Archive for June 2007

Lost in translation

Saturday, 30th June 2007. Filed in Design challenges1 Comment »

I promised a wordy post. This is not it, or at least not the one I had in mind. That post’s half-formed, unedited body is waiting hopefully, yet patiently in my drafts folder for me to bring it into existence. It is very forgiving. It knows my thoughts have been directed elsewhere. It also knows I am a perfectionist. It knows I want my new site to be high standard before it goes “really” live. It feels the obsession through the keyboard. It smells the sweat off my un-bathed body. It is aware that I swapped a timely lunch yesterday for the small success of getting the rollover navbar into my site. It also knows that that accomplishment is just the beginning of an on-going obsession in perfecting the look of said navbar, nevertheless the entire site.

It understands that I have little patience for perfectionism, but doesn’t get worried when I start yelling, “why didn’t that change DO anything? ^%$^&&^%$!!! Don’t you love me? I HATE you!” It stays calm during my times of frustration because it knows I won’t smash the computer because to do that would mean I wouldn’t be able to put forth a site that I can take pride in. A site that won’t make you run screaming, holding your head in pain, won’t make you vomit, nor think, a tad bit smugly to yourself, “gee, if that were my site, I’d sure be embarrassed, maybe someone should tell her it sucks.”

Crunchy husband, after I showed him how I got my header image to be clickable, mentioned that I was tri-lingual. I understand he was being supportive, implying that I was learning more and gaining slow, but steady fluency in the language of code. But even given that, I’m trying to figure out what the third language is supposed to be.

Shooting into the light

Monday, 25th June 2007. Filed in Crunchy grooves, Photography2 Comments »

A wordy post to come, but here are some shots (click image for larger image on flickr) from Peter Gabriel at Hyde Park Calling on Saturday night. (Flippin’ rockin’ diggity downtown bustin-a-move awesome!) Please be forgiving, both camera and operator need some help at image capture in low/different light situations. I’m practicing!!

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Okay and a couple for “Oral Bedraggle” (who may be too busy in her new fancy pants job to look at them for a while, congrats!!) from The Feeling’s performance:

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Now, I go swimming. Swimming in the pool, swimming is cool. Ha ha ha. But really, I am, check the log in a few hours. (I fear a Crunchy husband-imposed ban on anything PG is imminent…)

Change, she is a-brewin’

Wednesday, 20th June 2007. Filed in Design challenges3 Comments »

I know some folks don’t take well to change. That’s why I’d like to give you this reassuring head’s up. Yes, it’s coming. But no, there is no need to worry. I hope it will be more “me” than what you see now.

Underneath the cool-as-a-cucumber exterior, this blog’s been in crisis. It’s actually been in a creative crisis for some time. Like, oh five minutes after it began.

The web is an intriguing place. Among other things, it allows you to express yourself (or your brand) with words as well as images and design. Though the words in my posts are my own (for better or worse!), the design, well if you’ll take a look at the footer, you’ll see the design is all Beccary. Props to Beccary. It is an aesthetic theme. But because it’s hers, it means it’s not mine. And I have an issue with that. I have had an issue with that from day one, but bite my tongue (nearly) each time I feel a complaint gurgling in the back of my throat because hosting on wordpress.com is free, and as free goes, it’s pretty darn good.

Yesterday, after mulling things around for a while, a switch flipped. I realized that if I give up half to three quarters (depending on the brand) the amount of ice cream I buy per month, I could divert those funds to web hosting. And give myself room to grow, to experiment with design and what is possible, if you know how to do it. To stumble and fall, and pick myself up and try again. (There may be a lot of stumbling and falling for a while. My only experience with this stuff is a website I did with Dreamweaver a couple years ago.)

I am not sure when the roll out will occur. It could be tomorrow, next week, or next month. Or never, depending on if I can figure out how to translate what I have drawn on paper into the computer. (Okay, that’s a little drastic. Something will go up soon. It just may not be the best to come.) I’ll pony up the address closer to the time. When I installed wordpress, the domain went live. And I have bigger things to worry about than how to take it down while I play. It doesn’t take a PhD. to guess the address, though. So no snooping!

Ben and Jerry’s Fossil Fuel, oh how I’ll miss you. But, you’re way too expensive here anyway.

No need to call a lifeguard. I’m fine, really.

Tuesday, 19th June 2007. Filed in 'Nana in training, Cross-trainingNo Comments »

Nothing to look at here. Keep it moving.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Some athletes can haul out the distance with endurance and grace, but would be toast in a sprint. Some can cycle centuries but keep a flotation device next to their bath tubs. Others can pitch a ball with startling accuracy, but can’t run bases to save themselves from the charging bull on their heels. And there are others, the crowd I run with, who can do some things without completely embarrassing themselves (those would be the strengths), but other things need a little coaxing and pep talking from the co-ordination fairy before we’re convinced we are okay to try them (those would be the weaknesses).

Yesterday, I was alone in the pool. No one else in the water. No one on the deck. And the thought occurred to me, “I should really practice the back stroke. The conditions are never going to be any better than this.” When I finished the set I was working on, I took a deep breath of confidence, looked around to make sure there was no one around that I would ram (or be heckled by), and went for it.

That was the slowest, sloppiest length of my life. And who-eee, did it get the heart rate up. (Though it’s debatable whether it was completely from the physical activity, or if my pulse was influenced by the anxiety, “Oh my god, I’m gonna miscount my strokes, not see the color of the lane rope change, whack my head right as people come out onto the pool deck and look like a total idiot.”)

The next lengths got a bit easier as I was able to relax into them a bit more and actually attempt to keep my chin up, my forehead back and do it properly. I’m fairly sure I zigzagged the lane atrociously, but I’m proud to say I finished two sets of 100m. (Split by 100m breast stroke as my reward.) It wasn’t pretty, but I’ll get better. It has been over ten years since I did the back stroke. I think I remember why I never competed in it.

Monday Mixtape- Shhh, listen!

Monday, 18th June 2007. Filed in Monday mixtape1 Comment »

[For Crunchy husband. I promise not to go to see Peter Gabriel at the Eden Project without you. I can wait for Hyde Park. You just might want to take the car keys and all means of getting money to work with you on Wednesday. Just to be safe.]

1. The Feeling Begins
2. I Have the Touch (Mix from “Phenomenon” soundtrack)
3. Burn You Up, Burn You Down
4. Down The Dolce Vita
5. Growing Up
6. Steam (Oh, Oh Let Off Steam mix 12″)
7. Exposure
8. Running to the Rain
9. Secret World
10. In Your Eyes (Live, for you, with Paula Cole backing)

Change your world

Sunday, 17th June 2007. Filed in Keep the jungle green2 Comments »

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketSustrans, a sustainable transport charity here in the UK, is sponsoring a campaign called Change Your World. They ask that people pledge to give up one car ride during the week of 1-7th July, and choose a more environmentally friendly way to get from point A to point B. I assume the hope is that people will see how easy it is to do, and will continue to make choices like this, reducing emissions and traffic on the roads, and improving their health. Though the campaign is targeted at the UK, it seems to me to be pretty universally applicable. (No moaning about how public transportation is so much better in England than say, the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s terrible where I am!)

I’m changing my world. Will you?

Will wonders never cease?

Thursday, 14th June 2007. Filed in Love to eat, hate to cook3 Comments »

I cooked tonight, following a recipe. Out of a cookbook. Using ingredients I’ve never really used before. We’re talking lentils. Leeks. Crunchy things (pecans, not ‘nanas) and thyme in the mashed potato topping! The end product was a potato, lentil, tofu bake. After realizing I ate more cheeseburgers last month than I had in the whole year preceding it, I came to the conclusion that I really need to achieve better balance in my eating. And so, we embark on a two vegetarian meals a week plan. This is the first week, and I am proud to say neither meal consisted of bean burritos nor mac n’ cheese.

It was good but I’ve decided it needs a few things. For one, the recipe does not call for nearly enough celery. It said one stalk, I put in two. The next time it’ll be three or four. It also needs more garlic. I freestyled a little bit (gasp! Who is this woman and what have you done with Crunchy?) and threw in carrots and mushrooms. But, it needs ginger. (I only thought of this because I kept tasting ginger, which is odd because I didn’t put any in.) And to be topped with cheese. Lots of cheddar cheese.

The only thing now is that I need dessert. I can’t yet seem to fill up on meatless meals. Partly because swimming leaves me more famished than any other sport I’ve ever done. And partly, I think, because I need to train the carnivore in the area of my brain that controls appetite that just because there wasn’t any meat, doesn’t mean it wasn’t dinner.

Actually, come to think of it, this dish would best be served as a side to a sirloin steak. With cheese.

(Re) introduction to the Invisible Band

Monday, 11th June 2007. Filed in Crunchy grooves2 Comments »

“You’re not excited about Travis?”
“Well, it’s not that I am not excited. It’s just I probably wouldn’t be going if you didn’t want to go. Lately, I have a hard time listening to the albums. A lot of the songs sound the same to me. They sound a bit, I don’t know, too Coldplay-ish to me.”
“You mean miserable and whiny??”
“Well, yeah. Sorry. I hate saying that because I do like them, but…”

Now I remember why I thought I liked Travis. I like the band’s stage presence, its energy. The crowd last night was pretty docile. Like totally and completely chill. I don’t usually have a problem with chill, but this was CHILL. We found it amusing how low key the atmosphere was. At one point, walking back from a drinks run, a man in front of me let slip a moderate belch. I barely noticed. When he realized I was right behind him, he immediately apologized, saying “oh my that wasn’t very polite of me, I am so sorry!,” with absolutely no sarcasm implied. For a while, it felt like we’d bought tickets for Kenny G in the park (though we wouldn’t really know, maybe Kenny G packs a rockin’ party?), picnic baskets and wine out of plastic wine glasses everywhere, but Travis whipped it up a bit. Kudos for the Rocky entrance from the back. Inventive. It was refreshing to see the guys run around the stage and get into their music. Much better than sitting at home listening to the albums. I left with a smile and boogie in my step singing, “wow, look at us now, flowers in the window. It’s such a lovely day and I’m glad you feel the same.” I’m sure everyone on the night hike back to the parking lot loved that.

As well as (re) liking Travis last night, I am getting the feeling I am a very tall man at concerts magnet. A trend is emerging. Last night, a very tall man stood just front-left of me. He was a stationary very tall man, for which I am thankful. (Except with the bouncing en masse during “Why Does It Always Rain on Me?” [awesome!] in which 7 foot very tall man became 8 foot very tall man.) Let this be a warning to very tall men everywhere. If you are going to Hyde Park Calling, watch out. If you find yourself being climbed upon like an ancient oak tree by a woman waving her fist in the air, shouting “Intruder! Steam! Waiting for the BIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGG ONNNNEEEEE!,” that would be me, trying to get an unimpeded view. I apologize ahead of time. Crunchy husband, he can’t take me anywhere. (Note to readers: I’ve been given the official nod that now that we’ve seen Travis, it is acceptable for me to get excited about Peter Gabriel. I will try to contain myself. But, I do feel a monday mixtape coming on.)

Yo VIP, let’s kick it!

Friday, 8th June 2007. Filed in 'Nana in training, Cross-training1 Comment »

This morning I swam in a pool that is a) outside, b) marked out with TWO separate swimming lanes- one for slow and one for fast swimmers, and c) NOT STAINLESS STEEL!

I recently fired my last gym because my membership expired and it just wasn’t doing it for me. Besides the pool issues, I realized that the gym was a little too LA glamor, a little too Globo-Gym for my liking. Plus, the sign next to the entrance says “Thanets most beautiful indoor pool,” and that just gets me every time. Even if I take a deep breath and try really, really hard not to let it get me. (It’s a hard life, having this hyper-awareness of absent and mis-used apostrophes.)

Last weekend, I discovered that another gym in nearly the same area just put in an outdoor pool. I checked it out, and was pretty enticed, despite its higher membership cost. I like the outdoor pool aspect, especially as I prefer to swim outside even if it’s cold and rainy because it can be too stuffy and steamy inside and the pool temperature is usually a bit warm for me. Plus, if it’s cold and rainy, as it was today*, most people will likely use the indoor pool. (Yes, folks two pools! Wee-hoo!)

On Wednesday the representative I spoke with over the weekend called to ask if I would like to come in for a VIP day. Why yes! If there’s anything I like more than a swim in a pool in which I can see the walls and bottom, it’s a FREE swim in a pool in which I can see the walls and bottom.

So it was a great swim today. Short, because I’ve been slacking and so didn’t want to tear it up too much on my first day back. (We can claim altitude training on the boardwalks of Yellowstone all we want, but my thighs are going to hurt tomorrow. Guaranteed!) The people in the pool were friendly. “Oh no, we don’t use that shower. We use the one inside because that one is never warm.” Thanks! Good to know.

The only issue I had today was that my water bottle kept shooting water up my nose. See how I blame the bottle? And not the user who put sparkling water into it because the Brita was empty? Apparently, carbonation and bite valves don’t mesh. Duly noted, as I sit here at home finishing the water out of the same bottle, using the same bite valve. No really, I think I’ve perfected it!

My hands smell slightly of chlorine. Oh, it is a happy day!

*Don’t worry. The thunder and lightning had stopped by the time I jumped in, so it was safe.

I spoke too soon

Wednesday, 6th June 2007. Filed in Random foliage1 Comment »

I thought I was okay. I thought I was clear. The first few days back in England went well. I thought, since last week seemed to be a lucky week (I got upgraded to Economy Plus AND won a signed Peter Gabriel cd all on the same day! Quick, find me a contest, I’ll play it), I had cheated the dreaded jet-lag.

Oh, ho, ho! Not so. As I sit here at 1:30 am watching badgers and baby owls on Springwatch Nightshift: Live. The badgers appear to be bickering. Dude, why is Bill Oddie sleeping in a shed with hay as a bed and piled logs as a headboard? Oh my god, this must be staged. Or else, he’s one violent sleeper. Getting a little crazy in there!

Maybe I should eat a banana.