Thursday, October 18, 2001

Wonder Woman

Great history of Wonder Woman in Boston University's Alumni mag, Bostonian. She is based on a real live woman and there is everything one could ask for in a story. Success over odds, family values and ménage à trois. Gosh I would love to have a Wonder Woman costumes...and all her toys.

Wednesday, October 17, 2001

It ain't easy being idealist. I am facing a crisis of philosophy. In the last week I have taken a verbal lashing from just about every corner, professional, academic and personal regarding my belief in non-violence, fair trade, the purposes of protest and world order. Tonight I have promised myself to write out a list of everything I believe in and see what happens from there.

Sunday, October 14, 2001

Great article about a Pakistani man in Pittsburgh. "Customers bring joy to Pakistani store manager".
Try as I might, I can never really seem to get the hang of Nerve. I love sex. I love erotic literature. I love the Internet. And they all come together on Nerve. I even bought a book put out by the editors of the site one day while twiddling away the hours at an airport. But the site, and the book, just don't thrill me like I would think.

Today's article in the New York Times (linking the Yahoo article to be on the safe side) about the couple who started the company is intriquing, though. The couple is now separated and he has his new girlfriend working in the office. It seems like there is still lots of emotion hanging on and I wonder about what it must me like to work there with all this going on in the very same place (the office and his apartment are one and the same). Now I am more interested in keeping up with the site. Ah...a little real life sex opera is better than fiction.

Thursday, October 11, 2001

One of today's headlines...

Trade in Honey Is Said to Provide Money and Cover for bin Laden

Title of my graduate studies thesis (still in progress)...Beekeeping in Yemen as Civil Society. I think I may need a spin doctor.

Thursday, October 04, 2001

One of my continual haunts in the last weeks has been Postcard Stop, an online shop for postcards. Since I don't have a great selection of views locally and I am afraid to go into Boston (that's another story..don't want to talk publicly about that, though no one reads this anyway), I haven't got as many views to trade. So, I have ordered 100 or so at this shop. From everywhere in the US. Lots of fun picking out the views. One view I picked out was for a joke....The Corn Palace of South Dakota. Well, let me tell isn't really as corny (I heard that groan!) as you might think.

A palace has been there since the late 19th century, though the current structure dates to 1926. It is redecorated every year with a mural made out of corn, grasses, flowers...sort of a Rose Bowl float gone homey. And it is used for community activities and to promote the historic significance of agriculture in the region. I really want to see this place! And I ordered 38 more cards, depicting the palace in many different years.

The things ya learn on the Internet.

Sunday, September 23, 2001

In an all out effort to remove myself from the constant barrage of war talk, I have picked up an old hobby...postcard collecting. Oh my goodness! It has changed dramatically in the 8 years or so that I've been away! The Internet makes it much easier to find other collectors. Yahoo clubs have been very good, as much as I hate to admit it. I have come upon many wonderful souls in other countries and here in the US interested in postcard correspondence. Ah...escapism

Thursday, September 20, 2001

Got my Cesar Chavez poster today from Shop Different, a now defunct Apple shop. Very cool poster. Can't decide if I want to hang it in my office here at home or at work. Will piss people off in both places, which doesn't bother me in the least.
Will U.S. Remember Global Goodwill?. Article originally appeared in the Toronto Sun today. It has some faults, like I don't think Israel has pledged support for the terrorism coalition (I could be wrong) and Pakistan's support is still iffy in places. However, I do think the point about Americans taming the bloodthirst needs to be heeded. It would be terrible to have us look just as murderous as those cowards who attacked.

Tuesday, September 18, 2001

I am concerned about the airline industry. Massive layoffs and it looks like this is only the beginning, But on a positive note, give Southwest a nod for somehow managing to not have to lay anyone off so far. And take a look at their Adopt-A-Pilot program. Very cool.

Using this with permission from mememachine. The author also encourages people to make their own infographic. I wish I knew how....

Monday, September 17, 2001

There is a move to archive the sites that have something to do with Sept. 11 at WebArchivist. I haven't investigated it thoroughly and a friend just used the words "voluntary carnivore" after seeing it, but I am going to look into it more tonight and tomorrow.

Friday, September 14, 2001

Another World is Possible

I saw this as a "please don't let there be war" slogan. I like it. Will be investigating it more.

Thursday, September 13, 2001

Slovenské telekomunikácie is offering the people of Slovakia free calls to US until Sunday. How incredible is that?! I have heard from lots of my Slovak friends. Thank you Slovenské telekomunikácie!!
In the last 24 hours I have been called everything from insensitive to traitor to monster. All because I am trying to find the "why" to Tuesday's horror. Never once have I excused, justified or otherwise condoned the actions of the cowards who did this thing. People have said it is not the "right time" to look for explanations. We should think only of those who have been directly affected. Some have said that we should be out to get the cowards and, later, if convenient, we can look for reasons. I don't agree with these opinions. While every effort should, and is, made to help survivors, there needs to be an active voice looking for the whys so that this never happens again. And I want the cowards caught as much as anyone, but I do not want revenge to be the primary objective because it will only beget more violence.

And the one person who I thought would support my opinions has failed me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

How can I do anything today but think about the last moments of the lives of so many who got up, went about their usual morning affairs, heading off to work in the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and stood in the lobbies, conference rooms, offices and watched the planes crash into their buildings. And the people on the airplanes...I hope they had no idea, but I don't think that is a going to hold true. None of us will be the same. And I don't want to hear anymore that it is an "attack on freedom." It is an attack that rages against the freedoms we have in this country and others. Until we face terrorism for what it is, the act of powerless, voiceless, hopeless people, it will continue to happen. Make no mistake...this is cowardaice of the most extreme. And when the cowards are caught, and they will be, I want them punished. I don't know how I want them punished and punished is too weak a word. The only way to respond to the cowardice is with its opposite, courage. And we will need lots of that.

Oh very cool. I am glad I decided to just do some hit and run looks at weblogs from the front page of Blogger 'cause I hit Bushwacker and the list of other more serious, political type (and booklover) weblogs is just what I needed to assure myself that I am not there is intelligent life out there and not just all shit-chat. Not that there is anything wrong with that, just need some substance, too. Ewww...a disgusting analogy popped into my head as I was typing but I refuse to allow it to escape my head.

Monday, September 10, 2001

On Sept 29 at 7 a.m. I will be on an airplane heading to Washington D.C. I am very nervous. Not 'cause flying scares me, though six months ago that would have been the reason. I am nervous because there will be 100,000 other people planning to be in approximately the exact same area at the exact same time as me and lots of them are really angry.

The World Bank (more accurately, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will hold their General Meeting that weekend in D.C. I will be joining protesters from all over the world (though mostly the US) in exercising our political voice telling those organizations that they had better come down from Stratos* and start looking at the world from where the world lives. I am not part of any organized protest. I am going on my own. I am going because I want to hear what is said without the mainstream media coloring it with corporate paintbrushes. I am going because I am tired of always saying I want to do something and never actually doing anything but talk. I am going because I need inspiration.

There is a teach-in all day Sat that I will attend and the "permitted event" is a rally on Sunday which is actually billed as "kid friendly." I am not so sure it will be and I wouldn't ever consider bringing a child to something like this, but I am over-cautious on that account. I am concerned about the violence these protests generate. I am not going to be involved in any violence. I abhor it as a total breakdown of intelligence and an illegitimate means of expression. I don't really know what to expect. And it makes me very nervous. Though not nervous enought to not go.

* Credit for Stratos reference to When Corporations Rule the World, David Korten.

Sunday, September 09, 2001

Oh how I wish I could be involved somehow with the Science Year project in the UK. It started on 7 September 2001 and runs through August 2002. The Giant Leap got the whole thing off the ground (see photo below). I am going to keep my eye on this just to see what happens with the project. the web site is wonderful. the project is aimed at 7-19 years and "the adults around them." I like that way of looking at it!

Love this photo. Not sure how long the story will be valid, but it is at Giant Leap. More details at Science Year. And I will write more later.

Saturday, September 08, 2001

I want to know more about Second Harvest (including why the site looks so awful) and Ashoka. They have nothing to do with each other, but I was cleaning my bookmarks out and they held my attention a bit longer than some of the other sites I looked at.
Yup, that is what it is. So I think I will leave the Reblogger off since no one reads this blog but me and it would be terribly silly for me to talk to myself any more than I am already.
Nope, not Blogger. It is the ReBlogger. I think.
Hmmm...something is not right with Blogger.

Friday, September 07, 2001

Okay, so there is more than the WebCrossing making me blue. of the others in the graduate group just sent out an email chastising people for not using the board, so maybe there will be a change.
I am sitting here all teary over the stupidest of things.

WebCrossing has free discussion board software online so anyone can use one of the best bits of coding around to set up their own forum. So...I set up a board for my graduate studies program. This is a group of people who are not great with technology, but knowing this software will not be difficult, I had high hopes.

Stupid me. There is a wonderful post I know everyone in the group would have an opinion on. I waited and waited. No one responded. So, I sent out an email telling everyone there is a great offer on the board and everyone should take a look and put in their two cents. I got a flood of emails saying basically "Oh yeah! That is a great idea. Tell Katie (the poster) to go for it!" ::::sigh:::: They could have all just as easy posted this to the board so that Katie could see it without me having to forward all the emails and putting more mail in boxes that will just get lost in the overflow.

And so I am teary. I is silly. But I just can't understand why people don't take the time to use technology to its better possibility.

Sunday, September 02, 2001

I have been listening to a book on tape while in the car. Makes for a more relaxed commute since I tend to get too wound up listening to National Public Radio. I love NPR, but sometimes I just need a break from reality. It is purely an accident that I have this particular book on tape, though. I had ordered what I thought was a book through interlibrary loan and it turned out to be audio. I am so glad I wasn't observant.

The tapes are Ian Carmichael reading the book Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. It was written in 1889 and is a travelogue of sorts, but not really. It is very funny. And fascinating. And poignant. A scene describing what it might have been like at the signing of the Magna Carta brought tears. Mostly it is funny. Uproarious in places. Giggly in others. And though it was written more than 100 years ago, some of the observations...nay, most of the observations are as fresh as if written last week. Mr. Carmichael's voice is at once soothing, cultured and downright friendly. He reads the British elongated vowels in such a way as not to appear pompous (as some of those BBC folk can sound). Truly a joy.
Okay, the "Put up a Blogger" button up there is put on my page with very little research, but I have a gut feeling this is a great idea.

Saturday, September 01, 2001

I attended my first Apple store opening today, at the NorthShore Mall in Peabody, Massachusetts. It is a 130 mile round-trip drive for me and I don't like shopping, especially in shopping malls, so it was only the opening that got me in the car at 8:30 a.m. I was not disappointed.

The mall is of those rambling place where it looks like they just keep adding stores willy-nilly. I had no idea where the Apple store would be so I entered through Macy's and headed for the cosmetic department. The mall entrance is always through the cosmetic department so they can try to make you inhale whatever it is that causes uncontrollable spending on stuff you don't need. I heard one salesperson ask another "Did you see the line of people waitin' to get into that computer store?" The other answered "Idiots." I bit my tongue, which was hard 'cause I was holding my breathe, and continued on.

The line wasn't of epic proportions, though earlier I guess it had been. I waited an hour, but I had my Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency to read while waiting so it wasn't bad. There were some employees wandering up and down the line showing off PowerBooks and letting people play with them. Others were handing out free water. People were walking by, gawking at the line and asking "What are they giving away?" I replied, "Nothing." (they do give out t-shirts, but no one was there for those). Disbelief abounded. One disbeliever talked to a saleperson for a bit and decided to get in line. I saw her with what looked like an iBook box a little later. Wow. Imagine being able to impulse spend like that?!

The store is the same as all the others, but the Genius Bar is on the left instead of right (see article in MacCentral), which suits me just fine. I like my genius on the left. I will confess here that I am not yet a Mac owner, so I can't tell you all the wonderful things they had for people to play with, but let it be said that this is the way to sell computers. Stations you can walk all around so it is easier for a group of people to watch a demonstration. Bright lighting and clear, clean space. Places to sit. The music was a tad loud, though there were more than a few Depeche Mode tunes on the playlist, so I was happy enough. Just a wonderful experience.

I collected lots of little product booklets to hang all around my workspace so I am always inspired not to spend too much money on books and save up for my first Mac. I think it will be an iBook. I had never seen one, and it is lovely. And after spending six months around Mac discussion groups, I am sure I will like its performance. Oh how I wish I could have walked out with a computer. But I didn't have to leave the store empty handed...I have my Mac t-shirt.
I clicked a pop-up ad today. I think it is the first time I have ever clicked one. Usually I have software running in my systray that kills pop-ups. But this one is so beautiful. It is featured on iVillage, amid all the pop-ups for pain killers and parenting (oh I hate that verb) tips. I never go to iVillage, but I clicked a link from another site and ended up there. The pop-up features a view of the earth from space and some text about wanting to make it a better world. I clicked. It brought me to FamilyPlanet.

Planet is an organization dedicated to making the world more aware of the need for family planning. They link the environment, poverty and disease to the lack of family planning. This is not an approach I would want to deal with on an exclusive level, but I do like it as one way of looking at human suffering and environmental degradation. And they have four postcards to use as an introduction to the site. I sent off a dozen of them.

Friday, August 31, 2001

Ooo..found a neat site call MakeStickers where I can create bumper stickers and get them without shipping fees (in USA) and I only have to pay for one it that's all I want. I created the above bumper sticker and one that says "An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind" --Ghandi.

I tried to link a picture of my bumpersticker from My Yahoo, but I am doing something wrong and it won't work. So, the image can be found here. It's a cool expression...go see it.

Saturday, August 25, 2001

I am going to S30, the IMF/WB protest in Washington, DC. I can't wait.

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Back from NYC...and Vermont. Lots to write about and I will in short order. Got to track down some URLs and get my journal notes deciphered.

Tuesday, August 07, 2001

The recent Blogathon organized by frykitty caught my attention and I decided to sponsor mybluehouse for no other reason than her site title intriqued me and the organization she wanted to raise money for is not US based. The organization is Casa Alianza. A total of $420 was raised in the 24 hours of the Blogathon for this organization alone. Over $20,000 was raised in total. Impressive.

Anyway, I have received a couple emails from Casa Alianza and I am looking more closely at the organization. It is "an independent, non profit organisation dedicated to the rehabilitation and defense of street children in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua. Casa Alianza is the Latin American branch of the New York-based Covenant House, whose President is Sister Mary Rose McGeady D.C." I am not usually trusting of faith-based charity, but again, like Alternative Gifts International in my earlier entry, I am hoping my faith in their faith is not misguided.

I worry about help comes with strings, like the children must agree to some kind of service to religion. That when the kind people at Casa Alianza "try to change an attitude or conduct, we have to suggest and create alternatives together with the children", I have to hope it is not an offer they can't refuse. I do feel this is the case with this organization, but how do you know for sure? I would prefer a world without any religion at all. Just human beings relying on human beings. I think humans are good without the threat of a god or devil.
Last Christmas I was trying to think of a creative gift idea for our family Yankee Swap that wouldn't be just another thing under the Christmas tree. I've long championed the idea of charitable donations in lieu of a gift. When my children were small I used to donate money to Globe Santa for needy area children (I was once a Globe Santa child) on behalf of their schoolteachers. I thought this was a better idea than another "You are the best teacher" coffee mug. My daughters didn't always agree since they wanted to give a "real" gift, so maybe I deprived them in some way, but I don't think so. In recent years I have seen catalogs for Heifer Project where you can give a farm animal to a poor family and Habitat for Humanity where a donation of money is put toward building supplies. I thought these were great ideas, however, I've been a little put off by the overt religious tone of those organizations.

Along comes the Internet and I discover Novica and eZiba. These organizations promote artisans all over the world and give them a place to sell their goods. I liked that I can read about the particular artist I am buying products from and thought I had found a creative gift idea. I could give a beautiful handcrafted gift and know the person who produced it has the opportunity to make a living wage. And then, last fall, I stumbled quite by accident on Alternative Gifts International.

Alternative Gifts also has the religious component, but it is interfaith and has less of an overt feel to it. Of course, that is an entirely subjective comment, but I am as un-religious as they come and I am comfortable with this organization. Their mission is to "send authentic, life-giving gifts to a needy world - gifts that build a partnership with oppressed people in crisis and that protect and preserve the earth's endangered environment - to nourish and sustain a more equitable and peaceful global community." They do this by taking your donation and making 90% of if available to organizations that provide low cost business loans to women in Gaza or provide AIDS education to people in Rwanda and Mozambique or give a servant child a chance to go to school in Haiti (the 10% that Alternative Gifts does not pass on is used for administrative costs). These are only a few of the options you might chose as gifts. They have "33 sponsored national and international relief and development projects." The recipient of the gift will receive a card with the details and information about the organization.

I purchased two Alternative Gifts last winter and put the cards in envelopes I decorated with ribbons and glitter. My sister got it in the Yankee Swap and didn't want to trade if for anything else, and was quite protective that no one else got it from her. It may not be something you can wrap in a big box and put under the tree, but it sure is a gift that will not gather dust or find its way into the next year's Yankee Swap.
And I am beginning to think I am the only person over 40...hell, over 30 who is trying to keep a weblog. What's the deal!?
And another prepared food that I like very much...Taj Gourmet. Yum!

Tuesday, July 31, 2001

It ain't easy being veggie. 'Specially in a house where I am the only person who doesn't like meat. So, I resort to some prepared meals on ocassion. Today I tried Kettle Cuisine Soups, the Ginger Carrot. Mmmm, good, and I don't even like cooked carrots that much. Lots of ginger and very tasty. That and a nice salad is all I need. Well, a glass of wine would have been good, too, but I didn't have any. On the site there is even a wine recommendation page. I've never heard of Gewürztraminer, but gee I would like to have tried it.

While I am on the subject of prepared foods. A few others I like are:

    Thai Kitchen: Make sure you check to see what other ingredients may be needed because meals are not always complete. And this site is annoying. An applet that makes it load slow.

    Taste of Thai: Buy a t-shirt, help an elephant.

    Amy's Kitchen: All veggie, all the time.

The trouble with prepared foods is that they are often really high in sodium. Amy's Kitchen is better than the Thai choices on that account.

Monday, July 30, 2001

Yeeps! I have greater appreciation for web site designers (not that I didn't appreciate them before) 'cause I just saw what this page looks like using a desktop monitor and not my laptop screen. The background is yellow! On my laptop it is a pale peachy color, very pretty and looks great with the brickish text of the journals and purple title and date. The links are a pretty light green, almost glimmers. On the desktop monitor the text is more brownish and the purple darker and the green a bit different...not so glimmery. I don't mind how it looks on the desktop, but it is certainly pedestrian. The colors on my laptop are not ordinary at all. When I get around to developing my own site, I will for sure use the color scheme I thought this was. And find a way to make sure that the colors are as I want them to be on as many systems as possible.

Sunday, July 29, 2001

Well, I had to change my template 'cause the one with the cool changing colors looked horrid in Netscape 4.77. But, I think I like this new one.

Saturday, July 28, 2001

In an article on h2g2 there is mention made of the site Anxiety Culture. I posted the following in response to the site:

Actually, the "How to Find Your Own Purpose" page reads deceptively obvious, but really...have you ever sat down and written out what you like about yourself, how you most like spending your time and your idea of a perfect world?

And I was asked if I have written such a list. I've thought of those things, but haven't actually written the answers out. So, here goes....

I like that I am always wanting to learn more. I like that I am happiest when I am living simple, which does not mean living without modern conveniences. It means I don't want for the latest fashions, fancy vacations, jewelry, elaborate home. I like that I am trying to live my life without labels. I don't eat meat, but I don't want to call myself a vegetarian. I don't believe in any god, but I don't want to call myself an atheist. Labels make it so you have to conform to others who wear the same label. I am human, that's all. And there is no way I will conform to being like all humans. Easier to be a non-conformist in so broad a catagory.

My favorite thing to do is travel. I love to wander a city and see what there is to see without having to see something. I love maps, but I can enjoy being slightly lost, too. I also love to read. I like to listen to people talk about politics. Sometimes I participate, but I am often too nervous that I won't be able to contribute intelligent commentary, so I stay quiet, then talk with someone very close about the topics later. Someday I want to write.

Perfect world...I don't want a perfect world. Perfection is boring. I want fair. I want tolerance. I want hope. There isn't nearly enough hope in the world.

Friday, July 27, 2001

I am so unhip it is a wonder my bums don't fall off :-)

paraphrasing Zaphod Beeblebrox in Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Douglas Adams.
Still keeping tabs on GeekCorps. They were last in Ghana and the chronicle is a wonderful read. The next group will have more female geeks. Woo Woo! I wish I had the skills to do this. I think they are going to Middle East next.

There are lots of articles in the "press room" on their Web site, but I would like to write something for my local paper. Something that might grab a suburban techie's notice and maybe make a volunteer out of someone who have never thought of volunteering. I don't really know how to go about this, but I am thinking my very small town paper would be a good idea. I have been thinking I'd like to suggest a regular feature on interesting web sites, written by a different person each week. I have to get my ass in gear and do this.
Ah ha! Figured it out! It isn't a problem with the system. It is a problem with the! I will get the hang of this eventually. What the heck is supposed to go in the box over on the far upper right? The default said "Site Navigation" as a header, but I don't really think that is descriptive. I'll work on it....
I am a bit frustrated with this software. I have tried so many times to edit the template so I have a "motto" where it says "My funny motto" and the edit does not take. The site status page mentions a system-wide problem with this, but indicates it has been fixed. I don't think so.

Saturday, July 21, 2001

Yikes! What am I doing adding yet another task to my life. But I am hoping this will serve as a place to post my Internet finds and remember why they are finds.