Goodbye garden

It's pretty chilly today, 41°, and tonight's predicted lows are below freezing. So I spent the afternoon picking the last of my tomatoes (10!) and looking over recipes from September's Martha Stewart Living for green tomatoes. I cut down the plant, brought my rosemary and lavender indoors, and moved the holly and boxwood onto the windowsill, where it will remain through the winter. The fire escape garden has moved into its winter cycle, which makes me a bit sad because I miss my flowers and herbs and the joy of growing my own tomatoes. But I'm also excited and expectant, looking forward to seeing berries on my holly, and watching the snow build up on the railings in another month or two. Hello garden, phase two.

Guggenheim collection online

If you can't make it to the Guggenheim Museum in New York City but you're still yearning to check out some nice art, the Guggenheim collection online is just the thing for you.

Currently representing 169 artists, the collection online encompasses both the classic and the new -- from the Guggenheim's earliest work, an 1867 landscape by Camille Pissarro, through more recent acquisitions, a 1998-99 sculpture by Robert Gober -- striking a balance that reflects the dynamic tenor of the institution as a whole.

It's just the thing to explore on a rainy day like today.

Going into business with a partner

A List Apart has a new article by Kevin Potts called Starting a Business: Advice from the Trenches. There's a lot that goes in to starting a business, and Kevin's article does a good job of highlighting the issues one should consider when doing so. But there is one recommendation that is a very serious decision: that of going into business with a partner. Kevin writes:

If you can, start the business with a partner. This person should be another designer or programmer with a level of experience equal to or greater than your own, but with a different skill set.

He then explains the good things that can come from working with a partner, and there are many. But he doesn't give the decision the weight it deserves. Starting a business with a partner (or partners) is very different than starting one alone. The closest analogy I can come up with is that it's like marrying someone, and the business you build is your child. Now you'd never marry someone simply because they possess different skills than you do (she likes to cook, and I don't mind cleaning up, so I guess we're a match!). You marry someone who shares similar values and who shares similar goals. Choosing a business partner is a decision that should be undertaken with the gravity of any long-term commitment.

If you like to spend a lot of money and your partner doesn't, you're going to clash. If you want to grow the business and she wants to keep a small team, you'll fight. Your partner may want to do something you consider morally questionable, how will you resolve it? Add to the partnership the questions of equity and authority, never mind cash flow and the actual work you have to do for clients, and pretty quickly you can find yourself in one heck of a mess. The more work you can do upfront before starting the business to ensure you and your partner(s) are a good match, the greater the likelihood of success. Spend a lot of time talking about your hopes and dreams for the company, and discuss what you'll do when you don't agree about something, and how you'd handle things if the money ran out.

Starting a business is a great idea, and I encourage anyone who's interested to go for it. I never regret starting Pyra with Ev, it was an amazing experience, but it was also the most painful experience of my life. Diving into business with a partner is never something to be undertaken lightly. [via Anil]

0 to $500 in 26 hours

I can't believe it, but we've done it already: since yesterday at 12:31 PM you guys have donated $500!! I'm stunned, and totally inspired and hopeful by what's been accomplished in such a short amount of time. So rather than stop now, I'm upping my goal to $1000. Let's see how much we can raise. And of course, thank you so much for your generosity!

Here's the original post about why I'm running and what the money supports. And you know me and my love for stats, so here's one for you: It only took 31 people to get $500, making the average contribution a little over $16 a person. Woo hoo! :)

Howard Dean rules Meetup

I hadn't been over to Meetup, the web site that "organizes local interest groups," in a while. So when I visited last night, I was astounded by a statistic I saw on the front page. Meetup has 779,451 users (as of this writing) and the National Dean in 2004 Meetup Day has 135,378 members, far and away the largest Meetup group. Which means that roughly 17.4% -- nearly 1 in 5 -- Meetupers are signed up for Dean meetups. That's incredible, and totally cool.

Running to help people living with HIV/AIDS

Race to Deliver: A 4 mile fundraiser for God's Love We DeliverI love running but I have a hard time running consistently. Having a race as a training goal helps me a lot, and running a race that's also a fundraiser for a good cause motivates me even more. So I've registered to run the Race to Deliver, the annual fundraiser for God's Love We Deliver. Don't be scared off by the "God" in the name, it's not a religious organization.

God's Love We Deliver's mission is to improve the health and well-being of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses by alleviating hunger and malnutrition. We prepare and deliver nutritious, high-quality meals to people who, because of their illness, are unable to provide or prepare meals for themselves.

The race is 4 miles, and takes place November 23, so I've got my training cut out for me. I know times are hard for a lot of people right now, and many folks are laid off or worrying that they will be, but if you can afford it, I'd love your support. I've set a donation goal of $500, so if 100 readers can pledge just $5 each, we can reach it! Here's my donation homepage. Thanks so much for your help.

Update: already over $100 has been pledged, so we're more than 20% of the way. Woo hoo! You guys rock! :)

Update @ 10:23 PM: We're at $270! I'm totally floored, I can't believe people have contributed more than 50% of the total amount in less than 12 hours!!

One year since San Francisco

Today marks one year since I left San Francisco, and it's hard to believe that it's been so long already. I've had no regrets about leaving and there's been very little (hmmm, has there even been anything?) that I've missed about the city. Of course I miss my friends, and I wish they would all move to NYC so we could be close again, but that's about it. It's been a good year, difficult in parts, and I feel like I've grown a lot. I'm thankful for all the new amazing people I've met here, and I love living in New York City. It's nice to look back after a year and know I made the absolutely right decision.

How to get to BoingBoing

If you're a fan of BoingBoing, perhaps you've noticed the site's been MIA for the past few days. There have been some hosting "issues" and BoingBoing is now in the process of moving to a new host. In the meantime, you can access the site at Xeni says that, "'' will work again in a day or two."

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.

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.

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]

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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!


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.

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 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.

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