a called strike three on Long! Lowe erupts! The Sox erupt! I breathe again. Thank God for TiVo. I rewind a bit, sit back down, and watch the end of the 9th in peace.

Off to Barcelona

Adios amigos, I'm off to Spain for six days of tapas eating and schmoozing with the Barcelona blogosfera. Hope to see folks at ArtFutura, and if you're in Barcelona and won't be there, drop me an email if you want to meet up or something. Blogging will be light until I return. In my absence, please pray for the Sox.

Adventures in Barcelona

9:55 PM Scheduled departure from JFK

1:30 AM Actual departure from JFK

11 PM Normal bedtime in NYC

3:30 AM Watching BBC World in hotel room, wide awake

11 AM Requested wake-up call time at hotel

8:30 AM Actual wake-up call, unbeknownst to me because I didn't look at my watch before I hopped in the shower

0" of water on floor after shower in NYC

1" of water on floor of bathroom and hotel room after 8:30 AM shower with unwieldy Spanish shower head and flimsy shower curtain

Ah, the joys of travel. Actually, aside from these slight problems, things are off to a fine start here in Barcelona, and I've been having fun speaking Spanish and meeting lots of nice folks. And drinking many cortados -- coffees with a splash of milk. Yum!

Cowboy Up Cookies

OK Sox fans, in order to show your support, here's what you've got to do: bake a batch of Red Sox Cowboy Up Cookies! "Cowboy up!" has been the Sox rallying cry this season. It's a rodeo expression, "to 'cowboy up' means to suck it up in times of adversity," according to this Boston Globe article about the team's new tradition. So in their honor, I've posted a recipe for yummy cowboy cookies -- my favorite kind of cookie -- so that we can suck it up too, suck up cookies that is.

The brand called Vermont

From today's Boston Globe comes an interesting article, The brand called Vermont: How the Green Mountain state cornered the market on purity.

Some might accuse our northern neighbors of having control issues. But according to state officials, the name Vermont has real value. A product labeled "Made in Vermont" -- whether herb-infused maple syrup, pineapple pepper jam, or chai water buffalo yogurt -- is worth 10 percent more than the same product made elsewhere.

As someone who's spent a lot of time in Vermont, and values its products, I found it an interesting read. Especially since I only buy Vermont maple syrup, and hesitate to buy anything made in New Hampshire. I guess I'm just another sucker for brand and marketing and I'd never even realized it! Perhaps when I start my farm (goat cheese, maple syrup, and Macintosh apples currently top the list of products I'll produce) I'll have to locate it in Vermont to benefit from the strong brand.

Red Sox Cowboy Up Cookies


2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (about 4 ounces)


The front page of the Boston Globe says it all: Heartbreak Again. It was so close, they played so well, and then you just knew. As Pedro Martinez took the mound in the 8th, everyone at the Riviera (the NYC Red Sox bar where I watched the game) looked a little anxious. Shouldn't he come out? we all wondered. And then the Yankees' bats woke up. Shouldn't Pedro be taken out? we said to each other, huddled in front of the TV, the raucous crowd now silent. More hits, people pleading at the TV, For God's sake, take him out!! until the Red Sox were no longer wining, and the game was tied. And just like that it had fallen apart, again. Boone's 11th inning home run sealed the pennant for the Yanks, and silently, numbly, we exchanged good byes, murmured hopes for next year, next year, and I walked home alone.

Still a BoSox fan

After a weekend of mourning I've decided I'm leaving my Red Sox logo up for a while longer, just to show my continued support of the best team in baseball (alas possessing baseball's worst manager). This weekend I baked my Cowboy Up cookies and thought of the game, and the team, and how well they played, and decided I still love them all (players, that is). Here's to 2004, boys!

Ugg Boots

All I can think when I see these boots on the streets of NYC is, "Uggh!! Why are you wearing those stupid fucking boots?!"

Update: obviously these boots are ok if you're in the Arctic trudging across tundra. If it's so cold outside your feet would freeze without them, then you can wear them. If they ground is dry, or there are palm trees within a two mile radius of where you stand, you cannot. is live

A new site that I'm contributing to called has launched today. It's a group blog with lots of smart techy women participating to discuss women's contributions to computing, and also to highlight opportunities and challenges within the field. Though women are making posts, the discussion is open to everyone, and I hope that people who are interested in the topic will join in.

Q & A with NYer author Seymour M. Hersh

In an online-only accompaniment to his article, The Stovepipe ("How conflicts between the Bush Administration and the intelligence community marred the reporting on Iraq's weapons"), in this week's The New Yorker, Seymour M. Hersh answers some questions about the Bush Administration and the intelligence surrounding the weapons of mass destruction. Very good and important stuff.

Lafayette Project is Kinja

The Lafayette Project, having for six months been established on Franklin Street, now has a name: Kinja. Work continues apace, more or less. The FAQ from February still applies, more or less. The logo was created by the lovely and talented Leslie Harpold. If you need great work done with quick turnaround and no fancy-pants designer attitude, Leslie is your woman.

A timeline of the most amazing thing

Friday evening: I get home from work and I open my trusty iBook. I'm happily doing my computing when the screen goes all Matrix wacko: strange lines start streaming down it, then things get all blocky and pixely, then it freezes. Several reboots later, and it's still happening. iBook is unusable. Panicked and sad, I power it off and go to sleep.

Saturday: I go upstate to see the leaves, and spend the day in denial.

Saturday night: more rebooting confirms the terrible state of affairs: iBook is seriously messed up. :(

Sunday AM: in the worst throes of my cold, I trudge to the Apple Store in Soho. I'm there ten minutes before it opens so I can be first to the Genius Bar. After five minutes of fiddling, Christopher confirms my deepest fears, "Something is seriously messed up with your iBook. It needs to go in for repairs. It's probably a hardware problem related to the video. It'll take 7 to 10 days." I trudge home, sleep all afternoon, and spend the evening backing up everything onto another computer.

Monday 11 AM: I drop off the iBook at the Apple Store. "Godspeed little doodle," I say as it disappears into the back. I've never had a hardware problem. Why now? Why me? "Godspeed," I whisper as I exit the store.

Tuesday: I miss my iBook.

Wednesday 10:40 AM: a package arrives at work. It's the iBook, and it's come all the way from Tennessee! It's back! It's back! In less than 48 hours, it's back and it's fixed! Godspeed? More like Super-duper-Allmighty-God-Light-Speed! I am amazed. And relieved. And happy.

Using language to dominate politics

There's a really fascinating interview with UC Berkeley professor George Lakoff discussing how conservatives use language to dominate politics. Reading this makes me realize that Democrats are going to need to do a lot more than just hold Meetups and have blogs to win anytime soon. Also Lakoff has the best quote I've read in a long time about why we pay taxes and why we should pay taxes.

Taxes are what you pay to be an American, to live in a civilized society that is democratic and offers opportunity, and where there's an infrastructure that has been paid for by previous taxpayers. This is a huge infrastructure. The highway system, the Internet, the TV system, the public education system, the power grid, the system for training scientists -- vast amounts of infrastructure that we all use, which has to be maintained and paid for. Taxes are your dues -- you pay your dues to be an American. In addition, the wealthiest Americans use that infrastructure more than anyone else, and they use parts of it that other people don't. The federal justice system, for example, is nine-tenths devoted to corporate law. The Securities and Exchange Commission and all the apparatus of the Commerce Department are mainly used by the wealthy. And we're all paying for it.

I guess if Republicans continue to relieve us of taxes, they'll eventually relieve us of the infrastructure our taxes fund. [via jason]

Perhaps my dorkiest thought ever

I'm not sure why this finally occurred to me, but it did. If only I'd been born two years earlier, I'd have been born on the Unix epoch! And then I'd always know my age, give or take a few hours, in milliseconds. So handy! It's almost enough to make me wish I were two years older. Almost. Being a bit weird, I'm now thinking about the people who were born on the epoch, and wondering how many will die on January 19, 2038 (the end of the 32-bit epoch). Because that would be the ultimate in nerdy, and also sad since you'd only live to be 68 and that's not very long.

How soon we forget

According to this San Jose Mercury News article, Friendster spurns Google, Friendster rejected a $30 million offer to be acquired by Google. Why? Because Benchmark and Kleiner (two big-wig venture capital firms in Silicon Valley) were willing to give them a $53 million valuation during their most recent investment round. The article also points out that, "Just two months ago, Friendster was valued at $12.5 million."

Hello? Did we totally forget what happened just two or three years ago?! Sure, Friendster is cool, but eyeballs and traffic do not a (huge) business model make. Remember? We already learned this! Obviously this is another deal with a valuation based on potential and not actual revenue (or did Friendster's revenue increase from ~$4 million to ~$17 million in the past two months?), and sure, there is potential there. But I hardly think there's $53 million worth. Earth to VCs: cut it out, before you force another crop of companies to grow too big, too fast, all to recoup an investment you shouldn't have done in the first place. [via Cameron]

Related: BusinessWeek opines with A Dud in Cupid's Online Quiver?

And also: Sippey does some math on the whole thing.

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