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Category: travel

05/01/06 11:29 - 62ºF - ID#36700

Life Lessons

This has to be quick because I think I'm about to post a rare w4m ad to help round up an audience for my friend Paul's show at the Makeout Room tomorrow night. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for a friend, haha.

Believe me, I realize how lucky I am my parents set a stellar example to "live for today" even with four kids. I took it for granted as a kid, but now that I'm of the age of deferred gratification, I can see how valuable a lesson it really was. My mom died at age 60. If they had put off their dreams of traveling until they retired, she would have missed out on Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, South Africa, Australia, the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, just to name a few. Of course, if it had been left up to Dad, she would have spent her lifetime vacationing in a tent [inlink]twisted;229[/inlink] within driving distance of home (albeit, with Dad driving, that could be a long way). But she wisely became a travel agent when they moved from Baltimore to South Carolina, and from then on found an affordable way for them to travel.

Unfortunately for me, I had already left for college by then. So my youngest brother was the benefactor of Mom's resourcefulness. Yeah, I still haven't been to South Africa, Australia, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, among others. But he has.

So all I'm saying is, how stupid would it have been to wait? I'm not saying everybody's thing is to travel. But if you want to see the world, just get out there. We're all going to leave this planet one day. See it before then if you want to.
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Category: family

05/01/06 12:09 - 56ºF - ID#36699

My Dad is still insane

Just in case you were wondering.

I mean, the relentless traveling since he retired is one thing. I'm talking just in the past 12 months or so: sailed to the Bahamas on a friend's sailboat Feb 05; 3 weeks in Austria/Germany Mar-April 05; 10-day family sailing trip in Antiqua June 05; camping with grandkids July 05; one month in China Sept. 05; road trip with German relatives to New York and Washington DC Oct. 05; Christmas in New York, Massachusetts, Maine and Tennessee (another road trip in the Jetta) Dec 05; 7 weeks in New Zealand/Australia Feb 06.

Is that over the top or what? I'm like, Dad! Did your doctor give you 12 months to live and your forgot to tell us?

If you think he's doing all that because he's rich and can afford to, you're wrong. I'm not even going to argue with you. Believe what you want, I don't give a shit.

So he gets back from NZ/Australia and goes directly into scheduled surgery to replace his hip. Something he's been putting off way too long. (We've been watching him contort himself to get up and down and around for the past 2 years. But as my brothers point out, it's hard to argue with someone who hobbles onto the tennis court looking like a lame old man but then whips your butt.)

In typical form, he gave us a matter-of-fact, blow-by-blow account of the procedure -- highlighted by his post-op dinner menu. Then -- and this was something new -- he sent us a picture of his scar. Now, I'm no doctor, but I'm pretty sure I know what part of him they had to open up to replace his hip, and I really didn't want to see a close-up of that part of him. But just to prove he really is entering his eccentric period, he wrote to say he saved the seven staples from his surgery after they were removed and will give each of us one of them. Gee thanks Dad! Just what I always wanted!

Well, I guess if the tooth fairy had to handle my baby teeth the least I can do is give him a shiny quarter for one of his staples. But do other peeps Dads do stuff like this?

Anyway, I thought Dad might finally enjoy some down time after the surgery, so I sent him a copy of "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" (he's into morbid humor) -- figuring he would have to be an armchair traveler for a while. Wrong! They've already booked a 15-day trip to the Netherlands/Germany/Switzerland in July, and another camping trip with the grandkids before that.

I give up. When do I get to retire? lol.

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Dad & Jean, Bahamas

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Dad & Jean, Antiqua

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Camping with the grandkids

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Comparing bellies with Budda.

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Dad's hip scar. Hey - if he doesn't want a picture of his butt on the internet he shouldn't send it to me!

p.s. - anybody want a staple? haha!


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Permalink: My_Dad_is_still_insane.html
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Category: food

04/28/06 01:59 - 52ºF - ID#36698

red herring

or should I say, rice pudding?

Anyway, my ex turned me onto tapioca. A very simple but magical-seeming food. At least the way he made it.

While I was waiting to checkout at my favorite Asian supermarket, I passed by the tapioca section and picked up a couple packs for him on impulse. The pastel confetti colors looked like fun, and I couldn't resist the acid lime green. Hey, maybe these would score high on the rainbow diet, haha. I'm not sure if they're supposed to be for bubble drinks or pudding, but he'll figure out something to do with them. Maybe I'll keep the green one for myself. It does look kind of disgusting, but I've been known to eat almost anything.

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Category: craigslist

04/27/06 12:10 - 45ºF - ID#36697

cl m4w translations

this is only the tip of the iceberg, but it's a start.

what they say / what it means

likes to cuddle / will be all over you like a cheap suit the second he's within groping distance

looking for daytime fun / the best time to cheat on my wife/girlfriend is when's she's working her ass off to support me

I'm selective with women preferring quality over quantity / I use this ridiculous line every time, but only the really stupid/naive women fall for it.

So, I really have to start hanging out with the biker crowd. This cute biker guy struck up a conversation with me while we were waiting to order dim sum to go on Sunday. Damn! he was cute. And I never noticed those tempura-fried mini-fish with the eyeballs until he pointed them out. Yeah, that would be way easier to consume while you're biking down Clement than most other options. And today I saw several other promising specimens of same the genre... My God! Those guys have impeccable control...

Balancing upright at stop lights, that is -- what did you think I meant? haha!



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Permalink: cl_m4w_translations.html
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Location: San Francisco, CA


Category: music

04/25/06 12:24 - 44ºF - ID#36696

Eisley

usersound: Eisley / Plenty of Paper
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Category: dating

04/22/06 01:54 - 56ºF - ID#36695

I might like you better if we...

Ok, get this. Another craigslist style non-love story.

So this guy seems interesting from his post -- down-to-earth, enjoys going to "alt bands kind of concerts." So we decide to meet for a beer at Lucky 13. I recognize him from his photo, although my suspicions raised by the blur-motion over-flashed quality bear true. Just goes to show the mind fills in what it wants if you leave something to the imagination. Anyway, he's not bad-looking, and god knows I'm no grand prize. So we get a couple beers and settle into a table by the jukebox.

I"ll just cut to the chase here instead of boring you with the middle part.

The next day I send him the "nice to meet you" email, thanking him for the beer and saying next time it'll be on me. I was a little conflicted about that, because I didn't feel any sparks and couldn't tell if he did. So I'm not sure if I want to give the green light, whatever that means.

Let me just back up here and say, no one could have been happier if our eyes had locked across a crowded a bar, and we spontaneously abandoned our still foamy Racer 5s, hopped on his motorcycle and dashed back to his place to screw our brains out. But it didn't happen that way. Sigh.

So, back to reality.

He writes back:

Hey Lisa - Thanks for the email. I like the music and tech connections, but I gotta admit that when you left I thought you weren't interested, while I would have been happy to go to one of our places, get high, and listen to music. :) Perhaps I should have suggested that.

I have plans for tonight and have work going on intermittently through the weekend, but if you wanted to come over and hang out for a bit, that would be cool. Give me a call tomorrow or send your #.
Ending with his number.

So I'm thinking we're on the same page, and this is a good opening to keep the expectations on track, whatever that means. So I write back:

Hey Jeff - I'm not sure exactly how interested I am, to be honest. I'm a bit of a loner, and I tend to think too much (a habit I'm trying to break). It's a combination that has made it very easy for me to talk myself out of things in the past (another habit I'm trying to break). All I'm saying is, you seem interesting, and I'd like to get to know you better -- even if we just end up being friends, or another craigslist story. That's enough for me for now, if it's enough for you.

That being said, listening to music and getting high sounds like a great way to get to know each other. I have to tell you though, I'm a lightweight in that regard and prefer to stay that way. But a little goes a long way, and I'd be happy to join you some time. btw, I'm not telling you this as a set-up to take advantage of me. ;-)


So he writes back:

Well OK then. Pretty much what I perceived. No worries at all.

Can I be somewhat crass, and suggest that I really wondered, as I was sitting across from you at the bar last night, if we could just be lovers, knowing that we could also occasionally do stuff together outside the bedroom. Something about you stirred the carnal within me, and I wondered if we could speak better with our bodies than our words. I would like a regular lover without much in the way of strings. I'm safe and clean, selective with women preferring quality over quantity. It might just nourish all that each of us needs.

Give it a thought, then stop if it stirs something else and give it a go. We could have fun.


So a few things immediately run through my mind. First, I'm relieved the guy was at least attracted to me enough to make the suggestion. Second, that sounds like a refreshing and appealing idea -- I just wish I felt more of an attraction in return. Third, wait a minute? Is he saying I'm a boring conversationalist? I think I'm offended by that! ;-)

Ok, so maybe I do think too much. I'm not one to kiss and tell (although everything up to that part is fair game, apparently), but I think it's ironic I haven't even kissed the guy, yet here I am blogging about whether or not I should meet him for a sex date tonight. Is that weird or is it just me? Don't answer that.

UPDATE:

Ok, THAT was a bad idea. Don't ever let me do that again.


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Permalink: I_might_like_you_better_if_we_.html
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Location: San Francisco, CA


Category: pets

04/21/06 09:37 - 73ºF - ID#36694

Doggie Socialite

I had lunch with Ron today, and he showed me the hat he made for Sammi to wear to her charity ball tonight. I tried to take a picture with my camera phone, but it didn't do it justice. Luckily he sent me some pictures of her modelling it.

The charity event features an auction of unique dog and cat habitats designed by architects. So Ron fashioned a Beach Blanket Babylon style fire hydrant dog house with Sammi's name on the firehat over the front door, stencils of Dalmatians wearing firehats, a couple ladder cutouts and a firetruck cutout. And of course a cute pup inside!

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It's quite the fashion accessory. I think Ron has a future as a high end milliner.


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Permalink: Doggie_Socialite.html
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Category: public relations

04/09/06 02:07 - 39ºF - ID#36692

Usability

All I'm saying is, you finally got the shortest, easiest-to-remember URL -- estrip.org -- so why clutter it with punctuation when you spread the (e:news,835) ? There's no need to google it if you can remember it, and you still have to remember it to google it. And it's harder to remember a string of characters with random punctuation that may or may not be part of the URL. I'm only talking about references to the URL in print when you're trying to sign-up new users who have never heard of estrip and don't even know if it's worth two or three tries to find it. Once they're on the site, they'll "get" the colon. I'm just worried they won't get there if you give them an invalid URL. I think it's a big leap of faith to expect someone to see (e:) strip.org and know it means estrip.org. But maybe the residents of Buffalo are more computer savvy than I realize, haha. You all already know it, so it's obvious to you. I'm speaking for the masses of potential peeps to be.

Visualize someone who has never heard of estrip -- a friend, a coworker, a drunk person in a bar -- seeing each of the variations on a bumper sticker or t-shirt. Ideally it starts up a conversation about estrip and you can tell them about it (I think all the design variations do that). BUT, the most important thing you want them to walk away with is, how to get to the site. You're telling them estrip.org, but meanwhile they're looking at the design and asking is that with the colon? what about the parentheses? can I go right to it or do I have to google it? So if I google it I use the colon but if I go right to it I just use (e:strip).org? But without the colon? All the while they have a visual reinforcement that, in my opinion, might look cool but is cryptic. By the time this conversation is over, they may have heard a bunch of different ways to get to the site and a bunch of ways NOT to get to the site, and they've been looking at something that they have to remember is not exactly what to type in when they get to a computer. That's not the kind of visual reinforcement you want.

Now think of all the other people who see the bumper sticker or t-shirt in passing and don't get to ask you about it. If you didn't already know about estrip and you saw any of those variations, what is the first thing you would try when you got in front of a computer? Would you hesitate before typing in "(e:strip)" or look at it like that can't be right? Once you try it and get the "Firefox doesn't know how to open this address, because the protocol (e) isn't associated with any program" error, maybe you think you need some special software to view the site. Or the next thing I might try would probably be "strip.org" -- and you know I'll get a hit there, lol.

Once a user has signed up, and "knows" estrip, it's a whole different story. Then you can embellish all you want. It's also a different story if you're designing for the web and you can link your graphic to whatever you're talking about. (Speaking of which, whatever happened to ecards?) But getting someone to go somewhere for the first time on their own is more of a challenge. If that's the goal, I would put usability ahead of design. Otherwise they'll never get to the site to enjoy the colon in all it's (e:) glory. And I'm ONLY talking about references to the URL, not the (e:strip) logo itself. In other words, (e:strip) is always (e:strip), but when you're referring to the URL in print with the intention of signing up new users, I would suggest using estrip.org then. It's not my fault the http protocol reserves the colon, haha.

With that in mind, I would be inclined to just have estrip.org in the street sign box. There are fewer ways to get off track that way. See estrip.org, hear estrip.org, google estrip.org, love estrip.org -- it's all good. That way, all they have to remember is the "e" and the "org" -- everybody is going to remember "strip," haha.

That's just my opinion. Although now that I'm making $70/hour, apparently nobody cares about my opinion as long as I can print web pages, so don't go by me. Which reminds me, time to hit the donate button.

p.s. - hey, this would have been a great topic for the discuss thing. Is that still around? Oh well -- I probably should have stayed out it entirely since I'm not even from around your parts. But I can't help giving my opinion sometimes.

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Permalink: Usability.html
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Category: work

04/07/06 12:49 - 42ºF - ID#36691

Insanity-check

Whoa, I can so identify with that right now, (e:Hodown,232). I swear2god I am working in a Dilbert cartoon. Thank god for my cohort Steve. Which reminds me, I think I know what the next niche market to exploit is: insider code phrases for surviving in the corporate world. Steve and I came up with a few today, and I really think it's going to make life bearable in the days to come. Basically, it's corporate-sounding terminology that we have secret meanings for. So far we've got:

Term: "Sanity-check"
Usage: "We better have a meeting to sanity-check our proposed approach to this portion of the project."
Real Meaning: "This freakin' project is driving me insane! We better get behind closed-doors to bitch about it before I go ballistic."

Term: "Full Debriefing"
Usage: "We're long overdue for a full debriefing. We'd better reserve the private conference room so we can bring each other up to speed."
Real Meaning: Ok, I know what you're thinking. "Full debriefing?" "Private conference room?" Let's just say if things keep going the way there going, we may have to escalate this particular terminology along those lines. But for now, all it means is, "I have some incredible gossip that requires complete privacy to impart in all it's sordid glory."

p.s. -- they are already talking about extending our contracts through June or possibly even July. I think the next term we're going to need is "offsite." I'm not sure if we can get away with it quite yet, but I'm willing to give it a shot.



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Category: work

04/04/06 12:50 - 38ºF - ID#36690

This is work not play

If you're interested in my usersound, you'll have to listen to the latest coverville podcast for the backstory.

(Sorry (e:Leetee) and (e:Uncutsaniflush) -- it's not Jim Carroll. That was just a free association.)

So, the good news is, I have a new Steve in my life. And just in the nick of time! He's my compatriot at "work." So I finally have someone to roll my eyes at during meetings.

I really shouldn't go into it, but you know the emphasis is misplaced when you're told to "read the dress code" so you don't risk "getting a citation." That's all I'm going to say about it.



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Permalink: This_is_work_not_play.html
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mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

joe said to grandma
OMG welcome!...

joe said to mike
New years resolution to top (e:strip)?...