unrequited narcissism

Archives: misc
Archives: misc
September 07, 2006
September 07, 2006
a note misc

brief interruption of my hiatus to note a few things:

  • there are about two billion concerts i want to go to this fall at the 9:30 club and the black cat. it will be teh awesome.

  • the new facebook features really are as terrifyingly creepy as everyone is saying. but, as techcrunch notes, they're easily shut off. (UPDATE: i think maybe i'm wrong that they're easily shut off. it doesn't seem like there is one option to opt out of the newsfeed forever; you have to X out each indivdual item. facebook certainly should include an option to easily opt out. yup. hi, my name is catherine, i'm 26, and i use facebook.)
    (UPDATE II: facebook wrote an extremely apologetic blog post and they will now let you opt out of any or all of the news feeds. as teofilo notes, though, there still seems to be no way to opt out of receiving the feed, unless i'm mistaken.)

  • i was recently informed that within 15 miles of each other, and a relatively short trip from atlanta, there exist both the cabbage patch kids factory (babyland general hospital), where cabbage patch kids are birthed, and helen, georgia, a bavarian-hamlet where all the people wear lederhosen and sell you chocolate and cuckoo clocks and have a big oktoberfest festival. georgia, in the grand tradition of every place i've ever lived, only seems to get more awesome the closer i get to leaving it.

  • comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 23, 2006
    August 23, 2006
    deep questions for the universe misc

    why on god's green earth does floss cost so much? five dollars? SERIOUSLY?

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 16, 2006
    August 16, 2006
    back! bitching  - misc  - politics  - tech

    MAN has it been busy. I'll spare you the boring details, but things have been a little rough. Working on a project where priorities are largely defined by the sponsoring organization's primary donor and his wife can be tiring. When wealthy Mrs. X asks for the website to be rose-scented, and intermediary Y decides he'd better hop to it or risk the collapse of the entire enterprise, humble web programmer Z has some long nights ahead of him.

    But, with a minor milestone accomplished, I can return to the lovely internet for a little bit before attending to Crushingly Urgent Project #2 in a few hours. There's been a lot of good stuff that I've missed:

    1. DCeiver's analysis of the Post Best Bets is predictably excellent. But I do have to give the GoGs credit for making their own picks. The merit of those selections aside (they seem fine), it's a shrewd move to point out the stupidity of WaPo poll participants before the rest of the internet can snarkily associate your paper with the Cheesecake Factory. I hereby suggest "blogproofing" as the technical term. Expect an RFC from the W3C shortly.
    2. You might remember that AOL stupidly released a bunch of search data last week. It included the search query, the date, and a unique identifying number corresponding to the user who made the search. By tieing search queries together by those numbers, some users could be identified. The New York Times managed to positively identify an individual pretty quickly. But the real fun is coming now, as other organizations pore over the data to expose just what kind of creepy weirdos populate the internet. Something Awful has a pretty great collection of examples (text, but still probably NSFW).
    3. George Allen got into trouble! This is fantastic, and not just because he appears to be a racist asshole who needs to be kept off the national stage. No, it's much more urgent than that: if his presidential ambitions aren't ended by these sorts of public displays of awfulness, I'd have to see Virginia political expert and UVA professor Larry Sab/ato on television for an entire electoral race. I'll do whatever it takes to prevent that grim, dystopian future from coming about.
    4. Now for some geeky tech complaining: how did this make it to TUAW? For those who aren't interested enough to follow the link, it's a means of stripping iTunes copy protection by embedding an AAC file purchased from the iTunes Music Store into an iMovie project. You can then get it decompressed to an AIFF (like a WAV, but on the mac), which can be recompressed into a copy-protection-free MP3.

      But you can only do one song at a time. And because you're recompressing, it's a lossy process. In other words, this is a really stupid, inefficient way to remove DRM from ITMS songs. I haven't checked in on the HYMN Project recently, but if I wanted to un-DRM a bunch of songs, that's where I'd start. And if that no longer works, I'd see about writing an Applescript that methodically moves through an iTunes playlist, playing songs, capturing the output via Soundflower, then compressing to MP3. You could even have it automatically use the existing song metadata in the ID3 and filename. Alternately, you might look into burning to a virtual CD-ROM, which you could then rip (I'm not sure how feasible this is in OS X, but it's certainly doable in Windows).

      So the iMovie method: stupid. Don't bring that weak-ass shit in here, TUAW. That's right, I said it.

    5. This hack walkthrough was linked off of the Slashdot frontpage. But it doesn't make any goddamn sense. If I understand correctly, step 1 is to fool the user into trying to log into the target website, except on your own server. This is called phishing, and it's not very complex — it's just tricking people.

      But instead of simply capturing the login and password before sending the user along, the author embeds some Javascript that eventually shows up on the target site (when the user's login request is sent in, via the phishing server). That Javascript sends the cookie that maintains the user's session back to the phishing computer, allowing the author to hop onto the user's session.

      The thing is, by that point he already has the user's login and password. He can make new session cookies whenever he wants — the cross-site-scripting stuff is completely and utterly pointless. Worse that pointless, it's stupid, since session cookies generally expire much faster than login credentials.

      From there he goes on to pwnz0rz the website, thanks to some security lapses that one would only find in high school CS classes. It's all kind of ludicrous. I'd really like to see an XSS attack example that does something useful. And hey, maybe I'm missing something here. But as far as I can tell, this article is kind of like writing up "How To Rob A Bank", with step 1 defined as "assume the security system is off and all the doors are unlocked."

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    August 15, 2006
    August 15, 2006
    more adventures in commercials misc

    life insurance commercial.

    scene: quaint smalltown main strip. autumn. leaves falling. laughing grandmother, mother and daughter get out of car.

    "grandma!" the little girl calls as she and the mother head into a shop. "come on!"

    grandma smiles and makes her way to the parking meter.

    "just one second, dear!"

    she chuckles as the timer clicks to expire on the parking meter. "ahh," she smiles, patting the top of the meter. "wouldn't it be great if life were like this parking meter? if it were, i could just put a quarter in and stay here with my family. forever."

    her face grows ominous.

    "but IT'S NOT."

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 14, 2006
    August 14, 2006
    i lead a tough life misc

    my daily jonesing for caffeine has led to the folks at both dunkin donuts and starbucks knowing my name and what my order is. which is nice, but the fabulously kind and wondeful guy at starbucks has gone from calling me "catherine" to "cathy," which....frankly, it's unacceptable. every time i get called "cathy" i shudder uncontrollably. it's not the name so much as it is me. ok, it's the name. i hate it, and i never have been or will be a cathy. throughout my ten years on the internet and participation in various mailing lists, IRC chat rooms, millions of IM sessions and blogging communities, i have become ok with "C," "cat" and "cath." but cathy simply WILL NOT STAND. at this point, though, it really just seems obnoxious to correct the starbucks guy. so each morning i suffer in silence. i know. i can feel your sympathy through the tubes of the internet. it's a difficult life.

    UPDATE: relatedly, this article on a starbucks closing in new jersey is kind of hysterical. the starbucks is closing because the building it's in is slated to be replaced by condos and other retail, and the people talk talk wistfully about their starbucks memories like it is an old-timey store that's been around for a hundred years. just, like - did starbucks really influence the narrative of your life? are you really THAT sad? i find it hard to believe. exceprt:

    Jeremy Bilas, 28, and his wife, Melanie, reminisced about going to the Morristown Starbucks for sandwiches and espressos before closing on their house, and about sipping hot chocolate at the coffee shop during Christmas season, before going to cut down their Christmas tree.

    "We had to get one last coffee here today," Melanie Bilas said, as she shared an iced caramel macchiato with her husband. "We'll probably have to get our own coffee machine and make our own coffee from now on."

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    not peeing everywhere: now manly misc

    tommy and i have long made fun of that flomax ad, which ends with two older gentlemen toasting enormous bottles of water in the backseat of a car. because, see, they don't have to pee every two seconds now. and they can drink all the water. but i never paid attention to the copy of the ad until today, when i heard the voiceover say, "here's...TO MEN. here's to taking longer car rides with fewer pit stops."

    it was just weird. why this emphasis on masculinity? i have never associated bladder control with manliness before, but perhaps that will have to change.

    UPDATE: it seems especially weird as, upon seeing the commercial again, i caught that side effects include "a decrease in semen." that's not very manly.

    comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 12, 2006
    August 12, 2006
    battle of the douchebags! misc

    i'm having a hard time deciding which subjects of recent nytimes articles are more reprehensible. by the way, this is a decision i am forced to make almost weekly. anyway, in one corner we have the nyc hipsters who are drinking rose by the bucketful. sample exceprts:

    “A lot of younger people are buying rosés,” he said, adding that many men are no longer embarrassed to be seen drinking a pink wine. “Guys will bring it to rooftop parties and backyard barbecues. I’ve been putting rosé in an empty Gatorade bottle and drinking it in the park.”

    ...“I used to hate rosé,” said Alex Kapranos, the lead singer of the rock band Franz Ferdinand and a food columnist for The Guardian in London. “It was a Blue Nun-style secretary’s-night-out drink, and that put me off it. But a couple years ago I had a cold bottle on a hot night, and it was marvelous.”

    Still, its old reputation was hard to shake. Jay McInerney, the wine columnist of House & Garden, compared rosé to Jackie Collins novels and Jerry Bruckheimer movies in his August column. “There was a sense that pink wine couldn’t be serious,” said Mr. McInerney, a rosé fan, who has been trying to lead a revival for years. “People were afraid of looking unsophisticated by drinking rosé. It wasn’t red. It wasn’t white. They didn’t know what to do with it.”

    But now, among a certain group of global style setters ordering rosé is a sign of being in the know. Dropping the name of a Provençal rosé like Domaine Tempier can be code for having recently frolicked in St.-Tropez or Cap d’Antibes, where rosé accompanies leisurely seaside lunches. Even Pamela Anderson, in the days before she wed Kid Rock in St.-Tropez, was snapped by paparazzi on a yacht, a glass of rosé in hand.

    EVEN pamela anderson?!? the height of class!

    in the other corner, we have the "boat ravers" of chicago, making the waters of lake michigan even nastier:

    In one undulating line of boats, several small to midsize yachts were bound together in the center of one cluster. Banners spelling out the name of local clubs hung from their sides, and coordinated sound systems blared music from local D.J.’s.

    In the surrounding boats, bikini-clad women tried to stay upright as they danced on slippery runners or hopped from boat to boat looking for better drinks. Others tumbled onto giant floating trampolines or fired four-foot squirt guns at one another. On a few boats, grills were being fired up.

    Fueled by wealthy boat owners and the young women they and their boats can attract, the daytime parties have become a magnet for local nightclub owners and promoters who use the scene to draw people to their clubs once the sun sets. Last year club owners upped the ante by ferrying D.J.’s out to spin during the day.

    “It’s like maximum exposure,” Jason Kalendr, 28, better known in the club scene as DJ Kalendr, said during a break from spinning tracks one recent Saturday, his baseball cap turned slightly sideways. “Everyone who is in this business is out on the lake.” He, like any well-known Chicago D.J., spins for free on the lake.

    it's almost impossible to choose! what's really amazing about these articles is that they overshadowed even the asshattery of the past couple of weeks' modern loves, a seriously amazing feat. anyway, in this case, i think i'm going to have to go with the rose-drinking hipsters. the boat ravers can't help being douchebags; they were practically born that way. it is sad they must take their activities out onto the water instead of remaining in their normal dens of terrible clubs that charge $20 for a cover; but this is america, after all. we cannot hold them back. but choosing to drink pink wine? because of its "cachet," because it won't get you as wasted as other drinks, because it's a code for the south of france? UNACCEPTABLE. especially unacceptable are those who have been "trying to lead a rose revival for years." in response i am going to go drink a bottle of red and 12 sparks.

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    ring around misc

    check out this gorgeous ring my coworker k. made herself at a metalsmithing class. how awesome would it be to be able to make your own jewelry like that? i've been googling metalsmithing classes in the d.c. area, but can only find ones in the suburbs and a spectacularly expensive one at the corcoran that only meets in the AM. any tips?

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 11, 2006
    August 11, 2006
    excuse my whine atlanta  - bitching  - misc

    wow, yesterday night was a SPECTACULAR evening. let me detail its events to you:

    1. my italian tutor stood me up/forgot about our lesson

    2. it was pouring rain like it can only pour rain it atlanta

    3. this thunderstorm apparently caused all the traffic lights in all of atlanta to go out, which meant bumper to bumper gridlock as well as playing various games of chicken as i tried to dart my way through intersections where no one seemed to care that cars from the opposing lanes were trying to get through

    4. i was desperately low on gas, so i made the grievous, grievous error of attempting to stop at the BP near my house, aka the Gas Station of Doom. i consider it a lucky trip to fill up the tank when a) i find a pump that is working b) i don't get hit up by some sketch dude for money to enable his multiple trips to the package store across the street. really, you need just exactly $3.89 to fill up the air in the tires of that car over there that you say is yours? funny how that's the same price as a small bottle of vodka.

    5. the trip to the Gas Station of Doom was, in this case, a mistake. the two pumps i tried weren't working. well enough, i thought. let's try the chevron down the road.

    6. the chevron down the road had eight swat cars with screaming sirens flashing on top of them in front of it. i guess there was some sort of bust going on there. i don't know. i didn't care. i was like, fuck this. i need me some gas and it is probably safer than it's ever been with all these police around. bring it, chevron!

    7. no pumps at the chevron with the swat bust going on worked.

    8. i drove to a gas station 10 minutes out of my way. it always looked bright and welcoming when i passed it on my way. i soon realized that this was a facade, as EACH OF THE TWELVE PUMPS had signs taped to them that said either "out of order!" or "no gas!" with cheery exclamation points. which, what the fuck. WHY DO YOU EVEN EXIST?!?

    9. i drove to another gas station (my fourth attempt, NOT THAT I WAS COUNTING) even further out of the way. at this point i was dead on the inside. if this works, i thought mechanically, i will not kill anyone. if it doesn't work, i will kill everyone, and it will be pleasing.

    10. hallelujah, it worked! nobody has to die! but as i stood there pumping the gas in the sketchy shadows of the sketchy gas station in the sketchy neighborhood, an incredibly scary looking hobo noticed me and rode up to me on his bike. (wtf? when did hobos get bikes? hobos on wheels. a weird occurrence.)

    "excuse me, miss?" he called.

    now, i have a policy of never giving money to panhandlers, but i always try to be polite about it and brush them off with a curt smile and a "no, i'm sorry." but this hobo was unlucky. he did not know i had just been on a trip through gas station purgatory. he did not know that i was on the verge of sticking a gas nozzle up somebody's ass.

    "hey there, miss!" he called again.

    i turned around with my arms crossed and looked him straight in the eye. i shook my head very slowly, and i growled, low, "no."

    the hobo stopped his bike, said quickly, "ok, sorry miss! have a nice night!" turned around, and hightailed it out of there.

    11. i came home to find the power semi-out - that is, the lights sort of work at a weird half dimness, but my alarm clock, my fan, and the internet are not working. but my laptop (and thank goodness, my ability to watch episodes of the wire) is fine. i don't understand why, but tommy told me it has something to do with hertzes. megahertzes? voltage? laptops? i don't understand.

    12. THE WORST PART OF ALL: i have no beer in the house.

    i swear to god, i take back all the complaining about d.c. not being a bike-friendly city, or everything negative i ever said about the el or the metro. they are shining examples of public transporation that can do no wrong and smell very nice and are perfect. where as driving can go suck a big one.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 09, 2006
    August 09, 2006
    not so bright misc

    i did the unthinkable today: i left something on top off my car and drove off with it still there. not that it's so unthinkable, i just thought stuff like that really only happened in the movies. it was especially sad because it was a delicious chicken sandwich i had bought after a four-mile run, and it was important because i have no food in the house except cheese and tortillas, and thus i was forced to make myself a cheese and tortilla sandwich for dinner tonight. it was delish. really. also, i'm lying.

    anyway, as i was driving off, i must have been distracted by the TERRIFYING HORDES of mariah carey fans surrounding the philips arena, which is adjacent to the cnn center and where that unstoppable force of hair extensions, thighs and sparkles is apparently having a concert tonight. surprisingly, many of the female concert attendees seemed to be accompanied by their boyfriends. true love is going to a mariah carey concert with your special lady friend. also, many of the female concert attendees - in fact, most of them - were wearing astoundingly short miniskirts with astoundingly high heels. ladies. i am all for miniskirts, and i am all for heels, but when you wear them together, you know you can only look like a ho.

    comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 31, 2006
    July 31, 2006
    a little help misc

    these shoes for fall: hideous or TOTALLY AWESOME?

    sometimes it's a fine line. and i've been at work for 10 hours now so i'm not really clear in the head.

    comments [20] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 28, 2006
    July 28, 2006
    how about some freedom from insanity? bitching  - misc

    tommy's mom's accident is so terrible (though from talking to both him and beth they sound like they are handling it so remarkably well and capably), and i am so far away from charlottesville/d.c., and i feel so impotent, that i don't know what to do, except send their mom terrifying amounts of garish get-well balloons (since flowers aren't allowed. neither are latex balloons. as stanley said, "Anti-latex, anti-flowers... If these hospital folks are anti-Barry-White, I move to label them "anti-gettin'-it-on.").

    ...oh yeah, and talk about hemorrhoids.

    remember a while back i posted about HEAD ON which you APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE FOREHEAD, and which is slowly driving me down a path of insanity? i seriously think their strategy is to actaully cause seizures/headaches through their incessant commercials and drive the market for the product up that way.

    well, it gets worse. a few days ago i noticed on tv an ad for activon, for arthritis pain, and you know what? you apply it directly where it hurts. of course.

    AND THEN, even worse!!! the other day came on a commercial by the same people for, you guessed it, hemorrhoid cream. GAH!H!H!H! freedom from hemorrhoids? FREEdHEM hemorrhoid cream. freedom from hemorrhoids? FREEdHEM hemorrhoid cream. freedom from hemorrhoids? FREEdHEM hemorrhoid cream.

    if you would like to join me on my trip to crazytown, you can see the whole series of commercials here.

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 27, 2006
    July 27, 2006
    match made in hell misc

    okay, so, yeah. i am making a profile on match.com. BUT. i am doing it so i can see what profiles on match.com look like so i can help a friend create her sure-to-be-alluring profile. already, it's off to an auspicious start:

    The username you selected is already in use.
    Please enter another username, or choose one of the usernames we've suggested.

    * catherinea531
    * catherineapookie

    just for the record, catherineapookie is going to be my new IM name.

    UPDATE:
    friend: um..yeah they suggested (name)bug for me
    friend: i think i'll keep that one
    pablohoney: hahah
    friend: cause...just....yeah.
    friend: that's me
    pablohoney: wtf like those are the most stereotypically retarded names ever
    pablohoney: POOKIE? BUG?!?!
    friend: hhaaha
    friend: how about qtpie
    pablohoney: next it's going to be like, catherinea was not available, would you like catherineschmoopie

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    everybody jump, jump misc

    so the past couple of days, npr has had those great couple of pieces on foreign service officers and their day to day lives. today? a piece on stretching for the elderly and why some people can jump high, delivered by two of the most annoying-voiced npr correspondents ever.

    seriously now. ah well. somebody on the itunes shared music network has a lot of lyle lovett albums, and that is washing away all the nasal-voiced bad memories.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 26, 2006
    July 26, 2006
    life in the foreign service misc

    the past two mornings npr has had a couple of interesting pieces on life in the foreign service. having heard stories growing up from my grandparents and mother (my grandfather was a career foreign service officer and ambassador, from tunisia to saudi arabia to colombia to kuwait), and being friends with KG, i know the work of a foreign service officer is not always as romantic as it may seem to outsiders. and it can be particularly hard on children and spouses. anyway, i recommend listening.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 20, 2006
    July 20, 2006
    adium help misc

    on the advice of tommy i downloaded adium to manage all of my many, many instant messaging accounts (well, three, really. gtalk and two AIMs). and i like it. but i have a question - for the life of me i can't figure out how to set up alerts on people. i use alerts on a number of folks - family, coworkers, friends i like knowing are online so i can chat with them - but i am adium dumb and can't find out how to do them. not even google or adium help is helping me. any suggestions?

    UPDATE: nevermind! literally right after i posted this i figured it out. am dumb.

    UPDATE II: i should mention that i've more or less been converted to macs. i use my own at work now as much if not more than the PC, and after abusing tommy's this past weekend, i like them a lot. now if cnn would just pay me and i would stop spending money on multiple plane tickets back to d.c., i'd have one in my hot little hands right now.

    comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 19, 2006
    July 19, 2006
    why i love flickr misc
    flickrcontest.jpg

    also while i'm at it, here are my firefox tabs:

    navbar.jpg

    MIGHT I BE ABOUT TO BUY A DRESS FROM FOREVER 21? i might be. and if so, i blame the governess. ask HER about it.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    of note misc

  • bruster's vanilla milkshakes might be the best i've ever had. i highly recommend that when sommer gets around to dispensing the fabled DCist milkshakes, she look into their catering options.

  • i found out this past weekend while in d.c. that my grandfather was sent a recruiting letter by the military. they want him to serve in iraq. my grandfather, while in excellent health, is 82. he's also going on an alaskan cruise this week with my grandmother for their 60th wedding anniversary, so the military better not fuck with that. (they wanted him for his language skills, apparently; he's fluent in arabic.)

  • a while back, i decided on a whim to register for the marine corps marathon this october. this was a mistake of epic proportions. witness the reasons. 1) i am running some down here in atlanta - 20 to 30 miles a week - but NOWHERE NEAR where i should be at this point for marathon training. 2) i am lazy. 3) it is incredibly effing hot in atlanta and i can't so much go outside to grill a chicken breast without melting so running is out of the question. 4) i never found a marathon training group that wasn't asking for $200 of my paycheck to let me run myself into the pavement and not drink for five months. 5) i would like my toenail not to fall off a third time. 6) the marathon takes place the sunday after the saturday before halloween (presumably the day people will party and get drunk in celebration), and i would actually like to go out and party and wear a crazy costume this year. (by the way, i am taking preliminary ideas based on the black wig i wore last year that are actually creative and not just trenchcoat lady.)

    so the upshot is that i'm going to try to sell my bib. if you want it, it's all yours!

  • comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 18, 2006
    July 18, 2006
    on retainer misc

    tommy's sister beth posts on the trials and tribulations of her retainer and subsequent visits to her orthodontist, which makes me want to ask gross retainer advice of the internet. who doesn't have that feeling from time to time?

    anyway, my orthdontist owned my soul for nearly six years - yes, i had braces from fifth to nearly tenth grade, and there was fun stuff before and after that - teeth pullings, TMJ issues, all the basic hilarity. apparently i have an incredibly small mouth, so all my teeth were majorly effed up. i still have nightmares about rubber bands and metal palette expanders that my mother had insert a key into every day to, you know, expand my mouth. when i was let loose from his shiny metal grip, i was given a set of retainers that was plastic and served me well for a couple of years. i took care of them; they took care of me. my tiny teeth in my tiny mouth stayed beautifully straight.

    of course, then came college, and boyfriends, and drinking. the combination of all three proved deadly for my teeth - i sure as hell wasn't going to stick in my retainer when i a) was drunk off my head b) was staying the night at my new boyfriend's that i was eager to impress and i certainly wasn't going to whip out my geeky retainer. and so, the retainer, it languished in its sad little bright pink case. where...it got kind of gross. i don't know what happened to it. i don't think it was mold. it was...something. tooth fairy dust. yes, that's it! or residual plaque and nastiness? maybe more likely.

    anyway i still wore my retainer once in a while, but i can no longer ignore the fact that my bottom row of teeth are getting scarily more crooked. soon i will be back to the situation where two of my teeth actcually lived behind the rest of them. so i'm wearing my retainer pretty regularly. but it is the nast. and i am repulsed every time i put it in. as i well should be. does anybody have any suggestions that don't involve me going to a new orthodontist and getting an expensive new retainer made? perhaps voodoo magic? seducing a rogue dentist? anything? because i'm getting concerned my retainer will soon grow legs and walk away.

    comments [18] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 15, 2006
    July 15, 2006
    le stuff misc

    a couple of people have asked me about the design. well, i'm here to tell you: i was inspired by/ripped off the v/ox blog. sorry v/ox dudes. except for the green, which i picked at random and has the magical ability of looking like a different color on every monitor i view it on. the header font is poynter agate comp, which i used because i used that a lot when i was designing pages for last quarter's project (cause it's a startribune.com font) and i like it. i had wanted to use that for the post titles, too, but tommy didn't have it on his computer and he was the one who implemented it so i believe we're using minion myriad. the header is temporary until brilliance strikes us, which, seeing the rate we move on blog stuff, will be two years from now. which reminds me that the blog's four-year anniversary is coming up, which: whoa. there'll be candles and cake and stuff, don't you worry.

    some small fireworks went off near reagan just as my plane touched down last night. besides the worry factor in people, uh, setting off fireworks near an airport, it was pretty awesome.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 12, 2006
    July 12, 2006
    run! it's the D^3! misc

    my favorite lede of the day, by far:

    Forget cute, cuddly marsupials. A team of Australian palaeontologists say they have found the fossilised remains of a fanged killer kangaroo and what they describe as a "demon duck of doom".

    the article goes on to reveal these interesting finds:

    Professor Michael Archer said on Wednesday the remains of a meat-eating kangaroo with wolf-like fangs were found as well as a galloping kangaroo with long forearms that could not hop like a modern kangaroo.

    "Because they didn't hop, these were galloping kangaroos, with big, powerful forelimbs. Some of them had long canines (fangs) like wolves," Archer told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio.

    Vertebrate palaeontologist Sue Hand said modern kangaroos look almost nothing like their ferocious forebears, which lived between 10 million and 20 million years ago.

    The species found at the dig had "well muscled-in teeth, not for grazing. These things had slicing crests that could have crunched through bone and sliced off flesh", Hand said.

    The team also found prehistoric lungfish and large duck-like birds.

    "Very big birds ... more like ducks, earned the name 'demon duck of doom', some at least may have been carnivorous as well," Hand told ABC radio.

    awesome. via more patriotic than you, who's got a detailed illustration of the duck.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 11, 2006
    July 11, 2006
    the height of tedium misc

    This is why I don't like Sudoku. It's a puzzle that isn't complex enough to hide its plodding, algorithmic nature. There's a discrete set of steps that one can employ to solve every one. Once that becomes clear, it ceases to be a brain teaser and simply becomes a mechanical routine you have to go through. Why not just use or build a machine to do it for you? Or better yet, not do it at all?

    This is also the reason that I no longer have much respect for Will Shortz. Computer-assisted though it may be, editing crossword puzzles requires knowledge, finesse, and cleverness — the clues don't write themselves, after all (although I imagine there's a database of frequently-used ones employed to flesh out the puzzle after the original clues have been entered and the computer has arranged them — any way you slice it, puzzle editor is probably a pretty cushy job). But by hitching his wagon to the Sudoku craze, he's pretty well surrendered any pretense of curatorial merit that he might have claimed before. Are we really supposed to believe that these Sudokus can help you unwind, but these Sudokus are optimized for the beach?

    Give me a fucking break. There's no creative act here: to make one of these puzzles, one simply has to run a program and enter a weight value to determine how many squares remain blank (with that value lying in the range [solvable-solved)). It's as simple as that. I imagine there are other, more tedious ways to generate these puzzles — maybe Shortz uses those methods, although I have a hard time imagining that it affects the final product very much.

    I suppose I wouldn't be able to resist attaching my name to a machine that prints free money, either. But I'd probably try to keep my name in a slightly more humble font size.

    comments [12] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    July 07, 2006
    July 07, 2006
    dr. izl in the house misc

    i wasn't going to link it out of respect to patient confidentiality and the troubles he had with his last blog, but it's too good to not. a good friend of tommy's and mine from college who must be close to being a real doctor by now (how does all that stuff work? surprisingly, my intake of scrubs and grey's anatomy has not really educated me on that whole process) is blogging again, and it's great. who else could write so hysterically on rectal exams? not me!

    Perhaps the largest apology I owe is to the numerous people I have rectalized over the past two weeks. You know who you are. Even more deserving of my guilt are those I had to perform multiple rectal exams on because of errors I made in the initial process. To the woman with a history of gastric ulcer who presented with melena, I'm sorry I didn't go deep enough the first time. To the nursing home paraplegic patient with colitis, I'm sorry that I accidentally smeared the sample on the wrong side of the guaiac card. To the young man with a Dieulafoy's ulcer, I'm sorry I failed to realize that there were no cards in the room until after I performed the exam. And to myself, I'm sorry that I took off my glove prematurely after my very first exam, and was holding the guaiac card in my bare hands asking an attending to confirm the negative result before he pointed out to me that I should wash my hands twenty times over. Again, that's disgusting. Additionally, I apologize for the fact that I can never remain completely silent during a rectal exam and instead either make an incredibly awkward comment ("This is why I became a doctor" or "This is less fun for me than it is for you") or make oochy-ouchy noises reminiscent of everyone's favorite gynecological surgeon.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 06, 2006
    July 06, 2006
    the internet is officially over misc

    All it needs are some dancing hamsters. Warning: link will bring you to a page with sound and ridiculousness.

    Via Mike via Carey.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    July 05, 2006
    July 05, 2006
    your google referral of the day misc

    we here are the #1 result for "too drunk at wedding."

    it was actually a post about jason and corbin's wedding, though it could have applied to ryan and lisa's, or david and heather's. or, you know, ANY WEDDING I GO TO. two exceptions: tommy's cousin's wedding in vermont, because, you know, got to at least attempt to come off well for the relatives; and tommy's mormon friend's wedding. where there was a) no beer b) no dancing c) only rows and rows of bottled root beer. that was a fun one.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 30, 2006
    June 30, 2006
    le rapebear misc

    holy crap. there is very little that can make me laugh to tears at 6:30 in the morning, but i think official blogcrush fontana labs, in the greatest blog-return ever, might have hit upon it. may i present you with rapebear.

    UPDATE: as an aside, you should go through and read that blogcrush link. i forgot that was the night somebody got "i heart pumping" written on his face, along with a borf tag on the arm. it was wonderful.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 27, 2006
    June 27, 2006
    outside the bubble misc

    I went to the barbershop in the lobby of the office today. It was a weird departure from my normal national haircut franchise habits. The place was operated half by authentic-looking old coots and half by the sort of intense Asian women that tend to staff the low end of the haircut market. I got one of the latter.

    But that wasn't the remarkable part. Rather, the bit that stuck out was the overpowering Republicanousity of the place. There was a picture of W on the wall; that was the first and most obvious sign. But once the haircut began, they started flooding forward:

    • On the recent rain: When I timidly pushed the boring smalltalk about the weather forward by making a not-very-serious reference to global warming, the lady cutting my hair objected. "It's all God!" she insisted. "The rain, the wind, the water — we don't make any of that stuff. Whatever it is, it's God doing it." Okay.
    • On Warren Buffett's Recent Charity: "There's something fishy. There's some gimmick, I just don't know what," observed the gentleman in the chair next to me.
    • On the oil sands of Canada: There's a lot of them! It's going to be great.

    Seriously, this all happened over the course of maybe, maybe twelve minutes. No mention of brutalizing detainees, but if I'd had the extra time afforded by using a credit card instead of cash, I'm sure I would've heard something.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    June 24, 2006
    June 24, 2006
    to mac or not to mac misc

    huh. maybe i shouldn't buy a mac. TELL ME WHAT TO DO, INTERNETS!

    (also: scroll down to the bottom of jake's post for some wonderful news about futurama. or, you know, just click that link. i like to think the fact that tommy and i have seen every rerun of that show at least three times on adult swim has played some small part in its resurrection.)

    comments [10] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 23, 2006
    June 23, 2006
    hurrah misc

    WE HAVE ARRIVED.

    (we actually arrived several hours ago but have been hanging out and eating and viewing the down with our lovely hostess, jeanie, who is subletting me my lovely room in her lovely house for the summer.)

    but, anyway! atlanta! seems pretty cool. much more to come, probably sunday.

    and, before the clock strikes midnight: to tommy, and jeff, and jon, and charles, and all the other beer drinkin boys out there - i wish you a very happy beer day. i am too sad not to partake in a celebration this year.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 19, 2006
    June 19, 2006
    best line from the Jem_(TV_series) wikipedia article: misc
    "This group should not to be confused with the real-life band The Misfits, led by Glenn Danzig."

    Words of wisdom.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    prarie home complaining misc

    I donno, man. I have misgivings. I know that it's my duty as an aspiring liberal elite to pledge my undying love for all things Garrison Keillor. Just look at my friends: Matt and Emily are both currently leaping to the guy's defense, and Charles was practically brought up with Garrisonianism as a secondary religion (complete with weekly Sunday observances). Keillor writes in magazines I wish I wanted to read, and A Prarie Home Companion is, obviously, one of dear NPR's biggest properties. It seems like Keillor's creative output should be right up my alley.

    But it just isn't. I will grudgingly admit that his Mr. Blue persona is merely Salon's fourth-worst regular columnist, but that's more of a testament to Carey Tennis and Anne Lamott's staggering solipsism and King Kaufman's pugnacious irrelevance than anything else. And I'll also admit that I'm intrigued by the PHC movie. But that's just because Maya Rudolph is hilarious, the rest of the cast looks great, and Lindsay Lohan appears to play a wayward and impressionable young girl.

    I should say that I'm not biased against PHC's central conceit: I actually like the idea of old-timey radio-ousity. Ask Catherine! I'm a big fan of The Big Broadcast on WAMU, where Ed Walker plays crackly serials from the golden age of radio (this is because I am a million years old). But PHC just isn't particularly remarkable, authentic or generally good. Okay, you've got some wry Wodehouse-ian banter, and some authentic-sounding musical performances, and various nods to the idea of an older, better time. That's all fine.

    The problem is that this package comes wrapped in a masturbatory reverence for an imagined Midwestern cult of mediocrity. I get that the asceticism is part of the joke — except it isn't, not really. The overarching straight man routine is never tweaked or explored or used to anyone's advantage. God forbid that Keillor or anyone else be forced to sacrifice a drop of dignity. They can put on a good old-fashioned program of entertainment, by gum — it just can't be too entertaining, is all. That'd spoil the fun, you see.

    And to top it off, this allegedly charming slice of Americana is perpetrated by exactly the sorts of liberal-minded folks that perpetually find themselves stymied by the country's appetite for rosy-hued nostalgic bullshit. I'm sure there's a gay married couple somewhere in Lake Wobegone who the neighbors have made some charmingly off-the-mark comments about. But let's get real — we come to bury Mayberry, not to praise it.

    Perhaps I'm misjudging the appeal of Keillor and his Prarie Home Companion. I have to admit that I don't think I've ever made it through an entire episode — the only show on NPR that makes me change the channel faster is Michael Feldman's ponderous (and incorrectly phoneticized) Whad'Ya Know. I feel as though I've heard fragments of plenty of shows, however. And in my admittedly brief experience, the joke seems to be that the show isn't all that funny — or happy, or sad, or dramatic, or moving. Its only concern seems to be in promoting a sort of bovine stoicism. I really don't understand the appeal.

    On the other hand, I don't have any relatives from the midwest, and I drink kind of a lot of coffee. I wouldn't be surprised if one of those is the source of my incomprehension.

    comments [8] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    June 12, 2006
    June 12, 2006
    fyi misc

    i feel like a traitor somehow, but i thought i should let you all know...sometime this summer, i do believe i'm going to buy myself a mac.

    a few factors have played into this decision by me, a lifelong PC user. 1. tommy thinks i should get one because i like pretty things and don't use a computer for much more beyond internet, email, photoshop and word processing (he says his reasoning is less simplistic than that but it's true, i do like pretty things). 2. i'll actually be making more money at cnn this summer than i've made at a job before, thereby allowing myself to actually purchase my own tech goodie instead of getting it as a gift from tommy. i might even get a new ipod. and/or a sidekick. 3. pretty much every single one of my friends has a mac and i am nothing if not a conformist. even my relatives are working on me. at dinner with the family last night my cousin brought out her laptop and let me play around with it while she talked about all its awesomeness.

    so, yeah. sorry PC diehards. the transition won't be for a while, and i'll certainly keep the dell around, but it appears it's time for a change. scary!

    comments [9] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 07, 2006
    June 07, 2006
    whoosh misc

    remember when i pointed you towards the video of somebody putting a roll of mentos into a bottle of diet coke? well, somebody went on to do the next logical step: 200 LITERS OF DIET COKE AND 500 MENTOS. (via)

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 27, 2006
    May 27, 2006
    i thought i had a new homepage misc

    Man, what a tease. Tycho of Penny Arcade wrote a paragraph with a reference to HilariousInjuries.com. Imagine my excitement! Sadly, it doesn't exist. Not yet, anyway. What a tease.

    Well, while we're waiting for someone to monetize that idea, placate yourself with these two videos that Justin showed me earlier today.

    And with that, I'm headed to the beach. But, as previously discussed, I should still be online. Beachblogging to come! Possibly!

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    May 15, 2006
    May 15, 2006
    moments in AM stupidity misc

    or, why i like my dunkin donuts cashier.

    scene: 7:30am, monday morning, dunkin donuts kiosk inside of the davis el stop in evanston.

    catherine: hi, can i have a large coffee with cream and sugar, please?
    cashier: did you want cream and sugar or sugar and cream?
    catherine: um. (pause) excuse me?
    cashier: cream and sugar or sugar and cream?
    catherine: um, oh. (believing in her early morning stupor that there is a difference) cream and sugar, i guess?
    cashier: busts out laughing.
    catherine: (lightbulb) dude. it is WAY too early for this kind of stuff.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 12, 2006
    May 12, 2006
    i like to get my jollies in where i can misc

    tommy and the rest of the echoditto crew are celebrating their company anniversary by going up to annapolis and racing boats, i think, amongst other sailor-like activities. i believe eating crabs will be involved as well. and it looks like tommy is appropriately-dressed for the occasion, as emily has just documented:

    heh.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 09, 2006
    May 09, 2006
    hooray, needles! misc

    good news! via julie, it appears that the red cross has loosened some of their restrictions regarding who can and cannot donate blood. i was informed a year or two ago that i could never donate blood again because i had lived in europe for a year and could potentially have teh mad cow. and i was sad. but it looks like now, unless i am mistaken, i can donate all the delicious blood that i want. more worrisome: even though i must have donated near ten times now, i can NEVER REMEMBER MY BLOOD TYPE. what's up with that?

    comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 07, 2006
    May 07, 2006
    weekend bullet points misc

  • walking down to a classmate's house yesterday, i passed jamba juice, and went in for my first ever official jamba juice smoothie. it was pretty good. but what really got me was that they offer WHEATGRASS SHOTS. and no fewer than THREE PEOPLE DRANK ONE while i was there. andd they cost TWO DOLLARS. i'm sorry, is this california in the late 90s? what is going on here? is wheatgrass, like, a real thing and not a figment of my fevered, terrified imagination?

  • at a spinning class, my instructor, who is actually the best instructor i've ever had and a really nice guy to boot so i don't mean to make too much fun of him, put on that fly away song by lenny kravitz. i know, ew. and then he said, "this song was the first one i heard when i was coming off a plane back from europe. i was living in knoxville, tn, at the time. i heard this song, knew my life had to change, and i packed up and moved to colorado." my question: is he weird for changing his life because of a lenny kravitz song, or am i a bad person for thinking it's so many kinds of wrong to have lenny kravitz be a life-changing force?

  • i would like to be better at pool. i know that the easiest way to do this is to play pool a lot. and i promise to try to do that. but are there other methods or tangible advice that i can be given and absorb and then apply? because frankly, it's embarrassing. and i must be able to win everything i play at.

  • comments [8] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    does halliburton have a spinning blade/invisible bridge division? misc

    This is kind of fascinating. How do you design a warning sign for a nuclear waste repository that will remain dangerous for ten thousand years? How can you make that warning remain comprehensible and credible for twice as long as human civilization has existed?

    Apparently you start by commissioning a government study that considers hazards like psychotic mining robots and an Amazonian anti-male dystopia. Then you pour a lot of concrete.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    May 04, 2006
    May 04, 2006
    my blog posts are totally ruining the world's vibe misc

    first we have michael chiarello and his classic "hate is hard to fix" comment on zunta. now i find out that by bashing mischa barton's hellacious OC prom dress, i'm further driving the world towards a big, black abyss of doom.

    um, sorry?

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    April 23, 2006
    April 23, 2006
    brewers, ho! misc  - photos

    so some brave classmates and i attended a a milwaukee brewers game yesterday, where the following things happened: the brewers tied an MLB record for the most homeruns hit in one inning (five); we went on an epic hunt for wisconsin custard; and catherine drank 32 beers. the backhanded compliment of the day? from a 22-year-old: "you sure can hold your liquor for somebody who's been out of undergradute for so long!" yes, i'm cementing my reputation as the old lush, thanks very much. anyway, it was a rollicking good time. photos may be perused here.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    April 20, 2006
    April 20, 2006
    powerpointable media  - misc  - northwestern

    for those of you who have been reading for a while, you may recall my invective against the evils of powerpoint. it's something i still sort of vaguely stand by, but mostly because i really suck at powerpoint, not because of any particular reason. however, in our media management class, we've been forced to create powerpoint presentations no less than four or five times already, and the application will be a major part of our final presentation to the star tribune. so, you know, you suck it up.

    i've also already become a more skilled powerpointer in part thanks to my friend andrew, whose partner cliff is a powerpoint guru. he literally wrote the book on powerpoint. apparently, since this quarter started, cliff was getting a bit miffed at andrew all of the sudden asking millions of powerpoint questions when he had never showed a real interest in his work before. so andrew did what any loving boyfriend would do: he called up all his media contacts on a friday afternoon, and voila: yesterday, the la times wrote a major business section article on cliff and his skills (which have of late been shown off in the vioxx trial). pretty sweet, no? it's actually a pretty interesting read, no matter what you think of powerpoint. the article was also the most emailed one on the site yesterday, and get this as an additional bonus: cliff's book shot up to #4 on amazon. not too shabby!

    comments [9] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    April 18, 2006
    April 18, 2006
    mandatory minimums misc

    Apparently businesses aren't allowed to require a minimum balance for Visa card purchases — it's a violation of the license terms that merchants must agree to when they begin to accept Visa payments. Iiiinteresting. It's tough to begrudge small businesses the right to ensure that they make a profit on every transaction, but still: good to know.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    April 16, 2006
    April 16, 2006
    happy easter! italy  - misc

    if that's your bag. three years ago i was celebrating easter in naples, where i saw the madonna dell'arco procession down via tribunali. here's a nice photo of this year's procession from mafaldablue.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    April 15, 2006
    April 15, 2006
    dr. tom's tax tips misc

    As usual I waited until the last minute to do my taxes this year. I've just finished them a moment ago, and this year's experience was the smoothest yet. Allow me to share some of the sagacity that allows me to so effectively flit through the paperwork:

    1. H&R Block's online tax prep thingy is pretty great, and gets progressively more great every year as more and more of your data collects in it. Well, except for this stellar moment in interface design:

      20060415_hrblockui.gif

      The original field? That contains sensitive financial data. We'd better keep it secret. But the confirmation field, where you're supposed to enter the exact same data? We'll just leave that un-obfuscated. It's like not accepting a xerox of a form, I guess.

    2. If you have income that you don't know how to claim, it's probably best to just ignore it and pretend everything is fine.

    3. Catherine learned last year that if you try to file part of your year in Virginia and part in DC, the city government will a) not let you file online and b) eventually present you with a bill for thousands of dollars that you pretty clearly don't owe. Moral: the DC tax office doesn't like to be bothered. They are like a hibernating bear, DO NOT DISTURB THEM. Just try to creep by quietly.

    4. Most importantly, remember that your tax preparation will be easy and worry-free if you simply begin the process resigned to doing it incorrectly.

    Worry-free for a while, anyway.

    Dear, sweet IRS agents: the preceding should be considered a joke, and totally not admissible in court, I hope. Of course I conscientiously rounded up all of the forms surrounding the $5 in savings account interest I made this year, and the three days-or-so worth of work I did at my new job in 2005. And the apartment in DC? I'm just house-sitting for Charles. While he's home. Hey, shouldn't you be auditing poor people?

    comments [11] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    April 14, 2006
    April 14, 2006
    the freshmaker! misc

    courtesy of npr, i think i have my weekend plans set. though i'm not going to do it IN MY MOUTH.

    i think i kind of want to work for npr.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    April 12, 2006
    April 12, 2006
    continued attempts not to look like a jackass misc

    Becks is stumped about finding sandals that are comfortable. I sympathize, but my needs are humbler*: I'd just like some that leave me my dignity.

    Men have no good sandal options. Flip-flops? Frat boy. Tevas? Hippie. Birkenstocks? California hippie. I like wearing all of these, but short of the classic Roman centurion sandal, it'd be hard to call any open-air male footwear respectable. And even if this last option was available, you'd still need to be sporting a cloak and crested helmet to really complete the look. That's just not practical for the beach.

    The only solution may be surrender — that's right, the old man sandals-over-black-socks technique. I used to think it was an early sign of dementia, but now I'm beginning to wonder if it isn't just a big fuck you to fashion norms.

    * Probably because, as a member of the podiatric patriarchy, there's no onus on me to wear shoes that are really really uncomfortable.

    comments [34] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    that's the commonwealth misc

    matt had the gross-funny post for last night, and this morning, kevin gives you the hysterically-funny-yet-sad one of today.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    April 11, 2006
    April 11, 2006
    vomit, nostrils, funny misc

    i'm just giddy with the quick hits tonight, aren't i? well, this one comes to you tonight courtesy of matt: an article (subscribers only) about competitive eating with what is, perhaps, the best paragraph ever:

    Brian "Yellowcake" Subich, a top-twenty eater, tells a story about a baked-bean contest from the summer of 2004. The field included Sonya, Subich, and Cookie Jarvis. After just two and a half minutes, George Shea announced that Sonya was almost done with her 8.4 pounds of beans. "I said, 'You have to be freaking kidding me,'" Subich told me. "What does she do? Pour 'em down her shirt? Put 'em into a plastic bag?" At Shea's announcement, Jarvis lifted his head, glanced at Sonya, registered what Subich calls "the most crestfallen look you could ever imagine," and vomited beans through his nostrils.

    indeed.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    heh heh heh misc

    sometimes, it's just the little things that make me laugh. i'm a simple girl. and i'm really 26, not 12.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    a spin through the google referrals misc

    always fun, right? well, when you find out you are the number one result for "how to properly dispose of your girlfriend," maybe not so much. let's try a new word, buddy.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    April 10, 2006
    April 10, 2006
    late to the party misc

    it's not like i expect college papers (or, hell, any papers) to be on top of any sort of trends or products, but, seriously, the daily northwestern...an article on evite.com in the year 2006 is what's known as a major travesty.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    April 09, 2006
    April 09, 2006
    tap tap. hello? misc

    wow. i have been a bad, bad blogger lately (though tommy's been a mad blogging machine lately, hasn't he?) i have my excuses though: parents and little sister in town for the past few days; work; and, uh, more work. i think as the quarter gets into a better rhythm, i'll have more of the delicious blogging time. that said, here's a few thoughts, bullet-style:

  • the great bathing suit terror of '06 is finally over: i have made a purchase! (in the oddly-named shade of black tulip.) you are all relieved, i know.
  • the shoreline sightseeing one-hour architecture river tour can now be highly recommended by someone with impeccable taste, ie, me. it's a bit costly at $25, but quite worth it. i've somehow managed to not fully realize up until yesterday on the tour how absolutely gorgeous chicago is. my parents and sister were smitten with the buildings.
  • also recommended: the stained glass museum down at navy pier. i took about one billion pictures of the beautiful windows, but my camera battery is le dead, so i'll have to upload them later.
  • best moderately-priced italian food i've had in chicago thus far came at angelina on broadway and addison (thanks to peter for the tip). it also helped that my parents paid. hooray, parents.
  • speaking of italian, the post had a nice article on the town of bolzano near the italo-austrain border. i swear to god, this robert camuto dude is copping my style. first he writes on my dear matera, then puglia, then bolzano. i've been to bolzano twice, and you can see some photos here.
  • i'm going to be all bloggy in the next few weeks. i have a lunch with the lovely sarah b. coming up, then an unfogged meatup. and, of course, the original blogger-friend will be coming for a visit. april is looking exciting!

  • comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    April 03, 2006
    April 03, 2006
    hmm misc

    From TUAW:

    Did you catch The Simpsons on Fox last night? Grandpa Simpson decided that he had had enough of life, and sought out a doctor that would perform an assisted suicide for him. Once the arrangements had been made, Grandpa was wheeled into the execution room and connected to the diePOD, which was the device that would get the job done (while simultaneously providing the soundtrack). As grandpa lay on the table, awaiting the inevitable, the diePOD played "Instant Death" by Megadeath.

    Now that's satire, folks.

    Actually, no, it isn't. But you're sneaking up on irony.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    March 31, 2006
    March 31, 2006
    hi-larity misc

    The second funniest thing about this Onion article is that it's almost sort of true. If you include Japanese wrestlers, anyway.

    It'd be the funniest thing if not for the graphic of the luchadores doing planchas over the fence.

    ALSO: Has it really been a year since Wrestlemania? Apparently so, 'cuz this year's is happening on Sunday. Anyone interested/know what the hell is going on in the WWE these days? A quick glance reveals that Rey Mysterio is competing for the heavyweight championship. Times (and steroid regimens) have changed, apparently.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    March 29, 2006
    March 29, 2006
    meow misc

    sometimes, random news articles brighten may day just a little bit. this piece about lewis, the crazy cat, is one of them.

    FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) -- Residents of the neighborhood of Sunset Circle say they have been terrorized by a crazy cat named Lewis. Lewis for his part has been uniquely cited, personally issued a restraining order by the town's animal control officer.

    "He looks like Felix the Cat and has six toes on each foot, each with a long claw," Janet Kettman, a neighbor said Monday. "They are formidable weapons."

    The neighbors said those weapons, along with catlike stealth, have allowed Lewis to attack at least a half dozen people and ambush the Avon lady as she was getting out of her car.

    i love the part about "the Avon lady." like, they don't even name her. she's just The one and only avon lady. who cats hate. awesome.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 28, 2006
    March 28, 2006
    this is the 21st century, right? misc

    why feminism is still necessary. via amber.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 27, 2006
    March 27, 2006
    a tip misc

    reorganizing the shoe rack: never a good idea.

    reorganizing the shoe rack: bad idea

    i got a little carried away with the note feature noting my shoes, so click through if you care. about shoes. and my reorganizing of them. and really, why wouldn't you?

    comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    life lesson #12 misc

    how to be an awesome guest: even when your host-in-absence gives you the ENTIRELY WRONG SET OF KEYS to her apartment while she's in d.c., and you don't really have anywhere else to stay, or a hotel reservation, and don't necessarily know the city very well, and end up having to deal with your host-in-absence's weirdo russian building supervisor to extract a set of extra keys from him, you still leave your fully-panicked-and-embarrassed host-in-absence this loveliness:

    thanks, emily. after a 6:30 am flight this morning back to chi-town and three hours of class in the new quarter today, i feel pretty certain that this evening will call for one-to-four mojitos.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 26, 2006
    March 26, 2006
    our silly moment of the day misc

    scene: tommy and catherine sitting on the couch, sipping coffee and internet surfing while michael chiarello makes some sort of antipasti plate on the tv in the background.

    catherine (being stupidly lovey-dovey to tommy): i love you!
    tommy: i love you.
    michael chiarello: i LOVE pickles.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 25, 2006
    March 25, 2006
    saturday D.C.  - misc

    tommy and i spent saturday eating lunch at pizzeria paradiso, taking in the dada exhibit at the national gallery and making fun of kids who can't fly kites good at the smithsonian kite festival. photos!

    national gallery of art entrance to the west wing of the national gallery of art azi's on 9th and O
    dada entrance to the west wing of the national gallery of art azaleas in the national gallery of art
    kite festival kite festival kite festival
    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    ready, set, DOT GOV misc

    it's friday night, i've stayed in all evening and i'm feeling a little loopy, a sentiment only encouraged by brandon's captioning of ready.gov nuclear disaster images. i've seriously been giggling for, like, half an hour over here. terrorists make ninjas cry. bwahahahaha.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 21, 2006
    March 21, 2006
    breaking: statistics can mislead misc

    The quote Catherine excerpted below about 80,000 blogs launching per week reminded me of a story I read yesterday: the Register totalled up the societal costs claimed by various pop-economic doomsayers (e.g. the NCAA tournament costs $X billion in lost productivity; failing to recycle bottle caps costs us $Y billion every week). And guess what? It turns out that the sum is more than the total amount of money in the world.

    To be fair, I don't think there's any solid economic reason why that can't be true — but it certainly seems doubtful. To think that spending half an hour watching an NCAA tournament game actually introduces real costs to an individual's employer requires a childlike naivete, wherein every workday contains exactly 8 hours of work, all of which must be completed and all of which is relevant to the company's bottom line. I can understand why one would think such aggregate measures are necessary and plausible at a large scale. But realistically, most of these cost estimates probably ignore a lot of naturally-occurring elasticity in order to make their advocates' pet causes seem more important than they actually are.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    March 17, 2006
    March 17, 2006
    suck of the irish misc

    Unlike more diplomatic people, I'm not afraid to say it: I don't really like St. Patrick's Day.

    Maybe it's inherited. My Anglo roots go back to England, not the Emerald Isle. St. Patrick's day just isn't in my blood. I'm genetically predisposed to spending March 17th brewing a nice pot of darjeeling and discussing what new taxes to levy against the Papist Menace.

    But there's another class of reasons why I don't really like the holiday. Reasons like the one I happened upon last weekend:

    Ballston's Shamrock Festival

    MORE...
    comments [9] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    March 13, 2006
    March 13, 2006
    say cheese misc

    hah. check out this great picture over at becks' place. maybe men will finally start realizing that this is, in fact, an annoying, widespread reality and not some phantom blog meme made up by a few overly sensitive women. though i must say, not a single person has told me to smile since i moved to chicago.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    sunday night thoughts misc

    after waiting seven years for them to do so, did anyone find josh and donna's kiss just a little bit repulsive looking?

    grey's made me weepy. AGAIN. after a supbar episode last time, they are back on form. tommy and charles: my spring break mission is to make you love this show. i shall do it, even though i may need to drink several bottles of wine on my own to do so. i am willing to make this sacrifice. but the question is: ARE YOU?

    if you need a godlike tiramisu recipe, may i suggest this one, with minor changes: you'll need 14 oz of ladyfingers, double the espresso, and i would recommend freezing it for several hours instead of merely refridgeratoring it. cannot spell refridgeratiatototoring.

    am drunk.

    how does one know one is getting old? may i submit that slathering on moisturizer on your hands and sleeping in cotton moisture-locking-in gloves is one symptom? because your hands are looking elderly? 26, this is going to be a great year. a year of sleeping in gloves. i can't wait. the year of the hand glove. sort of relatedly, i may be going in for my first manicure on wednesday. i'll make sure to report back. hold your breath.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 07, 2006
    March 07, 2006
    ew misc

    and your final post for the night: behold the grossest lobster ever.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    top o' the judgeship to you chicago  - misc

    in doing research for an article about judicial elections i found out something interesting - judges in cook county, IL are something like two billion percent more likely to be elected if they're female and/or have a distinctly-irish sounding name. some wannabe judges even change their names to sound more irish.

    i love this bit from an old chicago reporter article:

    In the 2002 Democratic primary for Judge Thomas R. Rakowski's appellate court vacancy, James Fitzgerald Smith beat William D. O'Neal, Thomas H. Fegan and Roger G. Fein...

    Smith received seven "not recommended" or "not qualified" marks among his evaluations from 12 Chicago-area bar associations. O'Neal received eight unfavorable marks. But Fein, who was slated by the Democratic Party, received one unfavorable rating and Fegan, who is Irish, got approving marks from every bar group.

    Slated judicial candidates are supported by a committee of party leaders. Beating them is not an easy task, according to a Chicago Council of Lawyers' unpublished analysis of judicial candidates from 1988 to 2000, which shows slated candidates won elections for vacant judgeships 72 percent of the time.

    In addition, Smith was reported by the Chicago Sun-Times to have run for judge in 1992 as "James G. Smith" but then ran as "James Fitzgerald Smith" in 1994, when he was elected to the bench in a subcircuit race. Smith did not return repeated phone calls from the Reporter.
    ...

    In 1998, Bonnie Carol McGrath ran as a Republican candidate for a Cook County circuit court judgeship. Under the advice of her election lawyer, former Chicago Board of Election Commissioners Chairman Michael E. LaVelle, McGrath dropped "Carol" and replaced it with "Fitzgerald" even though it was neither part of her name nor that of anyone in her immediate family, she said.

    She won the primary but lost in the general election to James Patrick McCarthy.

    just in case you ever wanna be a judge in cook county.

    i also find the fact that women have an easier time of being elected to judgeships interesting. tommy guessed it might be because people perceive them as fairer and more even-handed. what do you think?

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 06, 2006
    March 06, 2006
    legal (wo)man misc

    sooo.....the internet hates me. this became an undeniable realization after my free stolen wifi crapped out on me for the second time - again at a critical juncture in the academic quarter. the time when i have 52 billion things to do that require internet research/writeboard usage/procrastination via IMing/blog reading/the usual suspects.

    thanks, internet.

    and so i find myself back at the log cabin vomitorium.

    sigh.

    but all is not lost! i'm making actual progress here. thanks to jodasm, dcsobloop and my brain, which has surprised itself with the fact that it is actually a BRILLIANT LEGAL MIND, i have completed the first major paper, a thrilling, THRILLING I TELL YOU, documentation of the details of Global Crossing Telecommunications, Inc. v. Metrophones Telecommunications, Inc. how thrilling is it, you ask? well, i reference carrot top in the first paragraph. i know. your minds are blown.

    the rest of the week involves writing a lengthy story on judicial elections in cook county (if you know anything about that, or judicial elections in general, and if you might be of the opinion that said elections are becoming more political and special interest groups are playing more of a part and money is flowing in, give love an email) and building a super awesome web site on the neighborhood of andersonville. and maybe squeezing in on the closing arguments of the george ryan corruption trial because i am a little, just a little bit in love with the two hot federal prosecutors handling the case. mm. handling.

    ahem. then on friday, dcsobloop and i will be at the riviera theater, absorbing the sweet, sweet sounds of the new pornographers and belle and sebastian. did you know people exist out there who do not like the new pron? not that i mean to judge - i am just surprised. i have surrounded myself with fellow carl newman fans for so long that my naive self nearly fell off the chair upon reading it. oh well. more carl for moi!

    and then i will be drunk! wait, no. then i will be running 12 miles. having forgotten that i signed up for this little half marathon in d.c. a few months ago, i have also forgotten that i "need" to "train." the training, it is causing me pain. i ran 11 miles on saturday. and you know what? my toenail is going to fall off again. yup. you read it right. it fell off during marathon training in '04, and it's gonna fall off again. and it's just as pleasant as you might imagine. anyway, if you want to see toenail-less, sober, angry, brilliant legal mind catherine, you can catch me hobbling around the RFK stadium area on march 25. i can promise you fun times.

    comments [10] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 04, 2006
    March 04, 2006
    links! links links links! misc  - tech

    1. Scott sent me this video of Sims-creator Will Wright demonstrating his new project, Spore, at the Game Developers Conference. The video is 35 minutes long, but he's demonstrating new functionality throughout all of it. The game looks flat-out amazing. It revolves around guiding the evolution of a species from its existence as a single cell to colonizing the galaxy — all with complete flexibility and customization. The way your species walks, dances, develops a culture and builds structures are all emergent behavior that comes from algorithms examining your choices, rather than canned actions. This is the most excited I've been about a videogame in a while — if it were anyone but Wright, I'd think this was just a slick demo. But he seems likely to have actually pulled this off.

    2. Catherine sent me this real-life Simpsons intro, via waxy. Awesome.

    3. This and this are probably the clearest, simplest explanation of Fourier Series that I've ever seen (admittedly, that may not be saying much). Perhaps not everyone's cup of tea, but I find it kind of fascinating. This is the essential mathematical insight that allows digital compression of analog information. Without it MP3s, digital video, our modern phone system, JPEGs, and a whole bunch of other essential stuff wouldn't exist.

    UPDATE: Fixed the Spore link.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    the grammar police are still on leave misc

    Amanda takes on one of my pet peeves, and expresses her irritation with people who don't know that punctuation is generally supposed to go inside quotation marks. She's right to be irked: this is elementary school shit. Amanda, if it's any consolation, I know that this rule exists. I just ignore it.

    File it under "ways computers have destroyed my brain", I guess (along with the rest of this blog). But when I'm writing I look at clauses as logical units, and punctuation as the modifiers, operators and delimiters that one applies to those units. In the first sentence of this paragraph I intended for ways computers have destroyed my brain to remain an atomic, whole unit that operates as a plural noun. A trailing comma isn't part of that unit — so why should it go inside the quotation marks, which function as the unit's delimiters?

    I admit that this probably sounds like gibberish to people who aren't programmers, logicians or other varieties of weirdo. And I'll admit I'm somewhat inconsistent on this score: when dealing with dialogue I follow the rules. I've tried to break them, but it doesn't work. "Hmm," I'll think, "That just doesn't look right." I excuse this hypocrisy by arguing that the clause of which the quote is the object generally ought to be inserted into the quote at a point where a comma would naturally reside — thus making the comma a part of the quote-unit, and properly included within the quotes. But as you can probably tell from the length of the preceding sentence, I'm really just fooling myself.

    It doesn't matter, though. At this point these are tics I can't help any more than I can avoid constant overuse of emdashes. My English-teacher grandmother would be crushed if she knew.

    comments [15] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    March 01, 2006
    March 01, 2006
    don't come between a harpy and her ice cream chicago  - misc

    hanging out in my favorite cafe, i was waiting for my drink by the register while a man next to me was ordering what appeared to be several pints of ice cream. it appeared, by the expression of the lady helping him, that this had already been a long, arduous process. it was going something like this:

    "uhhh, do you have quarts of ice cream?"

    "yup, right here!"

    dialing cell phone..."they've got quarts, okay? what do you want? okay, okay." hangs up. "i'll take a quart, of, uhh...vanilla, and....shit. hold on." dials cell phone. "what was the other one you wanted? okay, okay." hangs up. "and a quart of chocolate peanut butter."

    the lady smiles and nods and goes to scoop the quarts, then comes to the realization that they don't actually have a flavor called chocolate peanut butter and informs the man as such.

    "shit." dials cell phone. "they don't HAVE chocolate peanut butter...i DON'T KNOW, OKAY? they're OUT, or something."

    and totally audible from the other end of the line, at least to me: "BUTJESUS, I WANT MY CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER!"

    dude quickly hangs up. "i'll just get a quart of chocolate. plain chocolate. thanks."

    in other news...if anyone is an expert, or, hell, even familiar with telecommunications law, i would greatly appreciate you contacting me. or if you even understand the following: Whether 47 U.S.C. § 201(b) of the Communications Act of 1934 creates a private right of action for a provider of payphone services to sue a long distance carrier for alleged violations of the FCC's regulations concerning compensation for coinless payphone calls.

    seriously, what the fuck, law. what the fuck.

    comments [10] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 22, 2006
    February 22, 2006
    supremely weird misc

    the supreme court issued a few opinions today, one of which was one siding with a woman in a case against the postal service wherein she slipped and fell on a bunch of packages left on her doorstop. the merits of that case aside, i found this excerpt from a medill article on the case funny:

    On Aug. 25, 2001, a postal worker deposited the mail on the porch of Barbara Dolan's Pennsylvania home. The pile left behind consisted of letters, packages and magazines.

    Later, Dolan slipped and fell on the mail and suffered injuries as a result of the fall. She filed an administrative complaint with the U.S. Postal Service, which was denied on April 18, 2002.

    Six months later, Dolan filed a complaint under the Federal Tort Claims Act against the USPS with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Her husband, Michael Dolan, also filed an FTCA claim stating that his wife's injuries had precluded her from fully performing her spousal role.

    let's hope dolan's idea of what duties comprise a spousal role aren't anything like this guy's.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    illy query misc

    a question from a reader, michelle, that i am unable to answer! i thought you expert cultured folks might know better than i do in regards to this:

    In one of your posts you mentioned Illy coffee. I am not sure if you brew it at home. If you do, I need some advice! I have a french press and am having major issues getting a cup that's just right. I'm usually dealing with a feeling that its too watery or too strong. Any advice would be so appreciated!!!

    what say you?

    comments [10] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 21, 2006
    February 21, 2006
    babies laughing misc

    that's what it is! and frankly, it is awesome.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    cheap thrills misc

    this post over at jolienyc about allure's feature on cheap makeup thrills reminds me of a few bargain bin products i've been enjoying myself. not that i've ever enjoyed products from anywhere else but a drugstore; grad student budget doesn't exactly let you go shopping weekly at sephora. but anyways!

  • garnier fructis fortifying deep conditioner: this is supposed to be a once-a-week-or-so deep masque for your hair, but i love it so much, i use it every day. it's amazing mostly because i have fine, tending-to-oily hair, but it rinses super clean (as long as i just use it on the ends) and makes my hair all nice and soft and shiny. and the kicker: it smells yummy. one recommendation: the packaging - a plastic tub - sucks. it's difficult to open in the shower, and if you drop it, the top'll shatter everywhere.

  • clean and clear oil-free dual action moisturizer: perfect for those with skin like mine that tends to get super dry in the winter, but that will break out into nastiness if you even think about putting moisturizer on it. this gets rids of the dryness but doesn't make me break out.

  • curel ultra-healing lotion: i think curel must be undergoing a product redesign and shedding all of its old-looking tubes, because i came across a different-looking minitube of this lotion in osco's bargain bin. 25 cents. how could i pass it up. and i loved it so much i came back the next day and bought, i shit you, 10 more minitubes. it's a little bit greasy, but lightly so, and moisturizes really well. my hands are not disgusting and red and cracky any longer!
  • and thus ends the temporary transformation of the blog into beauty tips galore! but feel free to leave your own in comments. i very rarely buy a product unless recommended by friends, and i'm always looking for recs to help along my product obsession.

    UPDATE: i made some other drugstore recs a while back.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    carnage on ice misc

    i should feel shame at seeing people fall and potentially hurt themselves very seriously, but when they are wearing the outfits that these ice dancers are wearing, i can only feel utter glee and manic laughter. check out the blow-by-blow photo gallery here.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 20, 2006
    February 20, 2006
    how i plan to spend middle age misc

    Via Make, an amazing collection of links to Halloween DIY projects. It's less than nine months away, you know.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    February 18, 2006
    February 18, 2006
    credit where due chicago  - misc

    i give FTD and its already-renowned shitty service no respect whatsoever in this matter, but i will say that the local flowershop they used for the somewhat-imperfect valentine's day order came through today. they called while i was at a friend's house for directions (this was apparently the fourth time they had gotten lost trying to deliver the rest of tommy's order; granted, my apartment is pretty difficult to find) and when i came home this evening, i had a box of delicious chocolates and an extra arrangement of three roses and baby's breath waiting for me by the mailbox, along with a note apologizing for the delay.

    i know. poor me. i got my valentine's day chocolates from my wonderful boyfriend THREE GODDAMN DAYS LATE. mother of god...what kind of sick, deprived life do i live?

    anyway, props to mai flowers & gifts, their sweet delivery man and their sweet owner. the chocolate is tasty and the roses (both the first and second bouquets) beautiful.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 14, 2006
    February 14, 2006
    stealing from boingboing misc

    I can't help it, though. They're full of good stuff today:

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    getting nailed chicago  - misc

    since my special gentleman friend isn't around this evening to celebrate that most retarded of holidays, i thought i might go off on a Great Adventure and do something i've never done before. no, not whatever you're thinking of, sicko. i want to get a manicure!

    the truth is that i have been biting my nails since i emerged from the womb. i don't do it explicitly because i'm nervous and anxious all the time (though it is a fact that i bite my nails the most when i am a) anxious b) writing an english paper on victorian literature...man, it was a brutal scene after that dickens paper on rosa dartle). i am fully aware it's a gross habit, and frankly, i thought i would magically grow out of it as soon as i became An Adult. like, adults just don't bite their nails. because they are super human. but i'm 26 now, and really, it wasn't like that.

    anyway, for the past few weeks i have appeared to break the habit and thanks to my super special friend mr. nasty tasting nail polish designed to help me stop chewing, i now have nails of a normal human length. i know it's only temporary - it always is - but i'm determined to keep it up as long as possible. and i thought maybe getting a manicure, actually spending a chunk of money to stop myself from biting off parts of my own body, might prolong the experience.

    but i've never done it before! and i don't know what to expect! and frankly, i'm kind of scared. how much should a normal manicure cost? what color should i get? do i tip? will i be infected by nail tool gross fungus stuff? how long will it last? will i become addicted if i go just once?

    girlier UN readers: help me out here. walk me through the manicure experience. you'll be helping me become a better person, i promise.

    comments [15] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    ocd love misc

    more vday goodness: OCD valentines from mcsweeny's. ie:

    BE MINE. Wait. That has six letters. Six letters is so unlucky. It's like YOU DIE. That's exactly what it's like. Now you're going to die and it's all my fault.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    PI misc

    i love this washington post article on private investigators and valentine's day, if only for this totally awesome photo of two PIs trying to look about as badass as two PIs who chase down unfaithful husbands can. they can, and they WILL, stalk you to your cheap motel and take photographs of you from far away while eating cheetos. watch out, mofos.

    anyway. happy valentine's day, all!

    (hat tip the boy)

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 13, 2006
    February 13, 2006
    more shooting hilarity misc

    I'm not completely sure why this is great, but it is.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    February 12, 2006
    February 12, 2006
    jump, boy misc  - music

    Check out this deeply weird music video full of slo-mo dog glamor shots. If Gap Doggy existed, this is what their ads would look like.

    [hat tip clip tip]

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    February 11, 2006
    February 11, 2006
    love is in the air misc

    retarded articles about love and the modern condition abound: must be near valentine's day! the ny times gets in on it with insipid thoughts about love from the "modern love" editor and an article about chemistry.com, a new counterpart to match.com wherein people submit answers to a questionnaire designed by an anthropologist who says your perfect mate can be determined on a basis of biology and chemistry.

    my favorite thus far, though, is this love match database provided by the washington post that tells you if you and your "potential mate" are destined for love or heartbreak based on your signs. mostly i just like it because this analysis of capricorn+aquarius (mine and tommy's signs, respectively) says that tommy has a "desultory, mystical mind" without a "stitch of logic." (this will frustrate me, apparently, because i am stubborn and regimented and extraordinarily anal, basically, which i guess i cannot disagree with.)

    also, aquarius is "ruled by uranus." heh heh.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 09, 2006
    February 09, 2006
    mayonnaise and the meaning of love misc

    just in case you thought i was a tad insane for my dating list of a while back, trust me: there are way worse people out there.

    Dates with bad grammar. Yankees fans. Actors. Indecisive dates. ("Where do you want to go?" "I dunno, you?") A man who wears a backpack, or socks with his sandals. A woman who can't give good directions to her house. A man who likes pink drinks. A woman who drives a black Pontiac Grand Am with gold rims. A man who kisses you and says, "Yummy!" A woman who wears a tight leopard-print top.

    "Any girl that orders a salad as her meal at dinner," says Koonal Gandhi, 27, who shares a place with Joe Peters in upper Northwest Washington. That's an indication she is "very self-conscious about either how she looks or eating in front of other people."

    "I do have one guy who I actually stopped dating 'cause he didn't know what paella was," says Jenn Lee, a pediatrician who used to live in New York and now lives in Sterling. The gap in knowledge was a sign to her, she says, "that the guy wasn't cultured. How could you live in New York for 10 years and not experience paella?"

    Denisa Canales has had a number of breakups; one because a guy was allergic to her cats, and one because she didn't trust a guy's pit bull. More recently, she left a guy over a crucial difference of opinion concerning her shoes.

    (trust me, the shoes sound hideous.)

    nothing really add to the article, except i found it pretty entertaining. that, and there's an anecdote in there about a guy who can't stand people who love mayonnaise. which i find telling, because approximately 80% of guys i've ever dated/liked cannot. stand. mayonnaise. they will visibly shudder at the mention of it. but me? i'm a mayo kind of gal. i'll slather it on anything remotely appropriate. it makes a sandwich that much tastier. you can even make delicious chocolate cakes with it. tommy is one of the people i've dated who hate the stuff, but yet, he manages to put up with me.

    comments [16] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 08, 2006
    February 08, 2006
    can you afford not to? misc

    Do you like the internet? Do you like your pet? Do you not hate the troops (too much)? Then this is for you.

    Via Penny Arcade.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    the state of things misc

    Next Python tutorial installment: forthcoming.

    Super Bowl: delicious, but unprofitable.

    Company-sponsored happy hours: pretty great, it turns out.

    Softmodding Kriston & Matt's Xbox: easy and successful. Email me if I know you, you own an Xbox, and don't care about using Xbox Live.

    Playing marble madness by tilting my powerbook: seemingly possible.

    Mastercard commercial parodies: to be avoided at all costs.

    Genuine content soon — as soon as it can be squozen out of my brain.

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    February 07, 2006
    February 07, 2006
    the scientific marriage misc

    jeff's uncle made the AP wire, simply by getting married! how is that possible, you ask? because he is none other than the illustrious bill nye, the science guy. naturally:

    Cellist Yo Yo Ma, accompanied by MIT Media Lab Professor Michael Hawley on the piano, performed a wedding march.

    congratulations to the happy couple!

    comments [16] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    holocaustalicious misc

    northwestern has a craaaaazy tenured professor (electrical engineering faculty) who a) believes the holocaust never happened b) loves iran! i never knew.

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 05, 2006
    February 05, 2006
    schifoso misc

    AHHH!H!H!H! WTF!? zombie roaches!

    (via jake)

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 04, 2006
    February 04, 2006
    news from the gap misc

    sad update from the bikini front: i stopped by the gap today and tried on the cute blue-and-white striped bathing suit top, and really, it just did not work. additionally, after hearing reports of poor quality from VS suits, i've decided not to go with that one, either. i know, it's tragic. surely i'll keep you updated if a new suit presents itself as a possibility.

    but all was not lost! i came out of the gap with a cute new pair of flats (in black, not horrid pink), and an obsession with this tote, which was out of my price range. but i'll be keeping my eye on the sale page.

    i know, now you all can rest easy, having been briefed on my saturday shopping activities. you're welcome.

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    a brave new name misc

    merge points me towards the story of jodi wilgoren (the bureau chief of the nytimes in chicago, i think) and her name change. it's not just any old name change - she and her husband, unable to reconciles themselves with her taking on a new name or joining their names, combined their two last names to come up with an entirely new one. wilgoren+ruderman=rudoren.

    Tradition hardly seemed enough reason for me to take his name, and I didn't want to have a different name from my future children. I imagined them asking why and realized the only possible answer was patriarchy. I didn't want my family founded on that principle. When I suggested that Gary put himself in my place — in the place of most women — facing the choice of abandoning his family name or of not having the same name as his kids, he eventually became a convert to combination.

    additionally, fontana labs noted this older new york times wedding profile in which the couple invented an entirely new last name upon marriage.

    is it just me, or is this ABSOLUTELY EFFING INSANE? first off, your progeny will have a lot more trouble finding out about you. i might not have known that my great-great grandfather was a chinese immigrant to san francisco who ended his life under a horse-drawn cart if he had changed "hoy" to, uh, "hoysomething else." second off, don't yall have ancestral pride? go andrews. it might not be the most original last name ever, but i like it. however, frankly, whenever the time comes for the scary marriage thing, i have no idea what i'm going to do. i can't see dropping my last name off into some void of never-to-be-seen-againness. the hyphenation thing just seems too cumbersome. and there is no way in hell i am making up a new last name. unless it is "awesome." but really, that is already implied.

    comments [10] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    speaking of t-shirts misc

    none of you feel this way, do you?

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 03, 2006
    February 03, 2006
    did they really not see this coming? misc

    Hummer's attempt at subversive advertising gets subverted. Seriously, guys — you're just making the adbust easier and better-looking.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    February 02, 2006
    February 02, 2006
    so many animal calls misc  - tech

    It's not like me, but the siren song of the link roundup cannot be denied. Apologies to everyone I'm ripping off:

    • The first thing I've heard about Google that genuinely worries me. Solution here.

    • The second-best CafePress shirt I've seen.

    • The third awesome crochet thing I've learned about (#1: multidimensional crochet branes, #2: Valerie talking about stabbing people last Tuesday).

    • Four: the bullet entry where I abandon this stupid numbering scheme. But check it out: $560, well-reviewed 30" LCD HDTV, Microcenter (B&M only). Who am I to resist? So much for the new austerity.

    • Verizon FiOS service blocks more ports than regular DSL. This is done to keep you from running a webserver on your home connection — the link is fast enough that you could get away with it for small sites, and Verizon doesn't want to supply that much bandwidth unless you're paying for business-class service. Fair enough, but it puts a damper on my hopes of fiber service — I like to run SSH over 443, since it provides a nice mixture of accessibility-from-behind-firewalls and not-getting-attacked-by-chinese-hackers-every-night. Dreams, shattered, etc. Sigh.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    February 01, 2006
    February 01, 2006
    the centaurs are coming! the centaurs are coming! misc  - politics

    one of the moments that really struck me as absurdly bizarre in last night's SOTU (not that i watched it; just read the transcript) was bush's claim that we need to " to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research -- human cloning in all its forms -- creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos."

    yes, those pesky half-cats-half-men. for anyone who was as confused as i was when i read that, there's more info on the phenomenon (chimeras) here and here.

    UPDATE: kevin drum addressed this earlier.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 30, 2006
    January 30, 2006
    witty women misc

    this study says that men find women who are witty to be a total turn-off.

    guys: is this true? i would suspect that many of the guys who read this blog would say no, simply because i think most of the male readers here are the kind that appreciate humor and wit in a woman because they aren't insecure ninnies. but maybe not.

    the article interviews a lot of female comedians about the study, but i don't think they should count as i find most stand up comedians to be kind of repulsive whether they're male or female. but seriously - if you met a woman out at a bar who could keep up a stream of hysterical repartee don't you think most people would consider that to be a turn on? or would it be seriously offputting? i mean, i just dunno. i don't see anyone throwing sarah silverman out of bed.

    (via amber)

    comments [13] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    piling on misc

    you know what i really think iraq could use a little bit of now? no, not tender loving care. how about some bird flu? that's the ticket, i think.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 29, 2006
    January 29, 2006
    on to the suits misc

    i panty-blogged, and apparently it's an unstoppable journey downwards after you've done that. but i need your help, dear readers (surprise surprise - can i ever make up my mind about something without consulting the blog?). i know it's january, but dammit, it's 55 degrees out, and i've been running past the lakefront beaches, and thus i am inspired to get a new bathing suit. plus i need some sweet shopping relief after all the work i've put into python today. lordy. but i can't decide between two, and tommy is no help. so if you don't mind, cast a vote:

    1

    2

    grazie.

    comments [20] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 28, 2006
    January 28, 2006
    more job questioning misc

    first off, thank you for all your wonderful resume comments below. with your suggestions i was able to cut my resume down to a page and i think it is, to put it mildly, a LOT better. (though i am still conflicted as to whether i should stick in that agency internship. it is from 1999, but people find it fascinating for some reason, though i basically spent the entire summer a) hooking up with my co-intern b) copying departamental phonebooks).

    anyway, i now have a cover letter question. a few sites i've been browsing recommend a newish form of cover letter - basically one tailored exactly to the job description. i mean, duh. but these say that you should create something akin to a table - in one column you would put the job requirements, and in the second corresponding slots you would put why you can handle that specific job requirement. make sense? it *sounds* interesting, and specific, and at least it would maybe catch somebody's eye, but i dunno...maybe too unconventional? what do you think?

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 27, 2006
    January 27, 2006
    can't we just pass a law misc

    something that has bugged me for, well, my entire life: why does ANYONE think it's EVER okay to disobey the sacred sidewalk/corridor rule and NOT walk on the right and pass on the left? i swear to god, it's getting out of control. coming home from my run today i was practically playing chicken with one guy who was walking towards me on the farthest right hand side (mine) and would not budge. i stuck to my guns, though, and he had to give way. that's right, motherfucker. don't mess with me when i'm strolling home.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 25, 2006
    January 25, 2006
    could this be the best day of my life? misc

    my free wifi is back (for now, at least) and there's a new episode of veronica mars on in 45 minutes.

    i think it quite possibly could be.

    my standards may be low, people, but at least i'm easy to please.

    comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    cool and sucky misc

    awesome: george michael and maeby of arrested development will guest star on an episode of veronica mars.

    not awesome: not having any time to blog due to a) lack of wifi b) crazycakes goings on at school/work. be back soon, hopefully. maybe this afternoon, if this article doesn't suck ass and you are lucky!

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 23, 2006
    January 23, 2006
    mostly circus animals, some filler misc

    While Hemal was off galavanting around India, I took over DCist HR duties. This basically meant receiving a bunch of emails, replying to ask for writing samples, and gently letting people down when their proposed posts turned out to be thousand word screeds decrying political correctness (and not even political correctness in DC). Above all, I just had to keep track of everybody.

    I managed to mostly not screw things up. Hemal, being a much sweeter and thoughtful person than is really necessary, brought me back some Indian candy as a thank-you. Specifically, stuff from Cadbury India.

    The basic formulations were familiar — fruit-flavored hard candies; chewy toffees; chocolate bars — but the flavors were subtly weird. The pineapple was stronger, somehow. The toffee was more lactic. It was different, but good.

    With one exception: the chocolate. Really, it's hard to convey how bad it was. One bite and you could taste the dismissive imperial prejudices of the original chocolatier. Clearly, Cadbury did not spend a lot of time fretting about quality control in its India division. I never knew that a candy bar could be so bad that it's actually racist.

    But the rest was tasty. Thanks, Hemal!

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    January 21, 2006
    January 21, 2006
    ugh misc

    this might be one of the most poorly-written modern love columns i've ever read. and that's saying something.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 20, 2006
    January 20, 2006
    a unified theory of comedy misc

    Sometimes I wonder what makes something funny. Back when I was reading and thinking about cognitive science all the time, I had decided comedy was based on your brain thinking it's figured out a pattern, then experiencing the completion of that pattern occur in an unexpected way. Sounds hilarious, right?

    I still think that theory has some merit. But comic strips like this one make me think that the answer might be closer to "pointless cruelty."

    Whatever it is, I think this clip from Strangers With Candy distills it pretty well.

    I've got no particular reason for sharing this. I just thought of it the other day and felt like playing with video editing on the Mac. Go buy some Strangers With Candy DVDs, why dontcha?

    BTW: video editing on the mac? Harder than I expected. Final Cut Pro is nice, and from what I can tell it seems easier than Premiere. But iMovie kind of sucks, and there doesn't seem to be a good, free, mid-level video converting tool like VirtualDub. I shouldn't have to download an entire pro-grade nonlinear editing suite just to extract a clip from a DVD and resize it. Bah!

    comments [8] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    happy hour misc  - music

    It was nice to meet folks at the DCist happy hour last night. New blogger acquaintance A: Mari of In Shaw, who was very pleasant to talk to and whose blog I like a lot. I suspect she thinks I am a nice guy but also the type of person who's the problem with something. If so, she's probably right.

    New blogger acquaintance B: Alex, who, at my prompting, explained to me what a NOP sled is. Awesome. If I'm going to have friends giving me irresponsibly large amounts of tech cred (terminologically, anyway), I'd better cultivate some contacts who actually know what the hell they're talking about. So I'm glad to have Alex in my RSS folder.

    Also: Jacques newly-of-DCist, Wayan from DCMetblogs, and almost certainly a bunch of other new and charming and wonderful people whose names I can't remember. Plus, some usual suspects. Always nice to see you guys.

    The night ended confusingly, as Kriston, the Nabob and I talked about the old drink-a-gallon-of-milk-in-an-hour thing. I know it's impossible. We've all seen that episode of Jackass, and the N had conducted the experimental work himself in college. Kriston seemed to think that we east-coast types just don't know how to drink milk hard enough. And I wondered whether Lactaid could help someone win that bet.

    So somehow we're now all supposed to try drinking a gallon of Gatorade in half an hour, some time. It doesn't make much sense to me — I think it's to remove the problematic milk from the equation. Too many independent variables! Remove the lactose! We're testing the effect of volume on drinking stuff. Hypothesis: regret.

    It isn't really about competion, except perhaps against the dreary world that gave man such a pathetically weak digestive system. But it must be done. I guess.

    comments [10] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    January 19, 2006
    January 19, 2006
    but if you break the elbow rule, you die misc

    gawd.damn. you can make $10,000 in the tournament of beer pong. why the hell wasn't this around when i was still in college?

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    things i should have known about misc

    1. Amazon's Games You Should Play.

    2. The Perry Bible Fellowship. I really, really feel like I should have known about it. I mean, jesus, look at this! Look!

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    cause otherwise i'll lose the link misc

    The Penny Arcade guys gave a talk at MIT, if anyone's interested. Transcript here.

    Weird — for the first time, I actually wish something was in an audio format instead of having been transcribed to text. Can vlogging be far behind?

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    yes, i still care about *some* intellectual property misc  - pop culture

    It turns out that my lack of style is actually just responsible consumerism: Urban Outfitters is run by a bunch of goddamn thieves.

    via preshrunk

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    January 18, 2006
    January 18, 2006
    giggly rodents misc

    the phrase "the laughter of squirrels" made me die of laughter earlier today, so i googled it. and who knew, there's a poem. about squirrels laughing. or a quote. or at the very least words strung together. i submit to you george arnold:

    O sweet September, thy first breezes bring the dry leaf's rustle and the squirrel's laughter, the cool fresh air whence health and vigor spring and promise of exceeding joy hereafter.

    beautiful.

    and forrest stump:

    forreststump.jpg

    you're welcome. again.

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    more gym thoughts misc

    lucky you.

    writing about stuff at the gym made me think of this post of tommy's, about the squat rack, and dudes, and it is funny, so you should go read it.

    it also made me realize i have not gone to spinning classes in god knows how long (i have been concentrating on the running), so you're all deprived of the heeeeesterical stories about godawful spinning music and biking aimlessly in the total dark. unfortunately, solitary running on the treadmill for 45 minutes at a time does not really lend itself to such tales. frankly, i'm too busy trying not to crumple up and die to observe anything going on around me.

    except in the locker room. okay, let's take a poll: who gets utterly freaked out by all the naked people walking around? i mean, i'm not a prude. i mean, i am the complete opposite of prude. IN THE PRIVACY OF MY OWN HOME. can't we all just face the corner, change quickly, put on underwear while wearing the towel, basically exposing as little as possible of our flabby freckled flesh to the general populace? the younger women i don't mind so much (and no, not because of that, you sicko), but frankly i get completely weirded out by all the old naked ladies walking around. probably because, oh god, i will look like that one day.

    except, i will live in the future by then, so maybe not.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    gym thoughts misc

    my god. i've gone almost two days without blogging. something must be done.

    ........
    .................
    um.

    ok, i have a gym question. why do women spend hours upon pointless hours doing ab work at the gym? when i go to the back room with the mats to stretch after my runs, the whole place is pretty much filled with ladies doing ab stuff on those big rubber balls; ladies doing weird crunchy things where they bring their legs up to their chests and point their arms out straight and wave them up and down very quickly. or else they are just holding the V position - legs slightly up, head up, arms pointed out straight, balancing on their butt and concentrating very hard.

    this is stupid. for many reasons, but i will state two.

    1. it ain't ever going to make a difference, unless you are an olympic marathoner/swimmer/etc.
    2. women have bellies! we always will! embrace the buddha!

    re: 1, i mean, seriously. seriously? seriously. you are not going to get a six pack or even any noticeable definition by doing lots of crunches. i'm speaking from personal experience, but the best way to get a somewhat-flatter stomach is to run a lot, on an incline, and just do a lot of cardio in general. i mean, a LOT. no matter how amazing the abs underneath are, women just have more fat on their stomachs and you will have to go to bizarre lengths to make it disappear. and why would you want to? i think rock hard abs on a woman are rather gross. they're a bit better on a man, but any time i see a guy with an extremely defined six pack, i think a) huh, that's kind of hot, but then b) about how much time he must have to spend at the gym. and how little time he must spend drinking beer and eating barbeque.

    and that, my friends, makes me think.

    that's catherine's gym wisdom for the day. you're welcome.

    comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 16, 2006
    January 16, 2006
    worried misc

    kriston and i are concerned about the fate of one of our favorite sites, unfogged, after the revelation that ogged apparently reset the tivo:

    pablohoney: dude did you read that ogged reset the tivo
    Cappseus: yup
    Cappseus: unfogged is over
    pablohoney: totally

    it was good while it lasted.

    comments [14] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 15, 2006
    January 15, 2006
    panty-blogging, after a fashion misc

    i'm not really the panty-blogging type of internet folk, but i recently have been consumed by a weird and all abiding bizarre love for a type of underwear, so much that so that i am actually motivated to write about it on the internets, because OTHER LADIES MUST KNOW ABOUT THE FABULOUSNESS of this underwear.

    they are the ultra low pure cotton hipster from gap. they are comfy, flattering, low-rise enough such that they don't peek out over your jeans and, most importantly, cheap. so. yeah. there's my undewear recommendation of the day. go forth and purchase.

    cannot believe am writing about underwear on the internet.

    comments [12] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 13, 2006
    January 13, 2006
    tivo suggestion misc

    Wow. Let me register a ringing endorsement for Extreme Aerialists. THAT is the type of fluff I expect from the Discovery Channel — not that gastric bypass nonsense, or investigations into how aliens built the pyramids. When two separate videos of men falling to their deaths aren't the most memorable parts of a TV show, you know it's got to be pretty amazing.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    January 12, 2006
    January 12, 2006
    sigh misc

    you know you need more coffee (and you've been reading too much dooce.com) when you read the headline "man who shot pope freed" as "man who shot poop freed."

    related (and very funny, via apostropher): the real reason alito should not be confirmed.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 10, 2006
    January 10, 2006
    hax0rz D.C.  - misc  - tech

    My interview with the Shmoo Group is up on DCist, if anyone's interested in reading it. Their DC-based convention kicks off on Friday. I would've loved to have gone (esp. after they offered me a press pass so I wouldn't have to shell out hundreds of dollars). But this weekend I'll be in Chicago instead, having an even better time (albeit a slightly less nerdy one). Oh well — next year, I guess.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    melrose web misc

    somebody should take this nyt article about the dynamics and lives of the transient inhabitants of a nyc apartment building and apply it to an internet community, like the commenters over at unfogged or making light or an IRC channel. i participated once in an IRC channel that had twice the drama of these people. they like to party? they sleep with each other? they live above a cupcake shop?! PSHAW. you weren't seein nuthin until you were spending four hours a day on the dalnet radiohead channel (not the "official" radiohead channel; the supercool secretish one) that i was when i was 17. the drama was beyond belief: deep and, i assure you, seriously intellectual conversations; rampant flirting; backstabbing when ops stole control from other ops and banning was raging. all set to the sounds of "ok computer" and "the bends." MADNESS, PEOPLE. madness.

    and thus my nerd roots are revealed. as if they hadn't been multiple times before.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 09, 2006
    January 09, 2006
    kids and clothes misc

    over at unfogged, some comments in this thread are talking about undue pressures that kids as as young as 5 and 6 are facing. i don't have anything particularly enlightening to say about that, but it reminded me of a period when i was teaching at ASM (i taught 5-8 year olds, and, as another note, i did teach in milan, where most children wore armani for kids for picture day at school, and yes, i am being literal). i know you're not supposed to have favorites as a teacher, but, hell, i was only there for a year, and i was pretty much in love with florentia, a five-year-old from argentina who hadn't yet lived in once place for more than one year of her short life (her father was a diplomat of some sort). she spoke spanish, russian (her family's previous stint had been in moscow), english, and was rapidly picking up italian. at 5 she was already a near-fluent reader, and making up totally awesome stories about magical dolphins. being kind and funny and open, she was very popular amongst her classmates.

    then one day at lunch, i noticed she wasn't eating anything, and i asked if she was feeling well.

    "i'm fine," she said, pushing around her food. i didn't believe her (a bug had been going around in class and basically i was afraid she was about to vomit up a storm) so i pushed her to tell me what was going on. she said that her mother had told her she had needed to lose weight, so she couldn't eat her lunch.

    i about blew a gasket (not in front of her) and went to talk about it with my much wiser and more experienced supervisor, who ended up speaking both with florentia and her mother about the situation. it was towards the end of the school year, and i left italy in july, so i'm not sure what the outcome ever was.

    anyway, one piece of advice i took away from my much wiser and more experienced supervisor, who really was a brilliant teacher of young children, was to never, NEVER comment on a child's appearance. i thought that was obvious when it came to things like weight or odd features or glasses, but she meant absolutely nothing. not even if the child looks pretty/handsome. it seems innocuous and even encouraging at the time to tell a little girl that she looks very pretty that day, or that you love her shirt/skirt/hairstyle, but at such a young age it merely enforces weirdness about a) fashion b) appearances and c) teaches children that you can get positive reinforcement for something so stupid as what you're wearing - which, of course you can. but it's entirely freaky to think that there are five-year-olds out there realizing and exploiting that fact.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    drinking good in the neighborhood misc

    i generally think it's pretty hysterical when children are mistakenly served alcohol, but this particular article takes the cake:

    An Applebee's restaurant in New York City gave a 5-year-old boy a beverage he won't be able to drink legally for another 16 years. The boy's mother is taking Applebee's to court.

    Cynthia Pereles can't understand how someone put Long Island iced tea into her son Seth's kiddie cup instead of the apple juice he ordered.

    Seth took two sips and immediately spit it out, but then he couldn't stop laughing and started licking bread baskets.

    funny, when tommy gets drunk, that's exactly what he does too!

    comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    i wish i had bad ideas this good misc

    Awesome.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    January 08, 2006
    January 08, 2006
    well, i'm officially insane misc

    i guess the mental punishment of graduate school isn't really enough for the sadomasochistic likes of me, because i, for whatever reason, just registered for the 2006 national half-marathon taking place in d.c. on march 25 (i'll be home from school from the 18th to the 26th, and it's not like i'd rather spend time with my loved ones or relaxing or anything. i'd much rather be turning my feet into bloody stumps).

    the race is the first half-marathon in the area, i believe, so i'm excited about that. i'm also excited that i was able to register at all, because, in a weird move, they actually have qualifying times. i thought at first i wouldn't be able to do it because you needed to have run a marathon in 4:30, and when i did the marine corps marathon in 2004, i ran something like 4:34. but, lo and behold, you can also qualify by having run under 2:10 in a previous half-marathon or under 1:40 in a 10 miler race, both of which i've done. so. yay.

    my last official race was the 2004 marine corps marathon so i am, how do you say, woefully fat and out of shape and terrified by the fact that i will have to self-train for this stupid race. previously i've always had friends to train with or an official program. the past couple of months i've been running four miles a few times a week pretty regularly, just to work out, but training for this will obviously have to go beyond that.

    additionally, any chicagoans who have insights about race training/running paths, please fill me in - i can train to a certain point up on a treadmill, but i can't exactly see the staff at the gym being thrilled with me running on a treadmill for two hours at a time. oh my god. i just realized my main training will have to take place in january and february, outside, IN CHICAGO. PROBABLY ALONG THE LAKEFRONT. I AM MENTAL.

    excuse me while i go run five miles to quell the rising self-doubt.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 07, 2006
    January 07, 2006
    FUCCKKK misc

    not having received any redskins games on my crappy broadcast tv since i moved to chicago (except their very first one of the season when they played the bears), i neglected to even think about the possibility that i might get the tampa playoff game. so even though i knew when the game started today, i didn't think twice about making plans to go see "match point" this evening instead. of course, as soon as i get out of the shower, i flip on the tv, and what do i see except the redskins kicking ass and taking names (at least in this quarter; god, please let that continue, i will, like, go to church and help old people cross streets and save kitties if you let them keep this up). so i'm about to head out to the movie, but i'm wearing my red and gold pumas. and chanting "hail to the redskins" in my head for the next few hours.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    coins misc

    digging through my wallet today, i noticed a funny-looking penny (i've started paying closer attention to my change since i keep getting screwed over by somehow amassing a large amount of canadian quarter-looking coins that don't work in my laundry machines and force me to run back to my apartment every time i do a load to get a real quarter). the penny is from 1944 and is what the internet says is a "wheat-backed" penny.

    it's probably a pretty common coin, but i thought i'd ask the blogosphere: could this penny actually be worth something, or is it just a neat old coin?

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    with a honeymoon... misc

    ...like this, who needs enemies?

    i mean, kicking in the groin? *WHO* does that?!?!

    *

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 06, 2006
    January 06, 2006
    hey, inventors misc

    you know what somebody should invent?

    a waterproof laptop. seriously. i really could have used that while taking a bath tonight. could have done some work, could have done some blog commenting...instead, i suppose i made do with a beer and a crossword and my ipod speakers dragged to the door of the bathroom (and a few drops of this in the water, which makes your skin SO AWESOME SOFT). but, really. this is an untapped market.

    get on it. i will pay you a gazillion dolllars. or the two dollars i currently have in my wallet.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 05, 2006
    January 05, 2006
    usc: thoroughly hooked misc

    Wow. I don't watch a huge amount of college football, but that was one hell of a game. I bet Kriston wasn't feeling any pain around 1AM. In fact, I know he wasn't.

    Also entertaining: hearing, through my bedroom wall, Charles wake up to answer his cellphone. You've gotta turn that shit off on bowl night, my friend.

    For those interested: the billion tutorials are right. Skype + SoundFlower + SoundFlowerBed + Audacity = ability to record phone calls (on the Mac -- it ought to be easier on the PC, actually). Finding and getting the LAME MP3 library installed is surprisingly confusing on OS X, though. Here's the link you need.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    January 04, 2006
    January 04, 2006
    huh misc

    Belatedly going through some predictions for 2006, I realized that *I* had stupidly made some predictions last year. And hey, they turned out pretty well (although my batting average in the "science" category was weak). But this year, I got nothing. Well, okay, there's this: total entropy in the closed system of your choice will not — I repeat, not — decrease.

    There. I've put myself out on a limb. Anybody else got guesses about what aught-six will bring?

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    January 02, 2006
    January 02, 2006
    lookin for love misc

    Susan amuses with tales of the personals section of the London Review of Books. It sounds pretty sad, alright, but there's just no competing with the personals section in 2600. Seven listings; seven requests from prison inmates for letters.

    Computer crime: an even worse way to meet girls than you thought.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    December 28, 2005
    December 28, 2005
    the loooooooove list misc

    so, obviously, i've had a lot of time over this winter break thing. it's been great. to be honest, i've spent a lot of it on the internet (my new media advisor would be so proud), and much of that internet time going back through fun blogs' archives to see things i haven't read before. (believe it or not, the fresh stuff on the internet runs out after approximately four browsing hours per day). i especially recommend susan's archives, and unfogged's, where i found ogged's list of women he won't date.

    lists are great, and i find a list of who you won't date more or less reasonable. after all, i once upon a time had a list of 100 Things I'm Looking for in a Man. it was done a little tongue in cheek, but with a glimmer of naive hope. also, i was 19, and probably drunk on wine coolers with my dormmates when i did it. i can't find the list, but i can remember a few traits, and i think they'd probably still hold: must love radiohead was, at the time, number one. athletic was another. tolerant of high amounts of bullshit wasn't on there, but probably should have been.

    anyway i'm alone in the apartment (tommy is down in cville and charles is working) and i've had two glasses of white wine, and apparently that is my cue to a) start stealing year-and-a-half-old ideas from other people's blogs and b) make my own list (all hypothetical, of course, because i'm obviously very happy in current situation. but you never know when you might have to, uh, cut and run!).

    men i would not date:

    1. those who do not like the generally same kind of music that i like, and by that, i do mean the dreaded indie rock. i'm not asking that you're all up in largehearted boy's shit or whatever, but a general knowledge and appreciation of the music i love is a good thing. i do like to go to concerts, after all, and having to go to a show with somebody who didn't like or know anything about the band would grate.

    2. fatties. sorry, i'm fattist. you've got to be in good shape and like working out or playing a sport or SOMETHING. a running or tennis partner is preferable.

    3. shorties. just not physically attracted. i'm near 5'9", and a guy has to be at least 6'1".

    4. somebody who does not understand blogging. can you even IMAGINE trying to have to explain all of this crap?

    5. people who think they are too good for a) television b) pop culture. i understand that tv is evil and rots your brain, and pop culture is throwaway trash for the intellectually unable, but. come. on. if there aren't at least a couple of tv shows and pop-culturey things you enjoy, then you probably take yourself too seriously.

    6. those without a college degree. does this make me evil? i'm not quite sure. anyway i'm sure there are exceptions.

    7. teetotalers

    8. conservatives (though i have to admit i'd probably be willing to bend on this a little bit if the person in question were an extremely moderate conservative)

    9. religious people. not saying it's bad; it's just not my thing.

    10. vegetarians (stolen from apo's list in the comment's of ogged's post)

    and you?

    comments [27] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    birdsplosion misc

    Catherine has been nice enough to lend me her car for my trip down to Charlottesville to see my mom (for Christmas 2: Son Of). Last night we picked it up and brought it here, into the land of two hour parking. So all day I've been playing hide and seek with the parking enforcement people.

    But when I set out for my last trip, I found feathers — feathers! — all over our front door and stoop. I have no idea how they got there, and there's no bird in evidence. But I was immediately reminded of this, and thought I might as well link to it. If you, too, were once a young and cruel freshman with a high-speed internet connection, you've probably already seen it.

    In other news, I think YouTube is pulling away from the other video Flickr wannabes. There's a creepy MySpace-ish undercurrent going on there, but there's no denying that their tech is fairly slick.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    the dominance of indie foundries misc

    The fact that I have multiple friends who will probably be interested in this link is completely dumbfounding to me.

    comments [8] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    December 27, 2005
    December 27, 2005
    curious misc

    question: i recall hearing somewhere that eating lots of rich food before your bed time can cause much vivider dreams than if you were just eating a regular dinner. i think it must be true, because the past four nights i've had very large, very heavy, very celebratory meals (all finished off with various numbers of slices of pie) and i've had TERRIBLE TERRIBLE dreams. nightmares, really. but why would this be? this site says heavy food can "cause gas, and, in turn, nightmares." but why would gas give you nightmares?? is your body really like, oh, toot, oops, NIGHTMARE!

    the mystery of the human body.

    maybe it's grapefruit. i've been eating approximately four per day.

    or maybe, in the case of last night's nightmares, it was an afternoon viewing of king kong. there's enough disgusting, squiggly creatures and freaky tribal natives in that film to give you nightmares for weeks.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    December 24, 2005
    December 24, 2005
    the authoritative santa site misc

    okay, this claim that santa is actually from iceland? is total bullshit. it's totally obviously he lives above the arctic circle in either finland, sweden or norway. take a look at this washington post travel article and gorgeous photo gallery about a trip to lapland. if you were santa, wouldn't you choose to live there instead? plus, in lapland, REINDEERS OUTNUMBER PEOPLE. hello.

    iceland. bullshit.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    December 23, 2005
    December 23, 2005
    everyone else is doing it misc

    See!? I'm NOT the only blogger who's an awful, awful person.

    For the record, pigeon = squab with worse branding. Nothing wrong with that (except the creepy little feet, if you ask Catherine, which you probably shouldn't).

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    santabot misc

    ps: for anyone looking to get into the holiday spirit by being terrified by animatronic, horrible, children-blinding christmas displays, i suggest you check out this post over at PIB.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    boring meme avoidance misc

    i'm trying to put off wrapping my christmas presents. you would think this might be something i look forward to, but since i have all the wrapping talent of a limbless orangutan, and my presents always end up looking like something that came out of the Children's Home for Retarded Woodchippers, well, i don't.

    so i'm going to copy the meme kevin drum put up today:

    Four jobs you've had in your life: real jobs, relatively few. so i'll include a couple of internships. CIA intern, intern at washingtonpost.com, elementary teaching assistant, editorial assistant.

    Four movies you could watch over and over: pride & prejudice the six hour version. pride & prejudice the new two hour version. princess bride, the sound of music (well, the first half anyway) (also i realize these answers make me thoroughly detestable but, uh, fuck off)
    UPDATE OHMIGOD forgot bring it on. that is actually at least probably #2 for me on the rewatchable movie meme.

    Four places you've lived: washington, d.c., milan, italy, charlottesville, va, chicago, il.

    Four TV shows you love to watch: veronica mars (well documented here), lost, grey's anatomy, america's next top model. (ack. have to make it five. forgot futurama)

    Four places you've been on vacation: i won't count italy since i've been all over the place there, so: wyoming, cape ann, ma., scotland, slovenia

    Four websites you visit daily: washingtonpost.com, dcist.com, gmail.com, bloglines.com (sorry, but if you've got bloglines, what else do you need? i admit sometimes i'll visit unfogged.com outside of reading its entries in bloglines to see what is going on the comments, but i can rarely keep up, so usually not)

    Four of your favorite foods: pizza, cheese, grapefruit, chocolate

    Four places you'd rather be: i could give four locations in italy as an answer, or i could say, at this moment: at a bar, in a pool (in 85 degree weather), on a train (i love riding trains) or back in bed.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    adventures in branding misc

    driving back from a fairly successful christmas shopping journey in the wilds of the 'burbs (well, successful for me. tommy came back with: nothing), tommy and i were stopped at the intersection in arlington near harris teeter. not having been back there in a while, i was checking out the strip mall sign to see if any new stores or restaurants had moved in. and lo and behold, something had! but it was confusing. it was ugly. it was a place called...PIE-TANZA!

    pie-tanza, tommy and i muttered under our breath, looking at each other. pie-tanza? pie-tanza! piiiiiiiiiiiie-tanza.

    what the fuck.

    who names their restaurant pie-tanza? (it's a pizza place, for the record, not that we had to look it up on the internet or anything to figure that out. i thought initially it was a pie store). TANZA is not a word. it is not attached to any word. it makes no sense. it has nothing to do with anything related to pizza. it has nothing to do with anything related to the fabulousness of pizza (ie, pie-tastic would make a smidgen of sense). pie-tanza. pie-tanza. pie-tanza.

    the word is, less than 24 hours after our realization that it existed, now legend in tommy's and my vocbaulary. i plan on saying it when "what the fuck" would suffice. "you got me THIS for christmas? pie-tanza?!"

    but how could somebody have thought of so terribly awful of a name? what is the motivation behind it? WHY GOD WHY PIE-TANZA?!?! and so i turn to the internets, as i so often do, to try to figure out what madness could have been in play behind this insane decision. why, internets, would you ever name your pizza place pie-tanza? help out a girl who has spent a large chunk of the morning puzzling over this inanity.

    pie-tanza.

    comments [9] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    learn about fashion the slashdot way misc

    Strangely enough, I came across the following in the middle of a Slashdot bitchfest about the merits of various programming languages. This can't possibly be true, can it?

    You thought fashion fads just happened? It's much more organized than that. The "in" colors for US fashion are chosen 22 months in advance, by the little-known Color Association of the United States [colorassociation.com]. Color forecasts are issued to subscribers, and the textile mills, dye manufacturers, and clothiers start to gear up for the coming seasons. Because there are some long manufacturing lead times to produce fabrics in huge volume, the style decisions have to be organized.

    "Pinks and fuchsia were everywhere in spring 2003; CAUS members knew this in spring of 2001."

    Here's the activewear color plan for 2006-2007:

    • Colors are anchored by light and dark neutrals in addition to the ever important white.

    • Red will return as a leading bright, in coral and raspberry shades. - In color combinations, tonalities of one shade look new and dynamic.

    • Cool colors like Apple Green, Indigo and teals are soothing, and especially attractive when matched with brown-influenced neutrals like Wheat and Terracotta. Finishes such as metallicizing add dimension and interest to color and fabrications.

    Color changes in fashion do not happen by accident.

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    December 21, 2005
    December 21, 2005
    commonwealth huzzah! misc


    You're Virginia!
    Part of the old school, you like both historical sites and crazy amusement parks. You like saying the word Commonwealth but couldn't really explain the concept or how it applies to your life. You like five-sided shapes, five-cent pieces, and possibly anything else having to do with the number five. Every now and then, you discard chaff from yourself that you just don't feel you need. And since you've been wondering... yes, there is a Santa Claus.
    Take the State Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

    if tommy, descended straight from general lee himself, takes this quiz and doesn't get virginia, robert e. is going to be rolling over in his grave.

    comments [9] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    December 20, 2005
    December 20, 2005
    butthole penguin misc

    if anyone tries this with the 'stick, you are dead. DEAD DO YOU HEAR ME? (unless you are going to give him to me, shh)

    and also, uhhh........why is it called a jackass penguin? is that, like, a scientific name? that stuff about the braying just does not jibe.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    December 19, 2005
    December 19, 2005
    la barbe misc

    i don't know if it's just this sunday source article that prompted me to think about it or the fact that 89% of my male friends currently have/recently have had beards, but, really, what is going on? is growing a beard a thing a mid-20s male must do to, like...get to the next level of maleness? is it a result of laziness? boredom with your hygiene routine? an expression of your SOUL?

    not that i mind beards. on some people they do actually look quite good. but aren't they itchy? i mean, it's a LOT OF HAIR on your FACE.

    oh well. all i do know is that there apparently people out there concerned about beard fluffiness and how to deal with beard-intolerant people. so close-minded!

    comments [18] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    December 15, 2005
    December 15, 2005
    seriously? misc

    This is pretty great.

    Also: this.

    both via bb

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    December 12, 2005
    December 12, 2005
    so much unwasted class time, wasted misc

    Awesome.

    (via make)

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    December 07, 2005
    December 07, 2005
    it speaks to my inner boy scout misc

    I'll admit that the tech stuff I do is dorky — but to truly understand the depths of my lameness, you'd have to know how excited I get about stuff like this.

    It's all pretty basic, but brings back fond memories. Now let's see a bowline on a bite, suckers. That's a serious-ass knot.

    (via make:blog)

    comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    December 01, 2005
    December 01, 2005
    class and then more class misc

    this nytimes fluff article on how more people are gravitating towards non-gadget gifts this holiday season reveals the true one must-have present that everybody will no doubt be buying this season: "At Barneys, such indulgences include a $50 ceramic night-stand condom jar from Jonathan Adler with an intricate pattern of sperm wriggling on its lid."

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    November 28, 2005
    November 28, 2005
    nuclear whipping boy misc

    Scientology's secret texts are being stored in a New Mexico bunker designed to withstand a nuclear holocaust.

    This actually sort of makes me like them more. There's nothing innately evil about this project (other than how the money was raised to fund it, of course). And the idea of trying to construct something that will outlive humanity has a certain romance for me.

    Nevertheless, I hope hordes of anti-cultists, ironists and burnt-out hippies descend on Trementina, NM and turn it into a fucking zoo. I want to see Xenu bobbleheads, goddammit.

    UPDATE: Via boingboing, check out this image of the earthen constructs that mark the site.

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    November 26, 2005
    November 26, 2005
    for christ's sake misc

    Someone just give Susan a book deal already. I'm starting to feel guilty about reading stuff this good for free.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    November 22, 2005
    November 22, 2005
    the definition of a long shot misc

    ...but this blog has helped me in stranger ways before, so i thought i'd try it out.

    my lovely, talented and handsome younger brother peter (check out his drill team photos here, or graduation photos here) is moving to saratoga springs, ny, this winter, after the first part of his crazy navy nuclear sub training is over in charleston. he's having a hell of a time finding an apartment - SS, i guess, is a pretty small/resorty town, so it's not like they've got a craigslist. does anyone have any way of finding a realtor or some listings that could help him out? if so, shoot me an email. much thanks.

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    requiem for a jean misc

    sigh. i knew it had to happen soon. after nearly two and a half years of constant wearage, the only jeans that ever looked good on me are dying. they're developing tiny holes that, if they become much larger, will soon be quite indecent.

    every girl knows the journey that is finding the perfect pair of jeans, and i thought my life-long search had ended that day in nordstrom when i picked up this pair for only $50 (which seems incredibly and laughably low considering what most jeans cost these days). i should have known better. i should have bought six pairs. because i was a fool and thought that particular brand would always be carried by nordstorm. or somebody. anybody.

    but they're not. in my crazed internet searches the past few weeks, as my jeans were falling apart before my eyes, i have found nothing. apparently this brand is italian (of course) and generally makes more mens jeans than womens. sigh. so if anybody knows where i can get a pair of boot cut low rise size 5 energie jeans, let me know. otherwise, please pity me with suggestions of jeans that look good on you and don't cost $300. cause i need a new pair.

    comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    November 18, 2005
    November 18, 2005
    ain't no hollaback misc

    via amber, i see that a blog has been started in nyc wherein women take cameraphone pics of men who harass them on the street and write about the experience (they've got a wiki, too). who's telling who to smile now, biatch?

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    November 17, 2005
    November 17, 2005
    you know you've got the jitters misc

    this measurement of caffeine (via amanda) cannot be near correct, right? because i just had a venti starbucks coffee and i am feeling quite good, thanks very much. whereas when i have one red bull, i basically collapse on the floor in a quivering, jabbering heap.

    comments [9] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    conveyances! misc

    Skateboard x Rollerblades = this. Neat.

    Still, if I'm gonna kill myself on a recreational device, I think I'd prefer to do it on a pair of these things.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    November 16, 2005
    November 16, 2005
    UGH misc

    oh. mah. god. most disgusting story you'll read on the internets today.

    this is what i spend time doing when i'm supposed to be finishing up an article, writing a huge research paper and starting work on a 1,000 word profile. this and reading hysterical stories about public masturbators on the CTA red line, which i ride quite often, and taking mental notes on how to deal with them when the situation inevitably, uh, arises. yup.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    November 14, 2005
    November 14, 2005
    new, nerdier forms of comedy misc

    Kriston doesn't like Penny-Arcade. I disagree with him about the comic's merits, but I guess I can understand where he's coming from. Tycho — the strip's writer and chief blogger — has a prose style that can be gratingly pretentious; the comic's gags lean heavily on non-sequiturs and in-jokes; and Gabe, the strip's artist, admits that his visual style is heavily cribbed from Stephen Silver .

    But Tycho's doing something that I think even Kriston will like. Actually, I think Kriston will especially like it.

    You may not have heard of Epic Legends of the Hierarchs: The Elemenstor Saga, but that's only because it doesn't really exist. Tycho invented the pretend franchise about a half a year ago as a blank canvas onto which all the most ridiculous conventions of the fantasy, Pokemon-derived, Saturday-morning cartoon, video/roleplaying game and shameles-kiddy-commercialism genres could be projected. Not too much has been done with it since then — a strip here and there, but that's about it.

    Today, a new development: Tycho has created an ELotHTES wiki and invited readers to contribute. The setup is pretty straight-laced: the Elemenstor Universe is overwrought, incoherent and thoroughly broken, thanks to the franchise's imagined commercial history. The true stroke of genius is Tycho's insertion of grudging references to a little-loved, Ewoks-style cartoon departure from the canon called "The Wizbits" that briefly aired at some point in the past and horrified all true Elemenstor fans.

    I have no idea whether any of the contributors will be genuinely funny, but the idea behind this project is a great one. The end product may or may not be hilarious, but it's certain to be an entertainingly incomprehensible, self-referential universe. It's fertile ground for nerds to riff on: I've already got an idea for the bio page about the Wizbits' executive producer that could best be pitched as, "What if Aleister Crowley had invented My Little Pony?"

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    it's monday morning; time for an obituary misc  - music

    First: Okkervil River and the Wrens' Charles Bissell. Tonight, IOTA, $10. Who's in? And are any of you interested in meeting up for a late-ish pre-show dinner in Clarendon?

    Second, and much more depressingly: WWE wrestler Eddie Guerrero is dead. What can you say about something so sadly predictable? He was a talented guy, but that business chews people up at an alarming rate. It's pretty much the same as the carney lifestyle would be if it paid a little better and somebody wailed on you with a baseball bat every night between the tilt-a-whirl and your trailer. It sounds like Eddie died sometime shortly after breakfast on Sunday, but despite the morning hour I'd say the smart money is still on an overdose. Like a lot of wrestlers, Eddie had a history of problems with painkillers.

    Sigh. Well, Tivo can watch RAW for the memorial package. The rest of us will go get rocked. Come join me — we'll invent a drink and call it the Frog Splash in Eddie's honor. I'm thinking tequila and creme de menthe.

    comments [12] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    November 06, 2005
    November 06, 2005
    have i mentioned i love the internet? misc

    kevin federline's singly and an ad for 'telehypnosis'

    Good stuff. (via)

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    October 31, 2005
    October 31, 2005
    bleg misc

    Does any DC reader own a pair of Shure or other aftermarket earphones that I could borrow for an evening? DCist is working on a feature, and we need more pairs to test. I've got ER-6's, I think I can borrow some ER-6i's, and there used to be a pair of Sonys kicking around the apt. But ignoring the biggest name in this market would probably be a bad idea.

    Also, I forgot to wear a belt to work today. So, uh, if you're in Crystal City and have a spare, that'd be great, too.

    comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    October 30, 2005
    October 30, 2005
    dress you up in my smoke misc

    i haven't followed what's going on re the smoking ban in d.c., but here in chicago, it passed the committee and the city council will probably approve it pretty soon. but the observer gives smokers one possible positive outcome to being exiled in the freezing cold while you suck down the sweet nicotine: love. aw.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    October 29, 2005
    October 29, 2005
    so misc

    halloween party tonight. no real ideas except a cute black bob wig that i bought on a whim. well, i've got the ethers of ideas, but i would appreciate suggestions. what costume can one come up with that involves a bobbed black wig? and is not too slutty?

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    October 26, 2005
    October 26, 2005
    coincidence misc

    A lot of military contractors work in Crystal City, and the ads on the Metro reflect that. Instead of ads for firming cream there are ads for fighter jets and night vision goggles. And for this thing — an ugly-looking boat under which are emblazoned the words

    THIS IS WHAT LITTORAL DOMINANCE LOOKS LIKE.

    Littoral refers to the coastline, apparently. Today, for the first time, the twelve year old in me realized that with the addition of a single letter this word could be made dirty, and therefore hilarious. I chuckled to myself through the gauze of my hangover. It'd be sort of naughty, but the phrase wouldn't really mean anything.

    Then I got to work, turned on the radio and learned that the Amazonian (i.e. physically dominant) ex-WNBA player Sheryl Swoopes has come out of the closet in order to promote a lesbian cruise line.

    So apparently the universe is as immature as I am. I find this extremely encouraging.

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    October 24, 2005
    October 24, 2005
    the 'ween misc

    funny. seth stevenson comes up with a pretty good halloween costume idea, if i a) didn't have any shame b) didn't live in chicago where i would turn blue and die c) could get some friends to do it with me: the dove girls!

    i think i came up (ie stole another blogger's last-year idea) with a costume idea, finally. it's a little slutty, but not so much that i feel shame for posting this earlier rant. we'll see if i can find all the components. if it works out: lots of pictures!

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    i sort of wish i had a car misc

    The various subversions of the Jesus Fish adorning people's bumpers are usually pretty off-putting — they're either lame or pointlessly antagonistic or both. But this is great. Background reading here, of course.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    October 23, 2005
    October 23, 2005
    phew! misc

    nice one, skins.

    what a busy weekend! i finally have time to sit down for a bit with a beer, wilco on my ipod speaker stereo, and have got 40 minutes to blog before my new favorite crap medical drama, grey's anatomy, comes on.

    seriously. i love that show.

    what brilliance will pour forth from my nimble typing fingers now that i finally have a moment to sit down and type to my eager audience?

    ...............


    .................................

    i know! bullet steez!

  • i'm wiped after three straight nights of going out. new pornographers on thursday with several vodka sevens, 22 oz $5 beers at bar louie on friday, more beer at matilda, then beers with the lovely jen c. on saturday at L&L tavern, the best hipster dive bar ever (hat tip to carl for letting me know about it). my blood is now 25% beer. even scarier: i drink red bull on the weekends now. how did THAT start?

  • this product will change your life. for the softer.

  • it hailed this weekend. twice. motherfucking hail. hi, chicago winter. please don't kill me.

  • speaking of winter, radiator heat has got to be the shittiest heat ever. or maybe it's just my apartment building. we don't pay for heat (THANK GOD) and i guess the management controls it somehow. apparently they like turning it off and on sporadically to fuck with my body temperature. i left for the gym today and my apartment was warm and toasty. i came back, took a shower, got out, and promptly turned to an icicle. even worse: every time the radiators get turned on, they sound like dying puppies. dying puppies in clanking chains. running around and dying and clanking.

  • i STILL need a halloween costume. any suggestions? preferably something with a wig. i feel like wearing a crazy wig this year. wigs are awesome.

  • chicago seems like the awesomest halloween town ever. i was downtown last week for some class stuff, and daley plaza is turned into a massive haunted house, and the fountain has got orange water. then there's lots o other stuff going on. haunted el rides? historic haunted graveyard tours? PUMPKINTINIS? well, i'm sure other cities have pumpkintinis, but i'm going to pretend not. i will have to say that really nothing can beat spending a day close to halloween in salem, massachussetts last year. check out the now year-old boston photos. fun times.

  • speaking of photos, i hope to post some more here soon. i know it's been a while, but i'm pretty sure you don't want to see pictures of my still-a-mess apartment, or, uh, my AWESOME NEW TAPE RECORDER. digital, baby. well, too bad. those are probably the pictures that'll get posted here soonest.

    UPDATE: oh yeah! i forgot: i finally saw "before sunset." and i loved it! did you love it? you totally loved it. i loved it. but the ending is beyond frustrating.

  • comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    October 17, 2005
    October 17, 2005
    bird flu misc

    so, is there, like, anything we can do to not get the bird flu? i'm starting to get a little worried. i wash my hands about 16 times a day and i take my vitamins. do i have to start wearing masks as well? and we don't have to worry about eating fowl, do we? cause i just ate like half a roast chicken and i would hate to have to give that up.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    slutoween misc

    okay, i know "halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it," but when you see costumes like these, you know shit is getting out of hand. you should just give up on the entire pretense of having a costume and dress yourself in a saran wrap mini skirt or something. i mean, the slutty ref? SERIOUSLY? and WHY DO YOU HAVE TO GO SLUT UP STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE? fine, rape my childhood. that's cool.

    i had hoped to be leela, but frankly, i don't think any of my school friends have seen an episode of "futurama" in their lives, so the joke might be lost. any other suggestions?

    UPDATE: quote from the thread:

    I love how any uniform can be made into a Halloween costume if you cut off six inches and throw on some fishnets.

    I'm skanky fast food girl! Skanky chef! Skanky doctor!

    I want someone to get a pink suit, cut off the skirt and go as skanky Laura Bush.

    comments [17] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    October 11, 2005
    October 11, 2005
    there she is misc

    I just met Mrs. Vir/gin/ia. She works in this office, apparently (hence the googleproofing), and just got back from competing in the Mrs. America pageant in Florida. Sadly, she didn't place.

    I figured she was probably sick of conversations about what her talent was, so I didn't ask. But based on our brief interaction and my time in this office, I suspect her talent may be remaining chipper in the face of soul-crushing tedium. It's certainly impressive, but I can see how the judges might not "get" it.

    I can't say that I understand the idea behind the Mrs. America contest. Isn't the point of a beauty pageant, in the abstract, to identify the most fit physical specimen? It's eugenics for people who like small dogs. How can you mash that institution together with another that expressly forbids the directed procreation necessary to capitalize on it? How are we supposed to construct the tiara-clad master race that one presumes to be the pageant organizers' object? It's all very confusing.

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    October 07, 2005
    October 07, 2005
    stay puft goes spinning misc

    hey, want to know how to become an unmotivated fatass? i have an answer for you: run a marathon! seriously!

    i ran the marine corps marathon almost a year ago, crossing the finish line in a time of approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes. to train, i had been running 15-30 miles every week for five or so months. i was probably in some of the best shape of my life. i had cut out most alcohol; i was getting good sleep; i was drinking gallons and gallons of water. clif bars ruled my life, and i felt pretty good.

    and then i became stay puft.

    after getting through the marathon, i barely worked out again for an entire year. i tried the running thing again, honestly, but without an attainable goal i just couldn't drag myself out to do it. my running partners and fitness team had disappeared with the marathon training. and generally, i figured, hey! i just ran a marathon! i'm allowed to be lazy for a while. before i know it, a while had turned into 12 months. the only thing that prevented me from becoming hurley-sized was being blessed with a somewhat-enviable metabolism and the fact that i walked everywhere, including a mile to and from work every day.

    so anyway, when i came to chicago, i figured newish life, new gym! i signed up at the chicago sweatshop, which seems great so far. adequate equipment, mostly gay guys so no gross ogling, and, best of all: lots of spinning classes! i heart spinning, as cheesy as it may be. a few years back i did spinning for an entire summer, and it's a kickass workout.

    anyway, i took a spinning class last night for the first time at the new gym. we all saddled up, as it were, and the instructor told us to get pumped, warm up, find our pace, several other fitness class cliches, etc. i was spinning happily along and imagining how great my thighs were going to look if only i could stop eating boxes and boxes of kraft mac and cheese.

    until my instructor a) turned out the lights b) put on a 45-minute soundtrack of southern roots rock.

    for the ENTIRE CLASS we biked in the dark or near-dark, listening to the likes of CCR and other illustrious groups. "um, is this weird?" i wondered to myself, trying to gauge others' reactions. of course i couldn't, because we were in the FUCKING DARK. the only thing i could see was the enormous stereo system with its red, yellow and green blinking lights, which kind of made me feel like i was biking through space. in a bad 70s movie. while someone was yelling "CLIMB THE HILL FEEL IT NOW BURN YEAH!" at me.

    i was scared.

    but i'm going back tonight. i think it's a different instructor. maybe i'll actually be able to see her face this time.

    comments [10] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    October 04, 2005
    October 04, 2005
    content! misc

    No, not here. But John A (creator of ScaryGoRound) has a pretty funny post up on his blog.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    October 01, 2005
    October 01, 2005
    does my tv deceive me misc

    Or is there really a bone medication called "Boniva" (pronounced "bone-eeva")?

    Yup. It's the second option.

    How many tens of thousands of dollars do you think were spent coming up with that name? And have I mentioned that I do freelance brand consulting? C'mon, just throw out a prospective product. I'll brand the fuck out of it.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    September 29, 2005
    September 29, 2005
    u-haul sucks misc

    jake reminds me of a simple fact that any savvy consumer should know: u-haul sucks, and it will bite you in the ass if you reserve a truck from them. you will, without doubt, get screwed over one way or another. jake cites this story. mr. loops offers this seemingly-common tale of u-haul desertion. when i was moving, i spoke with my friend becca about her move from north carolina to d.c. and how the tire on her u-haul trailer blew out, and how u-haul proceeded to strand her on the side of I-95 for EIGHT HOURS and DIDN'T EVEN WANT TO PAY FOR HER TIRE REPLACEMENT UNTIL SHE FOUGHT IT.

    if i can do one good in the world, it can be the promotion of how terrible u-haul is - how they lack any compassion, any organization, any halfway-modern trucks, any semblance of customer service. yet, they never seem to go away, and the complaints about them have been going on for years. what's the deal here? why do they remain so popular? how have better companies like budget not totally snapped up their share of the market?

    i don't know. but i do know one thing: we, as the ALL IMPORTANT BLOGGERS, must work tirelessly to change it. screw u-haul!

    comments [8] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    September 26, 2005
    September 26, 2005
    killer dolphins unleashed misc

    So awesome.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    September 16, 2005
    September 16, 2005
    la googlia misc

    google earth, helping one ancient roman archaeologist at a time.

    kind of cool.

    via waxy.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    September 08, 2005
    September 08, 2005
    don't fail me now, budget trucks misc

    the big truck pick up and loading is tomorrow. if you have, you know, super insightful tips about moving in general or how to properly load a 10 foot truck full of crap and drive it 700 miles, let me know!

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    filler misc

    in lieu of actual content, and because i am already miserably nostalgic for everything in my life even though i'm still, you know, in d.c. and am fairly confident that i'll have a good time in chicago: i present, what catherine was doing in
    september 2002! (traveling to bergamo, bolzano, and bologna, italy)
    september 2003! (nothing! no archives from that month! i had forsaken the blog! instead, you can see my triumphant octoberal return, wherein i recount trips to tuscany and leaving milan for good)
    september 2004! (bitching about politics, mostly, in a vacuous way. apple picking in charlottesville - which you ALL need to do in october, eat some apple cider donuts for me, mmk? - camping on assateague island, raising $$ for the lombardi cancer center and whining about my marathon training, doing the first DCist happy hour, and applying for grad schools. man. last september was busy. this september? eating. taking care of a lot of beer. spending untold hours on the internets.)

    holy crap, can you believe that this piddle of a site has been around that long?

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    September 02, 2005
    September 02, 2005
    the humanity misc

    one day, several years ago, i was walking home from class at UVa and ran into a girl i only slightly knew. it was one of those all-too-common situations; we barely knew each other, but of course were walking to the same destination, and had a vague acquaintance, so we had to make painful, terrible small talk for 10 or 15 minutes. IT WAS TORTURE, people. now i know what the 6th circle of hell is like, etc.

    as we made our way down the hill towards the lambeth apartment complex, chatting awkwardly and painfully and hellishly and probably talking about, like, our common love for diet coke or WHATEVER THE HELL YOU ARE REDUCED TO TALKING ABOUT IN THESE SITUATIONS I DON'T KNOW ("isn't diet coke great?" "OH! i KNOW! it's GREAT!"), i caught view of something out of the corner of my eye on the grassy field, a few feet from our path. it was a squirrel. no biggie, obviously, but there was something...weird. about this squirrel. that i noticed even out of the corner of my eye. the girl with me apparently noticed too, because i could see, in what seemed like utter slow motion, her head turn towards the squirrel, in the very same fashion as my head was turning, seemingly on its own, without my brain telling it to. and we looked at the squirrel. and we stopped walking, stopped talking, stopped breathing. then we looked at each other, grabbed each others' arms, and screamed BLOODY MURDER. we shot the hell off, reached our apartments, and broke down in giggles. terrified, horrified giggles.

    we were good friends after that.

    i was reminded of this story because i came across this page recently, which shows the type of squirrel that brought us together at that moment. i hadn't previously known. be warned, it's disturbing. but anyway: diseased squirrels: bringing friends together since 2001.

    and yes, i'm blogging about squirrels from the crypt at 8:30 on a friday night. time to go out.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    September 01, 2005
    September 01, 2005
    holy jeebus misc

    so, like....what the fuck is going on down in new orleans?

    good lord. it's atrocious and infuriating. where the fuck is the government?

    UPDATE: an unbelievable timeline

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 31, 2005
    August 31, 2005
    wahoorape misc

    ugh. via amanda, read an older hook article on how uva deals with rape. (hint: they punish honor code offenders much more strictly than rapists.) because, you know, rape, whatever, but don't you dare plagiarize that english paper!

    UPDATE: WHAT. THE. FUCK.:

    Kathryn Russell also believes UVA's process is grievously flawed. After her attack in February 2004, Russell says, she had to make repeated calls to Dean of Students Penny Rue's office before a hearing was scheduled. She says Rue delayed her request by, among other things, suggesting she enter mediation with her alleged attacker.

    "I wanted him out of school," says Russell. "What did I have to mediate?"

    Her Sexual Assault Board hearing brought her no satisfaction. After listening to hours of testimony and deliberating for three hours, the board returned a not guilty verdict against Russell's alleged attacker. The board offered no explanation, she says, nor did the school ever offer her any services after the trial.

    Russell says they told the man she accused, "We believe you made a bad choice that night."

    "I felt like I was drowning," she says, "the whole thing was so futile. So many months of my life, so much torture for nothing."

    Her mother criticizes the training of representatives to the Board-- or lack thereof.

    According to University literature, Board members receive special training, but Susan Russell's Freedom of Information Act request found that preparation to serve on the panel consists of a single session of "adjudication training."

    "They don't have a good understanding of victims' psychology," she says.

    Hylton agrees. She says Dean Rue also attempted to deter her from pursuing charges and characterized the Sexual Assault Board hearing process as being "about education, not punishment." Russell says Rue's first question to her daughter was, "Are you embarrassed?"

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 29, 2005
    August 29, 2005
    crude something, alright misc

    seriously. what is up with yahoo's news photos accompaniment?:

    crudecaption.jpg

    mooning a hurricane, crude oil prices, same thing!

    anyway, all my thoughts and prayers with the people in LA. i'm sitting here watching MSNBC, dribbling coffee and leftover chicken fried noodles from china express down my chin and shirt. i went to the dentist one more time this morning to get some final work done on my teeth, and he novocained me all to hell, and frankly, i can't feel my face. i also think my left eyeball is numb, but i am not sure. just watch me try to smile. i look like a retarded puffy penguin. er, or something. it's grotesque.

    today looks to be slow. so i think i will make this.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 24, 2005
    August 24, 2005
    summer teeth misc

    so, this morning i bit the bullet (as it were) and went to dupont dental on 19th street to get my first checkup and cleaning in, oh, three years or so. i know, it's pretty disgusting, but i have a preternatural and oh-so-stereotypical fear of the dentist. i just always. have. cavities. like, 72 billion of them. no matter that i take better care of my teeth than most people; i unfortunately inherited my father's unusually weak chompers, so weak that a piece of chocolate cake will take root and cause decay, like, immediately.

    but, lo and behold: this time around i HAD NO CAVITIES! this is the first time this has happened, ever. this might coincide with the fact that this year is the first time ever that i flossed more than once a week. flossing: it works! WHO KNEW? except, like everybody? i also have to give a shoutout to my good buddy advanced listerine mouthwash. i couldn't have done it without you.

    other fun dental facts from catherine: i have only one wisdom tooth, in my upper left gum, which has not yet deemed to drop. dentists have told me this means i am more evolutionarily advanced than EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD, which pleases me to no end.

    christ. i can't believe i'm writing about dental stuff. time for my afternoon drink. anyway, i'd highly recommend dupont dental. very nice, very kind regarding my retarded dentist fear, and very quick.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 23, 2005
    August 23, 2005
    i am woman, hear me throw water at your sorry ass misc
    going away 003.jpg

    no, matt yglesias is not a particularly sweaty man. this picture was taken after i, horror....threw a cup of water at him. no doubt he had said something VERY objectionable at susan's going away party, as any social gathering where susan and i are at lately turn into a raging, screaming debate about women, men, and why men are retards, but really. catherine. i have NEVER done something like that before. i mean, i hit a lot, and yell, but throwing water had, up until this point, been a line of incivility that i had not dared cross. oh well, too late now. actually, this could serve me well. i've always wanted to throw an alcoholic drink in a man's face after he does something particularly rude, and i think the water-throwing incident may help me gain courage towards that end. now i just need a particularly rude man to say something terrible to me in a bar where i am drinking a martini.

    anyway, yes, we were at susan's going away party, and it pains me to write it, but she heads off to the wilds of georgia (republic thereof) tomorrow. the authors of this blog had thought about writing some sort of tribute to her awesomeness, but the inarticulateness sure to accompany it wouldn't have done her justice. but you should all know that if you haven't known susan, your life is probably lacking. we'll miss you, dear. make 'em eat shit and die in georgia!

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 17, 2005
    August 17, 2005
    so slow misc

    you know it's been a bad day when you see this headline in your RSS reader:

    milkyway.jpg

    and get really excited because you think somebody has written an article about the secrets of candy bar nougat.

    photographic evidence of last night's madness (which started off at bohemian caverns and somehow ended with susan and me back at the apartment defending all of feminism from charles, tommy and kriston's oh-so-terrible attacks) here.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 12, 2005
    August 12, 2005
    here comes the snark misc

    veiled conceit is back, and better than ever!

    does anyone ever get the feeling that lois smith brady, author of the wedding column that VC snarks, is writing REALLY BAD fiction in her spare time?

    Ms. Reid, 48, grew up in Dongan Hills, Staten Island, playing lacrosse, wearing her brother's bluejeans in the most stylish way and lying under the copper beech trees in her backyard, dreaming of sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon at midnight, under a full moon.

    and then this jem:

    They were married on the Upper East Side at All Saints Episcopal Church by the Rev. C. Hugh Hildesley, the Episcopal priest turned Sotheby's auctioneer. The creaky wood floors and sit-up-straight seats were reminiscent of a schoolroom. Afterward there was a dinner party downtown at Balthazar, where the bride, in a sleek blue gown, slithered into each crowded burgundy banquette like a mermaid.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 09, 2005
    August 09, 2005
    continuing theft misc

    Look at this.

    Then, look at this.

    The first predates the second by several years.

    Via Penny Arcade (obviously), from which, it must be said, I also stole the 1000 YEARS OF POWER thing.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    bleg misc

    i am completely idiotic in the ways of finances, etc, so: can somebody let me know what the hell you do when you leave a job and need to, um, roll over? your 401k? what are the best options? maybe even asking this question is stupid, but i NEED TO KNOW!

    comments [9] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    August 04, 2005
    August 04, 2005
    elevator hacking misc

    Turn your elevator into an express -- no key required. Anybody want to try this out at lunchtime?

    comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    August 01, 2005
    August 01, 2005
    howdy misc

    It looks like Wonkette has linked to my nerd utility belt post, making an already satisfying episode of girlfriend-humiliation into a greater success than I could ever have imagined. So, welcome. If you feel like poking around, adding to our traffic stats, and otherwise boosting our egos, here are some places to start.

    There. That should last you until you get bored and start another Sodoku. There are also, you know, amazing pictures of Italy, courtesy of Catherine. But linking to those might cost me precious, precious bandwidth, so you'll just have to find them yourself. The links that are clearly featured on the right side of the page, I mean. Just over there, see? Yeah, there you go.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    holy crap misc

    my embarrassment knows no bounds. now that the ENTIRE WORLD KNOWS I AM DATING THE BELT RETARD.

    excuse me while i go crawl in a corner and drink straight from a bottle of gin.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 30, 2005
    July 30, 2005
    you knew this was coming misc

    The inevitable Tom-just-finished-HBP Harry Potter thread. Hopefully someone else has the patience for it. So, what I came away with (packed to the brim with spoilers):

    UPDATE: Sorry for not having it behind the cut. I counted on the <spoiler> tag working, but I guess those of you with funky CSS implementations or reading this through RSS might've had something revealed. Sorry about that.

    MORE...
    comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    July 29, 2005
    July 29, 2005
    update misc

    screw introspection and sobriety! we're heading to wonderland. drunken abandon and columbia heights hipsters, here i come.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 28, 2005
    July 28, 2005
    wouldn't have thunk it misc

    But apparently I need new playing cards.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    July 22, 2005
    July 22, 2005
    winner hosts the superbowl misc

    Normally I don't bother entering online sweepstakes, even though Naomi has actually won several by using downtime at work to enter them. But hey -- Dell's offering a 1-in-100 chance to win a 26" LCD TV, and that seems worth 30 seconds of your time. Enter here. And remember to use a spamgourmet address.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    free borf! misc

    a comment to a DCist borf post i wrote a while back about his arrest:

    Comment:

    borf is not caught.

    Tomorrow, Saturday July 23rd
    MEET BORF at Dupont Circle

    Meet at 4pm in Dupont Circle for a celebration and discussion of public art, graffiti and vandalism. There will be sidewalk chalk, stencil cutting materials, free spray paint, hopscotch, handstands, millions of dollars, and the first in a series of communiques from Borf. Borf is not caught. Come tomorrow so we can talk about what all this shit means.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    panda update misc

    we introduced you to the freakish butterworms that are baby pandas, so i thought i'd give you an update on how they're coming along, appearance-wise:

    pandaeats.jpg

    not as terrible, but it still looks like a bald, bloated, blind squirrel.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 21, 2005
    July 21, 2005
    sigh misc

    i know, i know. i've been a bad blogger. but trust me - i have nothing of interest to say. the humidity is sapping out all of my energy; dealing with stuff for leaving work, starting school, and moving to chicago is taking up any remaining brainpower; i have decided to commit myself to rereading every harry potter book ever; and i have the awesomest foodie schedule coming up to occupy the rest of my time. i'm going to like six restaurant week dinners (okay, well, two), and next weekend we're finally going to check out dino's, the new italian place.

    but otherwise, sigh. summer is draining me. it's been more work and stress than bbqs and alcohol than i'd hoped. a few good things:

    i bought an ice cream maker! a small, cheap one, but hopefully sparkly delicious streams of gelato will be forthcoming.
    i bought a PDA! tommy told me that bensbargains had a good deal on some sort of axim thing - this one - so i got it!
    i think i got an apartment in lakeview! saw a normal-looking one advertised on CL; got sent pictures and talked to the current resident, a very nice guy who is also a former wahoo; the lovely johanna consented to check out the place in person for me, deemed it liveable, and i'm hopefully going to sign the lease in the next week or so. hurrah! that is a considerable load off of my mind.

    anyway, i finish up work in about three weeks. until that time, i'm pretty sure my mind will be elsewhere, but i'll blog when i can. until then, go watch the trailer for goblet of fire, and tommy will keep you entertained with how he loves that esurance lady. whore.

    comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 20, 2005
    July 20, 2005
    insulting my intelligence misc

    If esurance thinks I am going to switch insurance companies solely on the basis of a sexy cartoon secret agent mascot, they are temporarily mistaken.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    it's pronounced "doo-mah" misc

    Listening to NPR. They're talking about Gus Van Sant's new film, Last Days, an abstract meditation on Kurt Cobain's last few "lost days". Sounds pretty miserable. Oh yeah, and it's not really about Cobain, just a fictional rock star played by a guy who looks exactly like him. Right now Van Sant is explaining how this was an artistic decision. I guess it's nice when your artistic decision just happens to also be one that saves your ass from getting sued.

    Anyway, I mention all this because the NPR lady insists on pronouncing biopic as "BIO PICK", which I think sounds terrible in a newspeak sort of way. I prefer the almost totally unjustifiable "BUY OP ICK", which at least sort of rhymes with "epic", which is a word I like associating with movies because it usually means the film will either involve a lot of graphic violence set in ancient Rome or a lot of spaceships zooming around.

    Is anyone with me? Yeah, didn't think so.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    July 19, 2005
    July 19, 2005
    signs i've totally gone 'round the bend misc

    1. i had a weird dream last night.

    2. in the weird dream, i had already packed up and moved to chicago to attend northwestern.

    3. except northwestern was really hogwarts.

    4. and my first assignment was to kill a magical snake.

    either i need to stop thinking about harry potter, or studying new media is going to be a lot more exciting than i anticipated.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    July 18, 2005
    July 18, 2005
    sorry, mbas misc

    I just heard an ad on the radio for UMD's Robert H. Smith School of Business that tried to entice me with promises of leveraging the wisdom of "thought-leaders" in my "cohort". Am I enlisting in the Roman army? This management stuff is confusing.

    Normally I'd tell you that executives are vastly overcompensated, but when I hear this kind of shit it makes sense that you'd have to pay business school graduates enough money to keep them from indulging in even a moment of introspection.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    July 13, 2005
    July 13, 2005
    wowee zowee misc

    via amanda, check out the major damage uva's central grounds recently sustained due to an apparently huge-ass killer storm. at least the homer statue survived intact. countless lawn streakers everywhere are safe.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 30, 2005
    June 30, 2005
    zappos misc

    gotta give big ups to zappos.com, who not only had the boots i had been looking for my whole life on sale 50% off, but who also, for some reason, changed my (already free) shipping from 4-5 business days to OVERNIGHT so i got my boots this morning! and they're BOOTIFUL. oh, hahaha. the leather feels like butter and i've been caressing them all day long like a pair of kittens. bruno magli, you are a genius. they're comfortable, classic, and damn-near prada-like. as these shoes originally cost $430, they are officially the most expensive thing i've ever owned (including tommy), and you better believe i'm building them a shrine and beating the shit out of anyone who even looks askance at them.

    anyway, just wanted to say: zappos, i think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 29, 2005
    June 29, 2005
    googlism misc

    the governess pointed out the fun of googlism the other day, so i tried it out myself. guessing game: which of the following is actually in reference to me (and my first and last names that i will not publish on the internets though it's rather useless by now because photos and incriminating stories about me are effing everywhere)?

    ...is country officer on yugoslavia and albania for the republican institute for international affairs
    ...is a 8
    ...is a first year who finally overcame her feelings of inferiority with twelve nipple rings and an eyeball stud
    ...is an inspirational artist

    answer is a blast from the past in the form of my 18 year-old writing style!

    goddammit. just realized that link contains my full name, as well being totally embarrassing. oh well!

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 27, 2005
    June 27, 2005
    field trip! misc

    so, it's pretty obvious to everybody reading this site that tommy's taken up a personal crusade against scientology. good on him. it seems like a pretty freaky thing. if you've been reading this site for a while, you know that i also have had my bouts of "how the fuck can anybody subscribe to this bullshit?" about the organized religion.

    but so far, we've just been bitching about it on our blog. ANYBODY can do that. i'm thinking we should really take it to the next level...you know, real journalism. some hard-hitting investigation that'll take us to the upper echelons of the blogosphere, where i have been longing to reside for ages. you know what i'm talking about: a journey into the deep, dark underbelly of scientology - a visit to the headquarters of the church, which are conveniently located about two blocks away from my office! FIELD TRIP!!!

    look, it'll be fun. here's what i'm imagining. we take a bottle of grey goose. we drink it. straight up. we trip across the street into the scientology center, we listen to one of the daily lectures on dianetics (or even better: go to a sunday service!) maybe we get e-metered; maybe we don't. doesn't matter. we come back, hopefully unculted, write clever, snarky article about our experience; get contacted by salon or slate, become famous, etc etc, hopefully don't get struck down by l. ron hubbard and his ilk. have great, wonderful time!

    so. who's in?

    UPDATE: woah. woah, woah, woah. greta van susteren is a scientologist? man. i always kind of liked her.

    comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 16, 2005
    June 16, 2005
    march on misc

    holy shit, are penguins the best thing ever, or what?

    and is morgan freeman narrating over a montage of penguins EVEN BETTER?

    i think we all know the answers.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 14, 2005
    June 14, 2005
    fugly misc

    last week, i was wondering, as i am wont to do, if there was an uglier summer trend out there than tunics. tunics are heinous, and i can't understand why they're so popular. it's like, somebody just HAD to bring back that crusader-era style shirt, and oh yeah, let's make everybody look fat and shapeless and like a big old woman tent.

    but while in chicago, i saw a popular trend that eclipsed anything unflattering i've seen here in d.c.: the long swishy stretchy shorts that accentuate your butt in a very bad way. that should be its official name, cause that's what it does. does anybody know what i'm talking about? i can't find a picture on the internet, but i saw several not unattractive women wearing them in chicago. and it was terrible. no matter how skinny you are, putting these pants on makes you look like an elephant wearing saran wrap. i was walking behind one average-sized woman wearing these monstrosities, and it was like everything...went...into...slow...motion. the jiggles. the horror. shudder. i'm not sure i'll ever be able to forgive chicago, which otherwise seems like a fashion-forward city, for allowing their residents to put these things on.

    worst of all: i saw a woman wearing the shorts this morning on my way to work. it has started. DC, if anything, we are uglier and fatter than chicago. our fashion reputation is bad enough. let's just leave the swishy shorts to the midwest. please?

    comments [16] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 08, 2005
    June 08, 2005
    fabulous misc

    upon going to the doctor today (i decided last night it was not good for me to be hacking up enormous green and yellow colored...things), i was given - guess what? - that's right, ANOTHER INHALER! the doctor today said the last inhaler i was given was a little dangerous to be using four times a day (apparently it is a heart stimulant, something i noticed when i would puff into it and then clean the kitchen, bathroom, and go grocery shopping all in under 20 minutes. thanks old doctor, for trying to kill me, though i do appreciate the productivity that came out of it).

    but my new inhaler is not just any regular inhaler. it is the FUTURE of inhalers. in fact, it is so damn futuristic that i can barely figure out how to use it. it involves some rotation, some clicks, there's some sort of counter on there...really, it's crazy.

    behold, the future, where inhalers are PURPLE AND ROUND AND LOOK SORTA LIKE BIRTH CONTROL:

    inhaler.jpg

    wanna fuck with me now that i've got this cool inhaler? huh? i'll beat your ass! ...or i would, if i weren't wheezing so much.

    comments [10] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 05, 2005
    June 05, 2005
    la moda misc

    why i never shop at jcrew: because i'm not willing to pay $500 for a shoddy-ass camisole with an ugly leaf on it.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    June 02, 2005
    June 02, 2005
    call me old-fashioned misc

    am i revealing how incredibly anal and uptight i actually am when i say that i agree with a lot of this article?

    truth is, the american apparel advertising campaign creeps me out (and if an ad for it comes up on a site i'm reading at work, i close the window, feeling unsettlingly like my coworkers would think i'm looking at porn).

    and you know what? i think their clothes are kinda ugly. take that, unexploited garment workers!

    comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 31, 2005
    May 31, 2005
    recommendations misc

    books i read and enjoyed during the beach weekend:

    three junes (thanks, anonymous commenter!)
    a venetian affair
    and, surprisingly, this.

    ...my nerd transformation is complete.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 25, 2005
    May 25, 2005
    pommes frites misc

    can you believe they *still* haven't changed the freedom back to french?

    Walter Jones, the Republican congressman for North Carolina who was also the brains behind french toast becoming freedom toast in Capitol Hill restaurants, told a local newspaper the US went to war "with no justification".

    Mr Jones, who in March 2003 circulated a letter demanding that the three cafeterias in the House of Representatives' office buildings ban the word french from menus, said it was meant as a "light-hearted gesture".

    But the name change, still in force, made headlines around the world, both for what it said about US-French relations and its pettiness.

    Now Mr Jones appears to agree. Asked by a reporter for the North Carolina News and Observer about the name-change campaign - an idea Mr Jones said at the time came to him by a combination of God's hand and a constituent's request - he replied: "I wish it had never happened."

    really? god's hand helped you decide on that clever name change? tell me more.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    books a million misc

    oh, man. we've been tagged. tommy's busy at work today, and i just want to get this out of the way, so i'll go first. this was a meme i was absolutely praying would not get passed on to me because it would reveal the multiple ways in which i am a sham. graduated with honors as an english major at the university of virginia? check. minored in italian literature and therefore should be expert on dante, boccaccio, calvino, etc? check. been reading for over 20 years now? check.

    but the really terrible thing of it all is this: i don't really like reading classic stuff. i didn't always used to be like this - i used to read voraciously - but somehow being an english major killed my love of literature. also, i realized recently that i have developed the attention spam of a gnat. a 25 year-old giant blonde gnat. i can barely stand to read a single blog post before i am running off to do something else, and when i do read something, i am inevitably looking for a limpid pool of crap in which my mind can relax, which might explain why i've read nearly all the works that dan brown has put out, but have apparently repressed the plot lines of everything from paradise lost to moby dick. the horror. i should really change this meme to "books i shouldn't have read but did anyways." or "books i have in fact read but for the life of me can't remember what happened in them, like jane eyre, there was that crazy attic lady, and crime & punishment...err...might have had something to do with an axe?"

    but anyway. enough rambling. here goes!

    MORE...
    comments [14] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 20, 2005
    May 20, 2005
    delete that goddamn webmd bookmark misc

    no No NO NO NO! Look people, I can stand the self-congratulatory self-diagnoses in Slashdot comments. I can bear the interviewer's rampaging narcissism in this Q&A with the creator of BitTorrent. But I just can't take it when Tycho, co-author of one of my favorite webcomics, attributes his ability to enjoy a boring videogame to a mild case of Asperger's. Especially when he spells it "Asberger's".

    For those unfamiliar with it, Asperger's Syndrome is like autism lite. Sufferers have trouble picking up on facial and other social cues, and often have a hard time relating to people. They're frequently quite bright but poorly adjusted. The disease is poorly defined, hard to diagnose, and frequently confused with egotistical self-pity.

    See, now that the condition has made its way into the popular press, every IT helpdesk peon in the land is self-diagnosing his lack of success with women as proof for a biological propensity toward reclusivity and unheralded genius.

    I don't mean to belittle those who genuinely suffer from Asperger's. But as for the rest of you -- well, look, I understand that you think girls are terrifying. They are terrifying. But until a doctor tells you it's so, kindly spare me the explanations about how your tragic genetic destiny is to spend every night playing D&D on IRC.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    May 19, 2005
    May 19, 2005
    wall tattoos misc

    this might be the coolest thing i've seen all day.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    gross misc

    reminder to self: do not contact Legionnaires' disease while hot tubbing it up in the outer banks next weekend. hot tub bacteria. yummy.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    dear target misc

    thank you for the email where you smoothly and kindly informed me that: "We thought you'd like to know that we shipped this portion of your order separately to give you quicker service. You won't be charged any extra shipping fees, and the remainder of your order will follow as soon as those items become available."

    i thought that notice about the order was particularly thoughtful; you truly have the customer's best interests at heart.

    except when the order is a TWO-PIECE BATHING SUIT AND YOU'RE JUST SHIPPING ME THE BOTTOM AND I'M GOING TO THE BEACH IN A WEEK, ASSHATS.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 12, 2005
    May 12, 2005
    shark vs. crocodile 2 misc

    Some of you may remember these two threads, in which, prompted by Cartoon Network's Adult Swim staff posing the question, we debated whether a flying crocodile or a flying shark would win in a fight. I consider them among among the greatest achievements of this blog (and blogging in general) to date. I won't bother to recount the decimation suffered by the pro-crocodile faction. Old wounds.

    So with one eye toward the future, and another toward reclaiming former glory, let me confusedly present you with an article entitled "Lion Mutilates 42 Midgets in Cambodian Ring-Fight". As the page notes, it's fake -- the explanation of how it came about is here (EDIT: original explanation here).

    Since it's a fake, the question remains: who would win in a fight, an African lion or 42 midgets? In fact, it was this debate that spurred the initial creation of the article. So, that one fabricated piece of evidence notwithstanding, I think I'm going to have to give this one to the midgets provided that they're sufficiently organized. But I will happily admit that it's not nearly as clear-cut as Shark v. Croc.

    comments [12] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    May 11, 2005
    May 11, 2005
    i'm officially ridiculous misc

    Gizmodo belittles it, but I could actually really use one of these. The rubber bands aren't cutting it anymore.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    May 10, 2005
    May 10, 2005
    abortion, hilarity - same old misc

    sometimes i do love amanda of pandagon. how can you not love a person out of whom comes this line:

    Ms. jared reports that legislators in Ohio are trying to ban abortion altogether, even if a woman's life is in danger or she is raped. Because if you didn't want to get yourself killed or bear a rapist's child, you shouldn't have gone and been born be-cunted.

    be-cunted! yeah. i think i have had too much wine.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    help! misc

    i'm having an annoying problem with thunderbird, if anyone can help. i've been using it for months now and i love it (and the email part still works fine), but the past few days upon start up, when i check all my RSS feeds, it downloads EVERY SINGLE BLOG POST OF EVERY SINGLE BLOG that has been published in, like, the last two months. instead of just the posts that are new since the last time i checked. for example, susan, who posts just a couple of times a week normally, has 20 NEW POSTS that date back to mid-april, none of which are new since the last time i started up thunderbird. needless to say, this is a huge pain in the ass, as i have to go through and delete/check as read all of my feeds, which number in the, um, 90s (i read a lot of blogs). i'm assuming this must be a problem in my server settings and/or the way thunderbird is checking the feeds, but unless it somehow got screwed up while i was in italy, i don't know why. can anybody help?! i'll send you some chocolate. if i can't figure this out, i will have to revert to using bloglines and checking webmail, which is not an appealing option.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 06, 2005
    May 06, 2005
    this is hysterical misc

    i'm gonna be on some sorta panel!

    Virtual Voices: Bringing Womens Voices to the Online Community (PS)
    Blogs are a hot trend right now and although more than 50 percent of blogs are registered to women, the most noted and influential bloggers are men. What is the impact of blogs? How do women use blogs and how can they harness this new medium to strengthen their voice? Learn about blogging, and explore womens voices in the blogosphere.

    i apologize in advance to the innocent college women student leaders who will be subjected to my ramblings.

    (and thanks to becca for asking me. i'll try not to fuck things up too badly!)

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    i have smart friends misc

    as first reported by the grammar police, there's some exciting news in our little sphere o' blogs: susan received a fulbright to study nationalism in georgia! (or something along those lines - she explained her proposal to me during our infamous chicago bender, and while i can't remember exactly what she said, i know it was AWESOME). so drop on by and give her a high five!

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 05, 2005
    May 05, 2005
    hipsterish misc

    had to take the quiz:

    The Consummate Hipster: newbies bow to him, everyone else just stares, as he swagger down the street with
    You are the Consummate Hipster. Newbies bow to
    you, everyone else just stares, as you swagger
    down the street with "Little Green
    Bag" stuck in your head.


    What Kind of Hipster Are You?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    though i believe the quiz might be a bit suspect, as i had to look up what exactly "little green bag" was.

    hardest question to answer: Smite one of the following: it took a good 15 seconds before i chose freddie prinze jr over evangelical christians and george bush.

    comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    innocence misc

    if i've got my addresses right, this giant snow penis was only blocks from my dear grandparents' house in laramie, wy. grandpa, i hope you weren't too traumatized!
    (and that is the first and last time i ever intend to use "giant snow penis" and "grandparents" together in the same sentence.)

    (via wonkette)

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    May 02, 2005
    May 02, 2005
    a people's... history misc

    Anybody else listening to Howard Zinn on the Diane Rehm Show right now? Dude sounds a lot like Christopher Walken.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    April 21, 2005
    April 21, 2005
    overheardindc.com misc

    on the elevator this morning

    WOMAN 1: How's X* doing?
    WOMAN 2: He's okay. He's still pretty out of it, but he'll be alright.
    WOMAN 1: I'm so glad to hear that.
    WOMAN 2: It was really strange, though -- last night he kept jumping up off the bed and running around. All night long.
    WOMAN 1: Must be the anesthesia wearing off.

    silence. the door opens and I begin to leave. Woman 1 has a mini-epiphany.

    WOMAN 1: We're talking about a dog, not a husband!

    * Name redacted/forgotten. It wasn't an obviously doggy name, though.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    April 18, 2005
    April 18, 2005
    wholphin misc

    continuing my bizarre obsession with bizarre animal hybrids...sea life park presents the wholphin!

    The calf was born on Dec. 23 to Kekaimalu, a mix of a false killer whale and an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Park officials said they waited to announce the birth until now because of recent changes in ownership and operations at the park.

    The young as-yet unnamed wholphin is one-fourth false killer whale and three-fourths Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Her slick skin is an even blend of a dolphin's light gray and the black coloring of a false killer whale.

    The calf still depends fully on her mother's milk, but sometimes snatches frozen capelin from the hands of trainers, then toys with the sardine-like fish.

    She is jumbo-sized compared to purebred dolphins, and is already the size of a one-year-old bottlenose.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    April 14, 2005
    April 14, 2005
    guilty as charged misc  - music  - pop culture

    What do you do when you like money and elitism, but don't have enough money to be really elitist? Do the indie self-identification shuffle: cyclical self-loathing and self-deprecation. Alternately, if your monetary or indie cred prospects aren't looking good, take a preemptive turn to vitriol (joke's on their subtitle: my blogging sucks and they don't seem to know about it).

    It's all pretty predictable and tiresome -- but why wait for affluence and middle age to wipe it from your troubled mind? Oddly enough, Pitchfork offers the wisest solution to the unsustainability of the scenester psyche.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    April 07, 2005
    April 07, 2005
    a few reasons why i'm a bad person misc

  • almost, oh, EVERY SINGLE EVENING on my way home from work, i go into the P street whole foods, stride through the aisles, take one of every sample they're offering (erm, sometimes two, if the cheese is really awesome...) and walk out without buying anything.

  • even though i lived in italy for a year, 90% of my wine purchases are based on whether the label is pretty or not.

  • i just ate half a ball of fresh mozzarella. with my fingers.

  • based on the three admissions above, i am a yuppie of the worst order.

  • comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    April 04, 2005
    April 04, 2005
    two (or three) quick links misc

    • The prolific Scott Moschella of PlasticBugs.com has hacked the free, powerful GIMP image editing program to present an interface that's a clone of Photoshop. Have a look here. For now it's only for OS X and Linux, but GIMP exists for Windows as well, so I'd imagine a win32 port will show up sooner or later.

    • All this wrestling talk reminded me that, strangely enough, DC's own Bob Mould used to be a booker for the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling (meaning he, along with others, was responsible for scheduling matches and scripting storylines). Also, he's got a blog. This probably isn't news to anyone but me.

    Oh, and this is useless, but still pretty slick.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    April 01, 2005
    April 01, 2005
    requisite april fool's reference misc

    April 1st is a pretty bad day for the internet, particularly its nerdier corners. For some reason techies get way into April Fools, and a lot of unfunny disinformation is generated. Sometimes it doesn't even try to be funny -- it's just lying for its own sake. It makes it tough to find information, or even genuine entertainment.

    Oh well. The folks at Penny Arcade, at least, have something funny to contribute.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    March 31, 2005
    March 31, 2005
    i <3 the internet misc

    reasons five billion and five billion and one that the internets are awesome:

  • you can use them to order food from ben's chili bowl online. :!(!(!*@*!!!!^&&%!!? SO AWESOME.

  • you can use them to call out the assmunchers who stole your keg in columbia heights. that's right, you pig farkers: we BLOGGED about you. deal with it!

  • comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 28, 2005
    March 28, 2005
    the geek shall inherit the earth misc

    Catherine cruelly belittled my new blockbuster sociological theory, first introduced on Saturday night somewhere between wine bottle 4 and wine bottle 7. But revolutionary thinking is frequently met with hostility by those locked into a bourgeois mindset. I hope you all will be a little more reasonable.

    So, the question before you: as playing videogames becomes a ubiquitous male institution (like playing sports or having a penis), will women be attracted to men on the basis of male profiency (in the same way they are attracted to men who are of above average proficiency at sports or at having a penis).

    I contend that yes, yes they will. At the time my rhetorical abilities were limited to making everyone watch some video from Dungeon Majesty, but having conducted a more exhaustive survey of the related literature (ie, after spending five minutes on google), I am prepared to explain to you ladies why you find things attractive. I'm sure you're eager to find out.

    Based upon this article, there seem to be four theories that are used to explain female mate selection.

    1. "The good genes theory 'argues that females exhibit mate choice in order to provide their offspring with a partner's genes that will advance their offspring's chances of survival or reproductive success'". This seems a little circular to me: a female identifies a male with good genes by trying to select one with good genes. Hmm. Maybe wikibooks.org isn't the renowned academic institution I thought it was. Plunging onward...

    2. "The good parent theory suggests that 'choosy individuals select partners on the basis of how well they will care for their offspring'". Now we're getting somewhere. On this basis, videogame proficiency clearly qualifies as a desirable trait: in the event of an alien, ninja or shark attack you can be assured that my offspring would be safer than most. If Ryu from Street Fighter shows up, though, I'm screwed. Sorry, ladies. If this is a concern, you might try wearing a low-cut shirt near Jon.

    3. "The healthy mate theory occurs when females prefer 'males healthy enough to produce and maintain elaborate ornaments' (Alcock 491). A good example of this is in female house finches, who choose male mates based on their bright coloration. Bright coloration tells the female that the male is more resistant to pathogens and parasites." Again, videogame playing should be a decisive evolutionary win. Not only does it come with distinctive plumage of a sort (thick thumb calluses; translucent skin under eyes), but the accompanying ornamentation (e.g. extra controllers, XBox Live subscriptions, DDR pads) speaks to the ability to sustain an above-subsistence lifestyle, and to avoid manual labor of any sort (and its almost certain accompaniment, a violent and premature death -- usually involving a radial saw).
    4. Alright, so we've established that I would make a highly attractive mate for a female house finch. What about, you know, human girls? This brings us to the runaway selection theory. "It states that by being choosy, females 'create a positive feedback loop favoring both males with these attributes and females that prefer them'". To summarize: females are capricious and arbitrary (also: bad at math). A choice gets made, and the act of choosing establishes a cyclical, reinforcing phenomenon. So only a few females need to randomly find gamers attractive for the trait to begin to be passed on to future females and encouraged in the male population.

    More seriously, I think that industrialized societies allow for sufficiently quick generational transitions between economic classes and a good enough safety net that specific types of male competition are too abstracted from the ability to propagate genes for them to have much evolutionary significance. Sure, there are old, hardwired biological cues -- symmetric features roughly equal undamaged genes, and serious physical infirmity is rarely a turnon. But other arenas of relative achievement -- amassing wealth, or being good at sports, or appearing intelligent and artistic -- are attractive simply because they're competitive. To the extent that one man (A) is better than another man (B) at almost anything, man A will be considered more attractive.

    So yes, once videogames are fully integrated into our culture and everyone in a given high school knows who's the best at whatever videogame is the most popular, I think that game proficiency will begin to be viewed as an attractive characteristic by said high school's population of girls.

    Once that happens the feedback loop will be established, and the world's geeks will enjoy increased opportunities for romantic embarassment. Well, at least until the jocks apply their superior hand-eye coordination and take over the whole enterprise. Then it's back to dreaming about your D&D character's +1 enchanted mace somehow granting access to +2 human boobs.

    (Apologies for the unoriginal title. I really wanted to call this "baby you don't love me, you just love my bloggy style", but couldn't come up with a justification for it.)

    comments [10] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    bookbleg misc

    i'll be making a couple of trips in the next month, and i need me some daggone literature to keep myself occupied. recommendations for good vacation reading?

    qualifications for good vacation reading:
    -must be lighthearted and not at all intellectual
    -i must be able to read and comprehend it while drunk
    -must not be utter trash
    -no chick lit (this would be any book that has a picture/stylish cartoon drawing of a woman in a little black dress on the cover)
    -must be good, but not so good that i spend the entire vacation reading instead of, you know, vacationing

    comments [16] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 27, 2005
    March 27, 2005
    PSA misc

    last night it came to my attention, during a dramatic rereading of this blog entry by matt, that many people had interpreted the burning balcony story to be a situation where i was the helpless damsel and tommy was the savior of the day. one person even went so far as to praise tommy for being the one who came up with "the idea to put the fire out with water." at this point my head exploded, so i need to make it clear: i was the FIRST ONE to start putting the fire out with a glass of water, so that revolutionary solution to that particular problem was mine. i was not standing around, shrieking to the high heavens as tommy valiantly ran back and forth with his heroic bowl of water and saved us all from certain balcony death. let's just be clear here. catherine=brave, resolute putter outer of fires, tommy=catherine's sidekick in this venture.

    thus ends my contribution to the promotion of women in the sexist blogosphere.

    comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    happy chocolate bunny day! misc

    happy easter! as you may have figured out by now, i'm not a particularly religious person, but who doesn't love a holiday where you wake up to baskets of chocolate and jelly beans? and easter egg hunts. those are the bomb.

    anyway, as far as i can figure it out, the italians are a culture who have figured out how to do easter right. lots of creepy, creepy religious symbolism, freaky ritualized ceremonies (check out the florentine explosion of the cart, or scoppio del carro), and food. check out these photos of an easter parade i saw when i was in naples two years ago. it was a bizarrely lovely thing. the lovesicily blog also has an interesting post on easter stuff in the town of ispica.

    as for me, i'm going to clean up some of the remnants of last night's dinner party (ask tommy to tell you about his STUPID, STUPID theory regarding video gamers and the girls that desperately want to screw them sometime) and then am off to my family's house with tommy, where we will hopefully eat ham. lots and lots of ham.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 25, 2005
    March 25, 2005
    life, death misc

    a while back, i had a kind of controversial post where i stated that i thought several female bloggers received more traffic than they might have otherwise due to their choice to prominently display an attractive picture of themselves. one of those bloggers was lindsay at majikthise, and while i still stand by my earlier comments on the subject and normally don't find her blogging appealing, she has had several excellent posts on the schiavo case. in return, she is now now receiving death threats. lovely.

    honestly, watching this entire schiavo thing unfold and reading about it on the internets has been one of the most surreal spectacles i've ever witnessed. these people are truly grasped in the fervor of some bizarre ecstasy i have never experienced, and that i hope to never experience. where's the outrage over the indian reservation killings (not to mention some sort of true action or thoughtful comments by the president)? does no one care that a 9 year old boy was shot in the face last night in d.c.? what kind of terrifying zealousness allows you to slander a private citizen with only hearsay and intuition to back you up or steal a gun to try to "rescue terry"?

    honestly, i can't wrap my head around it, nor do i want to. and i obviously have nothing worthwhile or meaningful to say about this case, except that i don't scare too easily - but these people frighten the living daylights out of me. i feel like we're back in medieval times.

    comments [9] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    worst. teacher. ever. misc

    i was reading a guardian article on charlotte bronte, which complains that her biography (written by elizabeth gaskell) and other facets of her life have been, throughout the years, totally puritanized, and that bronte was really a "filthy bitch, grandmother of chick-lit, and friend." as you can imagine, i am already finding the piece pretty awesome.

    so i'm traisping along through the article, finding out all sorts of things i never knew about bronte; for example, she had hardly any teeth! she had a torrid correspondence with a monsieur from brussels! she was obsessed with sex! (well, i guess i could have inferred that some of that last part from jane eyre.)

    and, the best part of all: she HATED small children. now, i love small children (well, er, normally...don't ask tommy about my rants regarding kicking my six-year old students in italy out of windows), but you are a wasted, steel-hearted person if you do not find this passage from her journal as a schoolteacher mind-bogglingly hysterical:

    "I had been toiling for nearly an hour. I sat sinking from irritation and weariness into a kind of lethargy. The thought came over me: am I to spend all the best part of my life in this wretched bondage, forcibly suppressing my rage at the idleness, the apathy and the hyperbolic and most asinine stupidity of these fat headed oafs and on compulsion assuming an air of kindness, patience and assiduity? Must I from day to day sit chained to this chair prisoned within these four bare walls, while the glorious summer suns are burning in heaven and the year is revolving in its richest glow and declaring at the close of every summer day the time I am losing will never come again? Just then a dolt came up with a lesson. I thought I should have vomited."

    fat headed oafs! vomiting on children! oh, lord. i can't stop laughing. it's like bronte read my mind on the worst days of my brief teaching career. small children are generally lovable and adorable, but there are just sometimes when you feel ready to punt them over a wall. i'm glad to see that bronte agrees.

    (ps - please do not find me psychopathic because i laugh hysterically at endorsements of child hate and often daydreamed about throwing children through windows. it's, erm...nevermind. it's nothing. i didn't say anything.)

    update: once in a while i like to think about what great literary figures would have been good bloggers. i think charlotte bronte can be safely added to that list. she was ugly but filled with passion, so she could have hid behind the safety of her computer screen while composing an interesting personality; hyper intelligent but completely smothered by rage, and everybody knows you gotta be an angry freak once in a while to have a good blog. what other authors would have been good bloggers?

    comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 24, 2005
    March 24, 2005
    random things i'm enjoying misc

  • d.c. related desktop photos (via metblogs). i've got a cherry blossom one up right now.

  • sex advice from editorial assistants (via mediabistro toolbox)
    What do the following books say about a person's sexual characteristics:
    - A man currently reading The Da Vinci Code?
    Boring in bed, needs a treasure map to find his way to the crown jewels.

    - A woman reading He's Just Not That Into You?
    Desperate. If you need that many signposts to figure out if he likes you or not, it's bad news.

    - A woman reading The Five People You Meet in Heaven?
    More concerned with the afterlife than the here-and-now. Probably not that great a lay.

    - A man reading How to Talk to a Liberal if You Must?
    Run! He's going to want to do missionary the whole time . . . or anal.

  • this idlewild video - cute boy/cute girl alert (via carl)

  • the news that radiohead is back in the studio. don't fear the guitars, guys.

  • that new coldplay mp3 "talk" (i don't have a link, but tommy has it downloaded on the server at home and it's pretty good). i'm sure you can find it on the internets somewhere.

  • the fact that i didn't apply to columbia for j-school - MA? MS? one year? two year? i'm already confused. i'm going to be a great reporter.

  • thinking of all the fine wining and dining i'll be doing near and in cortona at the end of april - we finally booked roundtrip tickets for a fabulous $500. here's our delightful villa.

  • anticipating the premiere of nbc's The Office tonight. i'm sure it'll suck, but a girl can dream, right?

  • comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 11, 2005
    March 11, 2005
    ugh bitching  - misc

    I just overhead a promo for PRI's "The World". From their website, here's the synopsis of today's show:

    Terrorism and the Internet
    Terrorist experts meeting in Madrid say hate language on the Internet has blossomed. Some want to shut down the 4,000 known terrorist websites. Others say more Internet access is needed. Unfiltered news and open communication could be the best weapon in the war against terrorism.
    Fascinating, guys. But hey, why not expand the conversation? How about this: "The Printed Word -- Tool for Good or Evil?"

    Jackanapes!

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    a friendly reminder... misc

    ...to get your ass over to biddy mulligan's at 1500 new hampshire ave nw this evening for the saint paddy's DCist happy hour. i will be in attendance, though not drinking unfortunately, due to both a pesky throat thing and a 6 mile race tomorrow. but i encourage you all to come, to drink heavily, and to bitch/rave about DCist.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 10, 2005
    March 10, 2005
    na na na na misc

    Well, looks like Maryland lost to Clemson while I was in a meeting, all but ending their hopes for an NCAA bid. Keep this page open, and your eyes peeled for flames!

    Charles says that ACC tourney tickets are going for about $50 a pop outside of the MCI Center. That's a little rich for my blood, but it's sad that I'll be missing Pete Gillen's last game coaching for Virginia tonight. Uncle Pete, we used to call him. Well, I did, anyway.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    g-vite misc

    good lord. i just happened to look down the sidebar of my gmail inbox, and noticed i have 50 invites! i know these things are about as common as iPods, but if you happen to be in need one of, shoot me an email.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    they don't love you like i love you misc

    a lot of bloggers have been linking to this auto-generating HTML list, which bolds the states you've been to, underlines the states you've lived in, and italicizes the one you're in right now.

    but i think something that leaves a bigger impact is the states visited map generator, which, while it doesn't show where you've lived or how long you've visited a place, therefore giving equal importance to states you've just been to briefly, is kind of a striking visual.

    here's my states visited map:

    visitedstates.gif

    it seems i've cut two huge swaths through the country, and also, that for a life-long liberal east coaster, i've been to my fair share of the red states. actually, growing up, i probably spent the most time in the two most disparate states you could think of: massachusetts and wyoming. i had a set of grandparents in each place, so my summer vacations consisted of eating clam chowder and beaching it up in beautiful rockport, ma., and going horseback riding and rodeo-watching in laramie/cheyenne wyoming. seriously, it's like dick cheney and john kerry had a love child. shudder.

    comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 03, 2005
    March 03, 2005
    apropos of nothing misc

    how cute are these t-shirts? [via dcist]

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 02, 2005
    March 02, 2005
    more linkage misc

  • this is primarily for jeff, who will be headed to japan soon (i believe?): my good friend jessica's pictures of her trip to that strange little country. jessica, if you didn't know, is the globe-tripping graphics reporter, who keeps moving further and further west (or is it east? she went to stanford, took a newspaper job in hawaii, and now resides in hong kong working for the asian wall street journal. eventually she'll just entirely circle the globe.)

  • la coquette is a blog of an american in paris that i've been reading lately and enjoying, especially since she's used the power of blogging to secure passes to some PARISIAN FASHION SHOWS. check out her reports and pictures.

  • the backstreet boys are coming to the 9:30 club in march. i shit you not. i will be writing about this later on DCist.

  • speaking of DCist, i just posted a ticket giveaway to the clem snide show this friday at the black cat. you should enter, you really should!

  • comments [4] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    March 01, 2005
    March 01, 2005
    linky misc

    since i'm incapable lately of stringing two coherent thoughts together (both in bloglife and real life), i'm going to indulge a link round up.

  • via this DCist post on d.c. flickr members, i found some great sets of behind-the-scene fashion shoots by keith jenkins, the washpost mag's photo editor. when i was an intern at the c-ville weekly in college, one of the best things i worked on was an annual fashion shoot. i didn't write copy, i didn't set up photographs, but i did shop for items to be featured. and it was heaven.

  • the torrent of wilco's show on wednesday.

  • J-lo to spawn

  • it came to my attention the other night that some people are still unaware of the existence of gofugyourself.com, aka The Best Web Site in the World, so i thought i'd spread the word. it's pure bitchiness - the best kind. their oscar coverage was particularly fun, and their britney spears and kirsten dunst coverage is always good for a laugh.

  • another blog recommendation: one child left behind, by a man in washington state who's married to a romanian woman and is generally hysterical. especially good is one post about his attempts to write his wife a love poem. for fans of 80s music everywhere.

  • comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    purseuing misc

    i must admit, i've had my doubts about the blogosphere and its abilities to save humanity, feed the hungry, land a human on mars, etc. but i was clearly wrong; i'm ready to get down on my knees and worship its incomparable powers.

    this is because there is A BLOG ABOUT PURSES OUT THERE. for the love of god, why did it take me so long to discover this gem? think of all the wisdom and crocodile skin and leather - OH, the leather! - that i've been missing out on.

    excuse me, but i have some drooling to go do.

    UPDATE: OH MY GOD! THERE ARE MORE THAN JUST ONE PURSE BLOG OUT THERE. I AM SO HAPPY.

    related:
    >> stylemaven
    >> closet spy

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    whoops misc

    Take that, mainstream media!

    wapo_screwup.jpg

    Everything, I tell you: blogging will change everything.

    comments [5] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    February 28, 2005
    February 28, 2005
    jesus misc

    i was all set to write an early morning post, bitching vociferously (yet humorously!) about the lack of goddamn snow. i mean, i was supposed to have six inches by now. the federal government was supposed to have grinded to a halt. my day should have consisted of drinking hot chocolate, blogging about oscar fashion, and maybe a nap. but there's nary a flurry to be seen.

    then i flipped on over to washingtonpost.com, where i saw this headline: "Car Bomb Explodes in Iraq, Kills More Than 100."

    The blast occurred in an area where people were lining up outside a health clinic to get blood tests mandatory for government jobs, officials said. The clinic is next to a vegetable market that was crowded with women and children.

    just - good god. that's all.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 27, 2005
    February 27, 2005
    unintentional joke of the day misc

    First, some background: nerds around the world have issued a hue and cry over the potential cancellation of Enterprise, the Scott Bakula-led Star Trek franchise. It's a tragic situation: there's no money for the show because there are no advertisers, there are no advertisers because no one watches it, and no one watches it because it isn't very good. The injustice! Something must be done!

    And it is. Across the world, they've held rallies and secured pledges for $3 million in funding for an additional season of Enterprise. Because this time, it'll totally be different. Say, have we gone back in time to fight Nazis yet? How many weeks since the last time holographic gunslingers from the Old West ran amok and took over the ship? Hey, maybe we could make all this a metaphor for something!

    Well, I'm sure the professionals will be able to come up with something even better. They just need to be given the opportunity.

    Which brings me to Slashdot, where I read this:

    I think when you see this level of support for a show like Star Trek it shows it has passed the point of being a mere "TV show" and has become a full-fledged cultural phenomenon like jazz or abstract art or classical music.

    I have a friend who is a grant writer. She does work for charties applying to government agencies and private foundations for to get money.

    I think there is a good chance of supporting Star Trek through the use of grants from the government and from charitable foundations, the way PBS and NPR do. Museums do this kind of thing all the time, look at the MOMA in New York, that thing isn't funded by selling commercial time. Someone from Star Trek should look into this.

    Okay, I know it's just some guy on the internet. But so am I. And sometimes an idea is so innovative that you can't let it fade into that good night. So what do we think, guys? Is "flopsy mopsalon" onto something here?

    comments [7] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    February 26, 2005
    February 26, 2005
    you got concrete eyes misc

    cathnatalia.jpg

    cathnatalia.jpg

    just got back from the make-out party in arlington, where i had a blast from the past in the form of the two lovely ladies above: leigh/madflowr and natalia, respectively. i'm a little drunk right now, and more than a little nostalgic, but really - they were a big part of the reason why i like all the music i've ever liked, a big part of the reason i didn't have a completely miserable time in high school, a big part of the reason i've seen radiohead 13 times in concert. anyway. viva IRC, viva #permanent_daylight, viva xoom.com, geocities.com, viva nostalgia, viva 1998. it was a good year.

    comments [3] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 24, 2005
    February 24, 2005
    there's a reason this site is the #5 result on google for "groin kicking" misc

    don't tell tommy, but i think i've found my calling. (via wonkette)

    hollywood, here i come!

    update: HOLY SHIT. i just saw that you get paid $1250/day for a three-day shoot. that must be a typo...but i am now considering doing this more seriously than i would like.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 23, 2005
    February 23, 2005
    hating to love loving to hate the haters misc

    Ever wondered what it would be like to eat some moderately priced, cheese-based entrees with a bunch of white supremacists? Well, wonder no longer! (respec: fake wonkette)

    Sample excerpt:

    "I'm glad that he referred you to us," hater Kevin says, then asks how long I've been a "race activist."

    I tilt my head back and reflect, "I started to dislike Canadians, then moved on from there." Under my breath, I mutter, "Fucking Canadians."

    Hilarious and depressing go together like booze and Nyquil: the experience is a bit unsettling, and probably not something you should try very often. But MAN does it ever work well.

    comments [1] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    tiny little URLs misc

    i was browsing around unfogged today, a site i haven't really read (though i think i'll start) that i came across because kriston links to it often. looking through their blogroll, i noticed that they had heather havrilesky linked. huzzah!, i thought. then i hovered my mouse over the link, and noticed that the URL pointed to www.tinylittlepenis.com. after much apprehension and glancing over my shoulder to make sure tommy wouldn't notice if the computer suddenly loaded a page full of penises, i clicked through, and realized it redirects to www.rabbitblog.com. for some reason, i am thinking this is the best thing ever.

    on a totally unrelated note, i saw today that matt yglesias has added several female-authored sites to his blogroll, which i think is great. over the past months i'd always thought he'd been better than most male political bloggers in linking to female sites, and it always seemed to be a very unconscious thing (though i'm not sure if it was) - he was never like, look at meeee, i'm linking to girls, and am therefore a superior male human! but as much as he linked to females (what would phoebe do, julie saltman, etc) he never added them to his blogroll. for a long time there, the only girls on his blogroll were laura rozen and, um, me. which is totally laughable if you think about it. laura rozen and i - we're like totally blog sisters. so his blogroll had 1.5 girls, really, and i know he only linked to zunta because a) he stole a picture of mine for his headshot w/o asking b) tommy writes non-idiotic stuff (and NEVER writes about his clothing choices) and c) we threatened to take away his access to Karaoke Revolution if he didn't link us (and if you haven't seen yglesias singing sixpence none the richer's "kiss me," YOU HAVE NOT YET LIVED).

    anyway, tommy and i have cooked some artichokes so i'm off to indulge in the leafy goodness. then the wilco show, and hopefully by the time we walk home, it'll be snowing soft white death and DC will have gone into shut down.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    maybe all i need is a shot in the arm misc

    apologies for the lack of blogging today. (how pretentious is it that i apologize for the lack of something that enhances nobody's lives and provides only occasional minor entertainment? oh well. i still like to think there is somebody out there feeling empty on the inside because an unrequited narcissism post hasn't jumped into their rss reader in the past 24 hours.) tommy had to go into the office for an 8:30 am conference call, poor boy, to be followed by approximately 32 other conference calls. his office is on a conference call high, lately. and i - well, i have the work. just this once, though.

    anyway, hopefully there'll be blogging material aplenty tomorrow, because tommy and i are going to the wilco show tonight! wahey! and i am going to wear the totally awesome scary go round tshirt that he bought me, that came in the mail all the way from the UK. came in the post, i should say. it says "bears will eat you." i don't know why exactly it says that, or what man-eating bears have to do with the comic strip, but it's still pretty great. why i'm telling you this, i don't know. between my concert-attending tshirt attire and my dress dilemma, this is apparently the all-fashion-all-the-time blog. for real, serious, knock-you-on-your-ass blogging, check out susan's post today. she's sending dispatches from tajikistan (i didn't even know that was a country before she went there!) where's she spreading democracy like butter on toast, but still witnessing some of the most atrocious and depressing conditions imaginable.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 18, 2005
    February 18, 2005
    ligers in our midst misc

    now why don't they have this kind of shit at the national zoo? the baby cheetahs are cute, but this thing could blow them out of the water:

    liger.jpg
    Behold Hercules the mighty liger 900 pounds of big cat that's part lion, part tiger and all humongous.

    This King Kong of cats is not the work of a mad scientist, but the product of a rarely seen feline love affair that took place in a South Carolina animal preserve.

    "We have a big free-roaming area at our preserve," explained Hercules' owner, Dr. Bhagavan Antle, who is showing off Hercules this weekend at a Miami animal park.

    "Sometimes lions and tigers are allowed to go out there and, lo and behold, one particular lion fell in love with one particular tiger and we had babies."

    Huge but gentle, the 12-foot-long Hercules is tall enough at 3 years old to dunk a basketball as he rises up on his hind legs.

    To maintain such bulk, he can devour up to 100 pounds of raw meat in a day. This intake gives him the massive strength of a lion and the 50-mph quickness of a tiger.

    And at just 3, he's a baby in liger years.

    "He is already as big as his mother and father put together," said Antle, who keeps Hercules at the Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species in Miami.

    "And he should keep growing until he is 7."

    Hercules isn't the only Liger in the country. He has three brothers from his tiger mom's litter Vulcan, Zeus and Sinbad.

    Ligers which have a mane like a lion and stripes like a tiger are the result of a union between a lion dad and a tiger mom. They are unheard of in the wild, but occasionally happen when the two kinds of great cats wind up meeting in captivity. It is a rare occurrence because there seem to be few tigers and lions that hit it off romantically.

    "You gotta have mild-mannered lions and tigers," Antle said. "Normally the lion will kill the tigers."

    comments [46] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 16, 2005
    February 16, 2005
    best thing ever misc
    pomeranian.jpg

    this pomeranian, being shown at the westminster dog show, is named Wicked Mean-N-Nasty. seriously.

    UPDATE: and this one is called Ghostface Killah.

    pomeranian2.jpg

    related: this will make the end of your work day so much more pleasant.

    comments [1] trackBack [1] posted by catherine - link
    February 15, 2005
    February 15, 2005
    gogblog misc

    the washington post's going out gurus, whom i talked about when i mentioned them dissing local music blogs last week (not enough hip hop or go-go or stuff beyond indie rock, cliqueish, agenda-driven), have officially launched their own entertainment blog. their first music post? a blurb about a neko case concert in baltimore.

    anyway. i shall be reading!

    UPDATE: in a weird turn of events, kyle notes that the neko case posting has been taken down, while all the other original posts remain up. no idea why.
    UPDATE2.0: apparently taken down because "the show was yesterday." okay. this is extremely boring, so i'll stop now.

    comments [1] trackBack [1] posted by catherine - link
    February 14, 2005
    February 14, 2005
    goddman those ukranian mail order brides misc

    if, like me, you have been endlessly amused by the ill-informed rantings and sexual politics of libertariangirl, a puported 24 year-old female working in washington d.c. with a slavishly devoted conservative male following, the following revelation will hopefully cause you to laugh hysterically for at least ten minutes. maybe twenty.

    libertariangirl is, in my opinion, pretty much an idiot, and the cynic in me generally believed that she received so much male attention in the blogosphere mostly due to the fact that she has a large, prominently featured photo of herself in her very pink sidebar. in the photo, she is blond, porcelain-skinned, and disturbingly glassy-doll-eyed. not what would float my boat, but whatever. to each his own. often libertariangirl would describe dates she'd been on in our fair city; in one particular post, she mentioned that she'd slept with the guy, which led to the simultaneous explosion of the heads of all her male commentors, many of whom proceeded to insult her and tell her she must not have had a good relationship with her father, etc.

    well, the next fact probably disturbed her admirers even more: liberatariangirl's photo is not her own. libertariangirl is actually a male. and libertariangirl's original photo had been lifted from a catalogue for ukranian mail-order brides. here's the poor, unknowing ukranian bride-for-sale's profile.

    uglylibertariandude defends himself with a few accurate remarks about sexual identity in the blogosphere:

    Well I may be an unemployed man without a wife or girlfriend still living with my parents despite being over the age of 30, but at least Im not so stupid as to think that a gorgeous young girl would be the author of a popular libertarian blog...

    One thing I learned from this blog is how easy attractive woman have it. When I had a blog as my real self, no one linked to me, no one left any comments, it was as if the blog existed in a vacuum. But things were different for Libertarian Girl. Every day Id check Technorati and discover new unsolicited links. It was like I had warped into an alternate universe where all the rules had changed. At the rate things were happening, this would have been an A-list blog in a few more months.

    Its funny how there have been some posts in the blogosphere saying that the political blogosphere was a boys club that discriminated against women, as evidenced by how few politics bloggers were women. Boy were they completely off the mark. Its ten times easier for a womans blog to become popular.

    i somewhat disagree. it's ten times easier for a woman who prominently features her hot photo on the front page to become popular in the blogosphere. witness: hot abercrombie chick, majikthise, michelle malkin, the exposed libertarian girl and several other blogs written by females that i normally find pretty unremarkable, but receive an inordinate amount of attention. i won't critique a woman's choice to feature her sultry photo in her sidebar or banner or whatever, but for some reason, it always strikes me as odd. perhaps i have turned sexist overnight. in which case, i am off to remedy that by beating up tommy and making him hold my purse in public for hours at a time.

    comments [53] trackBack [1] posted by catherine - link
    February 13, 2005
    February 13, 2005
    lurve misc
    kertesz_tulip.jpg

    happy early valentine's day, everybody! the above image is taken by hungarian photographer andre kertesz. after much raving from susan and others, i went to see an exhibit of his works at the national gallery today. and it was lovely. very...tiny, though. tiny photos, that is. like 2x2 inches. and too many people. so i freaked out from self-induced claustrophobia 2/3 of the way through the exhibit and busted through the crowds, panting, to blow money at the gift shop where i bought this poster.

    anyway, hopefully we can all agree that valentine's day is a commercialized hellhole of prepackaged love and falsified expectations (though i will cop to having eaten three of the ginormous chocolate-dipped strawberries tommy bought at love cafe) - but i still hope you have a nice day. treat yourself to a glass of wine or a shot of tequila, and enjoy.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    February 02, 2005
    February 02, 2005
    excuse all the capital letters but JESUS misc

    matt yglesias today notes that the new DC media blog is edited by garrett somebody, who once was editor-in-chief of the harvard daily newspaper at the same time matt was editor at the weekly newsmagazine. i followed matt's link through to a heeelarious article about how he once stole a foosball table from garrett's newspaper, or something. i chuckled, and then clicked through to matt's newspaper bio, just out of curiosity. and then i proceeded to FREAK THE FUCK OUT because in his headshot, matt looks EXACTLY LIKE A YOUNG TOMMY. EXACTLY. did i not say exactly? BECAUSE I MEANT THEY COULD BE FRIGGIN TWINS.

    i wish i had a better picture of tommy at a younger age, like, circa, 1999 or 2000 or something because then you would see how TRULY BIZARRE IT IS, but this following comparison will have to do:

    unholy mother of god god decides to use unholy nature to freak me out

    now, i find this so surprising because i obviously know tommy pretty well, and i know matt, too, though, um, not in the same sense or anything, but i do hang out with him and co. on a somewhat regular basis. and i have NEVER, ever seen even a fleeting glimpse of similarity between the two except they are fairly tall, have brown hair, glasses, an effusive nerdiness and a propensity to take terrible photos. and they buy their clothes almost exclusively from the gap. and they're both jewish. okay, not the last one. oh yeah, and somebody on kriston's site once saw a photo of them and thought they were twins.

    perhaps there is something matt and tommy would like to share with us?

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 31, 2005
    January 31, 2005
    phew misc  - music  - photos

    i'm sure tommy's probably working on an epic review about the arcade fire show, but for now, all i can say is GODDAMN. my DCist review is up over here. i'm too tired to put up pics, but you can browse a directory of the show (and the pre-show bbq at kriston and matt's) here.

    other news: that mediabistro d.c. gossip blog launched today. apparently, the guy who's now writing it found out about the job because of my totally random (and non-spiers-forced) posting on DCist. for now i won't comment about the content, but simply point you towards the always-fabulous DCeiver. what he said.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 21, 2005
    January 21, 2005
    it's just a TOTALLY AWESOME plant misc

    this is what working on DCist hath wrought, i assume: i now get press releases for books that teach your kids about marijuana:

    Hello,

    Magic Propaganda Mill Books is happy to announce the release of a new
    children's book about marijuana.

    "It's Just a Plant" tells the tale, through beautiful color illustrations,
    of how a young girl learns about marijuana: from her parents' own use to the
    farm where it's grown to the doctor's office to a police officer's
    historical perspective. It's fast becoming the preeminent alternative for
    young parents in the face of decades of misinformation about marijuana.

    let me treat you to a little excerpt from the web site:

    One night Jackie woke up past her bedtime.
    She smelled something funny in the air, so she walked down the hall to her parents bedroom.

    Whats that mommy? asked Jackie. Are you and Daddy smoking a cigarette?

    No, baby, said her Mother. This is called a joint. Its made of marijuana.

    Mar a whah? Whats that? asked Jackie.

    Marijuana, giggled her Mother, is a kind of plant.

    What kind of plant?

    Well, said her Mom, that story could take me all night to tell you. How about we go on a bike ride tomorrow, and Ill tell you all about it?

    The next day Jackie and her mom put on their favorite costumes. Jackie was a samurai and her mom was a bandleader.

    awesome.

    the web site cites this book as an effective way to fight the drug war and stop youth from trying marijuana at an early age. sure to join the ranks of such esteemed and straight-talkin' kids books as "everybody poops" and "cocaine: it's kind of like candy!"

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    powell steps down misc

    jeff jarvis will be ecstatic: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell will step down from his post Friday.

    no reason was stated, but i can guess it might have had something to do with the fact that he often launched indecency investigations and fined stations millions of dollars based on the complaints of three people out of millions of viewers.

    comments [6] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 20, 2005
    January 20, 2005
    leather leather everywhere misc

    last weekend when tommy and i went to ceiba for restaurant week, we passed several - how do you say? - interesting looking men on our walk to and from the restaurant. leather-clad men. not like biker leather-clad. leather-clad like studded dog collars, jaunty leather newsboy caps, leather chaps, harnesses. the whole works. and it really wasn't just several of them; it was more like scores. we probably saw 50 or 60 leather dudes just walking around town as natural as could be. later i found out susan had seen a pair of leather-clad men, one of whom was on a leash. we had no idea what was going on, and googling "gay leather convention d.c." didn't really turn up anything. had al-qaeda infiltrated the nation's capital dressed as a bunch of gay leather-lovers? were we under attack?

    but browsing some random d.c. blogs today, i found the answer. we can all rest easy. it was just the mid-atlantic leather 2005 weekend! the "second largest Leather Contest in the United States." yup, they have contests. what they're judged on i couldn't figure out from the web site, but last year's winners are here.

    if only the MAL organization could have waited a few days to hold their organization. say, like, until january 20th. it would have made today (which has so far been spent holed up in my apartment, stuffing my face with cookies and occasionally peering out the window at cop cars and secret service SUVs rushing by) a LOT more fun.

    comments [2] trackBack [0] posted by catherine - link
    January 17, 2005
    January 17, 2005
    friendster for shadowy hegemons misc

    Via Kevin Rose, check out TheyRule.net. It's nifty flash website that plots the web of relationships between corporations and members of their boards of directors. You can build your own maps, or just use some of the predefined ones. Click "Load Map" then "Popular" to browse their presets, which are usually constructed to illustrate some entertaining point about the secret, unspeakable desires of global conglomerates (e.g. money contributed to Democrats vs. Republicans; media outlets owned; that sort of thing).

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    January 11, 2005
    January 11, 2005
    the uncharitable view of charity misc

    Did anyone else hear this piece on All Things Considered yesterday? It profiled some good-hearted folks responding to the tsunami with what the segment's producers termed "grassroots aid". Rather than contributing to a high-profile organization like the Red Cross, these folks are responding to the disaster by seeking out more direct ways to help. Their stated reason is a concern over inefficiencies in large aid organizations.

    This seems very NPR, and very naive. Okay, so the folks who're sending nets from one community of fishermen to another are probably accomplishing some good -- but the urge to grassroots-ify everything needs to be reined in. The FBI is warning that scams related to the disaster are already in full swing; I'm afraid that the folks quoted in the ATC piece who're collecting money to send to a Sri Lankan bank account may be getting taken for a ride. With these sorts of ad-hoc partnerships there simply can't be oversight of the same quality employed by established aid organizations with good track records.

    There's a tendency to distrust bureaucracies -- certainly I fall victim to it as much or more than most. And given the occasional large-scale charity scandal, it's understandable to have some level of skepticism. But equally important is the fact that the people running those huge charities are professionals who are in a better position to coordinate efforts efficiently and to leverage economies of scale. Grassroots charity is a nice idea, but it seems unlikely to do as much good on a per-dollar basis as cutting a check to the Red Cross. To the extent that that relationship is true, boutique charity -- while still an admirable impulse -- looks unfortunately narcissistic.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
    January 02, 2005
    January 02, 2005
    predictions! misc

    Taking a cue from DCSOB's year-end review, I think I'll make some arbitrary predictions for 2005.

    Music
    Everyone begins to grimly accept that only two or three of last year's crop of dance-rock records were any good, yet can't quite stir themselves to move in a new direction -- nobody wants another fad as embarassingly awful as electroclash. Say, isn't it about time to exploit some kind of folk music again? Despite the confusion, it shapes up to be another good year in music -- those Republican administrations do something right, but who knows what it is?

    Technology
    LCD begins to edge out plasma as the display technology of the near-future, and commercial OLED products bigger than a cellphone screen (but not much bigger) make it to market. So does digital paper, but nobody uses it for anything but advertisements. An iPhone fails to emerge. The first water-cooled computer systems to be offered by a huge system integrator like Dell go on sale. A decent HDTV-capable projector becomes available for under $700. Internet movie piracy is officially deemed the most dangerous non-Islamic threat to the American dream, and your aunt has heard about BitTorrent and the DiVX codec from Newsweek. Americans are briefly riled up by a corporate invasion of their privacy, but after receiving $2 off coupons, decide they don't mind Walmart maintaining photographic records of its customers' genitals after all. Oh, and blogs are totally over. But then you already knew that.

    Food
    Everyone stops drinking mojitos and starts drinking caipirinhas. I continue drinking Miller Lite, but at least start feeling a little more ashamed about it. Despite my best efforts, caffeinated beer joins Clear Pepsi and Orbitz as one of mankind's greatest crimes against the concept of "beverage".

    Sports
    Washington baseball proponents begin to realize that their new baby isn't developing as quickly as the other children. Something is horribly wrong, as we must redefine what we expect to get out of this relationship -- Bostonians are quick to offer suggestions from their gloriously glory-less history, but everybody's pretty fucking sick of them by now. Meanwhile, the Redskins unleash an offensive onslaught so potent that, three games into the season, Paul Tagliabue calls an emergency meeting to draft rule changes aimed at keeping things competitive. Anthony Williams and Linda Cropp forge an unlikely alliance, but despite their best efforts Joe Gibbs is crowned emperor for life. At first the compulsory prayer and NASCAR-watching are kind of a drag, but all is forgiven when Lavar knocks large chunks of Vinny Testaverde's torso into the stands, where avaricious eBayers swarm over it like fire ants. Oh, and something happens with the NHL. Or doesn't. Who cares?

    Science
    A big asteroid threatens to hit us! And then, whoops, it turns out it won't. The Cassini probe makes Mars look boring, and a new NASA administrator plans to wind down the ISS and shuttle programs. We bask in a golden age of stain-free pant technology, but aside from that everyone wrongly consigns nanotechnology to whatever pile "gene therapy" is current sitting atop. The annual addition-of-the-extra-year-to-fusion's-ETA goes smoothly, reactionaries preclude a reasonable discussion about fission power, and I still don't own a flying car, god dammit. 75% of all federally funded research now involves the exact quantification of how fat Americans are -- preliminary results suggest the answer is "pretty fucking fat," but we should really wait for peer review.

    Personal
    I continue to fear making plans for the future. Wait, how did we get to this item? This list is over!

    And of course, the domestication of the dog will continue unabated.

    Please feel free to add your own predictions in the comments below. Just imagine I've issued a barking, John McLaughlin-style command for them. But try not to sound like Pat Buchanan.

    comments [0] trackBack [0] posted by tom - link
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