Using JavaScript for a Powerful GUI at O'Reilly

My first article for O'Reilly, Using JavaScript to Create a Powerful GUI, is online. If you're interested in adding Windows-application-style functionality to your web pages or applications, check it out.

Chestnuts "Roasting" in Front of Alpha Market

Chestnuts (roasting on an open fire)

Behind the Megway

And in other news, there is no other news. Except this Megway "Behind the Music" photo.

Nine Bodhis

a picture of Bodhi, my cata picture of Bodhi, my cata picture of Bodhi, my cat
a picture of Bodhi, my cata picture of Bodhi, my cata picture of Bodhi, my cat
a picture of Bodhi, my cata picture of Bodhi, my cata picture of Bodhi, my cat

I call my first collection, Nine Bodhis. You may recognize my kitty Bodhi from the Megway movie, he has a brief cameo at the end of the workplace scene.

Buying a camera from Digital eTailer

Now that my new camera, a Nikon Coolpix 995, has arrived safely, I can recommend the place I bought it from, Digital-eTailer. I was suspicious since I'd never heard of them and it was so cheap ($648, but it's now listed at $699). After I spoke with someone on the phone to "confirm" my web order (confirm meaning "we'll try to upsell you on all kinds of junk you don't need but it will be worth it to listen to our spiel for five minutes since the price you're paying is so much lower than anyplace else selling the camera online, and there's no tax, and you're getting free shipping because you bought two accessories, so see, it's not too bad to listen to some salesy rant now is it?"), the camera was on its way and arrived a little more than a week later. If you're looking for a new camera, you might want to try Digital-eTailer. Especially if you want the Nikon 995, since they had the lowest price (and if you buy by December 31, 2001 Nikon is offering a $100 rebate on it.)

Is it jibe or is it jive poll results

Thanks to all of you who voted on the "Jibe/Jive" poll. The domestic dispute has now been resolved thanks to your assistance. The "jibee" will be receiving a fifteen minute backrub from the "jivee" according to the terms set forth in their bet.

Commercials at the movies

On the movie theatre commercial tip, a point of clarification: I didn't mean those slides that they show onscreen while people are entering the theatre and the lights are still up and you're trying to find your seat and not step in any movie theatre floor goo (which got all over my favorite green bag when I saw 2001 recently at the Castro and was really gross). These commercials are like TV commercials and start after the lights dim. They were loud and long and one was for Windows XP. That's what I'm talking about. One reader wrote to inform me that many large movie chains have gone bankrupt in the past 18 months, hence commercials. I'm going to investigate this a bit more...if you have any good links/info, please send them my way.

Finally the camera

IT'S HERE!!! IT'S HERE!!! My new camera is here!!!! Yippee!

Thoughts on Lord of the Rings

I really enjoyed Lord of the Rings yesterday, eventhough I had set myself to be disappointed. One thing that worried me going in was my lack of familiarity with the stories. I've only read The Hobbit, and that was nearly twenty years ago. I worried if I'd be able to follow the film, or if I'd lose interest somehow, not knowing it intimately. But no worries there, they did an excellent job of making a coherent tale out of it all, though I'm sure some die hard fans will object to the reorganization of the narrative that resulted in doing so. The acting was excellent, the scenary and effects naerly top notch, and just about everything was done well. What a relief! (And so much better than Harry Potter.)

I keep forgetting they're playing commercials at the movies now before the previews (yes, commercials, like you see on TV, in case you're not being subjected to this). What kills me is that everyone quiets down and pays attention, as if it were a preview or the actual film. But it's a goddamn commercial! I'm paying to to be advertised to. From now on, I want more civil disobedience. I try to talk right through then and then turn my attention to the screen once the actual "movie" content begins. I encourage you to do the same, just talk right through those commercials as if nothing's started playing yet. We shouldn't have to pay to watch commercials, it's ridiculous. (FYI: this is happening at the Sony Metreon in San Francisco.)

Jason pointed out something interesting about this to me: the movie theatres must be hurting for money if they've resorted to advertising to their captive audience. Possibly, or they're greedier than I ever suspected. And if they need money, I just have to wonder what the heck is going on. $10 a ticket, $4.75 for popcorn, $3.75 for soda. Where's it all going? To recoup the costs of making those stupid blockbusters like Pearl Harbor? It looks like the Industry may be a victim of its own greed.

Where are you new camera?

Still awaiting my new camera. Where oh where art thou, new camera?

To see the Lord of the Rings

Off to see Lord of the Rings today. Not holding my breath, since everything else this year has stunk.

Is it jive or is it jibe?

Which of the following do you think is correct? (I.e. which one do you use? No peeking in the dictionary, please.)

That doesn't jibe with my thoughts.
That doesn't jive with my thoughts.

If you prefer not to vote, you may view the results.

Repeat of The Merchants of Cool

If you missed it last spring, don't make the same mistake on December 20. PBS will be rebroadcasting the Frontline episode, The Merchants of Cool. Check your local listings for time and station.

Viewing the dirctor's cut of Dances with Wolves

Last week I watched the director's cut of Dances with Wolves on Bravo. (Unfortunately, the director's cut doesn't seem to be available on DVD.) I haven't seen too many "director's cut" versions of movies with which I am so familiar, so this was an interesting experience. I was acutely aware of all the new scenes and dialogue, and it was amazing how just a few scenes changed the whole movie for me.

If you remember the movie, you'll recall that when Lt. Dunbar (Kevin Costner) arrives at the fort, it's abandoned and he doesn't know why. I always found that particularly creepy, wondering what had happened to the men, and wondering if a similar fate would befall Lt. Dunbar. (Did they starve? Desert? Get killed by native Americans?) In the director's cut there's an additional scene showing men at the fort who pack up and desert because their reinforcements never arrive. The addition of that one scene changed the balance of the film for me. Now I as the viewer had more knowledge than Costner's character, so I wasn't equal with him. I couldn't share in his fear nearly as much. And that changed the experience of viewing the film for me, if that makes sense, which it may not since I seem to be sucky at writing these days and unable to express myself effectively. My apologies.

Living other lives elsewhere

There are several sites whose authors possess the lives I would like to live. Dean Allen's Textism is one of them. France? Snow? Glace de Viande? Everything he writes makes his life in France sound so magical, so counter to my own dull existence. It all sounds so delicious to me that I'll even put up with the vegetarian slights. If I were to move to the South of France, would my life be as dreamy? Perhaps it's all in the telling of the tale.

Feeling nutty

Some days I feel like a nut. Some days I don't.

Party megway

I went to this ridiculous (but fun) party on Saturday night that was something straight out of 90210. We started by asking a man wearing a baseball hat, on the corner of Mission and 5th, where the "holiday party" was. He sent us to another man in front of the Gap at the cable car turnaround at Powell and Mission. Once we gave the Gap guy the password ("sick" or maybe it was "Sikh"?), he directed us down the street to a third location, where we found an abandoned-looking door. Once opened, it revealed a "happening" party within, complete with DJ's and lights. I haven't felt so silly in a very long time. The party wasn't too bad though, and the highlight of the evening occurred as my friend Sylvia and I made our way through the crowd. Some guys stops me and says,

"Don't I know you?"

I look at Syl, who rolls her eyes.

"Um, I don't think so," I say (as if this wholly unoriginal pick-up line is actually going to work.)

"No really, I think I do. Your name is Meg."

Odd. I don't recognize him at all. How could he know me?

"Huh, you don't look familiar to me," I say.

Suddenly his eyebrows raise and he smiles.

"Megway! You're the Megway!"

Oh. Good. Lord.

My results from the Political Compass test

I enjoyed taking this Political Compass test, though it revealed I'm more liberal economically than I thought. I'm way out in "left" field, scoring -6.00 economic and -6.77 authoritarian. [via Nick]

Introducing our new tree!

victorian christmas treeWe went and got our Christmas tree last night at the local tree lot near our house. It was pretty cold outside, nearly enough give it the authentic "going to get the tree" feel I remember from childhood, but not quite. My toes didn't freeze as we walked the rows looking for that perfect tree (not dried out, strong scent, full fat shape with no visible trunk through the branches) and my hands didn't get cold as I pulled out trees to inspect them more closely. After ten minutes of searching, we found our candidate. I had a good feeling about him almost immediately.

He was new to the lot, just delivered. A little under 6', he was full nearly up to the top, then had a small gap, then a burst of branches. At the top, a long branch reached skyward, perfect for holding the star. Every year I have a very emotional connection to my Christmas tree. It's almost as if each tree has a personality of its own, and when I find the one I like, we're fast friends. This year is no different, and my heart warms as I look at him sitting in the bay window, patiently awaiting the lights and decorations that will come this evening. (Pictures to follow when my new camera arrives.)

Another pay raise for Congress

I've been avoiding talking about the current political (and economic and job) situation(s) here lately because it's got me in such a funk. With the attacks on India, the total disintegration of any kind of process in Israel, the executive privilege Bush is invoking and Ashcroft in general, I find myself bereft of hope when I think of it all. Add to that this tidbit that I didn't see in my usual news perusals of the past few days: Members of Congress set for $4,900 pay raise. You'd think in the middle of a recession and a war, with the budget surplus evaporated and unemployment on the rise, that Congress could forgo a raise this year (it "will be the third congressional pay raise in the last four years.") After all, isn't that what most people are doing, if they're lucky enough to have jobs? ('Round here you can't even get a job doing HTML for a porn site for $18/hr.) Guh. This stuff makes me sick.

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