31 January, 2007
I guess I'm one of the Flickr "Old Skool": Got my account back toward the end of 2004 (I think) and have gotten away with putting off merging my Yahoo! ID with my Flickr account. Yesterday I got the "dreaded FlickrMail" saying that, as of March 15, I'll have to merge my Flickr and Yahoo! IDs and use the Yahoo! ID to sign in or I won't be able to access my account on Flickr. This, along with the announcements on limits on the number of contacts (3,000) and the number of tags (75) has created a massive mosh pit in Flickr Central and the Flickr Help forums.
I'm not going to deal with the issue of contacts and tags here, as I cannot imagine ever being able to keep up with 3,000 contacts or slapping dozens of tags on each photo and still maintain my sanity. As to the "forced" merger, however, the reactions seem to range from people who resist ANY change, to people who think anyone who complains about the merger is a whiner and should shut the hell up and leave Flickr, to people who have held their nose and merged their accounts and so far, so good to, well, people like me who are really in two minds about the whole thing.
I certainly have my philosophical issues with Yahoo! and how they use my personal information. But I've had my Yahoo! account for YEARS, so that's kind of trying to slam the barn door shut after the horse is running loose. I do have two concerns, however, that I hope are fully resolved by the time March 15 rolls around and I HAVE to merge:
1) Will Yahoo! respect my cc license? Trying to parse the leagalese in Yahoo!'s TOS left me believing that, yes, if my image is licensed All Rights Reserved, they won't use my photo(s) for any commercial purpose without my expressed consent. However, today some users discovered that wii.yahoo.com was using ALL images tagged wii, even those marked All Rights Reserved. Granted, Yahoo! admitted making an error and reconfigured so only properly-licensed images were displayed, but I wonder if that would have happened had there not been such an angry reaction from the Flickr community (i.e., people tagging ALL of their photos "wii", people uploading images tagged "wii" that called Yahoo! thieves, etc.)
OK, so my images aren't all THAT great and the possibility of Yahoo! plucking any of them to sell their product is probably one of the least of my worries, but it is a concern that needs to be resolved. I'm just not wholly convinced that the snagging of ALL images with a given tag was a simple accident or oversight.
2) Yahoo! is notorious for deactivating a user's account for Gods knows what reason. Maybe inactivity, maybe the user forgot the password (or had the CAPS LOCK on and didn't notice) or some violation of Yahoo!'s TOS, whatever. The problem is, when a Yahoo! account gets deactivated, my understanding is that the merged Flickr account also gets deleted. If I have PAID for a year's worth of Flickr service (which I *just* did before the merger kerfuffle), deleting my--hang on a sec, let me go look--1,300+ photos is a big-time NO-NO, especially given Flickr's No Refunds policy. Yeah, I have all of my images on any combination of hard drives and CDs, but if for some reason I have problems signing into my Yahoo!/Flickr account and Yahoo! decides to just deactivate me, I'm gonna be hella pissed if my account and all those photos gets deleted.
As of about 9:45 tonight, I haven't seen a definitively reassuring answer that if the Yahoo! sign in goes floopy that my Flickr account won't be zapped before the sign in issue gets resolved (which, given Yahoo!'s notoriously pokey and un-helpful customer support, could take quite a while).
And that's really pretty much it for my concerns about merging. I just want to know that my photos are being protected as much as possible (given they're on the internets and are generally fair game for anyone who can right-click on an image...etc., etc.)
editing to add something very important: I do want to commend Flickr staff. They've taken a hell of a lot of abuse in the forums and have done their best to answer users' concerns as timely and accurately as they can. I know times like this it's hard to keep a sense of humour (especially when you're fighting to keep the sense of perspective amid all the hyperbole being flung about). I hope that the worst of it is over soon.
And, hey, isn't it about time for the Flickr Turns THREE party???
(cross-posted on VisualCues)
29 January, 2007
You were a beautiful, brave horse and you will be missed by your fans.
My thoughts are with his owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, and the veterinary staff who cared for him after his horrific accident at the Preakness. They walked that thin line that every animal caretaker treads at some point: Sticking in and fighting for Barbaro's life, but only as long as it was something where Barbaro could win. When Barbaro let them know he couldn't go on, they did the right thing by ending his suffering.
Rest now, beautiful colt. Then you can run and run and run and not have to worry about your body betraying you any more.
28 January, 2007
Oh yeah. Laundry at 6:30 a.m. (you need to keep odd hours to get into the laundry room on weekends), which is 20 pounds of schlepping from one end of the apartment complex to the other and back.
Then running all over trying to find chipotle peppers to send to the BFF who lives in chipotle-less Manchester, England. I finally found them at the Annoying Alameda Yuppie Market. They had one bag. ONE. And I got it! Yay!
Then, I had an eggplant in the fridge that I needed to do something with and for some reason I had a bee in my bonnet to make eggplant and zucchini lasagna. I had forgotten how labour-intensive lasagna is (especially when I don't use the no-boil noodles). About an hour into the process, I remembered why I only make lasagna once every five years or so. It sure is tasty, though! But next weekend I'll go for something less fussy...like risotto milanese (mmmmmmm, cheesy-saffron-y goodness!).
Both cats are zonked out and I don't know why because neither of them did any household chores or cooking today!
It's been a very rough week on my friends and their furkids. One friend had one of her cats mauled by her dogs and G&T's beautiful Miss Kitty had to be euthanized after she developed breast cancer and got suddenly very ill. Another friend is facing the end of the life expectancy for her 2 hamsters and I learned that an online acquaintence had recently had to euthanize his cat after a bout of stomach cancer.
Simon and Billie are having difficulty understanding why mom is hugging them a lot more all of a sudden. I'm just so damn grateful to have these two furkids in my life that I won't even let myself imagine my life without them. That would be just too awful.
Tonight we honour those furry cherished ones who have left our world. Whatever it is that's on the "other side", it will be so much more beautiful for having them. We honour the humans they've left behind and hope that their hearts heal quickly. And we send love and good healing happy thoughts to anyone who is unwell today, whether they're furry, finned, feathered or human.
Love and peace from Simon, Billie and Vicster.
23 January, 2007
January pretty much SUCKS.
The short list:
* My work, academic and artistic "careers" are in a death spiral;
* A former co-worker was murdered in his home (only to have the local cops declare him a druggie and/or a dealer which is just so fucking NOT TRUE);
* My friend's cat just died a horrible, tragic death;
* And I'm sick of scraping ice off my windshield every morning. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area for crying out loud, NOT MINNESOTA!
I really, REALLY must stop here.
21 January, 2007
For my friends in the Bay Area who finally got to enjoy a nice warm day after nearly a month of Arctic temperatures:
Labels: waxing nostalgic
Simon's food obsession seems to have emerged as the theme late this week in the 365-day photography project. In the image on the left, Simon has just finished the first half of his supper and is now pouting because he is starving--TO DEATH!--and I'd rather take pictures than feed my poor, starving kitten. In the image on the right, he is trying to swipe my English muffin off of the counter.
Meal time is always a challenge (as I'm SURE I've mentioned several hundred times on this blog), especially so because Simon is usually finished inhaling his kibble in fifteen seconds, but Miss Dainty Billie takes ages to eat. And if there is a kibble in a dish anywhere in the house, Simon wants it. So I usually spend up to an hour a day trying various tactics to keep Simon from stealing Billie's food while she's eating it.
Thursday evening Billie was eating the rest of her kibble in the kitchen while I kept Simon just on the other side of the doorway. I could see his frustration rise while I danced and bobbed-and-weaved from side to side, blocking his attempts at entering the kitchen. He finally got so frustrated that he nipped at my foot, then he sat down and hissed. AT MY FOOT! This is the funny dynamic of our relationship: He hissed at my foot and he nipped at my foot because he is able to separate that from hissing and biting at ME, which he has NEVER done. My foot was in his face, but "Mom" was all the way up there, so they are two different entities. When I acknowledged him hissing at
me my foot with mock astonishment and emotional distress, he ducked his head and looked up at me with those huge green eyes as if to say, "I'm sorry, mommy. I'm really sorry! I just didn't realize YOU were up there!"
We nose kissed and made up, and then Billie was finished with her supper and Simon ditched me for the crumbs in her dish.
One of my favourite 60's American/Folk bands was The Mamas and The Papas. They started off as one of my mom's favourite groups, but I remember, when I was a tiny tot hearing their songs on the radio, being absolutely mesmerised by the harmonies. There may have been other groups harmonizing in the 60's, but none did it as perfectly as The Mamas and The Papas. Listening to them as an adult, I "discovered" Denny Doherty's beautiful voice as he sang the male lead on their songs. Folksy, yes, but there is an unmistakable "Irish crooner" quality in his voice, too, clear and silky smooth.
Denny Doherty passed away late last week, after a brief illness. He will be missed, but, thanks to a catalog of great music, his voice will never be silenced.
19 January, 2007
Your Inner European is French!
Smart and sophisticated.
You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.
Labels: personality quiz
17 January, 2007
My office builiding had a fire drill this morning. I forgot we were having a fire drill today, otherwise I might have left the camera at home, rather than dragging it all over the buildling with me. However, once I saw this message that someone had obviously spent some time painting on the roof of a nearby building, I was damn glad I had my camera with me!
For those of you who have difficulty reading sideways, the mural reads:
Bush: Stop bombing civilians
End the occupation & torture
Be a leader
Inspire hope (not) fear!
Can't argue with that.
14 January, 2007
Because life just doesn't have enough challenges, I signed up for the non-human version of the 365 Days* project on flickr. Which means at least ONE photo of the furkids EVERY DAY FOR A WHOLE YEAR! Because, you know, I just don't post enough photos of Simon and Billie on my flickr photostream.
For a cat who used to love hamming it up for the camera, he's not too happy about the prospect of my daily attempt at shooting a nice, lovely portrait of him. It's especially surprising since he gets so many mash notes from his flickr fans who want to shower him in smooches and treats (these are people who have never been jolted awake by having him drool on their eyelids).
Both of the furkids seem resigned to participating in this project because I have just enough of a photographic arsenal that, even if they manage to "accidentally" send one camera flying into a nearby wall, I've got several more on stand-by. As for the people who visit my flickr photostream...well, they either love me (and the cats), or they gave up on me a lonnnnng time ago.
So...here's to365 days of Simon and Billie!
(*because I'm generally ALWAYS late to the table for these things, my 365 days started on 9 January, 2007)
12 January, 2007
"Dammit Billie! Quit getting under my feet! Do I LOOK like I have eyes in my kneecaps, fer chrissakes???
11 January, 2007
Neighbours have a doggie visiting them. Yay! Neighbours have gone away and left the doggie guest at their apartment. With the window open. Doggie guest misses the humans and has been shriek-barking, virtually non-stop, for about an hour now.
Bad Humans! Bad!
07 January, 2007
Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant Ramen noodles, has died.
I remember a time in my life where I pretty much existed on Ramen. And the joy I felt that one magic night, when I discovered that frozen Chinese vegetables made a really nice addition to my Ramen soup. Thanks to that discovery, I COULD HAVE DINNER PARTIES!
Rest in peace, Mr. Ando.
...he gets by on his gorgeous looks.
I'm in the sloppy stages of a head cold, and, after a lengthy photo stroll around the Navy Base yesterday, my sinuses were kicking up a major fuss. This time, it felt more like allergies than cold, but whatever it was, I had had quite enough of the sneezing (or trying to sneeze) and, in desperation, took a Benadryl before going to bed.
Which means that I'm utterly worthless today. Which meant that, though I managed to serve His Highness his breakfast reasonably on time this morning, I really needed to go back to bed. That did not sit well with His Highness. I desperately needed to sleep off the Benadryl, but Simon was determined that I should be out of bed and paying attention to him. So he abused me with his tail, he slobbered on my face and he repeatedly got on the dresser (which he knows is absolutely verboten).
Three hours of minimal, fitful rest, many harsh words and Simon's naughty deeds later, I gave up and got up, cursing like I do when the Benadryl leaves me evil-tempered.
I decided to have an English muffin; Simon tried to stick his paw in the butter because he thought it was Chevre goat cheese, which is his New Favourite Food in the Whole World. "Simon, CHOOSE LIFE!" I told him, redirecting his paw before it landed in the middle of the butter. He immediately went into the living room and bit Billie, because, you know, it's ALL HER FAULT. That got him a very loud lecture, punctuated by a couple of blasts from the compressed air can, on how he is certainly NOT allowed to bite his sister, ever, and especially not when HE is the one who is being naughty.
I had to quickly inhale the English muffin and barely rescued my cup of tea from his prodding paw. At this point, I was too exhausted to yell or lecture or do anything more than roll my eyes. When he realized he was not getting any muffin or tea, Simon went and took a nap (he had, after all, had a very busy morning).
I happened to notice the noisemaker from New Year's Eve sitting on my stereo speaker. As soon as he was sound asleep, I let loose with an almighty "PFFFFFWEEETTTAAAAWWWWWTTTTTT!!!", causing Simon to shed one or two of his nine lives. He looked at me like, "WTF do you think you're doing?"
I smiled at him and said, "NOW, we're even."
03 January, 2007
But this is. (Alternatively, you can clickie the linkie that says "Photography" in the left side bar to reach Visual Cues.)
I've been in the process of re-doing Visual Cues for months now and was just not getting anywhere. While a photo blog was the basic plan, I hadn't planned to do it in Blogger because of the various, um...issues they seem to be having with beta (well, technically, it's not "beta" anymore). However, I got tired of trying to wrestle with WordPress and, for the time being, it's gonna be in Blogger. At some point, probably after the next school term is over, I will just try to write a WordPress stylesheet and template from scratch, rather than keep wrestling with the default template (as several sites and a book or two suggested I do).
Of course, I will still post photos here: Simon Sunday just wouldn't be right without a photo of Simon (or Billie, when appropriate), after all! But Thinking Out Loud was starting to look like a photo blog and I wanted to rein that in before it got out of hand.
I now return you to your regular programming.
You know how the curb is painted all red and stuff and it says "No Parking"? That's because you're not supposed to park your big-ass truck with the big-ass trailer there! Not that you let a little bit like that stop you, forcing me to park my car out on the street (the street where no car is safe from the idiotic drivers along the 8th/Central/Westline corridor). If anything happens to my car while it's out there, I'm holding your crew responsible.
And the fact that you've ruined the back yard by tearing out our Goddess Tree (poor Simon still looks for it, wondering where she's hiding) and replaced it with...mud. Oh, yeah, and a nice trench just off of my back stairs where you've laid the pipes for the sprinkler system. You know, that trench that's been there for NEARLY A MONTH; the one where one missed step and it's several weeks in a leg cast? Yeah, that's the one! Cover the damn thing up, already!
Lastly, can I tell you just how much I appreciate having the quiet of my morning shattered by the droning of your gas-powered mowers and blowers? No, actually, I cannot tell you that because I DON'T APPRECITATE IT AT ALL! Nor do I appreciate you blowing dirt all over my car (no matter where the poor thing is parked). Thank goodness the cold prevented me from gagging on the exhaust from your equipment.
Oooh! One more thing: Thank you so much for waiting until I was about to lie down to try and sleep off this damn cold before you started...what the hell is it you're doing out there, throwing chain-link fencing around? That's. Really. SWELL.
The sudden and insatiable craving for salsa and/or tomato-based pasta sauce was the ultimate clue that I have been fighting a cold.
The cold won.
01 January, 2007
So, 2006 is over. It was an interesting year for me. It seemed as though it was going to pick up right where 2005 left off, which was NOT a good thing. The second half of the year was so completely different from the first half that it seems like two different lives, let alone two different years, or two different halves of a year.
To my amazing friends who made 2006 a good year after all, thank you and I love you all!
To everyone, may 2007 be our best year, ever!