Planning for a big Thanksgiving

In an attempt to avoid doing all my Thanksgiving work on Thursday, I've created a schedule for getting prep done in advance. Crescent roll dough is now rising in my kitchen. In a little while, I'll go make my cranberry chutney and blanch my green beans. Tomorrow is the bigger day: brine the turkey, prepare pies (apple and pumpkin), and roast butternut squash. By Thursday, I'll hardly have anything to do at all, so I'll be able to hang around with all my wonderful friends and enjoy the day.

Speaking of prep work: the word on the street is that brining is the way to go.

And speaking of Thanksgiving, Sauté Wednesday has some great links related to the holiday, including information on how to brine and how to carve your bird.

I wanted a Cadillac for my turkey

I'm going to be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for 8 on Thursday (hopefully I'll document it for my cooking section if I can get Jason to take some pictures). Since the day is fast approaching, I called some local markets to enquire about turkey prices. Last year I settled on a Willie Bird, a free range turkey from Sonoma, and it turned out quite well. This year though, I wanted something better, something that would really demonstrate to my guests how much they mean to me. The choice was clear: A Branigan. The woman on the phone explaned to me that this bird is considered the "Cadillac" of turkeys. Nothing says "I love you" more than a Cadillac, right? Alas the price was prohibitively high, and I reserved instead a Diestel. Why does that sound so much like Edsel to me?

Watching the Leonid meteor showers

The Leonid meteor showers last night were totally cool, except that the fog flirted with our viewing area and finally rolled in for good around 2:30 am. I didn't notice of course, because by that point I was fast asleep. I just can't stay up late anymore, no matter how hard I try. But what I saw was amazing.

The meteors were big (at least to my eye), zipping across the sky with plumes that I swear were colored. Though other observers didn't concur, I thought I saw touches of red and green in the tails. At first the stars were really bright, and I wished I knew more constellations. Then the meteors began, zipping here and there, bright flashes in the sky. And then that stupid fog. And that cold damp air. And that sleepy sleepy feeling, even though I strove to keep my eyes open. Then our sky succumbed to the clouds and we decided to leave. But from the back seat of the car, I spotted one more glorious meteor, bursting across to the east above an open field as I drifted off in the warm cozy car, headed towards home.

What really happened during the dot-com era

I've been thinking a lot about how the last four to five years (the dot-com era) prided itself on zany and out of the box thinking, recalling that breaking the rules was the norm. But zaniness was simply a cover for immaturity, and what was labelled out of the box thinking was merely a lack of business acumen. True paradigm-shifting, revolutionary thinking is rare and hard to come by, and most folks just aren't that smart. Instead, people did whatever they wanted, whatever felt good, and labelled it a new way of doing business. And everyone else agreed.

The Eames and the Powers of Ten

The Exploratorium (here in SF) is running an old Charles and Ray Eames exhibit called Mathematica:
A World of Numbers and Beyond
through May 2002. The purpose is make abstract mathematical concepts more real through demonstrations including, "light bulbs and plastic balls that express complex concepts in math." Sounds fun, and if you've ever seen the Eames' film Powers of Ten, you know they can take the word "obscure" out of mathematical concepts.

First trip to Krispy Kreme

We took our first pilgrimage to the new Krispy Kreme last night. It was a mob scene, with security guards directing traffic and a line for the Drive-Thru that looked like the start of the Indy 500. Inside, a snaking line led customers past the Konveyor belt (I don't know if they spell it that way but they should) where we watched mounds of dough get formed into rings, ride up and down as they flowed through a heated rising unit, stared as the now-plump dough dropped into vats of oil and floated down stream, flipped, and finally passed beneath the sugar waterfall. Coated, plumped, and warm, they finished their journey down the final stretch of the conveyor belt, into a box, then into our tummies. They simply melted in our mouths.

And breaking news!!! Next door to the Krispy Kreme, under construction? You guessed it, another one of California's favorite spots to pack on the pounds and clog the arteries: an In-an-Out Burger. Daly City, you're my hero!

Hot donuts close to my house now

OH!!! How did I forget to tell you this? There's a new Krispy Kreme in Daly City. Just opened! I saw it last night from the freeway. From the KK site:

Daly City, CA! The HOT Light Is Now On!

Daly City, CA - Now serving HOT doughnuts in Daly City. We are located at 1575 Sullivan Avenue (off Hwy 280 at Washington & Sullivan). Call us if you need directions 650-985-5612.

Store hours: Sun - Thurs 5:30 am to Midnight Fri - Sat 5:30 am to 1:00 am Drive-thru is open 24 hours a day

A quick lookup confirms my joy: 6.6 miles from my house. Approximate travel time: 16 minutes. Anyone for some donuts?

Is this where Megan came from?

Can this be the source of my troubles? I just noticed this Business 2.0 Web Guide has me listed as "Megan." Though it's from an old interview, perhaps people are still finding it? Suggested new tag line for Biz 2.0: "Our fact-checking is short on facts."

Several people have written to commiserate about the name thing. Seems there's a lot of us out there that like to be called by the names or nicknames we chose for ourselves. Makes sense.

Back in San Francisco

Home. Sweet. Home. After being away so long, it seems strange here. Sticky and humid. Soft, in a no-hard-winter, no-leaves-to-rake, no-crisp-autumnal-air way. And worst of all? My kitty doesn't even seem to remember me. :(

There is no Megan at megnut

Perhaps it's because I'm tired. Perhaps it's because I just want to be home in California. Perhaps it's because I'm uptight or picky or demanding. I don't know. What I do know is that this "Megan" crap continues. If you don't know what I'm talking about, read the about page. If you email "Megan," don't expect a reply from me. I have no idea who she is.

Still in Boston

Wouldn't you know it, I'm still in Boston. And while it continues to be sunny, it's gotten quite a bit colder and I'm wishing I had a heavier coat with me. Some additional meetings have caused me to postpone my return until mid-week.

I've posted my presentation, Weblogs as Peer-to-Peer Journalism from the O'Reilly P2P & Web Services Conference. The slides are rather sparse but you'll get a sense of what I was saying. It's (of course) much better in person. :)

A sad crash in Queens

Oh no. An American plane crash this morning in Queens. I've flown American twice in the past week, and am scheduled to fly again. I feel badly for American employees, they have been so nice and so thankful on my recent trips and over the phone when I've rescheduled my ticket. They just keep saying, "thank you so much for flying American, we really appreciate your business." No matter what caused this crash, it's another terrible blow for American, and for all of us.

Out Cold coming soon

I saw a commercial tonight for Out Cold, a movie written by a friend of mine from high school. It's coming out (at least here in Boston) on November 21 (I think that's what it said). I can't wait to see it, even though it loooks like a silly flick about snowboarders. But Jon Zack (the writer) is so g-damn funny, I'm sure it'll be great.

Now begins the Boston visit

It's so nice to be in Boston. The sky is so blue and clear and sunny. The air is crisp. There are leaves everywhere. And it just smells so nice. It smells like fall. It smells like home. Today, walking from Charlestown to Beacon Hill and back again, I wonder why I choose to live anyplace else. Fall in New England, even late Fall, is magical.

Tomorrow I'm going over the river and through the woods to my grandmother's house. Honestly.

While I'm at it, I should tell you about how my flight yesterday from Washington National to Boston flew right over the Pentagon and I could see where the whole side of it was smashed out by the September 11 attack and subsequent debris removal. It was unreal. By the time my little plane passed over NYC it was dark, and all I could see were the floodlights at Ground Zero. Still, seeing it, and knowing what was missing, made me cry.

I'll probably post the rest of my thoughts about the P2P Conference and my slides from my talk when I return to San Francisco next week. I'm not likely to be online much before that.

The trouble with wireless and multi-tasking

Off to a slow start on the final day of the conference. I'm beat, and stayed up too late at a party last night talking with some really fascinating folks. I'm getting a little sad that the conference is ending today (at least for me, there's a day of tutorials tomorrow). Off to Boston this evening to visit family and friends.

At the conference there's wireless in all the conference rooms and public space. While it's wonderful to be able to pop open a laptop and be connected wherever one moves, the internet access in the actual conference rooms is a little distruptive. I've observed a good number of people (including myself) taking advantage of the web, email, and AIM during panels and presentations, which seems slightly rude to the speakers. Though people think they're listening as they code (yes, I saw someone programming), respond to mail, or carry on an IM conversation, they're really not listening as well as they could. Same goes for people who are trying to blog the session live (Wes and I were discussing the difficulty of doing this).

I'm not sure if anything should or could be done about this, of course. I don't think the solution is to remove the wireless access, because it's also really great to be able to pull up more information on something a speaker's referencing. I guess it's just important to be cognizant of the multi-tasking myth and be aware you can't really do two things well at the same time.

Meanwhile, I continue to be embarrassed by my laptop, which insists on hibernating when the battery level goes below 50%. Then when I try to restart, it craps out, emitting a high-pitched beep that turns heads, and serves up a display of strange colored lines. Only by removing the battery can I get it to respond and boot successfully. This, unfortunately, has happened several times in the middle of someone's session. Talk about rude!

A sum up of some of the talks

Great panels continue here in DC. Both of mine went smoothly, though I nearly missed my presentation because I thought it started at 2:15 when it actually started at 2 pm. But I rushed down and made it, enjoying a lively conversation with folks about weblogs and peer-to-peer journalism and trust and media as business, among other things.

Also attending a panel called "File Sharing and Copyright Law: Basic Principles and Guidance for Developers" given by Fred von Lohmann from the EFF. It was fascinating and very impressive, Fred's a wonderful, engaging speaker. I plan on making a long overdue donation to the EFF when I get home, you should too. It turns out that the EFF only has 5,000 members. I'd always assumed it was much larger than that simply by the amount they seem to accomplish. Anyway, best quote from Fred on all the lawsuits and judgements that have been happening, (paraphrase because I didn't quite get it all down in time), "These cases aren't about piracy, there aren't even any pirates involved (note: because companies are being sued, not individual users). These cases are about industries trying to control technologies until they can figure out how the technology works with their business model."

Another gem: regarding the Napster decision, which effectively changed the architecture of the application, "do we really want the courts dictating architecture?" All I could picture was Sandra Day O'Connor in her black robe with white collar saying, "I'd really hoped we could do something with SOAP here, could you do more to open up your API?" God. Could you imagine? I learned some valuable, but troubling things at the great panel. Thanks Fred!

My talk is coming up very soon

Today's the big Day of Talks, half an hour until Collaborative Journalism. Should be fun, though I'm tired. This getting up at 7 am is hard work, as is all the talking.

One of my favorite expressions so far, gleaned from the "Military Applications for P2P" panel yesterday was decision superiority. The armed forces are always looking to gain decision superiority apparently, and now I want to as well. I think that would be really helpful in most situations.

Another expression used yesterday that I loved came from Cory Doctorow in his "A New Way of Understanding P2P" presentation. He talked about the concept of an imagination proposition, or the idea that people get involved in something simply because it's interesting. An example he stated was the huge number of people involved in SETI@home vs. P2P projects searching for cures for AIDS or cancer. While the value proposition for an AIDS cure is higher than the search for extraterrestrial life, it's simply more interesting to people to dedicate their spare CPU cycles to the search for aliens. Imagination proposition. I love it.

P2P conference is off to a great start

My head is swimming from everything and everyone here at Day One of the P2P conference, and I'm remembering why I love conferences (good ones): it's amazing to have so many smart people in one place, talking up cool stuff. I've gotten so many great suggestions so far about, well, nearly everything. Two thumbs up! And oddly enough, I'm getting less nervous about doing my talk. I'll try to do a better summary later.

Good baseball means the Yankees lost

Woo hoo! Woo hoo! Woo hoo! Now that's some good baseball. :)

Author Jen Niederst speaking in Boston

Jen Niederst will be giving a talk (this link is a page that was framed, here's the wrapper) on November 13th in Boston entitled "Web Trends 1993-2001: A Designer's Perspective." If you live in the Boston area, have $35 to spare, and are interested in the web, you should attend. Jen's a smart cookie and has written several books so really, you should go.

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