29 June, 2007
She not only objected to leading with the story of Paris Hilton, she flat-out REFUSED to read it, even going so far as to try to set fire to the copy! It's one glimmer of light in the dimness that is the mainstream media.
Which Western feminist icon are you?
You are Angela Davis! You were the THIRD WOMYN IN HISTORY to appear on the FBI's Most Wanted List. You are a communinist, black power-lovin' lady who shook up the United States when you refused to lie down quietly to oppression. You WENT TO JAIL! Wow. You kick so much more ass than Foxxy Brown.
Take this quiz!
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Labels: personality quiz
28 June, 2007
I got to the dock this morning and...no Chickie.
I'm way more upset about this than I thought I'd be (or should be). It could be that I was already generally upset and agitated this week and this is just the turd on top.
I hold out hope that Chickie and its siblings are sheltered at a different location, but...
27 June, 2007
Sadly, the nest of three chicks is down to just one chick. But this chick is soooo effin' cute that I have become completely besotted with it! So, now I bring you, "Chickie":
Mommy, watch! I lernz the Chicken Dance!!!
Iz gud, huh Mommy?
A sweet moment between Mom and Chickie:
...and he brought take-away food!
I can has regurgitated fish?
Dad! Watch me Dad! I lernz the Chicken Dance! R-U WATCHIN', DAD???
That is all.
25 June, 2007
...that is requiring increasing amounts of chocolate and ibuprofen. Gah!
24 June, 2007
Damn. Rod Beck was an old favourite of mine, one of those "characters" that made watching baseball interesting. I'm sad his life was cut so short but I truly hope he managed to fight off the demons that plagued him during his career and that he died peaceful and happy.
Simon and I were enjoying a nice, Sunday morning lie-in. While I snoozed, he purred and curled his body around my head. He dozed off with a big, purring sigh. Our idyllic peace was disrupted by the rumbling of this monstrosity pulling up outside our front window.
Already wrapped tightly around my head, Simon got upset and, as he does, clung more tightly to my head which, painfully, included slightly digging his claws into my scalp. To my credit, I did not yelp in pain, but stroked his chin lightly while he relaxed his "grip" on my head.
Evidently, the Roto-Rooter crew is digging a big hole in the front courtyard. I don't know WHY they're digging a hole as no one from building management has posted or sent a notice telling us that we should not expect to be able to hear ourselves think today. But every so often, they stop digging, turn off the CAT (Simon argues that it most certainly is NOT a cat) and discussing the digging of said hole.
Given his aversion to machinery that is big and loud and sounds like it might just eat kitties, Simon has been most unhappy today. He just got himself comfortable in his basket when they cranked up the digger again and he retreated to his "safety spot" just outside the bedroom door. Billie has also taken cover under the chair. As for me, I've given up on trying to work on tasks that require a lot of focus and concentration and am just glad they haven't shut off the water the the building. Yet.
20 June, 2007
I don't know what the heck the workmen are doing on the floor below us but, whatever it is, it makes the building sound as if it has developed severe gastrointestinal distress.
19 June, 2007
Seagull chicks!!! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! They are soooooo effin' cute!!!
No, there's really no news to report from Simon's Head. I just
wanted needed to take a moment to say how amazingly fucking LUCKY I am: My beautiful furkids are healthy, happy and safe.
Our thoughts today are with our friends: G, whose kitty has been missing for a week now, and K whose kitty had surgery today.
17 June, 2007
I went over to IKEA yesterday to pick up a small set of shelves for my bedroom. On my way to the pick-up aisles and check-out registers, I came across these adorable kitty tents in the pet section and just could NOT pass this up! (It even has a big tail attached to the back! How cute is that?)
I had no more than pulled the tent from the package and set it up on the floor before Simon climbed right in and made himself at home. I tried to get Billie to check it out later on, but I think she is afraid that if she goes in it she'll end up at the V-E-T. Or, worse, that Simon will corner her in there.
But for Simon, last night the tent took his evening Cat Crazies to a whole new level! He would crawl inside and hunch down, then with a loud "MWOW!" he'd fly out of the tent and run around the apartment like the nutbar he is! One time he didn't get a clean take-off and got his big butt caught on the tent opening, carrying it half way across the living room and then freaking out because OH NOES!!1! THE BIG RED KITTY WAS CHASING HIM!!@1!!
In other Simon Shenanigans News, I just caught a glance at Buster, the old graphite iMac that I use to store and process my photos. I see that Simon has taken it upon himself to rename one of my folders to "yttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttnnnnnnnn" (you know, I'm afraid I might have missed a few t's in that name). I think I'll have Simon come up with some new passwords for me, too. He has a certain knack for it.
This has been a bad, bad week in the Flickrverse. Earlier in the week (Tuesday, I believe) they rolled out their multi-language localization feature. This project was a huge undertaking, not just in terms of writing code, but also bringing staff on board in seven different countries and training them. But, this exciting new rollout had a very nasty side-effect: Users in Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong and Germany suddenly could only view Flickr in "Safe Search" mode. This means that any images marked "moderate" or "restricted" are blocked from view for users who are signed up through the local Yahoo! domain (such as yahoo.de for those in Germany as well as part of Austria and Switzerland).
Understandably, there has been outrage over this "censorship". At last check, the topic in the help forum on Flickr had over 3,000 comments and topics have been added in countless other groups and more censorship protest groups have been created and there are hundreds, no, thousands, of protest images on the site. At last check Flickr staff have acknowledged that they realized that the language rollout would have some unfortunate consequences and that they actually considered holding off on including Germany in the rollout but at the last minute decided to move forward with Germany in the mix. So I've tried to piece this together as best I can, given what little information I can find (the signal to noise ratio in the forums is disappointingly skimpy), this is the best sequence of events I can construct:
1. A few months ago, Flickr added a content filtering feature known as Safe Search. This allows users to select the level of "safe" content they wish to view on Flickr. For instance, the much maligned kittens, babies and sunsets would be generally marked "safe", while a partially nude person might be marked "moderate" and porn or especially violent images would be marked "restricted".
2. The Flickr/Yahoo merge was more or less finalized when the Old Skool users (like myself) had to switch to using a Yahoo! ID to log onto Flickr.
3. June 12, 2007: The localized language roll out (and especially Germany's very tough age restriction laws) had a head-on collision with Safe Search and users in several of the newly-localized countries found that they could not select any viewing mode other than Safe.
4. Part of the fallout from the collision is that Flickr/Yahoo! had to amend their Terms of Service to reflect this unfortunate change. Other than that quiet amendment to the TOS, Flickr was largely silent about exactly how significantly altered the users' experience was going to be.
5. Protests begin.
Let me make something perfectly clear right here: IMO, Flickr made a very horrible mistake by not immediately and clearly communicating with the community that 1) the new localized rollout would mean users in four of the seven added countries would be restricted from seeing "moderate" or "restricted" content, and 2) they couldn't roll back the localization feature once it was implemented but that they were working on a fix.
A lot of people didn't like the Safe Search feature when it was implemented because of concerns that it would generally restrict users' ability to view all Flickr content. I disagree with this: I see this as a way for users to control their own experience. If a user wants to see nudity, they can choose to do so. If a user would prefer to not be confronted with random genitalia (or have their children confronted with it) or graphically violent images, then they can elect to restrict that sort of content. (It is also handy for users peeking in on Flickr at work who don't want to have a bunch of NSFW images on screen just as the boss walks by.) The best part of the Safe Search implementation was that Flickr staff were no longer compelled to mark someone's account NIPSA for having "objectionable" content (which ranged anywhere from porn to non-photographic images). So, from the standpoint that it gives the individual user the control--and responsiblity--over what content they see and how they label their own content, I think Safe Search is a Good Thing.
Localizing Flickr in several European and Asian countries is also, I believe, a Good Thing. Probably the best reason for having staff in these seven additional countries is that users can expect a faster response time to questions and problems by going to their local staff and not having to wait several hours until Flickr staff return to the office. It also means that users can use Flickr in their native language and not be forced to use the site in English.
Sadly, the combination of these two independently positive features--with a sprinkling of regional laws added to the mix--was a recipe for disaster (how's THAT for mixing metaphors at 1:40 a.m.???) As I said, my best guess is that by the time Flickr (and Yahoo!) staff realized this it was probably too late to do a thorough re-coding to work around the problem. Based on my casual acquaintence with several members of the Flickr staff, I have little doubt that the decision to move forward with Germany in the rollout was not made lightly. It may be that they thought a quick tweaking of the TOS would be sufficient to get them by while they took a look at the code and figured a way to play the hand they dealt themselves.
To ask me if I'm in favor of censorship would be like asking me if I'm in favor of child abuse. Of COURSE I abhor it! Of COURSE I'm upset that thousands of paid Pro users--who are adults--can no longer control what content they see on Flickr and of COURSE I'm frustrated that Flickr staff didn't communicate this drastic policy change sooner.
However, what has happened on Flickr over the last four or five days sickens me. The forums have been flooded with protest threads, I've lost count of how many images have been posted of guys wanking with "CENSORED" printed across them. The photo streams of Flickr staff were inundated with protest images and personal attacks and users are uploading more protest images and tagging them with the names of Flickr staff. The help forum thread about the censorship immediately degenerated into a verbal mosh pit. There are some people who are trying to have a reasoned discussion about the problem, why it's happening, etc., only to be shouted down by others who insist that there is no such law in Germany that restricts viewing nudity and even so it's never been enforced--that is, if there, uh, IS such a law. WHICH THERE ISN'T (they insist). As if all of the screaming and thinly-disguised anti-Americanism wasn't sickening enough, this sudden inability to view pictures of a woman's bare tits HAS BEEN COMPARED TO THE HOLOCAUST and to TORTURE! See, my government actually engages in torturing people, so I am particularly sensitive to that comparison and as to the Holocaust comparison (someone actually quoted the "First they came for the Jews" poem!)...that, to me, is the low point of self-absorption.
As I come to the end of this very long post, I realize I haven't included any links, for which I hope you'll forgive me because I'm really too fried to sift through > 3,000 forum posts and countless thousands of censorship protest images at 2:15 a.m.
I sincerely hope that Stewart Butterfield and the Flickr (and Yahoo!) group can come to a globally-satisfactory resolution on this very quickly. I think one of the huge lessons that we all should take from this awful experience is that, in a global community such as Flickr, there really is no middle-of-the-road, no happy medium. How can there be, when one part of the globe takes no issue with photos of full-frontal nudity, while another part of the world finds a woman's bare head obscene? How do you write code for a midline that shifts, not just globally, but even here in the United States? If the Flickr team can figure out a way to effectively do that then they will OWN Web 2.0!
But, for now, I'm backing away from Flickr a bit. I've realized over the last 36 (actually, closer to 46 now) hours that I can't seem log on to the site without a feeling of tremendous anxiety, anger, frustration, despair, etc. As much as I love Flickr, at the end of the day, IT'S JUST A WEB SITE! I fear I'm losing perspective of that and it's time to take a step back and then return to Flickr when I can sign in without feeling my throat closing up.
(cross-posted at VisualCues)
14 June, 2007
Bravo you, in your Prius, all saving the environment and shit. It's great that you and your fellow hybrid vehicle drivers get stickers to use the carpool lane, even if it's just you, the driver, in your vehicle*.
However, I am fairly certain that the Department of Transportation (or the DMV or whoever sends out the stickers) does not issue stickers to hybrid drivers allowing them to RUN THE FUCKING STOP SIGNS.
(*Though I would think that, if hybrid drivers were really all THAT concerned with helping protect the environment they would eschew the sticker and head straight over to the bus stops and BART stations and, you know, ACTUALLY PICK UP PEOPLE AND CARPOOL. Yeah, I know, that's just crazy-talk.)
13 June, 2007
I have to say, the part of me that is concerned for the environment is horrified by the sight of the balloon floating in the Bay. But, in my artistic opinion, it makes for a damn fine image! Which I was able to get because I was on one of Blue & Gold Fleet's old, slooooowwww, buckets. Word to my fellow Alameda/Oakland commuters: If you miss the 5:20 boat and you see a boat called Old Blue docking for the 5:45/5:50 run, do yourself a favour and go back into the Ferry Building and get yourself a snack and then catch the 6:30 boat. Because, seriously, you would only lose about 10 or 15 minutes by waiting. Oy vey!
Anyway, beautiful day (80 degrees back in Alameda!), nice, if slow, ferry ride and, as always, loads of photo ops!
I LOVE my commute! (In case you hadn't noticed...)
I pulled into the Main Street Ferry Terminal in Alameda this morning and was just about to back into my selected parking space when I looked over and saw a Mama Duck and her two babies in the parking spot next to the one I was about to back into. She hesitated and, when she was certain I was going to wait, led her charges across the parking lot and into the channel for breakfast. One of the kids plopped right into the water and started toodling around, but the one in this photo took more convincing. At last Mama Duck coaxed this one into the water and they swam around picking breakfast out of the mollusks on the pier pilings.
Seeing this sweet little family brought me so much joy this morning, made even better by the gorgeous weather (no jacket needed--not even out in the middle of the San Francisco Bay!).
11 June, 2007
10 June, 2007
The last two or three weeks have been very emotionally exhausting. We've had seven very dear friends (four furry, three human) leave us recently: Sweet Miranda Joy Kitty passed away Easter Sunday. A couple of weeks ago, G&T moved an hour's drive south with their lovely furkids, Francine and Phoebe. A week and a half ago, I said farewell to Miranda's brother Magic Cat, who has moved to Colorado, and 90 minutes ago I said farewell to Magic's Mom, B, who will be joining Magic in Colorado tomorrow.
It's not "good-bye" and I will certainly be seeing G&T and Phoebe and Francine in a couple of weeks and B and Magic as soon as I can feasibly find a kitty sitter and find a way to get to Colorado. But the emotional toll finally caught up with me about an hour ago. Suddenly, I was just so unbelievably tired--emotionally and physically. And, now that I'm home and don't have to be concerned about holding it together, I'm weepy.
Sounds to me like a good time to put the computer to sleep and soak up some furkid love. Especially since Simon just jumped onto my desk and is trying to sit on my hands to stop me typing...
08 June, 2007
I love my commute!
it's a bird! it's a plane! it's a...
Originally uploaded by Planet Vicster.
cross-posted on VisualCues (with a larger-sized photo).
Uhhhh, I dunno...
You Are Definitely a Hot Chick
While your little black book isn't as thick as Paris Hilton's...
You get the most dates of any girl you know
It's your whole five star package that attracts men -
Your looks, your charm, and your ability tie a cherry with your tongue.
Well, DUH! (though I prefer my little island nation of Alameda to The City these days)
You Belong in San Francisco
You crave an eclectic, urban environment. You're half California, half NYC.
You're open minded, tolerant, and secretly think you're the best.
People may dismiss you as a hippie, but you're also progressive, interesting, and rich!
You Are Surrealism
Dreamy and idealistic, you've created a world that is all your own.
It's very likely that you've either dabbled in drugs or are naturally trippy.
You are always trying to push beyond the boundaries of your culture and society.
You believe that art, love, and freedom can change the world.
**sigh** If only it were that simple:
You Will Be a Cool Parent
You seem to naturally know a lot about parenting, and you know what kids need.
You can tell when it's time to let kids off the hook, and when it's time to lay down the law.
While your parenting is modern and hip, it's not over the top.
You know that there's nothing cool about a parent who acts like a teenager... or a drill sergeant!
I, uh, yeah:
You Don't Have a Boyfriend Because You are Too Shy
When a guy gets to know you, he finds a great catch
Problem is... you're too shy for most guys to get to know.
From meeting someone to dating, you usually have your guard up.
And while you're just holding back, it makes you seem like you've got something to hide.
Lemme renew that passport!
You Are a Smart American
You know a lot about US history, and you're opinions are probably well informed.
Congratulations on bucking stereotypes. Now go show some foreigners how smart Americans can be.
Welcome to my Soul Room, but don't move stuff around, mmmk?thx.
What Your Soul Really Looks Like
You are quite expressive and thoughtful. You see the world in a way that others are blind to.
You are a grounded person, but you also leave room for imagination and dreams. You feet may be on the ground, but you're head is in the clouds.
You see yourself with pretty objective eyes. How you view yourself is almost exactly how other people view you.
Your near future is calm, relaxing, and pretty much what you want. And it's something you've been anticipating for a while now.
For you, love is all about caring and comfort. You couldn't fall in love with someone you didn't trust.
Your Animal Personality
Your Power Animal: Shark
Animal You Were in a Past Life: Polar Bear
You have a strong character - you are an aggressive, ambitious, go-getter.
You were born to lead.
Dude! WTF??? No Way!
You Are Elmo
Sweet and innocent, you expect everyone to adore you. And they usually do!
You are usually feeling: Talkative. You've got tons of stories to tell. And when you aren't talking, you're laughing.
You are famous for: Being popular, though no one knows why. Middle aged women especially like you.
How you life your life: With an open heart. "Elmo loves you!"
Will you still be my friend, Tim???
You Are Most Like Bill Clinton
No doubt, your legacy may be a little seedier than you'd like.
But even though you've done some questionable things, you're still loved by almost all.
...my intuition tells me it's time for bed:
You Are 84% Intuitive
Your intuition is so spot on it's scary!
You can learn a lot about people and situations, simply by listening to your gut.
And you've even wondered if you can predict the future at times.
Just be sure not to always listen to your intuition... someday it could be wrong!
Labels: personality quiz
Wife: Yes, actually, it is rather obnoxious that you frequently jump the queue, even if it is to stand next to your husband. Why not travel to the ferry terminal together? Or, if that is not possible, bring a book to read in line so that you might be able to tolerably pass those ten minutes in line not tethered to your husband.
Aggrieved Woman: I sympathise with you not appreciating people cutting in front of you, to a point. If Wife's cutting really hindered the ability of the rest of us to board the ferry then your point about her "stealing (your and the people behind you's) time" is valid. However, I've observed you over the last several months and notice that you choose to spend an inordinate amount of your time complaining that Wife cuts in front of you (and, yes, the other four people) or that some other woman didn't scootch over far enough on the bench for your convenience, or any number of things that your fellow passengers don't do to make YOUR trip more enjoyable. And, you know, that's cool 'cos it's your time and if that's how you want to spend it then, fine (just don't be put off if other people choose to spend THEIR time not catering to your every demand). And, really, if losing a couple of seconds out of your morning because you have ONE MORE PERSON to follow down the dock is the worst thing that happens to you today, then I'd say you've had a damn fine day!
Husband: Dude. Please tell me you weren't on the debate team in school! Really, you should have stopped at, "my wife can stand here with me if she wants to!" But you had to follow up with, "You're just an annoying little gnat!"??? Jeebus, dude, it's a commuter ferry dock, not a schoolyard! You'll never win an argument with an ad hominem: However, if your goal was to sound silly, congratulations.
But thank you all for providing a nice, comedic break to everyone's morning!
07 June, 2007
You Are Chardonnay
Fresh, spirited, and classic - you have many facets to your personality.
You can be sweet and light. Or deep and complex.
You have a little bit of something to offer everyone... no wonder you're so popular.
Approachable and never smug, you are easy to get to know (and love!).
Deep down you are: Dependable and modest
Your partying style: Understated and polite
Your company is enjoyed best with: Cold or wild meat
Labels: personality quiz
My humble little domain is now blocked in China.
edited to add: I wonder if it's a "technical" issue as I've tried a couple of domains that China shouldn't even show up on their radar and they come up as blocked, too. I'll check it again in a few days, if I've a mind to...
04 June, 2007
Alternate title: Why I Love Minor League Sports
Mississippi Braves manager Phillip Wellman goes batshit crazy after the plate umpire ejects his pitcher for allegedly using a foreign substance. As a spectator, I think it's fucking hilarious. As a player, I dunno...I'd probably be halfway between amused and horrified.
03 June, 2007
Really, would you want to sit at a computer when you have this big ball of fluffy cuteness wanting to play and snuggle???