Archive for the ‘geekiness’ Category

Mole Day

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

It is National Mole Day! At first I was excited to celebrate rodents or maybe eat Mexican sauce that has chili, nuts and chocolate but I looked up the holiday and found that it is all in celebrate of the unit of measure the Mole.

602,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 or 6.02×1023

You might notice that today’s date is 10 – 23 and this is celebrate from 6:02am to 6:02 pm.

So how are we going to celebrate this exceptionally large number today? In looking for ideas I came upon a chemistry teacher’s enrichment activities to make up mole jokes with the following examples
Write an original mole joke. 3 examples follow: (2 pts)
1. What is chemical nonsense? Mole-arky
2. What does Avogardro wear when it is cold? Thermole Underware
3. Where did Avogardro stay on vacation? A Mole-tel

Other people seem to want to contemplate just how huge this is by playing with making a mole of something everyday. Like these swiped from Wikipedia:
1 mole of marshmallows would be enough marshmallows to make a 12 mile thick layer of marshmallows covering the entire face of the Earth.
A mole of popcorn kernels could be spread uniformly over the USA if the thickness of the layer was about 9 miles.

To not neglect the little rodents I will send you this artistic treat 700 Mole-Men Begin Surfacing on Flickr
and to not neglect the Mexican sauce I may suggest enchiladas with mole this evening.

Any other ideas for how to celebrate Mole day?

Evaluate your Life Day

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Evaluate Your Life Day was Sunday. I woke bathed in late morning sunlight, tangled up in sheets with Christopher, blissed from an all day contra dance Saturday and chatting about silly things. Then I remembered something important.

“Oh it’s a holiday today. Today is Evaluate Your Life Day”

We started discussing what that means. Maybe because Christopher is often teaching in high schools and colleges he went down a pass fail path. Why does it have to be pass fail I wonder. He said he immediately thought of the Pearly Gates. Somehow my silly little brain went right from pearly to pearly plastic tampon applicators and I had a vision of getting to the gates and realizing it was all chinsy and that some angel with wings falling apart would be mulling over the pass fail of your life.

“Oh those gates are just made of plastic anyhow, that is why they’re pearly.” was all that made it out of my mouth from that thought.

He then informed me that if he gives another sermon that will be in it. I’m certain the just how that will be looped into what ever else he is delivering will be insightful and entertaining. I can’t figure how that will be worked in, but maybe that is because I know it came from marrying tampon applicators with a cryptic description out of the book of Revelations.

After enough giggling I got out of bed to announce to Diba and Nancy the theme for the day. Nancy looked at the word “Evaluate” with significant suspicion. She was assuaged with the definition that I googled up. “To draw conclusion by examining” that seems a little less scary. There was talk about how Evaluate Your Life for some people first inspires Evaluate Your Relationships. We started breakfast, traded massages, did some partner yoga had a few more people wake up or show up to join the conversation. After delicious breakfast we walked to Fiske Pond and threw logs and whole trees in for the 13 year old puppy that accompanied us. The sun was close and so warm I probably could have sunbathed if the wind stayed still. I picked cranberries, popped them in my mouth with a stomp and pucker for their grand sourness. We wandered back when hungry and ate more delicious food and then had to send all the lovely people on their way.

So at the end of the day looking, at that day, I concluded that I am surrounded by wonderful people.

Monday I evaluated my work life and concluded that I love my job. Maybe by the end of today I will conclude something else and tomorrow it will be on to another theme making this Evaluate Your Life Week!

What aspect of life do you want to evaluate?

Technology Loves Me, Loves Me Not

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Last weekend I was lucky to be able to go to the Technology in the Arts Conference hosted by Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. This was an offering so up my alley that I had a ridiculously hard time deciding on the break out sessions. On all of them there were at least two that I wanted to be at and on one there were four I wanted to clone myself to attend. So I armed myself with business cards and set out for Pittsburgh.

At the airport just off the plane I saw two large LC monitors one had an advertisement but one showed this.
No Boot

Is this a premonition? – gosh I hope not.

Proof I was at a geeky conference

Proof I was at a geeky conference

I got on to the bus from the airport and got to my hotel with 15 minutes to spare until the first session. I had signed up for Online Video – it is easier than you think. The idea for the hands on workshop was that we would see some demos of effective video in the arts, learn a few tips, go out and shoot and then come back compile and post. My batteries were dead in my camera but I had a pile of them lucky enough it was a just out of the charger pile. I haven’t used my camera in a while so there was some doubt. I paired up with someone who worked for a dance company and headed outside. I asked a taxi driver if we could video him and was coldly shot down. Started feeling a little shy do decided to shoot the other conference attendees. When we got back it was on to Windows Movie Maker to string some stuff together. My camera shoots in MOV file type and none of the machines were loaded with quick time so we couldn’t do it. The instructors camera was the same deal so he quickly switched to his normal video making program Vegas something to do it. Now instead of a hands on workshop I am in a demo. Then he is having all kinds of technical problems with his machine. We wait and I am impressed with this guys attitude about the hiccups. Did they think we wouldn't notice this freaky thingHe is unruffled, but I have been in the same place and it is tough having the room waiting on tech annoyances. After it is up he explains that he recently updated the version of the software so the whole screen looked different. He did a fine job considering. In the question and answer I ask about file formats and a software that can deal with getting files from many cameras, extracting dvds and dealing with different copyright lock downs. (I am not breaking copyright I am marketing events that are coming to town.) He basically validates that dealing with all that is a mess, there is no magic key software and that I should insist on standard formats. hmpf.

During breaksThe next hands on session had all the laptops downloading a windows update at the same time so the internet was debilitated and no one could get into the software.

I don’t think the hotel internet ever really recovered. Presentations that were planned without it went off without a hitch. Many of the presenters were changing what they were doing on the fly. All with grace but I was feeling for them. The closing speaker was in IT at the Brooklyn Musuem and talked about curating the exhibition Click She would have walked us through the site live to show the interesting results of this exhibition but when the time came the bars would barely move. “I hate technology, I hate technology” as she switched to her screen shots, which to her annoyance don’t scroll.

So I learned lots from the conference which I am putting into a presentation for the rest of my coworkers and a few peers. Personally I learned that in my field there is a definitely a love hate relationship with technology. It is wonderful and fun when it works and keenly frustrating on the flip side.

Pittsburgh was sweet, although I saw way too little of it.

I thought the fountains looked freakish and toxic but I learned it was about breast cancer awareness
Pink!

Pink!

One of the presenters I was chatting with has a terrible form of OCD that forces him to turn paper napkins into flowers if they are around. He made three.
roses

This tree was confusing to us at night since it was blooming in October! During the daylight I realized it was ceramic.
ceramic tree

Life Lists

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

One of the days in LA, I was sitting at Le Pain Quotidien having an amazing breakfast of steel cut oats and organic bread with Claudia. We are talking about about Claudia setting up shop in LA, about bigger things people want out of life, about people wanting fame and glory and what that does to the rest of what you want out of life, about how wanting to have children impacts other things you want out of life. You know usual light breakfast conversation.

Claudia is then talking about an unhealthy distraction she gets periodically sucked in to. She is musing about how it sometimes keeps her from how she wants to live. So I ask her if she writes what she wants down as a reminder. I ask her to make a list on the spot.

“I want have a healthy life. I want to make the time to work on my practice. I want to eat good organic food” at the last statement she laughed like it was the silliest thing in the world to say.

“Why did you just laugh?”

“It isn’t exactly a lofty goal for life. ”

“Umm. Eat well is absolutely on my list. Actually, it is pretty up there too. What is wrong with having a non-lofty happy well balanced life.”

But we were in LA and would probably pass forty people before the morning was out who are striving for a narrow focused movie acting fame. Lofty goals. People want to have big careers, huge success, stellar levels of fame, save the planet, be in the history books. However, the people in my life that have the loftiest goals are really the most miserable I know.

Then I showed her Christopher’s list. I noted that number 4 is “Sleep enough, exercise, eat well.” Can you save the planet after a cheap and crappy McDonald’s meal, doubled over with a rock in your gut? Unlikely. Can you add peace to the world without your own peace? Can you take care of others, neglecting yourself, without building resentment?

I have a friend who was in town for a funeral of her very dear friend and my coworker. He was 48 and it is stunning to lose someone so young. We had dinner and she was talking about how hard it was at his house. She mentioned that they had found a similar list. She shared a few items on his life list and they tore at my heart. In the end did he feel he was able to live to his list?

Dave has a list of things to do before he dies that he won’t add anything to until it is done. I think it is grand.

I like lists. I don’t commonly prioritize them or color code them but they serve me well. I remember when I was heartbroken to have to leave Italy I made a list of everything I was looking forward to in New England: corn, fall, family, skinny dipping, ginger ale. I’ve made pie graphs to see if my life is in balance. At one point my uncle told me to make a list of 100 qualities I wanted in a romantic consort and I would meet someone stellar. It took me a while to make the list and was an interesting process. I have mundane lists and lofty lists.

I feel like I should share a list with you to go with this but I will only share a start. In no particular order here is what I want to keep focus on in my life at the moment.

pursue happiness
balance life (work-play-romance-humor-generosity-health)
take care of myself, eat fabulous food
live in a financially sound way
continue to declutter (brain, home, car, life)
learn things
be conscious of environmental footprint
be great at my job(s), work hard, create, mentor, teach, and communicate well
love freely
be good to my family, friends, community and world
give without regret or resentment, learn not to give if resentment or regret are plausible
create -allocate time for creative endeavors
contribute to the world
learn to receive better
think about maybe someday addressing the judgmental monster in my brain
revel in moments of awe or transcendent experiences
appreciate people, even the hard to take ones

Want to share a list of your own?

Genius Mix

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Recently I upgraded my iTunes to version 8, installed a service pack for my tablet, backed up my computer and other routine neglected things. Two things happened with the combination of updates. The first is that when ever I click a song on iTunes a thwwwpt sound occurs as the Genius Sidebar loads up. This happens even if I am playing a song at the moment and is *highly* annoying. The second is that I love the genius mixes.

I try to make fabulous playlists and it is basically how I listen to music most of the time. Sure when I first get an album I listen to it as a whole a few times. Then I pick songs I like and mix it with stuff I already have. The problem is that when I went digital I had 200 CDs and now I have a lot of music in diverse genres. I have a lot of music I’ve forgotten about. My playlists are overused ruts of yoga music, Buddha Bar, Cake, Modest Mouse and The Shins. I had forgotten I had gotten a Solas CD or that the rest of Nu Afro Beat Experience was awesome.

I was listening to a Genuis mix off of Donna DeLory’s Om Namah Shivayah and a fabulous playlist of music I had been paying attention to came up. From that it turned to a song in the same key from Krishna Das. Christopher said “Christine I like your music even better with this genius thing on.” At first I was a little insulted because I thought my playlist prowess was immense, but the Genius behind the sidebar is even bigger.

If I can get rid of the annoying thwwwpt sound I will be ecstatic.