Archive for January, 2009

clever spoof – did you know a USB port can do this?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

And some people are gullible enough to believe…

There is a real site mentioned, but since it is in French I can’t vouch for its safety.


Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Short sweet video of a giraffe being born and its first steps.

Life is amazing.

The Apple Store

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

My MacBook has been having trouble, and the plug was so damaged some of the little pins are actually deformed. I hoped it was a simple short, but no luck. So a new cord was called for – $79 plus tax.

Today the old cord gave it up for good, so it was an emergency replacement. I couldn’t wait more than a few hours off line….

I decided to support the local store The Learning Center. But they are closed on Saturdays. Wish they had said that on the phone a few days ago. So to Briarwood Mall and the Apple Store. Oh, I really really really hate going to the mall. So much. It makes me ill. I nearly always get a headache. I think its the lights, but there are also a lot of chemicals and smells.

The apple store is on the Macy’s side (and Macy’s is so on my bad list since whenever they advertise in the paper and the Ann Arbor news forgets to give me a perfume free copy I can’t read the paper…except outside). So on that side, closer to Macy’s but going towards Penny’s.

But once I found it what fun. Lots of buzzy people and dozens of young guys eager to help. It was a well done quick transaction, the guy told me more stuff that I could learn if I came again, free services, very helpful and not rushed. He did the transaction right there on the floor with a wireless card reader, and then another first — he e-mailed the receipt to me. No paper. Put the stuff in a bag (that was hidden under the table) and off I go.

It all felt very cool and high tech which is certainly calculated and it worked for me.

Now my battery is sort of charging but it looks bad for the future portability of the lap top. For just $120 I can get a new battery. It has been a good life. And nearly 24/7 use. So no real complaint here.

I’m such a geek, really. Disguised as a holistic alternative type. Works for me.

Blogging For Choice

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Another year, another blog for choice.
The question is what we’d like to see Obama do for choice.
I have a simple answer. Provide greater access worldwide for birth control options and information. Stop the gag rule. Because the best way to prevent abortion is to make sure women have access to birth control and the freedom to use it.

The best choice starts with reproductive freedom. No unwanted pregnancies to begin with.

The best of all worlds. Let’s keep abortion legal, safe, and rare.

Teach birth control, awareness, and empower women to choose their reproductive freedom and provide access to health care for all women. Then we will have done more than just fight about it. Something productive can happen.

It is really very simple.

A Convergence of —??

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Tomorrow will be one of those amazing days in US history. I think like many others I won’t believe it is true until it has finally happened – we have voted for and now have African American President. Could the contrast between the last eight years of horror and the new possibilities for change with Obama be greater? No. The cloud is lifting, it has been eight long years of unbelievable abuse and terror and just wrong wrong wrong. I’ve paid a tiny price compared to others – mostly outside of the US. How did we let this continue?

But such a wonderful celebration will start tomorrow, and for the next four (and hopefully 8) years. i believe. Please don’t let us down.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. day, a holiday opposed by Obama’s opponent in the presidential races. It was the people Martin inspired that made the difference, and it happened within my lifetime. The long reaching affects of slavery, the blatant and institutional racism, was all there when I came into the world. It isn’t some long ago history now past. Martin Luther King Jr. was always portrayed to me as a hero, way back long ago in the ’60s. And he is partly why I did a report on the slave trade in third or fourth grade. Becoming more radicalized.

I’ve been slowly reading a book I happened to pick up at Border’s, by Sena Jeter Naslund, more by intuition than any other reason. I had also liked her other book, “Ahab’s Wife”. “Four Spirits” is a national best seller. I read it over the last 3 weeks (stretching it out much longer than I normally would). And finished it last night. As we come into this amazing week.

Because the book is about the mid-sixties in Birmingham Alabama. It covers the church bombing that killed for young girls. It is a fictionalized account of the lives of a few people touched, involved, and sacrificed to the movement. So well written, so beautiful and painful. And even though I knew it then, it was immediate history as I started becoming more aware and conscious of what harm we do to each other, as I read the book I still wanted to ask — “did this really happen?” more from a painful horrible knowledge that yes, we did this. We went through this.

And here we are. Tomorrow our president will be a black person. It is like winning on so many deep deep levels. Unimaginable at the time, in just 40 long long years – to go from segregation and hate and corruption and all of that – to this day.

I love the book for reminding me of how far we’ve come. I love the book for reminding me that people died for this. People risked everything to come to this moment. This is a pinnacle point for all that fear and sacrifice and standing up for what was true and good.

This is so huge. I can’t even contain it within myself. I just want to be there and feel it when in about 24 hours the celebration begins of being free at last from GWB — but the even larger acknowledgment that we have also chosen a man who represents a true victory for everyone across the world for equality and what is right.

I know, he represents it and may not entirely be it. I’ve had my political hopes dashed to smithereens too many times to be naive. But this week, in this moment, he does represent something we thought was impossible, and could hardly even dream of. And we are there.

Quick, get a copy of the book and immerse yourself in it this week. It will make these moments even more stark and beautiful in a haunted sort of way.

Sweet Potato Peanut Soup

Friday, January 16th, 2009

In my large soup pot I sauted a large onion, chopped a little smaller than usual. As that was browning slightly I added about 1 1/2 cups of raw shelled peanuts. I let that cook a bit while I scraped the skin off 8 largish sweet potatoes. Pretty easy to do. Don’t try for perfection, and remove the harder parts on each end. I sliced those, and the larger chunks I also halved. When I could smell that the peanuts were beginning to roast I filled the pot about 3/4 with water, a bit of milk. You could use more or less milk. Add the sweet potatoes to the soup.

I let that all cook for about 1 1/2 hours, until the potatoes were very soft. I took a potato masher and used it to help the chunks break up a bit. I added a bit of fresh ground pepper, 1 1/2 crushed dried cayenne peppers, and about 1 1/2 tsp chili powder. Salt to taste – about 1 TBSP.

I intended to garnish the soup with minced scallions, but forgot. i served additional hot sauces on the side. Also cheese bread, which turned out fluffy and sweet.

Very nice soup – made up on the spot. Someone brought sesame cooked kale and of course that was an excellent addition, I could have added kale to the soup as well. But sometimes its good to have soup without kale.

condom ads

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

I’m all in favor of goofy ways to get the message out – and this is one of the goofiest. I don’t know if I can show it to my students, probably not, but it is a keeper none the less.

Wish I could remember the e-mail for that balloon artist I briefly dated – he would enjoy this. But alas, his balloon creations lasted longer than the relationship did. Much longer. Three weeks vs. about three months? A sad commentary on love, god fro the durability of rubber…. and I never got to see what he might do with a condom!

a scientific rationale for building community

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

At the lecture yesterday with John Wilbanks he showed a slide graphing the explosive growth of computer technology and capacity. Of course it was a slow curve with an almost L shaped rise to the current day. The next slide was of the human brain power – a flat line across the same time period. Someone from the audience quipped that perhaps there was actually a slight dip that should be reflected.

What he said next though was very powerful. Human brain potential is limited. Computers have partly arrived at their monumental influence and potential by being networked. One of the ways we have of increasing our human capacity is by working in networks. There is great power in groups, communities, collaboration, and cooperation. And that is how we build great brain power.

Well that is a nice explanation and reinforcement of everything I believe in and do.
Very sweet.

And of course the obvious combination – networking of human potential via the computer – is a wonderful use of a transformational tool. Still, we have to have that human contact as well. Because it feels good, it is what we have always done as humans, and it is so self reinforcing. And isn’t sharing food one of the best ways to hang out and network our little brains out?

I appreciate my networks of people and family and friends. It increases m options, my security, my productivity and livelihood, and my overall happiness. Nice to think about this in yet another way.

why I frequently love my life

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

This AM I woke up with my sweet puppy Nala, and had a great breakfast of banana bread and fired potatoes. A special treat. I had a marvelous time with a client – able to help her move from feeling really lousy to pretty good. A nice moment of reflecting that her husband has been a client for nearly 30 years. Maybe 28? Awesome.

I had a pleasant walk in the amazing cold snowy weather to campus, and arrived just in time for the start of a lecture by John Wilbanks, from creative Commons. It was an inspiring, exciting, positive talk that brought some new ideas into my head. It even gave me a lot of tings to consider for the fifth book. Very inspiring.

So — I started the walk back home thinking of running a few errands on the way. But a check of voice mail revealed I was wanted to help out at a birth. So I got picked up and whisked away to that world.

And I was able to help this baby come out. Which is just such a lovely thing to do. To be able to support a mom who is in the most vulnerable scary and PAINFUL place. And make it easier. That just feels so wonderful.

So a ride back home and a quick walk with my puppy (who had a bit more of a lonely boring day) and off for Indian food. And there again, could only eat only half usual – even after missing lunch. Take it off take it off! Menopause enters in and my appetite is halved and the weight slides away. Cool.

So that was my day. The sad part is being a part of such a wonderful intense family time, and giving every moment of my attention to this woman who I had just met, havin gher trust me completely and immediately – and I come home to being alone. This is when I want to be held and tended to and just collapse into the loving arms of someone who cares for me.

This is when I really need that recharging. That attention. It makes being alone even more poignant.

And I love my life. The diversity, the fact that I can make a difference, and that there is so mch more to learn. Wonderful.

Nala being a dog

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Nala has been a sketchy Ridgeback the whole time I’ve known her. I’ve made slow and steady progress in getting her attention and modifying her behavior. But in the last month it is has been slowly and steadily and clearly falling apart. She is getting more obnoxious, misbehaving, pushing limits, and behaving badly with company. Hmmm. Sounds like what got her kicked out of her last home.

So – I’m a bit slow sometimes. Especially when I’m preoccupied and have my own agenda going. But what has changed in the last month? Why this sudden decline and reversal of behavior? Now what could explain it….

With her abysmal behavior last night during a meeting here, I had to ponder this more carefully and plan some action. And it became obvious. Nala thinks we’re missing an Alpha position. And she is competing with me for that role. Because, clearly and obviously, she knew that Gary had that role. He’s gone, there must be an opening. So she’ll take it.

Now I don’t go for the big loud demonstrative alpha thing that The Monks of New Skeet for example do. I think it can be subtle. I like calming signals, I like Rugaas and her approach. But – it is continuous. Nala is a really smart dog. She checked out the lay of the land, figured it out, and is acting properly. Someone should be in charge. I’m a bit slower than she is. I don’ t think I even realized that Gary had that position with the three of us. Now I believe it.

So – back we go to nothing is free, lot’s of good behavior first for everything she wants, no privileges without earning them, and especially with food. I get the reinforcement well, the negative is a little harder to do. It will be a challenging few weeks to get her back and beyond where she was.

I think it was confusing for all three of us – Zomba died, Nala was in my life a few weeks after that, and then just a few weeks later Gary stepped in to fill a major role for both of us. Very suddenly he is out of the picture now for many weeks – and it is just Nala and I for the first time together. And we are not doing it very well.

So — I love her. Her behavior is out of control and seriously bad. My turn to step in and turn her to the good side. I can do this.

And we will live happily ever after.