Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Baby blogging: Visit to Cape Cod

Some pics from August, still in my processing hopper...

Speck sitting in a heap of balloons, while cousin S demonstrates a wiggly critter
Speck tries out being buried in balloons, while
cousin S. demonstrates the wiggly critter

Speck peers into a net while standing in the water in her pink ruffled bathing suit
Speck a bit skeptical about the contents of her crabbing net

grinning Speck and cousin S, together in an arm chair, with Zuzu pets in hand
The two cousins demonstrate big grins
(and silly motorized hamsters) -- 30 months and 6 years

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Autumn 'ku

autumn air . . .
the diminishing trail
of voices
Mary Davila
(from The Heron's Nest, Vol. XII:3)

Link dump II: Interesting, spiff, and/or silly

  • I agree that this seems inevitable in retrospect, but I still love it: Craig's List TV captures great stories around unusual trades... I suspect that those who have never used the service would be surprised at the humanity of the interactions it enables.

  • An interesting discussion of how blogging changes the way you write and think. Beyond that, it changes your views of what is possible, in writing, in dialogue, in changing the world. Worth a read even if you're barely a participant in the social Internet.
    (via Medley)

  • There are groups who perform Shakespeare with original pronunciation, which apparently both is fully comprehensible and restores many of the original rhymes. The sample clip reminds me most of what we'd consider some lower-class British pronunciation variant. I had no idea that we even knew how the English language sounded 400 years ago, so this boggles me on many levels.

  • This is a review of Social Network that made me want to see the movie -- not because I care about Facebook much at all, but because of the way the movie itself offers a variety of critiques not only of its subjects but of the larger social context in which they generated their empire.
    If they didn’t intend to make a movie that was interrogating toxic masculinity and its effect on women, they managed to make a movie where that theme is the main one that everyone who leaves the theater appears to be discussing. At a certain point, the thing that is most notable about "The Social Network" might just be the thing that the movie is about. Or at least one of the things.
    Worth reading the piece for its thoughts about movie- and TV makers, and what they're trying to make their audiences feel, as much as for anything about this film itself.

  • 7 Essential Skills You Didn't Learn in College -- a course guide for adult survival, including such overlooked necessities as Statistical Literacy and Waste Studies. Brilliant.
    (via kottke)

  • Inspired: an airbag equivalent for bicyclists that eliminates the choice between street safety and looking presentable for the rest of the day. The video with the crash dummy is really astounding.
    (via boing boing)

  • A cartoon that demonstrates the laws of physics in everyday life, especially when there's a small child in the picture. I laughed, I cried...
    (via kottke)

  • Fantastic: a Sesame Street video teaches kids to love their hair, even if it isn't straight and blonde. Something most caucasians rarely think about, and just about every little black girl has struggled with; such a simple idea to put this out there. Yay!
    (via Free Range Kids)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Quote of the day

I wonder what younger people (teens) think about why the hell we went to war in Iraq. I lived through the whole nonsense as an adult and I still have no fucking idea.
- Atrios

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Link dump I: Crooks and politics

  • Mortgage foreclosures are a total mess, with people losing homes because they can't tell where to send their checks, random people making up reasons to foreclose, and banks suing one another over who screwed up most. This is not getting cleaned up soon.

  • Meanwhile, unemployment has been so bad for so long that we're learning to ignore it by means of a wealth of strategies. Unless we're directly affected, in which case we're pretty mad!

  • There's an air of desperation to this Sestak ad, but it's hard to deny that our current mess was created by the Republican right, and their attempts to reclaim power by blaming two years of Democratic action is laughable. Except for the short memories of voters, and all that anger...

  • The TSA now benches pilots who aren't willing to be imaged naked or patted down. But loss of all civil liberties doesn't mean the terrorists have won, right?

  • Update: I hate to omit Robert Reich's warning that we're turning into a plutocracy. Hard to argue with his line-up of facts!! (and really, we're lucky if it doesn't add up to revolution instead...)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Smoke and mirrors

tree of moneyAs though the generation of crappy mortgage loans and the foisting of their risk onto investment funds weren't crooked enough, banksters couldn't be bothered to keep records of their shenanigans, so nobody's sure who actually owns the loans on many homes faced with foreclosure. I agree with Digby that it's time for some jail terms and a lot fewer handouts to financial geniuses!!

(via Eschaton)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quote of the day

But we still find the world astounding, we can't get enough of it; even as it shrivels, even as its many lights flicker and are extinguished (the tigers, the leopard frogs, the plunging dolphin flukes), flicker and are extinguished, by us, by us, we gaze and gaze. Where do you draw the line, between love and greed? We never did know, we always wanted more. We want to take it all in, for one last time, we want to eat the world with our eyes.
- Margaret Atwood
(via whiskey river, celebrating 10 years of spiffiness)

Monday baby-blogging

Three out-takes from Speck's first visit to a county fair (for which we had to drive out to Reading, but it was totally worth it and we'll be there again next year). We saw animals, played carney games, and went on some rides, including Speck's choice of both bumper cars (a thrill for silly Mom) and a ferris wheel (sadly nerve-wracking for both Mom and Dad). Great fun all around.
(30 months)

Speck and Mom grinning on a classic carousel
Can't pass up a classic carousel.
(and look! the rare decent carousel photo!!)

Speck in a flowered dress, in front of a pen of pink piglets
Kid with piglets!
(sorry I missed the nose-petting moment...)

Mom with crazed look and Speck hanging on in a bumper car
It's possible that Mom had more fun on the bumper cars than Speck did,
although she claimed to have liked ramming the other cars...

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Mother Nature knows her stuff

a wolf tearing at an elk carcass in the snowWhen conservationists argued for the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone Park, I think they were concerned mostly with the fate of the wolves themselves, but they surely thought also of the burgeoning elk population in the park and the diseases to which it had become susceptible. Still, they must have been pleasantly surprised when the benefits trickled down to songbirds and the formation of ponds and rivers in the park. A reminder that ecosystems are closely interconnected, and, as the writer notes toward the end of the piece, a prod to further thought about how we might best deal with coming climate change.

(via Follow Me Here)

Friday, October 08, 2010

Oh, the cuteness!

Tiny bunnies move only their noses! tiny sniff... tiny sniff...
Le faint!

Two bits on Getting Things Done

Two interesting things have come across my desk this week in the realm of Finishing Things, both of which offer great tips for thinking about your goals and managing the tasks along the way.
  • Bre Pettis offers a manifesto from the Cult of Done, whose 13 pointed tenets include these winners:
    2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.

    4. Pretending you know what you're doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you're doing even if you don't and do it.

    10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
  • Finishing a Game, another post with lots of tips for thinking about projects, setting up collaborations, and actually bringing it all together.
    If you treat finishing like a skill, rather than simply a step in the process, you can acknowledge not only that it’s something you can get better at, but also what habits and thought processes get in your way.
Great stuff. Of course, I intended to post this yesterday, which just goes to show that I still have some work to do on my own skill at Finishing (or maybe that I prioritized work completion for a change)...

(first via Medley, 2nd via Rebecca's Pocket)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Grading on a curve

stylized elephant and donkey, head to headI'm afraid that Josh has a point here. Getting rid of Santorum really mobilized PA voters, but now an even scarier guy, Toomey, is in the race and barely making waves in either the media coverage or the sense of widespread Democratic ennui. I know the Tea Partiers have been claiming the Crazy Right mantel, but that doesn't mean that these Club for Growth creeps should start being viewed as moderate!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Dynamics of group problem-solving

Couple of interesting things about this study of group intelligence:
  1. it is something other than a sum of the individuals that make up the group (seemingly having more to do with how well those people work together),
  2. the number of women in the group was linked to its problem-solving ability.
Another plug for the values of diversity, as well as the specific skills (whether inherent or socialized) of women in particular.

(via Medley)

Monday, October 04, 2010

The stuff of nightmares

A view of mechanically separated chicken, the predecessor of MacNuggets and their kin. Scary what has to be done to it to make it seem like food . . .
(via Medley)

Update: the original post is riddled with errors. The truth is probably disturbing enough.

Long overdue baby-blogging!

Has taken a couple of days' free time to process my backlog of photos (with videos still to come), but finally have uploaded some Speck cutenss from June through September, including her first County Fair, some travels domestic and foreign, and other general chaos. Anyway, will dole them out here over the next couple of weeks. First installment, Around-the-House Summer Silliness! (all from around 29 months)

Speck standing in a bucket full of bristle blocks
Buried in a bucket of bristle blocks!

Speck in a colorful shirt pushing her popper down the sidewalk
Taking Mr. Pop-pop for a walk

Speck pretending to nap with some stuffed animals under a quilt
Pretending to nap, all tucked in with fuzzy friends

Tune in next week for highlights from the Reading County fair!

Friday, October 01, 2010


Man, this story was a bummer, but how absolutely fantastic, heartwarming, tear-inducing to see this great response: It Gets Better. If only that kid could have heard them in time. Heck, the same is true for any kid who feels like the "only one" -- you probably aren't, and you'll find the others if you just give yourself time. There's a niche out there for you, and it just gets better.