Tuesday March 26, 2013
Synergy: MBTI, the WWW, and Me
A Long Time Ago, in a World Now Far Far Away...
In 1993 I was introduced to two tools that had a profound effect on the direction my work and interests would take. The first of these was the World Wide Web (WWW). I wasn't certain, at first, how useful it would be. (:-) But within a few months, I was hooked. Still, I didn't realize how important the WWW would be to me in the years ahead.
The second tool was the Myers Briggs Type Indicator
I was hooked on that from the first encounter.
But again, I had no idea of the scope of knowledge
and sheer enjoyment this would bring with time.
Continue reading "Synergy: MBTI, the WWW, and Me"
Friday March 22, 2013
Lyons to Lot: a Landmark Vanishes
The former San Bruno Lyons restaurant is... gone. As of today, it's a vacant lot.
It was something of a landmark. Lyons restaurants dated from the late 50s to mid 60s. Lyons used to be a popular 24-hour coffee-shop restaurant in this part of California. We ate there often before the chain folded back in the '90s.
Continue reading "Lyons to Lot: a Landmark Vanishes"
Sunday February 10, 2013
Emotional Intelligence and Type
Yesterday, I attended a workshop entitled "Linking Type and Emotional Intelligence for Effectiveness". The workshop was presented by Roger Pearman for BAAPT (the Bay Area Association for Psychological Type). (Flyer)
In the morning, we learned the basics of Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
"The role of emotions in cognition is pervasive and ubiquitous. Perception and judgement in all its forms are affected by emotional tonalities and reactions....
Psychological type plays an essential role in understanding the emotional triggers for each individual as well as the strategies for self-management."
Continue reading "Emotional Intelligence and Type"
Wednesday December 26, 2012
The MBTI is Nothing Like Astrology
I've been meaning to write this post for a while, but I haven't had the right nudge until now. But today, someone gave me that nudge.
Every now and then, someone blathers about the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) being no better or worse than Astrology. The articles make for amusing punditry, but they miss an important point.
Continue reading in commentary.
Tuesday June 5, 2012
Recently in Twitter, someone asked:
... could somebody explain Pinterest to me? I literally do not understand what I'm looking at.
There were several replies, mostly suggesting that it's largely used by women to save pictures of their imaginary lives or their dream weddings. The original poster also added:
...Ordinarily I scoff at the very idea that the UI of a service could have a gender bias, but with Pinterest it seems true.It's not true. That's certainly what some people use Pinterest for but that doesn't "explain Pinterest". ...
Continue reading "Pinterest Explained"
Sunday August 21, 2011
My Name is Me
My name is Vicki. That's not the name on my birth certificate or how the IRS knows me. It _is_ the name my mother gave me.
My mother didn't give her daughters a name and then call us by a shortened version. She gave us each a name as well as a longer "formal" name to use for things like banks and taxes.
Which is my "real name"? For me, it's not the one on my driver's license.
Continue reading "My Name is Me"
Sunday January 18, 2009
Why I love Twitter
The Inauguration of our 44th US President is on Tuesday (Yes We Can!) and I have been enjoying a front-row seat at several events this weekend. Well, maybe not exactly the front row, but close. Sort of.
In Real Life, I'm in California, a place where water will not freeze if you accidentally leave it out over night. Yet, through the eyes and "tweets" of folks such as Chris Sacca, Ana Marie Cox, Erin Kotecki Vest, and others, I am virtually in Washington, D.C. this weekend.
Continue reading "Why I love Twitter"
Thursday October 30, 2008
Does Your Vote Count?
A friend once told me a disturbingly educational story:
He grew up and went to college in a predominately liberal state. But that state consistently elected a Republican governor, etc. It wasn't for lack of trying. The liberal majority tried too hard.
While most of the "other side" voted for the Republican candidate, the majority of the voters split their votes: Democratic, Libertarian, Independent, Green, Pink, and Purple... A simple majority decided the winner. And the real majority lost every time.
More recently, I heard someone say "I know Barack Obama will win, but I'm voting for the Independent candidate. I don't like the 2-party system.". I'm annoyed and unhappy with this person. As far as I'm concerned, she might as well write in the name of the family dog... or her own name.
Continue reading "Does Your Vote Count?"
Saturday October 18, 2008
No on 8
I generally keep politics, religion, and similar subjects out of my blog. But sometimes, it's more important to say something.
Special interests outside California are trying to put discrimination into our state constitution. Proposition 8 is unfair, unnecessary and wrong. Nearly every major newspaper in California, and groups representing teachers, nurses, seniors, business and labor, oppose Proposition 8.
If you live in California, please join us in November to ensure that Proposition 8 becomes nothing more disturbing than a bad memory. Find out more.
Saturday September 6, 2008
What I Love About Twitter
Last night, we were having dinner with friends at a local Chinese restaurant. Toward the end of the meal, I thought I felt the table... shift... slightly. Maybe? Small quake?
Thursday December 6, 2007
Jelled TeamsThe excerpt below is from Peopleware, by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister. Peopleware is one of my favorite, must-read, oft-recommended books. (I'm not alone in this recommendation; see Joel Spolsy's Book Reviews.)
I've had the pleasure and satisfaction of working in a Jelled Team. They're special. They're rare. They're endangered...
We tend to use the word team fairly loosely in the business world, calling any group of people assigned to work together a “team”. But many of these groups just don’t seem like teams. They don’t have a common definition of success or any identifiable team spirit. Something is missing. What is missing is a phenomenon we call jell....
Continue reading "Jelled Teams"
Monday October 15, 2007
Blog Action Day 2007
One issue. One day. Thousands of voices.
Today is Blog Action Day
On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.
As of this posting, 19,739 bloggers have registered. Bloggers are asked to participate in three ways:
- Post on your blog relating to the environment
- Donate your day’s earnings to an environmental charity
- Promote Blog Action Day around the web
Tuesday October 9, 2007
Twittering: Who, What, and Why
Shortly after I posted my recent entry on Twitter, I sent notes to various e-list groups I read regularly, asking if any of the members use Twitter. A former co-worker replied thusly to my inquiry:
Haven't used Twitter... I think these services are kinda silly. Who cares what I had for lunch today?
Well, that depends. Was it a particularly good lunch? Perhaps at a new and interesting restaurant you would recommend to friends?
Still, if that's your impression of Twitter, you haven't taken a good look at it lately. There's a lot more going on than just "what I had for lunch".
Continue reading "Twittering: Who, What, and Why"
Tuesday September 18, 2007
Do You Twitter?
Continue reading "Do You Twitter?"
Wednesday March 7, 2007
Real Life/Work Lessons from ToyotaI would love to work for a company that operated like this.
From Fast Company magazine.
What drives Toyota? The presumption of imperfection — and a distinctly American refusal to accept it.
Excerpts:Toyota's competitiveness is quiet, internal, self-critical. It is rooted in an institutional obsession with improvement that Toyota manages to instill in each one of its workers, a pervasive lack of complacency with whatever was accomplished yesterday. ...
Continue reading "Never Settle"
Wednesday January 31, 2007
Hello, I'm a Mac...
We don't watch television (we don't even subscribe to cable; gasp!) But we have seen all of the Apple "Get a Mac" ads. We watch them on the web.
Did you know that there are ads targeted for the UKand Japan as well? It's fun to see the differences, especially in the Japanese versions. I especially like "Trust" (aka "Security") in which PC is concerned about Spyware.
Continue reading "Hello, I'm a Mac..."
Saturday January 27, 2007
It's an Inside Joke
I enjoy "sight gags" and inside jokes.. Examples may be subtle and you can miss the joke entirely if you're not paying attention, or don't have the right context. Some excellent examples can be found in in comic strips and books.
Saturday August 12, 2006
Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.
— St. Bernard
Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.
- Saturday! All day at home! Nowhere to go. Nothing pressing to do. And Saturday is more relaxing when I work from home the preceding Friday.
- The 3-storey Apple logos on the sides of Moscone West, in SF, for this week's Developer's conference.
Continue reading "Treasures 2006_32"
Friday March 31, 2006
Gattofont is a new font for cat lovers from font studio studiocharlie. Studiocharlie also designs objects, furniture, videos, and clothes.
Gattofont consists of 62 different cat silhouettes. It's available in OpenType Format (for Mac or Windows).
Regular price, $16.00; on sale for 40% off at MyFonts.com until April 27.
Thursday February 23, 2006
For at least a decade, we have been bemoaning the loss of small, independent booksellers. These neighborhood stores have fallen victim to the behemoths: Borders, Barnes & Noble, and, to some extent, Amazon. (For a while, Crown Books was a big player too, but then it vanished from the scene).
I am hopeful, however, that this trend has not affected used bookstores. If anything, I think the rise of the Internet may be bringing them more business than ever before. From services such as Half.com and Alibris, to the Used & Out of Print booksellers networks run by Amazon and Barnes & Noble, I have instant access to hundreds (if not thousands) of used book shops from my desk.
Continue reading "Virtual Bookstores"
Tuesday February 7, 2006
Now Available On Black
I'm a big fan of t-shirts with writing on them, sort of a "bumpersticker on a shirt". These are often printed in white or bright yellow on black or navy. I scan t-shirt sites and catalogues regularly for interesting new choices. But... I'd love to be able to create my own!
There has been a rise in custom-design sites, but most of those produce shirts with black or colored ink on a light-colored (white, yellow...) shirt. I really want dark green, black, or navy for the shirt color. I think the message shows up better (and smudges don't. :-)
Continue reading "Now Available On Black"
Sunday January 22, 2006
Thursday December 22, 2005
One of my favorite comic strips is 9 Chickweed Lane, by Brooke McEldowney. I enjoy the characters, especially Solange, a Siamese cat. Solage is featured in a continuing series of strips called "Hallmarks of Felinity" (book collection available).
I also love the way the artist plays with the borders of the comic strip format.
If the strip isn't available in your local paper, you can subscribe to receive this (and other strips) by email.
Sunday December 18, 2005
Mom's Family Wall CalendarWho does What and goes Where When... (but not Why)
What could possibly be better than twelve months of Sandra Boynton? Our favorite wall calendar now features 16 months of "adorably goofy chickens and cows, hippos and pigs. Four more months of snuggable puppies and cute-as-a-button chicks. And four more important months to help keep the family organized. "
We keep ours in the kitchen (and have done so now for uncountable years!) It's nearly January... what are you waiting for?
Monday December 12, 2005
I Don't Know Art...I may not know much about "Art"... but I know what I like!
Trompe l'oeil by Eric Grohe
Working in cooperation with architects, designers, art commissions and community representatives, Eric Grohe creates mural art that transforms the environment and communities as well. He believes that his art should involve, challenge and inspire the viewer; not simply adorn, but integrate with its architectural surroundings.Not only that, they look as if you should be able to walk right into them
Saturday October 29, 2005
A Correspondence in Correspondence
Both Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein relied on pen, paper, and the postal service to communicate with correspondents around the world. But researchers have now found the pattern of their replies is the same as that of computer users answering email today, with both following the same mathematical formula.
New Scientist magazine, 26 October 2005
This doesn't seem unusual to me. I tend to treat email as just another way to write a letter, a note, a memo.... The primary difference for me is that, when I was writing paper letters, I would write fewer of them, to a smaller set of people, and the letters themselves would be much longer. If I was going to sit down with pen and paper I might as well make the most of the time.
Using email, I write more often to more people, sending shorter messages at more frequent intervals. I keep up with my sister and with college friends - people I used to exchange letters with once or twice a year.
My mother, on the other hand, has moved from multi-page handwritten paper letters to multi-page typed and printed letters to multi-page (if I printed them) email letters. The biggest difference for her is that she now sends the same letter to both my sister and myself. I reply to both of them, including my Dad, keeping everyone "on the same page".
After all, what are letters (paper or electronic) but a way to communicate?
Tuesday October 25, 2005
The beauty of blogging, as compared to writing a book, is that no editor will be interfering with my random spelling and grammar, my complete disregard for the facts, and my wandering sentences that seem to go on and on and never end so that you feel like you need to take a breath and clear your head before you can even consider making it to the end of the sentence that probably didn't need to be written anyhoo.
Wednesday October 12, 2005
RSS (aka Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary) is a family of XML file formats for web syndication used by (amongst other things) news websites and weblogs. I've been hearing about RSS for some time now. I'm finally using it myself.
I have turned on RSS syndication for this weblog. (all together now: oooooooh. aaaaaaaah.)
I have found an RSS client I like.
Continue reading "Embracing RSS"
Thursday September 29, 2005
Teaching Tomorrow's Employees Today
In today's commentary, I discuss IBM's plan to "financially back employees who want to leave the company to become math and science teachers."
Sunday September 4, 2005
Happy Birthday to my Sister
My sister is celebrating her 35th birthday today. That's not her age; it's a birthday she enjoys celebrating. Neither of us is quite certain how many 35th birthdays she's celebrated (although if we did the math we could come up with an answer :-)
Please join me in wishing my sister a Happy Day.
Saturday July 16, 2005
We were up by 8 and left the house a bit before 9. We headed up 19th Ave and bought toasted bagels with cream cheese & lox (and tomatoes and onions at House of Bagels on Geary. Then we drove up to Fort Point and ate at the view area. No view (too much fog). Tasty though (even though I forgot to bring either paper towels or water!).
Then over the bridge in the fog and through the tunnel. Sausalito was clear (I think Marin County has demons up on the mountain with fans and brooms keeping the fog out! It's amazing to go through the tunnel from socked in grey cotton to blue sky and sun.
We drove up to Petaluma and stopped at Orchard Supply Hardware briefly, then turned on 166, then onto Stony Point Rd. and headed up to Occidental. I drove us up to Petaluma; Rich drove from Petaluma into into Occidental (and I looked at the countryside).
It was a lovely day for a car trip trip. We saw lots of cows in assorted colors, vultures, and rolling hills (golden in July). We past some horses in a pasture and there was quite a little colt with his mama. We also passed one field of cos where there was a baby calf lying in the shade near the fence with his mama (I wanted to go back and pet ;-)
We got to Occidental by 11:30. (We'd been told shuttles would arrive to pick us up starting at 11:50). In the meantime, we walked around a bit and went into a store where I bought some cute Gund stuffies. Then we wandered over to the Union Motel (closed) where we were supposed to congregate.
We congregated. We talked. We found a spot with some wind (it was a very warm day). We found some shade. The shuttles were late. Eventually an SUV appeared along with a woman to "check us in". The SUV took three people up to the compound. A mini van came, then a second. People went. We weren't fast enough.
Rich and I went and sat in the shade again. Eventually a minivan came back and we piled in and it drove up into the hills to the compound.
[... to Be Continued ...]
Friday April 1, 2005
Fundue™ - USB Desktop Fondue SetHere at the ThinkGeek offices we are surrounded by those traditional suburbia food traps. The typical crappy deli and the occasional edible pizza. So, we decided we would take desktop food culture into our own hands and created the Fundue™, a USB powered desktop culinary experience that will transform your lunches to a new realm. Get instantly sophisticated now!
SkyTag™ - Green Laser Aircraft TrackerWe've always been enamored of the green laser pointer here at ThinkGeek. The way it looks, the way it points, that mesmerizing green beam it projects. But we became tired of pointing such an advanced piece of physics on the white board, or using it to mess with cats and dogs. That's why we created SkyTag™, the world's first GPS green laser pointer mounted in a motorized base that allows you to track and tag aircraft at your own convenience!
Tuesday March 22, 2005
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You!
Coming! This Fall!
Wallace & Gromit Bigger than Life!
|The cheese-loving Wallace and his ever faithful dog Gromit star in an all new comedy adventure, marking their first full-length feature film.|
|Go to the brand new Wallace & Gromit site for pictures and a video look behind the scenes.|
Monday January 10, 2005
I love fonts. I collect fonts. I especially love "handwritten" fonts.
As a programmer, however, and constant email user, I need to use fixed-width fonts, preferably with easily distinguished characters. So how do I mix and match my love for handwritten fonts with fixed-width programmer's fonts? Take a look at some of the cool fixed-width fonts I've found!
Thursday October 14, 2004
I have discovered a delightful new desktop toy for my Mac. It's called Konfabulator. Konfabulator is "whatever you want it to be".
Continue reading "Konfabulous"
Monday September 13, 2004
(Inter)national Chocolate Day
September 13 is International Chocolate Day.
September 18th is National Chocolate Day.
Celebrate with the chocolate of your choice... I prefer a nice smooth semi-sweet.
If you like a hint of coffee with your chocolate, try a bit of a Seattle Chocolates Pike Place Espresso Truffle bar - yummmmmmmmmmm.
If you like a hint of coffee with your chocolate, try a bit of a Seattle Chocolates Pike Place Espresso Truffle bar - yummmmmmmmmmm.
Sunday September 12, 2004
Cooking for Engineers
I recently discovered a new site (thanks to slashdot, via Rich) called Cooking for Engineers. The site owner, Michael Chu, describes the site thusly:
The recipes that are listed as "Recipe File" are the recipes that I use when I want to make a particular dish. "Recipe Test" are recipes that have been recommended to me or I have come across that I test and don't necessary stand behind. Some of the "Recipe File" recipes are my own recipes or have been passed down to me and "perfected". Others are not, but the source is credited (see Basic Pancakes or Lemon Bars for some examples).
This website was started because I needed a repository for cooking info that I wanted to refer to as well as some of my favorite recipes. I used to keep all this information on my Palm through the Memo Pad application. Unfortunately, I was synchronizing Memo Pad with my laptop (on Outlook) and discovered that after three months our Exchange server deletes old Outlook Notes. So, exactly three months after synchronizing all my recipes, they all got deleted and on the next synch, were consequently removed from my Palm. I've been reinventing some recipes and looking of other since and decided to put them online.
The recipe Rich pointed me to is
one for tiramisu. Tiramisu has been called the "Barry Manilow of deserts" but it's one of my favorites. It's a bit different in every incarnation and at every restaurant where I've eaten it, but it's almost always delicious no matter how it's prepared. If you also love tiramisu, be sure to read all of the comments on the recipe posting.
Continue reading "Cooking for Engineers"
Saturday September 11, 2004
The Return of Stuart Katt!
I'm a big fan of Stuart Katt, a large, stripey, lino-block art feline I discovered many years ago. I have several t-shirts, a tote bag, and a set of greeting cards featuring the irrepressible and irresistible tabby. Some of my favorites in the series are "Cat Wants In / Cat Wants Out" (a double-print t-shirt), "Cat and Friends on Stairs" (the "friends" being cat toys) and "Cat Wants People Food" (in this case, that would be the roasted turkey).
Periodically, I'd do a web search, looking for signs of Stuart... Until recently, there was nothing to find. In fact, judging from the comments posted to one of my previous weblog entries which mentioned one of my t-shirts (right), I've been generating the most hits. The comments also show that and Stuart is well-loved and sought-after by his loyal fans.
Well, guess who did a web search and found me?! A couple of days ago, I received an unexpected note from Stuart's artist, Philip Dingman. (Isn't the Web a wonderful place!).
I have excellent news for all Stuart Katt fans Mr. Dingman will be letting the Katt out of the bag once again! He even promises.. books! Oooooooooh.
I hope you'll join the Stuart "fan club" when the Katt comes back. Keep watch at www.philipdingman.com/stuartkatt.htm. I can hardly wait.
Sunday August 15, 2004
The Official Sandra Boynton Website
I just love the drawings of Sandra Boynton; I've loved her since 1975! I never throw away any calendars or greeting cards she's designed (and I buy Boynton greeting cards just for me, to keep!).
We have two Boynton stuffytoy hippies, George and Martha, on the headboard of our bed. (George and Martha are named after the titular characters in a children's book by another author/illustrator, James Marshall).
I am therefore especially pleased to discover as well as to announce that there is an Official Sandra Boynton Web Site. Books and plushies are available for your own family to adopt! (Decisions, decisions :-)
Be sure to visit the No-Mind Entertainment page which offers "two portals into hitherto unexplored territory. Behind these doors there are for you unfathomable experiences although, we regret to say, you will find no ladies, tigers, or major appliances."
Thursday July 22, 2004
Spy vs. Spy 3D
I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.
-- Franklin P. Adams
I've always found new words this way, browsing the dictionary, looking up something else. Now, with the WWW I find all sorts of wonderful gems on the way to looking up something else.
I saw a new TV commercial for Mountain Dew a few weeks ago, and was flabbergasted: it was the old Mad magazine "Spy vs. Spy" cartoon, translated into 3D. Bob Congdon found online copies of the ads. I think they've done a stellar job of capturing the feel of the cartoon, both in terms of the elemental plotting and violence, and the stripped-down black and white look of the strip. One of the ads ends "to be continued". I hope there will be more...Thanks, Ned! ...
Continue reading "Spy vs. Spy 3D"
Wednesday July 21, 2004
A new word... and a marvelous quote.
bloviate (BLOH-vee-ayt) v. intr. Slang
Bloviate is from blow + a mock-Latinate suffix -viate. Compare blowhard, "a boaster or braggart." Bloviation is the noun form; a bloviator is one who bloviates.[ bloviate was Word of the Day on June 22, 2001 ] ...
Trivia: Bloviate is most closely associated with U.S. President Warren G. Harding, who used it frequently and who was known for long, windy speeches. H.L. Mencken said of him, "He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash."
Continue reading "bloviate"
Sunday July 4, 2004
Click the image above to go to an animated fireworks display.
Saturday June 26, 2004
Animusic is for anyone who appreciates rich, beautifully rendered, 3-D computer graphics.
Animusic is for anyone who has ever played in a band or orchestra.
Animusic is for anyone who appreciates music and who enjoys watching music being played.
If you generally listen to music with your eyes closed, open them for Animusic or you'll miss most of what makes this album special.
Continue reading "Animusic"
Friday March 26, 2004
Quartet for a Friday morning
I've started playing with poetry again. One of my journaling list groups publishes prompt words every week or two. There's always a "poem" word. Three of the past poem words have been: Blanket, Sleeping, Clean.
For the first two pieces, I played with senryu (senryu has the same structure as haiku but doesn't require a seasonal reference).
The fourth entry recasts one of the previous words (Sleeping) as a different part of speech (Sleep). (To be honest, I composed this one because I misremembered the third posted word; inspiration comes in odd forms :-)
Continue reading "Quartet for a Friday morning"
Friday March 19, 2004
Poetry on Paper
May I recommend today's weblog essay by Danny Gregory, Everyday Matters.
Wednesday March 17, 2004
Spam in my mailbox?
Spam in my mailbox? I cannot utter enough expletives to describe the depth of my revulsion for spam. Spam on my blog? Sailors, cover your ears.
[ cf. Fighting Blog Spam, March 8, 2004 ]
If I never again see an "enlargement comment" I will be a very happy camper. I am so sick and tired of deleting this garbage/slime/crap/encroaching nastiness that has been infiltrating my otherwise happy little backwater weblog.
Pariah - You have my everlasting and fervent thanks!
Jay - Ditto; ( amazing page :-)
Spammers - see a later [sic] ... or never
Thursday March 4, 2004
In wandering the web today looking for something else, I came across the rather interesting page from Berlin Packaging. Berlin Packaging is "the nation's premier supplier of rigid packaging - including glass, metal, and plastic containers, and closures". The page I discovered is their packaging solutions page, on which they give several examples, with full text description as well as "Before" and "After pictures, of bottles they have redesigned (and why).
For example, the way I found this site was by doing a search for the home page of a product I like, Victorian House Coffee. It turns out that Berlin Packaging redesigned the Victorian House Coffee bottle:
Continue reading "Packaging Solutions"
Monday March 1, 2004
Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!
From there to here,
from here to there,
March 2 is the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, known to millions of children as Dr. Seuss.
Theodor Geisel died in 1991. This March 2, 2004 (tomorrow) would have been his 100th birthday.
Continue reading "Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!"
Saturday February 7, 2004
Make Your Motor Cortex Dance
"Brain areas that are used to perform an action are also needed to comprehend words related to that action," ... "Remarkably, just the reading of feet-related action words such as dance makes [the motor cortex] move its 'feet.'"...
[cf "The Brain's Word Act: Reading verbs revs up motor cortex areas", by Bruce Bower, in Science News, week of Feb 7, 2004
Continue reading "Make Your Motor Cortex Dance"
Friday January 30, 2004
Happy Anniversary, Macintosh![ Lest anyone consider this entry to be belated, please consider that some people (such as myself :-) prefer to mark anniversaries by their proximity to other events. Apple aired the "1984" Macintosh introduction ad during halftime on Super Bowl Sunday, January 1984. This year, Super Bowl Sunday is later, on Feb. 1. ]
At halftime on Super Bowl Sunday, January 1984, Apple Computer aired one of the greatest commercials in the 37-year history of the Super Bowl. The ad is among the ten finalists for CBS.com's Super Bowl Greatest Commercials, which airs on Saturday, January 31st, 2004 at 9 pm.
Since 1967, there have been 37 Super Bowls, containing approximately 60 commercials in each, which works out to more than 2,200 Super Bowl commercials in all! We've narrowed the field down to ten....
Continue reading "Happy Anniversary, Macintosh!"
Sunday January 25, 2004
South Beach Updates "Foods to Enjoy"Spouse and self began our reduced-carbohydrate lifestyle adventure on Sept 1, 2004. As advocates of the South Beach plan, we had nonetheless been wondering about the restrictions it placed on certain foods. For example, all dairy products were considered "Avoid" foods in Phase 1, despite research that shows the value of milk and yogurt in weight-loss plans. Similarly, I had been wondering about the limits placed on tomatoes (1 whole or 10 cherry tomatoes per meal); tomatoes contain lycopene and have a nearly unmeasurable glycemic index. Spouse considers carrots to be "good food"; although the fiber content and vitamins would seem to support his theory, the South Beach Diet did not.
So I was delighted to discover recently that some changes have been made; our beliefs have been given official support. The South Beach Diet has been updated to take advantage of these nutritional studies and information. Updates have been made to the Phase 1 "Foods to Enjoy" and "Foods to Avoid" lists as well as to the Phase 2 "Foods You Can Reintroduce" and "Foods To Avoid Or Eat Rarely" lists.
Continue reading "South Beach Updates "Foods to Enjoy""
Friday January 23, 2004
BBC Horizons: The Atkins DietPrimetime BBC Television's Horizon ran a programme on The Atkins Diet last night with the tag line: "Horizon reveals the truth about the world's most controversial diet."
(When discussing the BBC, I figure I should spell like the BBC :-)
Continue reading "BBC Horizons: The Atkins Diet"
Thursday January 22, 2004
Low Carb GranolaI love Granola. Unfortunately, we're presently on a long-term reduced carbohydrate adventure so most granolas are out for the time being. However, one of the women on the low-carb mailing list I'm on recently recommended a low-carb granola called "FlaxOMeal Granola" (Low-Carb Success brand). Several other women chimed in to agree that they think it's quite tasty.
I found some today while shopping at one of our local grocery stores (a small local chain called
Mollie Stones, a bit upscale from Safeway :-) Mollie Stones has joined the Low-carb revolution, having recently installed a large endcap display at the front of the store, containing all sorts of varied low-carb products and "We Have Low-Carb" on a big sign. Cool.
Continue reading "Low Carb Granola"
Thursday January 8, 2004
A Passion for Paper
I considered titling this "Paper Fetish"
fetish n. 2. An object of unreasonably excessive attention or reverencebut I decided that the other definitions for fetish were just too far out for me. I'd hate for anyone to jump to the wrong conclusions... some people will find the right conclusions to be just a little strange as it is. :-)
Do other people who like to write (whether you keep a regular journal or not, paper version or online) share a similar passion for paper as mine? I can't remember a time when I didn't care about using just the right sort of notebook, just the right type of tablet, for a project or a class.
Continue reading "A Passion for Paper"
Tuesday January 6, 2004
Quote CollectingI'm a great fan (and collector) of quotations. I have more than half a dozen books of quotations on my shelves. ...
Continue reading "Quote Collecting"
Sunday December 21, 2003
Why I Write
I've always liked to write; when I was much younger, I wrote a lot of poems and short stories. For several years in Junior High and High School I did a periodic "newspaper" for my family.Continue reading "Why I Write" in my "other" weblog, commentary...
I don't recall keeping any sort of diary or journal during elementary school or High School. I did keep a regular journal through all four years of College. I can't remember what triggered that, but I wrote in it most every day. I still have the first volume of that journal (discovered recently in a box with my HS yearbooks and a couple of photo scrapbooks). If I still have the remaining volumes, they are stored in a place so safe even I don't know where it is. To be honest, I'm not sure I would want to read those journals if I could find them again. Perhaps they're better off in that "safe place".
Saturday December 13, 2003
Fat-free (or Carb-free) Still Isn't "Free"I recall an article I read a few years ago. The author recounted his discovery of some non-fat cookies at the local "Quik Stop Gas & Shop" when he stopped in for a fill-up on his way home from work. The cookies were delicious (and fat-free!) so he began to make a habit of stopping to buy a bag of cookies on his way home every day. It was only after he gained 5-10 ponds that he read the label. While the cookies were fat free they weren't sugar free (and they certainly weren't calorie free!).
I've personally seen "fat free" brownies with a half-inch of chocolate fudge icing slathered on top! They had more icing than the "regular" (with fat) version! They're certainly yummy but they are not a "low calorie food".
Despite some recent surprising study results, a calorie still counts for something. Replacing fat with sugar (or carbohydrates with fats and proteins) may not produce the weight-loss results you're hoping for.
Continue reading "Fat-free (or Carb-free) Still Isn't "Free""
Monday December 8, 2003
Low-carb pizza?!Rich and I have a favorite Pizzeria (Pasquale's in San Francisco). We've tried many other pizza places; this one (in our opinion) is by far the best. But... how to fit pizza into a diet in which you are trying to substantially reduce your carbohydrate intake?
In pizza, we both like the sauce best (more sauce!), followed by the cheese and the toppings (sausage and pepperoni, mushrooms (for Rich's side only), occasionally basil/pesto). We're not big crust fans. The crust is there to keep the sauce from sticking and burning in the oven. :-)
We tried this idea back in October and repeated it last night. I think it's a "keeper".
We each had three slices of pizza. We both ate cheese, sausage, pepperoni and (in Rich's case) mushrooms. We didn't eat the crust. We did remember (this time) to order a side of ravioli sauce (next to the best pizza, Pasquale's makes the best meat sauce we've ever tasted anywhere). So, we could add even more sauce to our crustless low-carb pizza!
We were full and happy (not stuffed) and we had what we went for.
MemesBlog Ideas. Circle of Words. Spark. Weigh-in Wednesday. The Friday 5. Saturday Slant. Participation Positives.
Have you ever wondered where people get ideas for what to write about?
Have you noticed how some people's weblogs (including mine) reference a set of periodic questions and then answer them? One answer is "memes".
Continue reading "Memes"
Saturday December 6, 2003
InsPURRationI've started a new Yahoo group / mailing list called InsPURRation: CatPURRSons Life Support. The rationale is simple.
We are the ones who have high blood pressure, ulcers, and heart attacks, not cats. -- Roger Caras...
We all have bad days. The car won't start, your son has a fender-bender, the water pipes break, work gave you a migraine, you sprain your ankle, lose your checkbook, argue with your spouse.
Some days are much worse. You suffer a fire; a parent has Alzheimers; a good friend dies; the car is totaled; the medical diagnosis is bad.
Yet, sometimes there are rainbows on the darkest day. A friend calls; a loved one sends you flowers; you read an uplifting poem; you try a soothing new tea or find a piece of inspirational music. A rift is healed; the diagnosis is benign; an argument is settled. Pandora's box also held hope.
Continue reading "InsPURRation"
Saturday October 18, 2003
Sweet ToothI couldn't quite decide if this was commentary or not, so I posted the same article to both of my weblogs; only the teaser paragraph is here; you can read the rest at vlb.typepad.com/commentary.
Saccharin. Cyclamate. Aspartame. Sucralose. Tagatose. Alitame.
Xylitol. Maltitol. Lactitol. Isomalt. Erythritol. Mannitol. Sorbitol.
If it tastes like sugar, but it's not...People like sugar; people like sweet foods. Unfortunately, sucrose ("table sugar") is, well, fattening. It also promotes tooth decay, increases your blood glucose levels, and triggers the insulin reaction. For decades, dieters, diabetics, and people concerned about their teeth have sought an alternative to sucrose. Although the perfect solution has not yet been discovered, we do have many choices.
Friday October 17, 2003
A Calorie is a Calorie... or is it?
The dietary establishment has long argued it's impossible, but a new study offers intriguing evidence for the idea that people on low-carbohydrate diets can actually eat more than folks on standard lowfat plans and still lose weight....
[This] strikes at one of the most revered beliefs in nutrition: A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. It does not matter whether they come from bacon or mashed potatoes; they all go on the waistline in just the same way ...
[c.f. Study surprise: Low-carb dieters eat more, lose weight, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (AP), Oct 4, 2003]
Continue reading "A Calorie is a Calorie... or is it?"
Saturday October 11, 2003
The South Beach DietI have been reading "The South Beach Diet" by Dr. Arthur Agatston. (The hardcover book is currently on sale for softcover prices ($15) at both amazon.com and Barnes & Noble; there are used copies available as well through amazon.com starting at $11.75.
Dr. Agatston is a cardiologist who started investigating diet as a way to help his overweight patients lower their weight, cholesterol, and triglycerides and reduce adult diabetes and pre-diabetes symptoms. The patients shared the diet success with friends and family and it's become very popular.
Rich and I have been looking through various "diet" schemes, reading the books, comparing what they say to what we believe makes sense. So far, The South Beach Diet is the closest to what I think makes the most sense. It's low-carb but not no-carb. It's not "high fat" nor is it "low fat". It's not "all protein" and it's certainly not a starvation diet. It draws a distinction between "good" and "bad" carbs (and between "good" and" bad" fats) . It's not so much a "diet" as a lifestyle change.
Continue reading "The South Beach Diet"
Thursday October 2, 2003
Low carb need not equal faux foodFrom the San Francisco Chronicle ( Food in the News, www.sfgate.com, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2003)
Low-carb craze grabs consumersYou'd never buy most of them for their taste -- even some people who sell them admit that. They're generally not low in calories. Nutritionists raise their eyebrows at all the protein and processing they pack. And they're expensive, easily two to four times the cost of their full-carb counterparts.
Onslaught of new products tempts dieters
But, inspired by the Atkins/South Beach/Sugar Busters low-carb weight- loss plans, people are scarfing them down, acting like sea otters at an oyster bar.
Low-carb food specialty stores are proliferating, catering to demands for the likes of cinnamon-fried pork rinds. Trend-savvy Trader Joe's is about to unveil a new Joe's Lows label for its growing low-carb line. Low-carb tortillas, chips and beer are multiplying in markets like Whole Foods, Andronico's and Walgreens.
The fear-of-fat days are officially over. Now, it's all about fear of carbs. Even french fry sales are feeling the pain.
Continue reading "Low carb need not equal faux food"
Saturday September 27, 2003
Inside skinny on office fatThere was an article in today's SF Chronicle about how the workplace contributes to the obesity problem. Here's an excerpt:
The workplace study, a random sampling of 611 working adults from around the country, found that although 32 percent of workers usually skip breakfast and/or lunch, they aren't exactly doing a Gandhi impression. Eighty-nine percent admit to snacking during the workday, with more than half embracing fat and sugar's greatest hits: chips, candy and doughnuts.
Hunger and the need for energy are the main explanations they give, according to the study, sponsored by the American Association of Working People, the Institute for Health and Productivity Management and the makers of the Ensure nutritional drink. An additional 23 percent of workers blame stress.
And here's my favorite: 27 percent snack because they're bored. Workers under 25 were twice as likely as their older colleagues to use that as their explanation.
[by Dave Murphy, SF Chronicle; read the rest of the original article on the web at sfgate.com.]
I sent a note to the writer with some additional comments.
Continue reading "Inside skinny on office fat"
Sunday September 21, 2003
Storytelling FestivalWe drove up to Trinidad California (in Humboldt County, about 25 mi. north of Eureka, on the California North Coast) for a Storytelling festival this weekend. We headed up on Friday and drove back Saturday afternoon.
In between, we heard from half a dozen storytellers, stories ranging from Japanese fables to the life story of Lou Gehrig. Storytelling festivals can be a "mixed bag". You'll love some, you'll like some, some will leave you cold.
We went to this festival specifically because Willy Claflin would be there! Rich was lucky enough to see Willy Claflin perform at a storytelling festival in Sant Ynez about 6 months ago. He then purchased all available CD recordings (:-), brought them home and I became a fan of Willy Claflin. Willy's best friend and co-teller is Maynard Moose who tells "Traditional Moose Tales". On this trip, I got to see Maynard perform in person (and a lively and animated moose he is, too, cheerful and happy with his work :-)
We had a pleasant time, a long drive (over 300 miles each way), lovely scenery, a pretty piney woods (the festival event was in Patrick's Point State Park) and a cute little cabin over night. I'm happy we went; nevertheless, it's always good to get home.
Friday July 11, 2003
Yogurt tastingThere have been a number of articles recently that indicate that people who include dairy in their diets, when trying to lose weight, have more success than those who give up dairy. Low-fat milk, low-fat cheese, and yogurt are mentioned. (Unfortunately, ice cream's high fat and sugar counteracts the effects of the dairy aspect. sigh).
Unfortunately, while I'm willing to drink milk (the lower-fat the better), I've always found store-bought yogurt to be sour (though I am very fond of Indian raita and Greek tzatziki). The question was, is there any commercial yogurt I'd be willing to eat... or one that Rich would eat... and would there be one we both liked?
So, for fun we did a taste test.
Continue reading "Yogurt tasting"
Thursday July 3, 2003
The Color of My Parachute
Everything about unemployment is wonderful... except for the lack of income.So, being one of many unemployed in the Tech industry, I've been trying to find a job. I've been trying since January 2002 (when I still had a contract but the miserable economy forced me down to 15 hours/week).I've joined a few mailing lists - if you want a good one, try The Wednesday Group Job (don't ask me why it's called that; I don't know). I've participated in the discussions on other technical lists (not job lists but job-related discussion; we're all searching for work). I'm "using my contacts" (what contacts I have). And I thought, "Why not try one of those infamous books again?". So I got a copy of the 2003 edition of What Color Is Your Parachute. ...
Continue reading "The Color of My Parachute"
Tuesday May 6, 2003
The Sixth of MayI wrote this in 9th grade. It won honorable mention in a local poetry contest.
The Sixth of May...
Continue reading "The Sixth of May"
Tuesday February 25, 2003
Old Mother Moose Tales
On Rich's recent trip to Santa Barbara, he attended a story-telling festival. One of the story tellers is Willy Claflin; Willy Claflin is "an award-winning master storyteller, school performer, festival performer, who also has produced five age-appropriate CDs and tapes of Willy Claflin songs and Maynard Moose tales".
Actually, Willy doesn't tell many of the stories himself; his colleagues do. One such colleague is Maynard Moose. Maynard is a moose (puppet) with a voice somewhat reminiscent of Kermit The Frog and a real knack for story telling.
From the descriptions for some of the discs:
I first met Maynard one foggy autumn morning years ago in down-east Maine... his memory of the Old Mother Moose tales is as keen as ever... I would like to thank him for keeping this ancient oral moose tradition alive.
Claflin’s formula for fractured tales: equal parts moose wisdom, people predicaments, and Moothified pronouncifications.
“Mother Moose Tales,” says the storyteller, “Preserve traditional moose values.”
The stories are _funny_. Buy a CD; buy 2 or three :-) Our favorites are Sleeping Beastly, Maynard Moose Tales, and The Uglified Ducky. Here's a sample story from The Uglified Ducky, called The Turtle and the Bunny.
Monday June 24, 2002
Lebanon Bologna by mailAre you an expatriot Pennsylvanian? Do you miss the taste of lebanon bologna? Or scrapple? Do you know you can buy these tastes-of-home by mail?? www.lebanononline.org
"Ask someone from outside the Lebanon Valley "what's the first thing they think of when they hear Lebanon?" and they'll probably say -- Lebanon Bologna. Lebanon Bologna is now produced by three premier sausage makers - Kutztown, Seltzer's and Weaver. Two (Weaver and Seltzer's) offer tours of their smokehouses and packing facilities."
"All three have mail order departments and will gladly ship one stick or a case of world famous Lebanon Bologna across the county or around the world"
If you don't know which to choose, I like Seltzer's.
They say they sell scrapple too (but not till fall). I can't wait!
Sunday May 12, 2002
The journal goes public (the blogger has landed)Time to send out email to people to tell them the Blog is here.
Friends and family can get their own blog. Other folks reading this are encouraged to surf to blogger.com (or install your own copy of greymatter, moveabletype, bloxsom, or... if you have your own server).
Friday May 10, 2002
Welcome to the Weblog
I've just installed something new, a "web logger" (aka "blogger) called greymatter. I may put one into some other sites here. In any case, I'm still learning what I can do with this thing.