Friday, April 27, 2007

Think so?

Gartner, a technology research firm, predicts that by 2011 80% of active internet users will have a presence in Second Life.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ekornes Stressless recliner chairs for sale

This will be the weekend of the Craig's List sales.

The antique oak chair and the Pottery Barn side table I listed 10 minutes ago already have takers. Apparently Craig's List has lots of late night shoppers.

No nibbles yet on the Ekornes Stressless chairs, probably because a pair of these, one year old and in superb condition, are $1600 when offered at half price.
[NOTE: They've been sold!]

Email me if you are seriously interested. We're selling them (with the matching side table) because they don't fit in the den now that we've installed a queen-size sleeper sofa. And I already have a lovely Ekornes chair in my office.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The art of the insult

I'm late getting around to reading The New Yorker this week, which is unfortunate because I could have used a good laugh a couple of days ago.

The April 23 issue was, apparently, the Insult Issue. The Talk of the Town section includes an odd recap of the Don Imus flap, written apparently to rate the radio show host's previous most-insulting comments against the racist remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team that finally cost him his job. Imus' characterization of Bill Clinton as a "fat pantload," I had to admit, had a certain ring to it. But it was nothing close to the revelation in the Talk story about literary hoaxster Clifford Irving that Irving's disgruntled wife always referred to his glamorous Danish mistress, Nina van Pallandt, as "Baroness von Slut."

Oh my. This is The New Yorker?

That shattering sound you just heard? New Yorker mascot Eustace Tilley, dropping his monocle.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More on footwear

Want fashionable new casual shoes at half price? If you are a woman who wears size 7.5 or smaller, check out the Keens and Chacos in the kids department. (More on this strategy at Life Out Here.)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Weird weekend

Errands. I remember running a lot of errands this weekend. And getting into one of those situations in which no matter how many of the errands I accomplished, the un-done ones are still nagging at me.

With the basement plumbing repaired, I did several loads of laundry. We sold the Nordic Track elliptical and now have a large, spacious TV room for a change. But the new sleeper-sofa is coming Tuesday morning, and now I have to turn my attention to selling the pair of Stressless Ekornes chairs.

All these trivialities are a welcome relief from a brush with grimness this morning. I had left my yoga class at the B.F. Day school in Fremont and was standing in the parking lot, chatting with a classmate, as families arrived for a soccer game in the school's upper field. One woman got out of her car with her son, looked around in a very distracted, disoriented way, and then asked us if we knew where the soccer field was. We pointed to the path that several families were already taking to the field -- it seemed fairly obvious. The woman said, apologetically, that she was confused because they had just driven over the Fremont bridge and seen a man jump off it.

We said that of course that would make anyone upset and confused, and hung out with her a bit until she and her son were ready to go up to the field. (The little boy didn't seem to understand what had happened, thankfully.)

Sad to say, jumpers are all too frequent on the bridge -- usually four a year. Some jumpers land in the water, but many land in the Adobe parking lot, where they are discovered by horrified company employees. Zorg and I have a friend who last year moved into a high-end condo facing the bridge; he was shocked by the situation and did quite a bit of writing, calling and organizing. In December 2006, six suicide-prevention call boxes were installed on the bridge; it remains to be seen if they will reduce the number of jumping incidents in 2007.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Put your foot in it

Curiousity got the better of me and I bought a pair of Crocs. Specifically, the Cayman model.

Uglier shoes have probably never existed.

Or more comfortable ones. None of the descriptions I read mentioned what I considered to be the truly unusual, and wonderful, feature of Crocs: they're virtually weightless.

They are like wearing styrofoam orthotics. Mine are wide enough and loose enough that I was sure they'd fall off my feet but instead, they sort of adhere to them. It's almost an electrostatic attraction. So, while I look like I should be clomping around, I'm walking quite naturally. And, according to the manufacturer, this is the perfect fit.

And you don't have to buy them in the popular poison green, hello-kitty pink, or road-sign orange. Mine, of course, are black.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ceasefire in the laundry room

Today didn't go at all as expected.

I had the plumber scheduled to come fix a leaking outdoor spigot and do something about the banging pipes in the laundry room (a situation that has gotten worse over the past year, to the point that it sounded like insurgents were bombing the basement). My plan was to get the plumber started, then skip out for a relaxing haircut and some errands.

What I hadn't figured into the scenario was that Zorg was working from home today. The plumber arrived (late), began making a ruckus sawing through drywall, and then turned off all the water. I slipped off to run my errands and came back to find that the plumbing job was dragging on and on. And poor Zorg was not enjoying a house without water.

We'd talked about catching the 5:15 show of Blades of Glory, but by the time the plumber finally turned on the water, packed up, and left, we were running a bit late. So I cooked dinner, we ate, and then I rolled up in a ball on the couch and went to sleep -- not at all my usual Friday night.

Tomorrow will be better. I'm actually looking forward to doing a nice, quiet load of laundry first thing in the morning.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Happy campers

You've heard me babble excitedly about all the great experiences I had at Seattle Mind Camp 3.0 this past fall. Well they've just opened registration for Seattle Mind Camp 4.0, to be held at at the Tukwila Community Center Sunday July 1. (It isn't clear, but I think this is the first Mind Camp that's not an overnight.)

The "unconference" works this way: During the first hour or so, campers propose sessions they want to lead; everyone votes on posted session descriptions; and then the organizers quickly assign the sessions to rooms and things start happening. This site, for Seattle Mind Camp 3.0, will give you a sense of it.

Delicious meals and snacks are included in the $29 camp fee. Bring an open mind, and, if possible, an idea for a session.

I collaborated with two other campers to present a yoga session at the last camp. This time I might conserve my energy for the late-night Werewolf session!

Out of steam

Last week I sent off a draft article to a major arts review website. They were interested, but wanted to see it twice as long. That pretty much requires startling from scratch, but I spent some time in denial about the need to do that. So it was a long, frustrating experience and yielded only a B+ piece of work -- when I'd wanted to impress them with something truly inspired.

In the midst of all the writing I spent Saturday taking dance workshops at the World Rhythm Festival at Seattle Center. The workshops started out grueling but got easier as the day went on. The next morning I went off to yoga class and was astonished at how loose I was and how much more I could do. And the I came home, tore out a rosebush, and replanted the side yard.

Of course I'm paying for that now.

This week has been off to a rocky start. A tube of chapstick got loose in the laundry and now I'm removing oily, minty spots from Zorg's trousers. Betaille, our ancient cat, needs to go to the vet for a checkup tomorrow. But she needed a bath badly, so tonight, after yoga class, Zorg and I donned our full-coverage cat-washing outfits and washed her in the tub. She doesn't like it much, but bounced back rapidly and headed right to her food dish when I released her from the bathroom. Now it's back down to the laundry with our soggy cat-washing outfits and a bunch of towels; no chapstick this time, I hope.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Talk softly and carry a big Thesaurus

John Hedtke, over at Don't Ask Me passes along this report of a bumper sticker spotted in, of all places, Iowa:

"Bush is listening. Use big words."

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Easter bunny was here

Seriously. Two Easter bunnies.

Zorg found a Cadbury egg on his keyboard when he got up this morning. This afternoon I got my annual delivery of a bag of Peeps. This year it was green and yellow Peeps, which went well with the blue Peeps Zorg had provided earlier in the week.

Zorg also shared with me a large hollow chocolate egg that had a full-size yellow Peep inside. I keep puzzling over that egg. How did they get a Peep inside an apparently seamless hollow egg?

Here's a nice picture of the egg-with-Peep from Slashfood (they got a pink Peep; I think pink Peeps come in a Rice Krispy chocolate shell and the yellow Peeps are in plain milk chocolate). The Slashfood folks also have a suggestion for how to "hatch" the Peep using a microwave.

Catching up

My "work" self was in charge most of this week as I focused on freelance projects, book reviewing, and preparing a talk I gave Thursday night. The Thursday night event, a Friday lunch meeting, plus a gathering of local writers I attended this evening, were all social outings -- but for my professional persona. It was not the same as having dinner with friends, or spending an evening at a comedy club or the movies.

I've been tired, as a result!

Zorg was home most of the week suffering from back pain that, fortunately, turned out to be muscle spasms rather than a herniated disk. Still painful, but with a better prognosis. He is doing considerably better as of this evening.

Friday I dropped everything I'd been doing to get out and enjoy the extraordinary weather --- 75 degrees! -- in the garden. I conducted the annual digging up of the red tulips (an apparently hopeless attempt to have a garden with only pink tulips) and transitioned them to someone else's garden. Got a new (faux stone) fountain installed on the back patio for the cats. Thus far it has not attracted the raccoons who destroyed the pottery fountain, but, unfortunately, the cats seem wary of it. Perhaps it's a little too "splashy" for them; I'll try adjusting it. The garden is shaping up well this year. My friend Laura gave me some strawberry plants for the herb & vegetable raised bed, and the wisteria appears to be willing to let me shape it into a tree rather than a vine.

Today my errands around town included a visit to Ballard Bookcase to order a custom fir bookcase with adjustable shelves that I'm going to use to store all my shoes. I got sick of the four (four!) small shoe storage devices I current employ, particularly after the cats tipped one of them over and scattered shoes all over the closet.

Next week looks to be busy but is focused on friends and dancing rather than work; Nina is coming to visit me mid-week, and we're going to the Lake City dance to hear L'Orage play Thursday night. Saturday I'll be at the World Rhythm Festival at Seattle Center taking African dance classes.

I hope that this year I don't run into my neighbors at the Festival. I did last year, and the next day their five-year-old yelled out his window when he saw me in the front yard "I saw you shaking your butt!"

Nice kid.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Iris identified

The little iris in the yard is not one of the native irises, but the Iris japonica, which likes a damp, shady environment.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Floral mystery

These shiny green plants have been turning up in my yard for three or four years. This winter I left a few pots with them in a shady corner of the garden. Now they're blooming! Some kind of iris? There are multiple buds per stem, but this is the first flower to open.

Added April 3: One more clue -- these flowers are small, only two inches across. Quite a bit smaller than the usual iris. --MT