Friday, December 26, 2008

How dreary to be somebody...

It's odd. I've spent over a decade online, and have been perfectly happy posting rather private information to thousands of strangers.

Yesterday, however, I had a rather... disconcerting experience. Twittering on a #feed to a bunch of fellow flybabies (people who use the techniques for organization, etc, of the site and someone on my Facebook asked me what #flylady was about. It's not that I'm reticent to talk up Flylady, since she and her site have been quite helpful in dealing with my ADD-like executive function problems. But it was an odd feeling to be forcibly reminded that stuff I'm doing here, or on twitter, might show up in Facebook, or Plaxo, or elsewhere, on someone's feed.

What comes to mind is from John M Ford's classic "Final Reflection" in which the saying recurs: "If I had not wanted it heard, I would not have said it." The society is one of constant observation, cameras, bugs, etc, but it applies to the Internet as well - that what I post here, or anywhere on a social network, now, will show up in unexpected places.

Although I *know* this... occasionally, I find it discomforting. Too public. Too many people following what I'm saying - and not just strangers; people I know!

As Emily Dickinson put it:
“How dreary - to be - somebody!
How public - like a frog -
to tell your name - the livelong June -
to an admiring bog!”


Thursday, December 11, 2008

One of my favorite people is having a sale of shinies

Elise does the most awesome jewelry. Gorgeous beadwork and delightful wire wrap, etc. Go see her stuff. They make great Yule gifts!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Too much stuff

So I'm doing a leave of absence for the winter quarter from school. Just too much stuff needs to happen RIGHT BLEEPING NOW (where, NOW, means now and for the next couple of months.) Things should settle down by March, but in the meantime, just doing what I need to do to keep my head above water. I just do not have time for classes and homework and tests and papers on top of everything else in my life right now.

I'm just glad it's an option.

Yeah, this puts the graduation back a bit, but, as a transfer, there were too many core classes for my major that I would have had to make up next year anyway. So this way, I can focus on doing everything right, rather than trying to do everything at once and doing a half-a$$ed job of it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

If you use iwantsandy

iwantsandy's creator, Rael Dornfest, got a new gig. Sandy's giving her two week notice...

If you need an alternative, RemembertheMilk is pretty good. Not as personal, but reliable... and there's an iPhone version.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How right they are...

The analysis indicates that the author of is of the type:
INTP - The Thinkers
The logical and analytical type. They are especialy attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Doing my part...

Just spent a couple of hours volunteering doing data entry at the Obama campaign. ok...
<\crossing fingers> It's really hard to type with crossed fingers... ;-)

Tomorrow, we're off to Berkeley to look at pythons. Yeah - the snake. We may be bringing home a python for the household. That would be *sweet*. And our local petfudstore sells mousecicles. (Frozen mice.)

Time to wind down now with a book and then off to bed...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Got this on several Stanford e-lists

Native American and German Ancestry donor needed
From: Caren McCormack < >
Subject: Urgent donor needed

Hi all,

I am writing you with a very serious and urgent request. My friend, a local mother of three and elementary school teacher, is fighting for her life. In January 2008, she was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), the same leukemia I battled. After five rounds of intensive chemo, her cancer returned. It was then doctors found she had been misdiagnosed and was actually fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Because she has received so much chemo already, her body will not handle the normal course of treatment for ALL.

She needs a bone marrow transplant to save her life. And she needs it soon. Currently there is no match for her on the national donor database or on international databases. She is looking for someone of Native American AND German ancestry . The percent of each heritage is not important.

Two action items:

1. If you fit this description and are willing to help, would you please contact me? You must be between 18 and 60 and healthy to give. You can be tested for free via a simple cheek swab you can do at home.

2. If you don't fit this description, could you please forward this email to others? I'm convinced there's a donor out there. We just need to cast the net wide enough.

Please help us find someone.



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama

This is worth listening to - what a great way to explain his decision.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Learning and Cognition class thoughts

In my"Topics in learning and cognition: innovation and discovery" class, we've got a number of readings coming up but for tonight, we read Plato's Meno. Alex and I discussed it and he brought up much of the philosophical/spiritual information below (although not all).

In it, Socrates (as described by Plato) discusses knowledge. The first part is all about the problems of definition. What is "being good"? What is "a bee"? This brings up the problem of describing words using other words. Rule-based semantics is difficult. Definitions don't work well.

What is a chair? something with 4 legs that you sit on. Well, what if it's something with a pedestal and wheels, but you still sit on it? Is it still a chair? Do we really store definitions in our brain? Not really. It was thought at one time that we really stored the symbolic representations of things like "chair". But, not so much.

So what do we use for semantic categorization?

Two theories are prototypes and exemplars.
Prototype theory suggests that with multiple experiences, our brains naturally build up "prototypes" - the "ideal chair" for example, and that we categorize new instances based on how close they match a particular prototype. There are issues with this, but we have evidence that our brains do *some* of this. Plato and Socrates (and some Christian mystics) might have felt that we were really discovering the "ideal chair" that already existed, that we had knowledge and were just "remembering". Socrates (according to the Meno reading) believed our experiences in past lives led us to have inner knowledge that we were "remembering" like this. (This begs the question, for me, of how we built up *new* knowledge, if we were just remembering things rather than learning them.)

Another theory is that, rather than prototypes, we simply store weighted connections of properties of our exemplars, of the experiences, so that we have a lot of exemplars - instances of experiences with objects with legs or pedestals that we sit on, and most of those are called "chairs" so if this new experience also has legs and is for sitting on, it's going to be labelled a "chair". Coherent covariance, as McClelland would put it.

Rather than cached prototypes, we have runtime evaluation.

Going back to the Platonic 'where does knowledge come from' question puts it into the spiritual/philosophical realm -
Plato/Socrates might have felt knowledge was already within us, just needing to be "discovered" or "brought out". Some mystics have felt that we contain all knowledge within us - and meditation, to reduce the distractions of the external world, the mundane, will allow us "insight" to this internal knowledge. Socrates describes it in this dialog as coming from past lives. Some mystics feel that humans contains shards of godhead and that, like Saint Theresa, it requires shutting out external distractions and looking within, to realize that one is united with God, and one has always been so. Thou art God, as Valentine Michael Smith would say.

Buddhism, as Alex reminded me, has two views of this - that one can approach from sitting meditation, as mentioned, or from walking meditation. Walking meditation allows for using the external to connect the inner shard with the external divinity.

In any case, a question arises - if Plato is right and we already know this stuff, why is it not accessible? Why is it "covered up"?
Learning theory suggests that much of what we store as memories are cue and context dependent. The cues may retrieve many potential stored memory patterns, but there is interference with all the other patterns also associated with that cue. Context helps.
One reason we have trouble with free recall is because there are too few cues and far too much interference. Cued recall is better because we have reduced the interference.

Plato's "innate knowledge" also reminds me of Chomsky's contention that language is "innate".

I still wonder though - if it's innate, why? Where did it come from if it isn't the result of experience and learning? Some folks such as Jung suggest things like the Collective Unconscious. Which, to me, is just another version of the shard theory.

In any case, one of the questions we're exploring in this class is where does "new" knowledge, "insight", "innovation" come from? How do we encourage it? Can it be taught?

In my experience, insight is a process of synthesis. For me, it's the opposite of "learning". Learning, for me, is best done by giving me a framework, then fill it in - so I have context. Otherwise I feel like I have a shitload of bricks in a pile, and no idea what to do with them, and by the time I'm told where they're supposed to fit, I've lost half of them.

Insight, otoh, is a process of taking a bunch of constructs, and suddenly, forming a bridge between them, so they're no longer separate ideas, separate structures, they're a village, or a concept.

Neurologically, taking various mental representations, and connecting them - building new synapses, so that one's perceptions are changed.

So - perhaps, this is why creative people and madness are so linked. Those of us whose minds tend to 'shortcircuit' and build connections in the 'wrong places' may be more likely to build connections between memories, and semantic categories, and "knowledge" that neurotypicals (NTs) wouldn't.

Some of this relates to the Central Cohesiveness and "gist" - neurotypicals have "strong central cohesiveness" and tend to remember the "gist" of a list of words, for example. Aspies and Auties tend to remember the separate details, but may not remember the "gist" and are said to have "weak central cohesiveness". NTs are likely to generalize in cases where Aspies and Auties don't - for similar reasons.

One of Socrates' tricks (esp in the Meno) was to show someone how baffling definition really is - how much people rely on assumptions and preconceptions. This is neurologically valuable - as my prof was fond of saying "memory is for predicting the present". We need to cache things, label things, categorize and stereotype and generalize, in order to have some idea how to respond to the present, to our experiences, how to perceive and interpret them. And yet, it's also far too easy, as we know, to fall into those stereotypes and not even realize where they are building concrete walls around our perceptions and thoughts and understanding, even of what we think we know.

Part of providing for creativity, then, is tearing down the walls, challenging assumptions, shredding preconceptions, so that new perceptions - meaning new neural patterns - can be created.

Unfortunately, that is a state of uncertainty, which most folks find extremely uncomfortable - not only in themselves, but in others around them. We revere certainty - and mock or fear those who are uncertain, who challenge our own certainty. Saints and mystics are best accepted when far away, or in the past.

So the question becomes, for me, how does one encourage creativity and innovation, without leaving the person unable to deal with the "real" world? And how does one teach without boxing in perceptions, without diminishing ability to form new and unusual connections?

But now, it's almost 1am, and I should sleep. And leave the discussion of Kabbalah and Connectionism for next time...

Friday, September 12, 2008

ACLU's Constitution Voter drive

Sign up at the ACLU to be a Constitution Voter

Our goal is to sign up 300,000 Constitution Voters by October 15th to demonstrate our power.

We will deliver your messages to candidates at all levels of government, all across the country. We must let our leaders know that when we step into the ballot box, the Constitution will be the first thing on our minds.

I Am a Constitution Voter

  • I believe that no one -- including the President -- is above the law.
  • I oppose all forms of torture, and I support both closing the Guantánamo Bay prison and ending indefinite detention.
  • I oppose warrantless spying.
  • I believe that government officials, no matter how high-ranking, should be held accountable for breaking the law and violating the Constitution.
  • I believe that the Constitution protects every person's rights equally -- no matter what they believe, how they live, where or if they worship, and whom they love.
  • I reject the notion that we have to tolerate violations of our most fundamental rights in the name of fighting terrorism.
  • I am deeply committed to the Constitution and expect our country's leaders to share and act on that commitment -- every day, without fail.

... and world peace.

I honestly broke up laughing watching this. I couldn't listen to it without thinking "and world peace" the entire time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Abuse of Power

After the years of administration's abuse of power, I am horrified at the concept of another administration that considers abuse of power acceptable. Palin is being investigated for such abuses. Let's not do this again. Let's get someone who understands the Constitution into office, for a change.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This guy doesn't pull any punches

I know how he feels -- I was so disappointed with McCain. I told Alex, after the republican convention, that I guess I must seem really naive, but I hadn't realized until then just how completely unethical McCain is.

The lurkers support me in email...

I've been seeing a number of libertarian and constitutional views of Obama since I posted my plea. An example:

Monday, September 8, 2008

A plea to my libertarian friends

I remember 2000, the election between Bush and Gore - when it seemed a pointless choice between demopublicans and the republicrats, a choice between gun rights and abortion rights. I detested Reagan and Bush Sr. and their war on drugs. I hated Clinton because of his executive orders, handling of Waco and Ruby Ridge, and general lack of respect for the Constitution.

In 2000, I voted for Harry Browne.
In 2004, I voted for Badnarik.
Good libertarians, both of them. Neither of them stood a snowball's chance in hell to get elected, but I was registering my protest, standing by my principles...

And since 2000, I have seen my country and my constitution shredded in the name of a false patriotism, a "war on terror" that's being fought in the wrong place, and the rights we took for granted, e.g. Habeas Corpus, being stripped from us with barely a ripple of protest. The spinmeisters in Washington, the Cheney croneys, the Karl Roves, have told the big lies over and over, have promulgated a politics of fear to the point that my country, my people, accept these totalitarian changes as necessary evils. I'm afraid of what another 4 years will do to our children - to their understanding of what the Constitution and the Bill of Rights actually means. I fear that we've lost a generation of Americans - who already have no idea what it means to be *free*. Between the war on drugs and the war on terror, the idea of the administration having the right to do whatever it wants to, has become the status quo.

Yeah - Obama ain't my perfect candidate. He's not libertarian. He doesn't have a perfect voting record - if times were different, I might focus on his defects, his flaws, his lack of libertarian creds.

But I live in the world I helped create.

I was wrong.

When I didn't vote to defeat Bush - I was wrong.

And I'm sorry.

Right now, I'm terrified because Palin has gotten Republicans energized - that so many people heard her speak and were energized by her and let her lies stand. That people actually think she's *for* helping parents with disabilities, that she's against earmarks, that she cares about the environment. Some actually see her as a step for women's rights! This is a woman who cares nothing for the rule of law. And they're going to go out and *vote* for McCain and Palin. McCain is likely to die in office if he's elected, leaving Palin in charge, a thought which horrifies me.

So - I'm asking my libertarian friends, to please please, look around at our country right now. And think about the unintended consequences of letting Bush/McCain/Palin continue to ignore our constitution, continue to ignore the rule of law and treat our citizens as subjects. You hate the Nanny state, and the Police state. So do I. McPalin will turn this country into a totalitarian hell. I wish we had a free election this year, that we could vote our conscience and vote for libertarian candidates without having to worry about the consequences. But - we're not in a free state. This year, there *will* be consequences of not working against McPalin. Please - don't be so blinded by idealism and desire for perfect candidates that you don't do what you can to defeat McPalin.

This election is not about taxes, or the economy, or the war in Iraq, or even global warming.

This election is about the Constitution and the Rule of Law.

There is a clear choice between McPalin and Obama: Mccain voted against restoring Habeas Corpus. Obama voted for it.

Barack Obama actually cares about the Constitution and the Rule of Law. Barack Obama cares about the education of citizens, about the ability of people to make their own choices, and about the *rights* of citizens - Obama believes in the Bill of Rights. Is he a perfect libertarian - of course not. I'm sorry that Bob Barr or Ron Paul won't get elected. Obama has a chance to get elected and start us back in the right direction!

I believe that this year, the stakes are too high, the times are too perilous to vote any other way. I'm not sure our country can survive another 4 years like the last 8.

Together, my libertarian friends, we can fight for our country, work to get our country moving back in the right direction, so that *next* time, we'll have the choice of voting for true libertarian candidates, and we'll still *have* the freedom to speak out for our ideals. If we don't defeat McPalin, I'm not entirely certain that next time, we'll have those options.

Join with me in defeating McPalin. Join with me in supporting, this once, a major party candidate. Help elect a candidate who cares about the Constitution and the Rule of Law: Barack Obama.

A libertarian for Obama.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Palin's lies were beyond the pale

Can people really be that blind? When you can fact-check her claims in 20 seconds on Google to determine what she actually vetoed (solar and wind energy) and that Obama actually authored over 800 bills and sponsored another 1000 (

And then there's Giuliani, who was busy conflating Iraq and Al Qaeda. Ugh.

We're watching an episode of Sex and the City to recuperate. ;-)

(Edited to correct some minor typos.)

Update: And let's not forget her lies about the Bridge to Nowhere...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I feel geeky, oh so geeky...

I've been having geeky fun today.
First: playing with Google's new toy: Chrome. I am *LOVING* the interface. Haven't encountered any gubs yet. ;-) {crossing fingers}

Last: I svned from the repository a checkout of the XML versions of the book Alex and I are working on. Yay! It works. And I've been doing a lot of FTPing lately too. I know there are people who do that sort of thing every day and think I'm silly for feeling geeky about it, but... deal.

And in between, I set up a conference call, and managed to sneak Agile Methodology and Test Driven Development into the project I'm working on for school. It's even going to be a part of the grant request we're submitting! Go me!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Read this analysis

Read this to understand
what this election is really about.
What Obama's candidacy represents is a promise, not to make us a people again, but to make us a people for the first time. To those of us who believe in liberal democracy, this is a promise of exhilarating, almost unspeakable hope. To those who do not believe in liberal democracy, what it promises is a setback, and a major one.

More on politics

A few thoughts on the current situation:

Obama gave a kick-ass speech. If you haven't watched it - you should. Go google it.

McCain's timing for the announcement was intended, imho, to draw attention away from positive reactions to Obama's speech. I seriously wonder if he pushed for someone totally bizarre like Palin in order to draw more attention away. Later, he can have her "drop out graciously for the good of the party" and he can revert to someone more boring and less likely to get him news.

McCain is down in the way of the people trying to do their jobs in New Orleans. Grandstanding... Obama - is staying the hell outta the way so people can do their jobs - and asking his supporters to donate to organizations that are helping.

Obama needs to take gun-owners, hunters, and union members seriously. Gore lost, at least in part, because folks felt they had to choose between abortion rights and gun rights, and more chose gun rights. Picking Biden cuts into Obama's chances of keeping those independents and centrists - but his speech did a pretty good job of pushing away from any extremist position about guns.

Those of us who care about science have more to worry about - if Palin does gets in, we're going to lose even more support for real science - she's a creationist, doesn't believe humans have any impact on global warming, and is against stem-cell research, as many have pointed out.

This year, we need to focus on the core values and rights of the American people - and the Bush Administration is violating those, and McCain promises more of the same - with or without Sarah Palin. Democrats need to keep emphasizing the positions that Obama took in his acceptance speech on Thursday - that there are more things that unite us as Americans than divide us, and that even in the most divisive areas, we can find common purpose.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I thought you were a libertarian?

After my twittering while watching Obama's speech - a friend accused me with "I thought you were a libertarian".

I do consider myself a small-l libertarian. (I've never been a Libertarian party member). I voted for Harry Browne. I believe in individual freedom and limited government. I worked for concealed carry reform in Minnesota, and have always been staunchly supportive of gay rights, abortion rights, and opposed to the war on drugs.

I am also a pragmatist.

And I believe that, this year, we need to focus more on rebuilding our country than on ideological purity. Barack Obama is not my ideal candidate - and if I were a single-issue voter, I wouldn't vote for him. But I do believe that he will uphold the Constitution, *unlike* the current administration. I do believe that he will rein in the abuses of our civil liberties. Probably not as far as I'd like, but far more than if McCain gets in. I believe that he will work to restore our pride in America, and some of our belief in America and what it stands for.

Perhaps, if I were more of an idealist (and less of a cynic), I'd believe that, if we just let things *really go to hell*, the American people will *rise up* and we'll have a revolution to take back our country. After watching the erosion of our liberties over the years, with the willing consent of those whose liberties were being taken, I no longer believe that.

Is there a better, third-party, truly-libertarian candidate? Unfortunately, this year, I don't think any third-party candidate matters. Because this year, they won't get in. This year, I intend to cast my vote and spend my energy on a candidate who has a chance to get in and who won't further destroy my country once there. Once we've rebuilt and reminded Americans what it means to be American, maybe we'll have a shot at pushing forward and getting a real libertarian candidate into office. But first, this year, we have to recover America from what has been done to her.

This year, I'm voting for Barack Obama. Because, even more than being a libertarian, I am a patriot. And dammit - I want my country back!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

SciPy conference - afternoon

SciPy Documentation Editor:
NumPy decided, instead of creating a bunch of documentation, to create a documentation *framework*! This looks really useful for open source projects. And the sources are available to use elsewhere. We definitely should look at using this for other python projects.

Documentation appears to be the theme of the afternoon sections. It's nice to see that documentaiton is getting attention here. Too often it's an afterthought (if at all.)

Sphinx is a python documentation generator. Currently used in matplotlib. Sphinx avoids separate "printed" and "online" docs. Based on reST. Again, this looks good.

In general, most docs suck. Too many say things like: "xyz is the foo port of bar", which only works if you're coming to foo from another OS or Package that uses bar. Some folks are going directly into foo - and needing to know what the heck xyz does and how to use it. Setting up frameworks that *work* provide easy entrypoints for folks to contribute to an OpenSource project - even if they're not 1337 hackers itching to commit patches to the core.

SciPy conference

I'm at the SciPy conference today. I didn't sign up, but Alex gave a keynote and I got to ride on his coattails. (Although I'm being hit up for presenting in the future...)

Alex talked about the problems of black boxes and that "abstractions leak". He gave some nice examples of why you want to understand at least a couple of levels lower than the abstraction you're using (eg., statistical packages won't fix sample bias problems).

The next speaker after break talked about graphing networks - a package called NetworkX. This was a really gorgeous graphing package that looked like it has a really simple, usable API. I particularly liked that in the examples, they used
import networkX as NX
rather than the usual "from blah import *". It's important, particularly in tutorials and FAQs, imho, to SHOW where all the functions you're using live. Explicitly showing all the dots makes it clear where these things live. Using import * hides that. My compliments to the NetworkX people for not hiding things.

One of the use-cases they mentioned at the beginning was for synchronizing oscillations, and I immediately thought of neo-cortical neural synchronization, which they mentioned at the end when they demo'd their oscillation synchronizer.

NetworkX has a very pretty gallery of graphs to show some of its possibilities. Check it out if you have any graphing or complex network modeling needs.

The next talk was on intervals. It harked back to Alex's talk, which was amusing. Pay attention to your numbers - including the algorithms and packages you're using to calculate things. It was fun to watch - it reminded me how much I actually *like* math. (I was the geek who used to solve quadratic equations for fun.) I'm not so good with trig and logs (although I've gotten better). Anyways - I really enjoyed the intervals talk - it was fun to see a purely mathematical coding talk; it's pretty rare.

We're going to have to head out this afternoon to the airport. If I catch any more presentations, I'll post about them.

Social-wise, the SciPy people were very nice. We got picked up at the airport, driven to our hotel, and they took us to dinner. This morning, breakfast included *protein* (Yay!) not just carbs. And I got to meet another Minnesota girl - who's now working in neuroscience down at Berkeley. We're going to get together when we're back.

In short - I've really enjoyed being here and I plan to attend SciPy in the future. If you are into scientific uses of Python at all - I encourage you to attend.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pasta with *breadcrumbs* and sensory perceptions

Okay - I admit that I'm a foodie. I love food. Not lots of it - but fun variations on food. I like cooking. Not the day to day grind of it, but the idea of taking some raw ingredients and making something totally unexpected from them. Synergy, as my art teacher might call it. Shopping for ingredients is lovely. I'm quite fond of the Italian rhythm of daily life - go shop for whatever looks good today and make something with it.

I also love watching cooking shows. Giada de Laurentiis and Mario Batali are two of my favorites. Giada is so sweet and fun to watch but not terribly authentic. Mario is great for very *authentic* Italian food. So, Giada did a recipe recently - Rigatoni with breadcrumbs. I tried it tonight. Sort of. I used some tomato sauce with red peppers and garlic - which I heated in a pan with olive oil. I didn't use Italian croutons but rather Italian breadcrumbs - along with some roasted almonds and toasted pinenuts. I mixed the breadcrumb mixture with the cooked Rigatoni in a bowl, then poured the heated sauce over. It was actually really good. We had it with a nice Vernaccia.

I especially like how easy and quick it was. I plan to make this again. Although, I suspect it will never be the same as the way I made it tonight. I don't much follow recipes - I tend to just add things that smell right.

I love cooking - it's such a sensual experience - taste and texture and smell and sound and sight and kinesthetic pleasure. I never believed much in just 5 senses - there's kinesthetic sense (which I've gotten better at over the years) and sense of time (which I'm not good at)...

If I were better at planning, organizing, and sense of time, I might have considered doing cooking more seriously. But really, I can only handle about one course... and even "sides" can be challenging for me at times. At one time, I raised vegetables in my garden, canned, and baked the daily bread for my family. I briefly flirted with the idea of a small business making bread - I love the feel of kneading the dough - it's so *alive*. Nurturing it until it's ready to bake, then pulling it out of the oven and slathering that first slice of bread with butter. Oh yes. My children, to this day, are fans of the "heel" of bread. But bread takes love and attention, attention I don't have much these days for anything but schoolwork and trying to keep the house from imploding under the clutter.

In the meantime, quick delicious dinners from a few simple ingredients is just the right touch of "home-made" for my life.

Finding normal?

How do we know what's normal? It's amazing how many friends I've had who, when talking with others, suddenly realized that what they thought was "normal", wasn't. Even bodily functions - yeast infections, celiac disease, hearing loss, ... It's amazing how often we take for granted, problems that are solvable. If we extend that into the differences in how people think or learn, we have an even wider field to play in. Where do we draw the line between "has trouble socially" and Asperger Syndrome? When do we decide that "I'm just not good at ..." vs figuring out that "I can do ... but only with this workaround." Only by communicating with each other, reading, sharing knowledge, do we learn not only what's "normal" but also what's *possible*.

Monday, August 11, 2008

odd brainstate

I'm sitting here - my plans for this evening went away POOF because I'd thought I was going to SF to a meeting but the meeting is tomorrow. And I also got some interesting information in the mail. Nothing earth-shattering - just my Social Security statement. I realized how little I've made over my lifetime. In 31 years, the average has been less than $10k a year. Yet on that, I bought a house, two cars, and raised two kids - up to the day I married Alex. It's really odd to consider.

But - mostly, where my brain is - is away. I'm feeling - quiet.
Slowed down.
My brain has gone into relaxation mode - theta state.
I am aware, conscious, but simply here. No planning, no tomorrow or yesterday. Just now.
I get this sometime.s
It's a good place to be - except that most of the time my life doesn't permit me to remain. Most of the time, I am expected to be here by this time and there by that time and very time oriented and time consciouse. And yet, I am amused by all the people who mediatate or take drugs to achieve thius state of no time. In this state, I simply am - no awareness of time flow. I can guess that time has changed - becuase there are different items in the collection of memories in my brain - and yet - I have no *experience* of time "passing" or "moving" or "flowing".
It's amazing how much trouble such states have gotten me into in the past, how little tolerance our society has for people who live in this brainstate - in this timeless existence. And how many think they want it.


And now - and I know NOW when I am done for now writing this post and so I am ready to move to the new "now" thing of checking the pasta pot and finding out if water is boiling so we can cook dinner.
But for now - I sit - quiet and still - and smile. and breathe. and watch and listen and feel.

Now - in this state - I hear and feel things differently - textures are all important and I crave texture - but only when I am moving. Other times, I am simply istting - and feeling and hearing and sensing but not deciding, not "thinking". Just here now.
Deep breath. Some unknowable, uncounted period of time (so the standard language usage claims) later, I breathe deeply, and move to go look at the stove.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

women in FOSS talk

Pia is giving a talk on Heroes: Women in FOSS.

Heroes feel a little bit different. Start small, then realize it's a lot different.

Think of:
10 tech women you personally know
5 non-tech women you know
3 issues around gender in ICT

Surrounded by men, and thought: These women don't know what they're missing.
Then realized, it's a widespread problem in western society.

This is NOT a GENDER issue! It's a cultural issue. Not due to body parts, but due to societal expectations.

Everytime you say "I support women in nontraditional roles" you're reinforcing that tech is a "nontraditional role" for women and that "I'm a freak".

Odd sayings:
women aren't interested in computers anyway
she must be butch to be into computers
you're not really a woman, you're one of us
you're too pretty use mutt
women like "creative" jobs
"nontraditional"roles for women

Every generation, what you have to deal with is more subtle.

Girls are high users of internet, gamers, not as polarized as boys,

Girls and boys = how they used tech differently: Boys either loved computers or hated them. Girls, just used them.

focused on social good - so FOSS is great, not on money or politics.

If you're not a "nerd" (male), then you must be this big scary monster. Had weird things assumed about her because she's into IT.

Smash the stereotypes: in positive ways.
we come in all shapes and sizes.

7.3% women in FOSS.

Isn't the point of free software to get involved? We need to get the word out.

Lots of pictures of women in FOSS.
Not that many sysadmin women

Dorothy Okello - uganda, doing great wireless stuff.
Amy Jiang = leader in China on free software.

New website:

Real issues:
active discouragement: no jobs due to the bubble burst
stereotypes = need to be comfortable in ourselves as women
lack of empathy: try to not be "surprised" about women in FOSS
hard to not share the negative stories! lead by inspiring.
Jerks and lack of leadership/policies lead to mass exodus of women.
codes of conduct. not just about being good to women: be excellent to each other.

Real pathways:
show profiles of awesome women and men
go to schools and universities
working with children

be the change you seek

what do we need?
know the facts
connect with each other
assume stupidity over malice
fulfill our dreams
education about pay, negotiation and expectations
empathy: we're hackers and people too

women need to not hide
encourage others
empower women *with* technology
talk about positive stories

Philosophies of FOSS are really interesting.
FOSS is the world's most powerful platform for social change. Meritocratic, cross-everything, extremely diverse. Succeed in spite of politics, social, agendas, Digital Divide.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


So I've managed to put about 40some PDFs on the site we're using to collect everything. It's a pain collecting all of it - I hadn't done a very good job of organizing the stuff when I was in "research" mode. Now I know better and can do it better. I'll grab pdfs as I go and ftp them into a holding area so they're all in one place. Silly me. Ah well. Live and Learn, right?

I am *SO* tired right now. I shouldn't be. Don't know what's up with that. I've just not been feeling all that well - still feel jet-lagged. Ugh. Anyways - off to meet with the guys on my project.

Guess it's a sign from above

My university's research server just went down for the night. Can't access anymore articles. Guess that means it's time for me to go to bed. Tomorrow's the meeting to talk about the project I'm working on, in preparation for submitting the proposal at the end of the month. Tomorrow night I pick up my daughter from the airport about midnight. Friday, we drive away to OSCON, which I have to finalize plans for the trip, and get us all packed.

Somehow, I don't think the other summer interns are having quite the same experience I am... ;-)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Going to OSCON?

Here's my personal schedule. Looks like it'll be a fun conference, with many choices to make. My wonderful daughter will be joining us. I've marked some of the items as potentially of interest to her.

See you there!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Trying out lifecast on my iphone.

Geolocate this post

Posted with LifeCast

Quick review of five fave new iPhone apps

1. Jott for iPhone rocks! It allows you to take a voice note with one touch to record, one to stop, (touch *anywhere* to start and stop, you don't need to look at the phone), and does its best to transcribe (pretty good job too). And you can categorize your jotts to "work" and "home" if you want. Way more useful than the VoiceNote app I tried. Very useful for keeping notes of stuff while you're driving. Love it. EDIT: The transcriptions are really pretty good.

2. Yelp on the iPhone. Location aware, duh. Built-in obvious categories like:
*coffee and tea
*gas stations
And has an "open" filter so you can see only the ones nearby that are *open*. VERY useful app.

3. Facebook: yeah - i know Facebook has had an iPhone version for a while. I like that t allows a simple interface for facebook. The contacts list is great for finding people's info: you can dial or map them directly from here. The mini-feed is cute. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be a simple, obvious way to respond to an individual directly from their "mini-feed". You have to go to Friends, find that person in your friends-list, then you can eventually compose a message. It would make more sense to be able to click on the person's name on their mini-feed, and have it bring you directly to their contact page so you can send them a message.

4. NowLocal: local headlines when you want it. Simple. But asks every frickin' time to "use local?" information. Just let me click an "always use local". There is a way to change where you want news for, when you want to do that. So - just save my preference for "use local". EDIT: pretty repetitive - not very good at updating. I suppose if I only tried it once a day, it might be better.

5. Google Mobile Apps: search is easy. Also gives a quick connection to docs, talk, iGoogle, blogger, etc. (Mostly, just brings you to the website for those, but still, it's easier to get there.) Some of the sites could be better optimized for iPhones. Blogger, for example, is just not sized correctly for the iPhone. OTOH - the gmail page is pretty nice. Easier to get to the search my mail part. Looks good. EDIT: Google Reader on iPhone is really good. I'm impressed.

Okay - that's my top 5. Gotta get some work done now. Ciao everyone. And good luck on the iPhone updates!

blogger on my iPhone


to the tune of "song that never ends"

This is the update that never ends
It just goes on and on my frendz
Some people start updating never knowing how it was
but now their phones are bricking and they can't make calls because
this is the update that never ends....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Waiting [im]patiently

iPhone 2.0 is due to release ANY TIME NOW. Well, a few hours from now. There's even a beta version out there that people are downloading. It's crashing some of their systems, but working fine on others. I figure, I didn't jailbreak my phone and I can wait 8 more hours. But I've already got the mobile apps downloaded to install as soon as I've got 2.0! Woohoo!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Transitions and changes

I've been sitting on this one for a couple days, before posting it. Note that some of the effects I was having were likely hormonal-induced - ah the joys of being a female aspie... In any case, here's the post, for whatever it's worth.

"The shortcomings that can occur in this method such as the basis instability, the collision of hash table, and the noise sensitivity will be discussed. Among them the noise sensitivity is a serious problem. This can always cause the recognition procedure to fail." -- Kao, Chang-Lung

So, usually I'm pretty flexible, I think. I handle changes and transitions pretty good for an Aspie. Some days, when I'm stressed, it's harder. And it always catches me by surprise, and worse, catches others by surprise.

A couple days ago was an example. I had a good but full day. Had everything planned out and things went pretty smoothly. I even got my last paper of the quarter finished. Woot! Then had the eye exam (my and my son) from hell - I hate when they shine the damn lights in your eyes, and worse is flashed light, and there was this machine that we had to flash my eye repeatedly (to take a picture) because she couldn't explain clearly to me what I was supposed to do and when I finally understood (after a dozen flashes into my light-sensitive eyes), we got a decent picture of each first try. So, I wasn't in the best shape after that but I survived, so I went to Costco and grabbed stuff quickly since I was on a deadline, and managed to get checked out reasonably quickly. Even got the stuff home okay and son helped unload. Headed off to pick up sweetie for a meeting.

Then, in rapid succession, I tried to park (and had trouble with other cars and shuttles and buses) - but parking there is always a hassle. So then I finally park and call sweetie to tell him I'm there (cuz we have a meeting to go to, so there's a deadline to beat), and my bluetooth earbud doesn't work, but I don't realize that at first, and finally realize that he's already answered and I just can't hear him thru the damn earbud, so I put the phone up to my ear and say hello a couple of times and FINALLy hear *him* but of course, by this time we're both frustrated.

So I tell him I'm there and he says to meet him in the lobby of building 40. So I go there and of course, it's locked, because it's almost 6pm. So someone lets me in and I wait, and he arrives and we go to get food.

We'd planned to just grab and go - he wanted to be to the meeting on time (so did I), and he worried that my usual "take a bit of many things" style of eating there took too much time. So I'd already offered to just grab a salad. This is what we planned this morning. But - there's a barbecue. So he says we should get barbecue. It smelled awful, and I was confused because I thought he wanted to grab and go, and then thought well, maybe he just wanted to have something besides salad. I tried to explain that he could grab whatever he wanted, we didn't have to have barbecue, but that didn't work. And he somehow got the impression I was upset at him.

So then, I have to try to explain why I'm upset. I wasn't upset at him. I was just tired and stressed out and having trouble with all the changes of plan that were happening (the phone, and the bbq, and sitting down to eat instead of grab-and-go) and the horrid smell of the barbecue (it ended up much better than I'd feared - I was able to get some reasonably unsmoked stuff - it smelled like they were doing severely "hickory-smoked" stuff... or over-using the liquid smoke or something.) but I can't explain things like that on the spur of the moment well. I'd gotten my tastebuds up for a fresh, light salad, and suddenly I was facing heavy, strongly flavored hot foods. He wanted to know what was wrong, and kept wanting explanations but my explanations weren't helping things at all and I was just getting more stressed because how do I describe all this when I'm already stressed. I tried saying I was just tired and he responded that maybe we should just go home.

I finally managed to say, "Just let me sit quietly for a minute to settle down." And he let me alone so I could regroup. And the evening ended up turning out just fine.

I want to be clear - he wasn't being obnoxious about his questions - they were perfectly valid questions and he wasn't yelling or chastising me or anything, just I couldn't explain well and it wasn't getting better with me trying.

Yeah - I normally have no obvious problems with changes and transitions (or when I do, I cover it pretty well) but sometimes, like after the hectic quarter I've had, it's just harder to cover. Sometimes, I get reminded forcibly that, oh yeah, I'm really not neurotypical, even if I can often pass as normal these days.

So - how does it feel - changes, transitions...
it feels like standing on a moving surface - having to constantly adjust and shift balance while juggling multiple fragile plates and smile dammit and don't forget to make eye contact, and don't talk too loud or too soft, and don't swing your arms too far, and remember all the things you'll have to juggle tomorrow too, and here - add this teacup in to the juggling and oh - the surface just started shifting on another axis, so don't try to keep balance the old way, gotta do the new balancing act - but suddenly, and by the way, there's only room to stand on one leg now... and why are you acting so upset? Explain yourself coherently dammit!

It's not always this bad. It's rarely this bad. I've worked really hard on dealing with transitions, being flexible, not being too tied into expectations while still managing to not completely get lost in the chaos and shifting sands of spacetime...

Just, sometimes, it's hard. Sometimes, I can't just suddenly go with the flow. And it's even harder when I'm trying really hard to meet someone elses's deadlines and schedule. I can easily go with the flow if I can just go with the flow and don't have any external deadlines to meet. I just can't do both at once. If I have to *be* somewhere, then I have a deadline and I'm in "logistics" mode and switching out of planning and logistics mode while still maintaining some hold on the logistics and planning... it's just not easy for me.

I don't know if I'm explaining this well. I'm trying to just give you all a view into what it looks like from the inside, not *always*, just sometimes. And I'm not saying there's anything anyone needs to do different, just trying to explain now so that maybe, when I'm in the midst of another time where I'm having trouble, I can maybe just say "remember the post on transitions and changes? I'm having one of those days right now." The hardest part is convincing the other person that it really truly has nothing to do with them. It's a reaction to all the little things that all happen within quick succession on top of each other to unbalance me.

What does help: just give me some space and time (quiet, no demands or questions or processing) to decompress, to regroup. Don't try to interpret my bodylanguage or tone of voice when a sudden change or transition has happened - mostly, you'll probably not be terribly accurate. I'm likely not upset at you, or angry, or anything like that. I'm most likely, just trying to re-orient myself to the new situation. And frustrated at my own lack of flexibility. Mostly, I just need to be informed of the new situation and then left alone for a short time to re-integrate everything.

It's like trying to modify a list while sorting on it, (or trying to modify a hashtable while it's being rehashed?). It's often a pretty unstable process. Let me just finish processing everything first, then we can go on from there.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Research Reflection

For my Writing and Rhetoric class (on Web 2.0 and Online Activism), I have to write a "Research Reflection". I figured, given the topic matter, that I would post it here. This was the 2nd of two required courses. The first one focused on writing. This one focused on giving presentations. Woohoo.

As my topic, I wanted to address neurodiversity - autistic activism on the web. My hypothesis started as "The Internet has Changed the Nature of the Conversation on Autism."

It was difficult trying to fit *my* process in with the class process. I tend to read a lot of stuff, let things percolate in my head for a while, start writing, then figure out what I'm trying to say. I think with my fingers. The class required us to do a research "proposal" presentation first - which required me to *almost* write the presentation/paper but not quite. And we had to submit it to our "peers" to discuss it beforehand and get feedback. Then we had to start on our draft, so we could submit a draft of our "research based argument" (an 8-page paper) with an outline, first to our "peers" and then to the instructor. But FIRST, on MONDAY, we had to sit thru a weird exercise to "help us define our thesis statement". Then we had to create the presentation. Then we had to present it in "rehearsal". Then we got to *finally* present the damn thing.

All of this stuff is probably a very useful process for someone (say, an 19 year-old who'd never created a presentation in their short lives) but for me, it really felt like it short-circuited my own internal/external process. It was like getting in a car, and revving it up, then turnign it off, starting again and driving a block, turning around and going home, again and again, until I was finally able, in fits and starts to get to the presentation.

I'm not blaming the teacher, mind you. This is the process they're supposed to teach us. She was very patient with my sometimes obstreperous reaction to the whole thing.

It also seemed really odd to have to create the written paper and then create a presentation based on the written paper, but wait! the paper isn't due until... and is the paper a script or a paper on its own? Because the kinds of evidence to even put *into* a presentation and the kind of *flow* for a presentation are so totally different. It's hard to think about them at the same time without feeling like I was interfering with both.

All in all, I'm glad I survived the course and that it's over with.

Oh - I'm supposed to "consider how my understanding of the relationship between form and content has developed throughout the quarter." It hasn't. Well, I did learn how to embed YouTube videos (the *right way*) into a keynote slide, with editing and everything. That was kinda fun. Even wrote up a "how-to" for the kids in class - hope it was helpful for them. Don't know if anyone used it though.

Lessee I'm also supposed to consider:
Have my thoughts on my project changed since the proposal (and similar questions)?
I was disappointed with how much the old message of tragedy and gloom and doom still persists. So over the course of research, my thesis changed from "it changed" to "it broadened the conversation, rather than replacing the old messages." So it's a more "complex" argument than the original, but more faithful to the reality of the situation.

How did I take my written argument and adapt it to the needs and interest of a listening audience? It wasn't just listening, it was also viewing. I used video-clips to structure the presentation, and questions for signposts. I didn't delve into detail on any of the issues, but kept it fairly shallow - just going over the points I had to. I started with a question to the audience, to help them feel involved. I also used various body language and tone of voice changes to emphasize my points. I wanted a clean - simple to read - slide format. I went with just black-on-white, but added a cropped photo of a spectrum along the bottom to emphasize that autism is a spectrum (and that neurotypicals are on the same spectrum!)

How do genre and media impact the writing process?
Um, which genre and media? Considering that I live on the 'net, it didn't change much for me. I've been a netizen since late 94, and never looked back. So - for me, this was my natural environment.

How do genre and media impact the research process? For example, do web-based research sources require a different approach and perspective than print-based sources? How so?

I view web-based sources as primary sources. Just as anyone could write a book, a letter to the editor, a pamphlet, or a letter to someone, people can write their views and perspectives on the web. Most blogs and many sites provide comments, which acts like a peer-review system. In any case, I view the web as just another source of data - just easier to access. Many articles and books are easily accessed via things like google booksearch and google scholar (I *adore* google scholar!) And with, I can tag things and explore sites others used similar tags on. With web-sources, you need to track when you accessed them (particularly a source like wikipedia) since the source may (and probably will) be edited and updated. Some folks had trouble with youtube videos being removed. That's why I found out how to download and clip them myself, so that I didn't have to worry about the potential transience of items on the web. All in all, as someone who's done research both before and after the advent of the web, it's WAY better now.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Why I love the web

Okay - it ain't perfect. Amazon went down recently and Twitter is down more than it's up and other web 2.0 services are often up and down.

On the other hand - I have 5 presentations and a whole lot of research notes backed up "on the cloud", as we speak. (I also have copies on my thumbdrive...) I don't have to worry if my laptop get stolen, or crashes. I don't have to worry about a data disk getting stolen or losing pieces of valuable paper. AFAIC, the more I have on the web, the more I live my life online, the easier life is for me. So yeah - I'm a fan of places like Google (who truly improves my quality of life) and Apple and Amazon. And a lot of little companies that also make my life better. Wesabe helps me keep track of my finances. Google helps me learn new things, research, and save what I've found with tags so I can find it again (and help others find it). IwantSandy and RemembertheMilk both help me remember important things. Google calendar tracks important appointments and events, (like "refill my prescription" and "give the cat its flea treatment") and google docs let me collaborate with others. Podcasts and RSS feeds keep me up to date on the world. Email, IM, Facebook, Twitter keep me in contact with friends and communities.

I just took a class this quarter on Web 2.0 - activism on the web. Some folks complain about the "Cult of the Amateur" or worry about the funnelling effect or privacy concerns. I understand these concerns, but for me, they don't diminish the value of the web. So yeah - there's a whole lot of really awesome companies out there doing some pretty kewl stuff and I'm all for it! I look forward to its expansion.

I'm just sitting here with my head in the clouds, computing...

What I'm doing this summer and why it matters

Some of my friends from school are going off to corporate internships for the summer - Apple, Google, etc. I'm pleased for them. Some are going to work with startups. Kewl.

I'm doing a research internship. I'll be working on a project to help kids who've suffered trauma in their lives. Yeah - it's a pretty specialized use of what I'm studying. It'll require someone with a very interdisciplinary background.

I am way more interested in this than in whether I can help some company improve their website so someone can decide to buy a watch at store x or store y. Yes - some of the stuff the corporations do is going to affect billions of peoples' lives, some in small ways, some in larger ways. I'm very glad that people are doing that stuff. It's useful and affects a lot of people, directly and indirectly. The various uses of HCI and of programming range from trivial to incredibly kewl. I applaud anyone who thinks of the user and how to make their lives better.

But, for me, many of the projects really don't matter to me personally nearly as much as possibly helping some kid overcome the trauma in their life. and, y'know - if one of these kids overcomes the trauma sufficiently to go to University, they could be the researcher who finally cures AIDS or cancer or figures out how to stop alzheimers or the entrepreneur who invents the next Google or something else really awesome. In any case, if it works, we will have improved their lives - directly - and longterm. And to me, that's a far more worthwhile use of my summer than whether someone can use their mobile phone to find out if their buddy is at the same bar, as kewl and geeky as such things might be. (I like geeky kewl stuff. I'm a serious geek.;-) Anyone wanna join me on Brightkite?)

It kind of scares me to think about how much responsibility I'll have in this project. Yeah, it would probably be way more comfortable to be in a big company where there's plenty of people to watch out for me, where others set the agenda and run the show. No, I won't be completely alone, but there's so much I need to do on my own, that I need to figure out for myself, and design, and create, and manage, to make this work. So yeah - it's scary. But it's a good scary. I just hope we can pull it off. Cuz that would be totally awesome.

EDIT: I do hope that what my friends are doing at their summer internships matter to them just as much. I'm not at all saying those things don't matter... just that they're not something I'm passionate about, while this is.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


So, the woman next to me at a GoogleIO session decoded the binary on our badges: they say ATTENDEE. That's kinda neat. Too bad the TShirts aren't right: they say GoogleKO. ;-)

Google IO Keynote

I really liked Marissa's speech this morning. She did a good job of providing the flavor of Google's decisionmaking and focus on userexperience. Her descriptions of how they do A/B split testing was kewl. Especially when she gave realworld examples. I was happy to be the one in the audience to point out what the differences between three versions of ad was - there was differnt amounts of whitespace above and below the yellow ad bar.

I knew some of the stuff but it was fun to hear her take on it. And she's a good speaker.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

google earth api ROCKS! and other Google IO stuff

OMG - the new API for Google Earth on the web is absolutely awesome! I am so looking forward to that.

Google DocTypes - Hitchhikers Guide to the Web. ;-) DocTypes will be following the Python BDFL model. Neat.

Note: lots of women at this conference. Google did a good job of getting woman developers here.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Are we there yet?

Bad Astronomy writes:

Think on this, and think on it carefully: you are seeing a manmade object falling gracefully and with intent to the surface of an alien world, as seen by another manmade object already circling that world, both of them acting robotically, and both of them hundreds of million of kilometers away.

Never, ever forget: we did this. This is what we can do.

Many years ago, I watched Columbia go up in flames. I was home sick from work that day and had turned on the tv, ... I sat and wept. Crying for the loss, and fearful that the dirthuggers might use this to quash humanity's best hope for survival.

Looking at this image, I am in tears again, in hope that maybe, just maybe, we can find something that will spur on even the dirthuggers to renewed effort. That maybe, this will remind us that we, humankind, might have an option besides scratching the dirt forever until we blow ourselves up or destroy our home planet's ability to sustain life. In awe of the potential, if we only let ourselves *try*!

And the child inside me gazes up at the stars and whispers, "Are we there yet?"


So, along with so many other geeks, I've just spit in a plastic tube and we're sending it back via FedEx tomorrow.
Within 6 to 8 weeks, I should know more about my family background and medical history. I'm adopted, so this will be important information, a bit more so than for those who can already trace their family history using geneology, I think. Every time I go in to a new doctor, they ask "and has anyone in your family ever..." and I have to explain that I have no idea.

I *think* I'm Irish, English, French, and Polish ancestry. So my adoptive parents were told. But was that just from the mother's side or from the father's too? Who knows. In any case, I'll finally be able to give my kids more than "I dunno" for their medical history. That, in itself, is worth it.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Keith Olberman's response to Hillary's RFK comment

Santa Cruz County Fire Recovery Fund

Go to

if you want to donate to the relief fund.

The best 15 seconds you'll spend this weekend

To vote in support of the California Supreme Court's decision on LGBT
1. call 1-916-445-2841 (Governor's office)
2. press 1, 5, 1, 1
(1=English / 5=opinion / 1=court / 1=support)

Yes - it really is that simple to support LGBT right to marriage.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Marriage Ban overturned in CA

It's been a busy quarter and it ain't done yet

I love my Learning and Memory class. I want to love my philosophy of mind class but I'm just not cut out for "philosophy". I have 5 classes. In two of them, I'm researching on autism, which is kewl. I have a research internship this summer investigating executive dysfunction. Fun!

More later...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

testing a feature

Just testing out the labelling process on this system so I can pass on info to a friend.

Friday, March 28, 2008

PyCon 2008

Pycon was fun. I met a bunch of women from devchix and had dinner together. I gave my talk (and survived... yay). There's a link to some videos from PyCon2008 here:
including my talk on "to RE or not to RE".

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


This is why I don't do art classes.

I never know when to stop. and I have no idea how to mount things. I'm afraid to mount my finished art because I might do it wrong. Oh, and I've redone one piece like 3 times and another piece twice.


Okay - so tonight I need to just do it.

I have 3 projects basically done except for the mounting. So tonight and tomorrow I'll do that. In between writing articles.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

In case anyone is looking...

I'm in France right now... We started in Provence. A little hotel in Avignon, and a rental car to drive around Provence and visit village perched on edge of cliff after village perched on edge of cliff followed by picturesque village, perched on edge of cliff. We spent Xmas eve and day in Provence.

Then we took the TGV to Lyon, where we *walked* through the old city, which was, appropriate, perched on the edge of a cliff. ;-) Lyon is a lovely town and I want to go back there. We spent New Years eve and St Sylvestre in Lyon - we went to the Opera for NYE (La Vie Parissiene).

Now, we're in Paris. We've just spent a rather chilly day touring - the morning was spent at the Louvre, and early afternoon at Notre Dame. It's funny, I 'd never realized Notre Dame was a still-in-use church. For some reason, I thought it had become either a ruin or "Just" a tourist attraction. It's beautiful inside. I was quite surprised - and delighted.

One of the best parts of the Louvre was actually a special exhibit of Biedermeyer furniture. It was completely unexpected.
Of course, the jewels and paintings and sculptures and etc were wonderful but the furniture was just so unexpected and, after all the overornamented Louis XIV stuff, completely refreshing.