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oops!

January 12, 2005 Comments off

I seem to have forgotten to post today!

So I give you this:

One of the things I do in my job is deal with online classes. I am currently working on a class titled Human Sexuality.

Now, I am not a prude, not one bit, but in the course of my editing, I keep having to load one particular page, on which is an assignment that involves labeling parts of the anatomy. The parts belong to the female of the human species, and they are presented from an external view. (How’s that for vague? I don’t need those kinds of Google searches bringing people here.)

At any rate, every time I scroll past this image—which is GIANT—I blush. How can I help it? I feel like I’m violating this poor drawing. There she is, all by herself, without even the comfort of a torso or the portion of the legs below the hips. She doesn’t even really have a bottom. She’s just all [blank].

God, I’m blushing now. It’s awful.

aggregation or aggravation?

January 11, 2005 Comments off

Fitz-Hume at BTQ has a post about aggregators. I started to reply in comments, but my reply got really long. So here it is.

I use an aggregator; it’s great. It keeps my blogreading streamlined and I don’t comment frivolously.

Fitz seems to like aggregators, too, but he mentions the possible drawbacks:

…a couple of other issues came to mind as I tried to imagine BTQ as a RSS-only experience. The first is that some bloggers rely on in-text links to convey humor or even information – think of them as sorta like the prop-comics of the blogosphere. However, RSS feeds do not always display in-text links….Without links let’s face it – SMP? is not that great (see here for example). It’s like taking away Gallagher’s hammers and watermelons – it’s just not funny. With links, however, SMP? kills. Kills, Jerry! Until aggregators successfully display in-text links, I think this factor will inhibit a RSS-only evolution of blogs.

The same is true for images. Feed aggregators don’t display images. We don’t post images as often as some people, but we post pictures often enough that our posts would suffer from a RSS-only environment. We might survive, but some blogs rely on images as heavily as others rely on in-text links. Can you imagine Go Fug Yourself without images? Neither can I.

OK, so first I want to say that some feeds show links and some don’t, and that’s primarily due to competing protocols for feeds. Most blogger or blogspot blogs use atom, a protocol that generally does display a more rich content, including links and images. For example, I generally have no problem seeing the images on Go Fug Yourself via Bloglines—likely because Heather and Jessica are using Blogger with a default atom feed.

No, I think the bigger issue with RSS feeds and aggregators isn’t what content is viewable—the protocols will start coverging rapidly and they’ll all be about the same soon—it’s what actual content is available on a feed.

Some bloggers choose not to include entire posts in their feed. This can have the effect of drawing a reader to the actual site (thereby increasing page views) but only if—and this is a big if—the title or the blurb that is available is sufficiently interesting. As a reader, though, sometimes I’m not hooked enough to visit—and maybe I miss out on something interesting. Some of the blogs I read truncate in their feeds and I’m torn on whether or not I care for it. Quite frankly, it can be highly annoying if I’m short on time and don’t want to click through to read the rest of the post. Of course, if the tag is good, it serves the purpose of keeping me from wasting time on a post I’m not interested in. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Conversely, the teaser model makes sense for news sites—they operate on ad revenue, and news content isn’t always appropriate for an aggregator. I’m thinking particularly of The New York Times Magazine—often the articles in the Magazine are so lengthy that reading them in an aggregator would be more difficult, rather than less. Also, I think (for the most part) journalists are used to writing to the headline-reader: lots of people won’t bother picking up a paper at 40¢ unless the headline catches their eye. That’s not to say every headline in the NYT is great—they’re not—but at least they are informative and I know what I’ll be getting if I click through. And I don’t spend so much time clicking around news sites to see where the good stories are.

Look, I used to spend hours each day, interrupting my workflow to click through my blogroll and visit all my news bookmarks, hoping for new content. It was a major time suck. I won’t say my aggregator keeps me from wasting time reading blogs—God knows it doesn’t!—but it keeps me from idly wasting my time. I know when there’s new stuff for me to read and I can read it at my leisure.

Categories: in the \'sphere, old blog, tech

the circle of school

January 11, 2005 Comments off

Classes have started again for Mr. Angst—he’s taking some math classes that are prereqs for graduate school—which means two nights a week I am left to my own devices. Much the same as last semester.

I’ll repeat it—I think it’s great that he’s taking classes and working full time and doing well (all A’s so far). But I miss our regular schedule. I miss knowing that he’ll be home for dinner; I miss menu planning for two people. It’s a bad spiral, because now I’ll start eating out, eating junk, or just not eating. That’s bad for my health.

And I’ll also end up sitting on the couch like a complete waste, just waiting for him to get home so I can have someone to talk to.

Wow. This post makes me sound like a totally pathetic loser! I’m not—I promise! I’ve just gotten used to life with Mr. Angst. I guess last semester should have prepared me, but it didn’t. (It doesn’t help that, the entire semester, I sat around thinking, But there are only x more weeks of school, and then things will be back to normal! Hah!)

At any rate, if anyone has suggestions of things I can do to keep busy—that don’t include cleaning house—I’m all ears. I have some books to read, but when I read at home, sometimes I get distracted by the computer, the TV, or the refrigerator.

Categories: 0L, just me, old blog

hey now!

January 11, 2005 Comments off

I have evolved. I am now a Slithering Reptile.

Mr. Angst won’t like that—he hates snakes.

I’m working on some bloggy-type stuff, so posting may be light this week while I figure a few things out.

Until then, anything you want me to tell you about? I guess this is my own version of an all-request week.

Categories: in the \'sphere, old blog

bad dates ≠ dating is bad

January 10, 2005 Comments off

Stag has this post about a recent bad date she went on.

Now, I’m married, and Mr. Angst and I have been a couple for almost five years, so I haven’t had to date in a while. And reading stag’s story, I’m glad I haven’t had to date. I remember the dread in my stomach when I’d go on a date with someone. I always hoped he would be compatible with me, interesting, fun, and funny; but I always knew there would be something wrong with him. (And there always was something wrong with him until my first date with Mr. Angst. Seriously—that date was about as perfect as a first date can get.)

So I don’t envy stag her bad dates because I wish I were still dating.

I do, though, feel a tiny bit of jealousy. And it has to do with meeting new people.

Look, I admit it, dating sucks, but dating is also a way to get out and meet people, people you might become friends with even if you don’t match up romantically. (This has never happened to me, because the people I went on dates with before Mr. Angst were all profoundly unlikeable people; this has, however, happened to my best friend—a lot.)

There’s something so nice about the possibility of meeting someone in a class or at the gym or even (though not as nice) at a bar and then striking up an actual friendship that extends beyond the original common ground. But for some reason, the people you meet in class, at the gym, or in bars don’t want to strike up friendships with you when you’re married. They just want to date, and married people are pretty much off-limits. (Again, I am generalizing; I took a class where almost everyone in it became good friends, but that was an unusual situation and a quite rare result. I’m also generalizing about married people being off-limits; there are some people who don’t seem to mind that situation, but for the sake of argument…)

This sounds really stupid and petulant, and it’s probably at least a little erroneous, but I miss the spontaneity of going on dates with people I haven’t gotten to know yet. It’s exciting, it’s new, it has so much promise for what might happen. It’s sort of like when people say they’re afraid to get married because they’ll never have another first kiss, and they’ll miss the rush of kissing someone for the first time. I don’t feel that way—married kisses are awesome—but I understand the feeling.

And I kind of feel the same way about dates. I don’t want to date anymore, but I kind of miss the excitement of meeting new people that way. Once you’re married, there’s not really a corollary way of making new friendships.

Oh, and of having good stories to tell about how awful the date was.

funny story…

January 10, 2005 Comments off

See this? The Reno-Tahoe area has received 19 feet of snow at higher (+7000 feet) elevations and up to 6-1/2 feet at lower elevations since December 28.

My dad was caught in some of that early snow. See, it all started when he went out there for a few days of R&R before the Rose Bowl. He was leaving from Reno on New Year’s Eve, but staying in Tahoe.

Now, if you know anything about the Lake Tahoe area, you’ll know that the only commercial airport that serves it is in Reno, and Reno is a bit of a haul away from Tahoe—particularly South Lake Tahoe.

Back to our protagonist. Smart man that he is, seeing that four feet of snow has fallen on the 30th, he changes his 6:00 am flight to 10:30 am. He orders a cab for 6:00 am, goes to sleep, and figures he’ll get woken up by the snowplows when they come by at 5:15 am, as they have all week.

But the snowplows do not come. (He does, however, wake up.) He hopes they’ll come and passes the time shoveling the stairs down to the road. It takes him 45 minutes to clear a path down the stairs that is approximately 1-1/2″ wide. The snowplows still have not come.

At 6:00 am the cabbie calls and says he can’t get up the road to where my dad is staying. That road is covered in four feet of snow. So my dad—remember, he’s smart!—puts on his heavy coat, then his waterproof ski shell, and his snow boots. He somehow leaves his gloves behind. He throws his carry-on over one shoulder and his hanging bag over the other, and starts walking. Through chest high snow. For about a third of a mile.

It is, by the way, still snowing. About 200 feet out, he stops and looks back and cannot see his tracks. He can’t even really see the house. So he keeps going. He makes it another few hundred feet and is pretty sure he’s going to die. His chest is pounding. He’s breathing in snow. HE IS NOT WEARING GLOVES.

It takes him another 45 minutes to get down to the road where the cabbie is. (What a great cabbie, waiting for him!) He is soaked and he cannot feel his hands. The cab drops him off at one of the casinos so he can catch a shuttle to the airport.

He’s soaked, remember, so he treks to a bathroom, where they are mopping the floors. He asks the cleaning guy to hold off a few minutes mopping so he can change clothes, but the guy doesn’t listen. My dad stands on his wet jeans—hey, they were wet already—and does the clothes-changing dance. He wrings out his heavy wool socks, which appear to have been dunked in Lake Tahoe (average water temp: 50°). At the front desk, he asks for three laundry bags, into which go his wet jeans and shirt, his sodden socks and boots, and his dripping coat. He checks them with the bellhop for the weekend and scurries out to the shuttle deck.

Then he waits. The shuttle is almost an hour late, so he gets to the airport a scant 30 minutes before his flight. Then his flight is delayed another 45 minutes. He is shaking and coughing—and still can’t feel his right thumb—but he makes it to LA.

Why, you ask, would he do this? I asked the same thing. The answer? “I had everyone’s tickets to the football game—all eight of them—and they’d have missed the Rose Bowl if I hadn’t made it.” Was it worth it? “Oh, yeah. The game was great! And I got the feeling back in my thumb later that night. Of course, I was coughing up snow for three days. And sort of shaky all weekend. But the game was great!”

The moral of the story is: always wear your gloves. Also: don’t be stupid and walk out into record snowfall in the cold, dark, early morning. Especially if that record snowfall is chest high. Even if you have eight tickets to the Rose Bowl in your pocket. In the grand scheme of things, it’s just a football game.

further evidence of my bad taste in movies

January 9, 2005 Comments off

Last week it was Volcano, tonight it’s Twister.

I admit it, I watch all the Discovery Channel shows about tornados and earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. These movies are just an extension of that interest, I guess. And it’s not like I think they’re good movies or anything. I am fully aware of their badness. But they are, in fact, craptastic—total garbage, but completely watchable garbage.

Think poorly of me now. I know you will.

geeking out

January 9, 2005 Comments off

Yesterday, Mr. Angst and I finally celebrated Christmas with my dad. Yes, yes, very belated, but also very enjoyable. (My stepmother makes a wicked tenderloin….so yum.)

Amongst the tchotchkes I received were a few gifts I was thrilled to get: a stovetop espresso maker, some capuccino mugs, and two books I’ve been hoping someone would buy for me: Garner’s Modern American Usage and A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage (also by Garner). (I received earlier The Elements of Legal Style, a third book by Garner. Yeah, I have a bit of an obsession, but the man is a genius at this stuff. He also edits Black’s Law Dictionary.)

I was so thrilled to get these books that I immediately opened up one and started perusing. My stepmother, who bought them based on my Amazon.com wishlist, had no idea what kind of books they were and asked why I wanted them, and what value they had.

So I started talking about the differences in usage between British and American English, the misuses of over-complex constructions, and finally flipped to an entry to make my point. I started reading from “toward/towards.”

Mr. Angst burst out laughing.

Apparently, I was geeking out. I looked up to see that my stepmother’s eyes were sort of glazed over. I also noted that my father had tuned out completely and was inspecting the golf range finder we’d bought him.

Um. OK. I closed the books, put them down, and smoothed over my geek attack by mumbling, “Well, they’re just really good reference books, since I do so much editing at work, and I’ll be doing so much writing next year…” I think I did a pretty good job of redeeming my cool factor to the ‘rents. We had coffee, talked about playoff football and I managed to pass myself off for the rest of the night as a relatively normal human being.

But tonight, at home with Mr. Angst, I feel no need to hide my wordlove. I hauled out my prizes and promptly began reading the prefaces. Hey—everyone has a vice. This one is mine.

The question is, can these books count toward the 50 Book Challenge?

Categories: 0L, just me, old blog

holy crap

January 9, 2005 Comments off

I’ve never been so glad to have stopped watching 24 as when I saw that the season premiere is going to be four hours, on two nights. Excessive, much?

one of the better shows on TV is getting a new season

January 8, 2005 Comments off

Tonight, a new season of MI-5 starts on A&E.

If you haven’t watched it, you should. All day today, A&E is airing previous episodes (I love these kinds of marathons) and the new season starts at 10/9 Central.

I’ll admit it, I am a sucker for the spy shows. It helps that Alias and MI-5 are also well-produced and (mostly, in the case of Alias) well-written. (I say mostly because the season premiere of Alias, while conveying what it needed to convey, was a little too expository for me and glossed over some plots that were set up last season that now will apparently be forgotten. I guess JJ Abrams just couldn’t get Lena Olin back.)

So, OK, back to MI-5. It’s a British show, if the title didn’t give that away. The actors are talented and, wonderfully, actually resemble normal people. The main female character actually has a nice, normal figure. I LOVE that, especially after watching Jennifer Garner look like a gay man in drag sometimes.

So, if you’re bored today, sitting around on the couch for a few hours, tune in and catch some of the back episodes. If you can, watch the last old episode, because it sets up this coming season with a big cliffhanger.

What am I going to do next year (or, God, this fall) when I have to study and don’t have time for TV—or money for Tivo. I’ll have to become good friends with my VCR and learn to accept its shoddy recordings.

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