Sunday, July 22, 2012


Huckleberries are a real thing, a completely nonfictional thing, and they are ripe now. When Smiley pointed them out I was very surprised. I mean, they are tiny, and bright red, and they don't look anything like the segmented raspberry and blackberry varieties proliferating in gardens and along roadsides. The small leaves remind me of those on rosebushes. The fruit is just smaller than a blueberry, and it has that same ruffle of a skirt on the flower end. They are juicy and not overly sweet. And the bushes have no thorns.
My daughter has unexpectedly gotten excited about berry picking. She came over and brought some that she'd collected. She got me to go across the street and pick some. After she left, she called to tell me she found a spot where she was able to pick a whole plastic water bottle full of them. -The pint sized water bottle choice is genius, berries fit through the neck easily, and if you drop the bottle they won't all spill out.
Berrying is just like a video game. In between slaying dragons and shooting at spaceships, you pause to pick up brightly colored trophies. These can be traded for ballistic missiles and fancy costumes, or just eaten to raise your health statistics. Each berry that I pick makes an imaginary PING sound as it separates from the bush and lands in the bucket.
This morning, Smiley and went out to get more, before the short season ends. At home, I used them to make a raw cobbler with an almond date crust. Yesterday,Maddy picked a water bottle full, and today, I filled up a hummus container.


Thursday, December 15, 2011


Dear Lady Gaga,
Now that you have re-done "Orange Colored Sky" I believe that looking toward an even earlier era would put you in good stead. The next, obvious hit, a song that is screaming to be re-interpreted, is none other than "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart".
Imagine the costumes!
Your fan,

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Occupy Seattle

Early Wednesday evening I got to see the Occupy Crowd in person. To change buses, I had to walk through Westlake Plaza and there they were, occupying cobblestone after cobblestone. Before I saw them, I saw parking enforcement trucks, and park maintenance trucks, and television news-mobiles with their swirly narwhal antennas parked bumper to bumper along the curb of Pine Street. As I rounded the corner, I could see private security guards lined up with their backs against the retail stores, and a crowd of easily 200 protestors. There were the usual ubiquitous Seattle drum circle sounds, but not any other discernible crowd activity. 4th Avenue isn't very wide, and cars were struggling to get around orange cones and safety fluorescent vested public employees and police on horseback. I could feel the tension in the air as I realized that the trucks, guards, and cops formed containment walls around the triangular space, and that they might press inward.
So I went up to the cavalry commandeering my transit stop, and asked about where to catch the bus. They directed me half a block away, where another safety vest guy flagged down my connecting bus.
According to local news, 25 people were arrested soon after.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Google+ Review

Scrolling isn't easy.
On most web pages, I hit the space bar to scroll down an entire page. On G+ that may or may not work. Usually it doesn't. So I use the touch pad or the mouse to click in the scroll bar area. It beats scrolling down one line at a time.

Open in new tab? Think again.
G+ does not want me to open links in other tabs to read later. It over-rides my browser settings and switches my view to the new tab. I get this, I really do. If I read the link now, I can comment to the person who linked. I haven't scrolled down (see above,) so after I read the article, or interpret the lol cat semaphore message, I'm still right on their post. Will this work, or will we all just stop clicking on links?

Sorting your contact list into categories is a powerful data-gathering technique. Not powerful for the users, powerful for Google. For the users, it could work as a method of disseminating information to an audience with specific interests. You can post about books, to your "book" circle, but unless something needs to be censored from an audience segment whom you know will not enjoy it, most posts tend to be marked as "public", or "all of my circles". Someone whom I didn't know was a book fan, might also enjoy the post, so shielding the post from them, doesn't make sense.

The real power of circles is how we categorize our contact lists. We take the information that we know about our contacts, and give it to Google for free. While I might be circumspect about how much personal information I share online, my contacts are free to sort me into circles of their choosing. Anything that they know, (or imagine,) about me could be used. Given the sense of humor that my friends have, I'm probably in a database somewhere, filed along with 8-foot tall Rosicrucians who have always been Communists. True or false, it is going into my file, and I will never even know what it says. No wonder my email box is full of advertisements for co-joined twin tailored clothing.

Name Nym Nom
Real names are encouraged. Real names are required. Names that don't look real enough, sometimes result in expulsion. So a disproportionate amount of posting space has been devoted to protests when someone's real, but unusual, name has gotten them booted from Google-ville. Some people want to use their long-term pseudonyms, but unless you are willing to list your legal name as well, the G-peeps say that you are failing to
comply. By this standard, Lady Gaga, Dear Abby, Ann Landers, and Marilyn Monroe would have all been exiled.

One of my contacts posted extensively about the name
policy. He wanted to use his DJ-fabulous nickname, and he wanted Google to like it. His friends replied with their support. One said that he didn't even know any other name for the guy. To me, this just indicates that they don't know each other very well.

By the way, DJ-fab is gone now. Nails that stand up, get ban-hammered down.

In all of this painfully drawn out reasoning and pleading by early-adopters to please, please let them use their true spiritual geek-names, I haven't seen one acknowledge that aside from data-mining, the Goog is trying to pre-empt potential armies of sock puppets. If someone advertises a dust-jacket-of-the-future to their "book" circle, and hundreds of grateful, loyal, fictional fictional fans post that they love it, this skews marketing statistics for the company. For me, as a reader, it just makes me less likely to ever expand a comment thread. Real commenters are long-winded enough. So have a pseudonym, have two. Just don't have dozens of them.

Let's be very clear: Google wants to know you very well. Not just what you share, but what you think. What recipe you looked up, which word you looked up the spelling for, AND NOW what your friends think about you.

In case you are wondering what I think about you, I will be open. I believe in glasnost, my dear Comrade. You have just been added to my circle of one-armed paper hangers who practice bee-keeping in their spare time. Your targeted sidebar ads should be along any minute.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wrote a Little Song for a Friend's Going Away Party

(Borrowed a Bob Dylan Tune)

This is the last party at Aria's house
One of so many we've had
This is the last party at Aria's house
So, let our hearts all be glad
We could say that the end is sad
Along with the good, must come some bad
But think of all the great fun that we had
So goodbye Aria

We used to know her as Andrea
Before Aria she became
We used to know her as Andrea
But then she changed her name
Earlier on, she was Peggy Sue
Before that she was Sally Mae
Even if we have to call her Freddie Mac
We will still have her back

Soon there will be new adventures
And we must have no fear
Navigate on your journey
Steady hands as you steer
Before you bungee dive off that cliff sheer
Let's play the game we call "What If" here
Raise a glass of vegan non-alcoholic beer
And drink a toast to Aria

Monday, March 14, 2011

Purim Song

Born in the neighborhood of Shushan P
Studied at Cheder when I was only 3
Learned to play the lute and my ABC
And now I'm the Queen of the Persians and the Medes

Esther, Esther HaMalkah
Queen of the Persians and the Medes

I'm a champion at dreidel, naturally
My hula hoop is made out of hickory
I belly-dance and always dress modestly
And now I'm the Queen of the Persians and the Medes

Esther, Esther HaMalkah
Queen of the Persians and the Medes

Won a beauty contest easily
Answered all the questions on Jeopardy
In college I majored in diplomacy
And now I'm the Queen of the Persians and the Medes

Esther, Esther HaMalkah
Queen of the Persians and the Medes

Some day I'll have a daughter, or two or three
And pass on my statecraft recipe
We'll go on vacation to Hawaii
And now I'm the Queen of the Persians and the Medes

Esther, Esther HaMalkah
Queen of the Persians and the Medes

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Third Amendment Imperiled!

The Wisconsin plan is to cut the pay and benefits of public employees except for that of police and firefighters. - Because crime and fire can be quite inconvenient, to a monied class, when there is a disgruntled peasantry. If this trend continues, we move further towards a police state. The ensuing military dictatorship would also be quite inconvenient. Yes, Homeland Security will need you to hand over all of your stuff for the duration. You wouldn't want to be perceived as hating freedom?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


Spring is in the air, and the mango-orange smoothie is in the blender. A few days away from the bagel peanut butter diet, and I can already see a difference in how my clothes are fitting. It is possible to stay vegetarian, or even vegan, and still take in way too many high fat calories.

My daughter introduced me to blues dancing. It's couples dancing with a lot of the swing dance moves, but most songs are slower and less bouncy. You do in your stocking feet. Except for the formless and ubiquitous slow dance, I've never done partner dancing before. I managed to exist in a world where people disco without touching unless they all join hands and form a circle. Fortunately, my guy has had a smattering of exposure to ballroom et al.

Oh yeah, my guy Smiley. We've been dating for almost two years. Ever since he drove me home from a Valentines party. (Awwwwww.)