redsage: (grrr)
I'm really tired of people complaining about "the bridge and tunnel crowd." The line goes that all these people who don't actually live in San Francisco just come into the city on weekends and cause trouble.

I call bullshit.

The city is there for everyone. You want to make a city where the only people who do things in it also live there, go right ahead. I'd like to see how that would work. It's not going to be here, that's for sure.

San Francisco absolutely depends on people who don't live in it. We work in your offices. We spend money in your gas stations and restaurants and hotels. We take stupid tourist photographs that show the folks back home how awesome SF is, and encourage them to visit. We sweep your streets. We police your city. We write your software. We pay your bridge tolls. Yes, and we also commit crimes. People who don't live in San Francisco do the following things in San Francisco: work, eat, sleep, fuck, kill, dance, read, drive, photograph, spray graffiti, take the bus, watch strippers, fight crime, sell drugs, go to the dentist, consume drugs, drink, play with their kids, play with your kids, teach, learn, take their dogs to the park, party, make art, and so on. In short, people who don't live in San Francisco do everything in San Francisco that residents do themselves, except for staying home.

I'm really frustrated by the attitude of some San Francisco residents that just because someone doesn't live in SF, they have nothing invested in it. Get over it: this is a metro area. If SF goes to hell, I don't just stay home in Oakland thinking how lucky I am not to live there. SF is the cultural and geographical center of the Bay Area. Everything goes through there. SF touches everything here. We are an interdependent network of municipalities, and it would really do everyone some good to remember that.

In a lot of ways, the "bridge and tunnel crowd" complaints seem like thinly disguised racism. I don't see a lot of complaints about those white nerdy kids who crowd into the city every day on their way to software jobs where they rack up a lot of profit for their corporate masters, and contribute to SF employment and real estate taxes. I definitely don't see complaints about Marinites and their Lexii coming to executive jobs and to wine and dine CFOs.

San Francisco is here for everyone. That's the price of being the culture engine for the greater Internet world. That's the price of being the cultural center of the bay area. That's the price of all those restaurant patrons, Opera fans, baseball fans, and software engineers. Don't like it? Move.

(Now that said, I agree that it sucks that the criminal element goes into SF just to cause trouble they don't make at home. The solution to this is not to make SF boring, or to somehow magically keep people out of the city. The solution is to fight crime. The solution is to create a better bay area metro management system that might help put money where its needed. The solution is to maybe make Walnut Creek help pay for San Francisco's police presence at thuggery hotspots. The solution is to create more cheap, fun, late night activities in SF to keep people inside and having a good time rather than out on the street making trouble. The solution is to make more transit options available 24 hours a day, at least on weekends, to reduce drunk driving problems. The solution is to funnel the energy of the troublemakers into exciting and productive things rather than letting it sit and fester. Like San Francisco, the solution is one that everyone in the bay area needs to take ownership of.)
redsage: (future)
(10:47:10 AM) me: discordians have long been the center of the venn diagram of artists, hackers and occultists. it's time to really manifest that as a culture.
(10:47:34 AM) me: i'm tired of artist technophobia, hacker immaturity, and occultist credulity and flakiness.
(10:48:17 AM) me: i want to keep artist insight, hacker rationality and mindset, and occultist interest in transpersonal dimensions.
(10:48:40 AM) me: i am not having children. we've taken to saying that we are reproducing memetically. it's time to begin.

MAPS

Apr. 16th, 2010 06:35 pm
redsage: (Default)
I am at the MAPS conference this weekend http://www.maps.org

It's a conference on psychedelic research, and it's utterly fascinating.

I am liveblogging some of it, but for obvious reasons, it's not public or even friends-only (for some specific friends groups only). If you cannot see any posts on this subject at the moment and you'd like to be added, please comment here.
redsage: (Default)



Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] metaphorge for the pictures.

Dream

Mar. 21st, 2010 02:34 pm
redsage: (Default)
I was with Fox and some other people, and vampires were trying to kill one of our friends. We had hidden out in this hotel. For some reason, it was of vital importance that our friend not die - not just because we liked him, but because the world held in the balance or something. We had come to this hotel where our things were, but we suspected they'd find us. I was told they might have rigged up our suitcases or something, so I could not get to any of my things. I remember thinking there was no way I could handle this without my prescription medications.

Two vampires tracked us down and broke down the door and started to fight with some of my people, looking for the one friend they wanted to kill. After fighting their way through several of our other friends, they found the one guy hidden in the closet and had started to attack him.

They had not tried to attack me because they thought I was useless - and for the most part, I was. They had superhuman strength, and I could not even hit them. They were about to kill the one guy when I noticed through the drapes - it was starting to get light. They had miscalculated. I flung open the door to the dawn, and the vampires all froze. I grabbed the giant axe blade that the one closest to the door was fighting with, heaved it with all my might, and split his chest in two. Then I did the same for the other one, whose knife had been poised to kill our friend. It was as if everything stopped, and everyone in the room was shocked that I was the one who had killed them.

I woke up, and the room was flooded with light.
redsage: (smain)
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-03/uoc--if030510.php

article reproduced to keep a copy of it )

So, if it works like this, maybe it's worth explicitly doing this as community service. Maybe it's worth dedicating a small amount of $ every month or every week do doing this as a sort of altruismbomb.

need haunts

Mar. 5th, 2010 05:22 pm
redsage: (Default)
Bay area friends, I need a few places to hang out in both Oakland and SF.

Here's what I'm looking for:

*The cafe. The cafe is a haven of couches and comfy chairs, not too brightly lit and not too crowded. There is free wireless, outlets you can plug into. Right now, my default cafe in SF is Wicked Grounds - which is awesome, but can be a little crowded. And it's nearly guaranteed that I'll run into friends there - usually a good thing, but it would be nice also to have a place I can go where I'm more likely not to see any of my people. Extra points for blender frappucino-like drinks.

*The bar. Similar to the cafe but darker, the bar is a dimly lit place with out of the way tables to catch up with friends. Maybe it's more of a lounge? There's decent music playing, not quite a quiet murmur but not loud enough to have to shout over either. I'm not much of a bar person, but it would be nice to know more good ones for when that's what I'm wanting. Right now, my current favorite bar is Wild Side West, but the inside part is a little small. Extra points for good cocktail specials.

So locals, where else should I check out? I don't know anywhere in Oakland or Alameda that's anywhere close to this, so that would be a huge plus.
redsage: (Default)
This is just an idea I'm playing around with. Not sure it's a good idea, but pondering potential implications.

I've heard a lot of people suggest that the future of music is a large subscription service where a company has servers that hold all commercially recorded music (roughly like the iTunes store) that subscribers can access anywhere, on demand for a small monthly fee.

For the purposes of this thought experiment, assume this is possible, desirable, and happening soon.
long rambling post thinking about music and storage and money )
redsage: (Default)
End Overzealous Enforcement!
Call Gavin Newsom and tell him we do not want our clubs and venues raided by the police department, and we seek better solutions to preserve SF Venues, Arts & Culture. Be sure to remind him you are a registered voter in the city of San Francisco, or that you work here, spend money here, pay taxes here, or otherwise have an economic and political stake in this city.

Telephone: (415) 554-6141
Fax: (415) 554-6160
Email: gavin.newsom@sfgov.org

If You Frighten the Art Scene: Organizers will stop holding events, and people will stop attending them! The mere threat of a raid is enough to make people stop hosting events, and if there are none left, people will go elsewhere.

If You Frighten the Art Scene: Public safety is threatened.
Would you rather have a bouncer handle a rowdy drunk, or have fights break out in private homes and street corners with no security to stop them?

If You Frighten the Art Scene: The economy suffers.
People come from the entire bay area (and the entire world) to San Francisco to drink at our bars, dance in our clubs, pay our parking meters (and tickets). They also eat at our restaurants, tour at our museums, stay in our hotels, and in general help make our community stronger.

San Francisco is fueled by the arts underground. People move here to work in our software companies and vital industries because they want to be a part of the local scene. Big businesses pay taxes that hold our city together. Together, the arts underground is the driving force that keeps San Francisco a vital place to live and work for all of us, and Gavin Newsome owes it to us to enforce laws against violence and disorderly conduct – not against arts and entertainment. The Warehouse Alliance has formed to work on these issues, and we urge you to join us.
redsage: (delicate & carnivorous)
I've been listening to classical music radio in the car. KDFC is a pretty awesome station; they play Beethoven and Danny Elfman in the same set, Wendy Carlos and Wolfgang Mozart, and their DJs are calm and occasionally funny. The only thing I really hate about the station are the ads.

Just because I listen to classical radio does not mean I want to listen to Meg Whitman's logically fallacious "plan for California" on a regular basis, nor do I wish to purchase a mattress or prostate medication. The one that has been really bugging me lately is an ad that says something like this:

"Your girlfriend wants a Valentine's present. When she says she doesn't, she is completely and totally lying. Lying! It had better be wrapped up all cute, or she'll be mad! And that's why you should purchase her a cell phone from us...."

First of all... if your girlfriend says she doesn't want a Valentine's Day present, believe her. If she's playing passive aggressive bitch games where "oh, don't get me anything!" means "you better get me something or you'll be in trouble!" - dump her ass, because that's just fucked up and should not be encouraged. Or at least have a very long talk about it where she learns how to be honest about her needs and desires. It's ok to want Valentine's Day presents - or not want them - but pretending one thing when you mean another is bad news. Playing this kind of game only creates more sexism, because it's "just like a [stereotypical] woman" - and it's behavior that needs to be eradicated.

Secondly, a phone? for Valentine's Day? ...really? Here's what I want for Valentine's Day (if anything): something romantic and thoughtful. I want a card, genuine and sweet but not schlocky and not "funny." I also appreciate flowers, candy, maybe an inexpensive token of affection (jewelry? something from Good Vibrations?), and if money is good that year, a nice dinner out or something. I absolutely do not want anything useful. Useful can be for Christmas presents, birthday presents, or "just because" presents. Otherwise, if there are going to be Valentine's presents (and usually there are just cards and chocolate), I want something that makes me feel loved and desired, and an anonymous useful or technological item does not make me feel adored.

I suppose if I had been endlessly talking about how much I want X phone and my lover went and bought it for me as a Valentine's present, that would be thoughtful and sweet. Otherwise, even beyond the "useful vs. romantic" thing... if I'm getting a new phone, I want to pick it out myself. I spend a lot of time with my phone. I don't have a landline at home, and I don't use my desk phone for anything other than conference calls. My personal cell phone is my address book, alarm clock, notepad, calendar, email portal, connection to Twitter, text & voice connection to everyone who matters to me, thing that makes waiting in line bearable, and general device that keeps me connected to the datastream. I am not going to be ok with someone else picking carrier, OS, battery life, keyboard (or lack thereof), etc. for me. No one single phone is "the best" because people prioritize different things in a phone, so the best phone for you is not necessarily going to be the best phone for me. I realize I am a tech person who cares about features and specs, but even a totally non-techy girlfriend is likely to want to see if the thing can hold as much music as she wants or if it comes in a color she likes.

Sorry to rant like this, but every time this ad comes on the radio it really bothers me. People: if your partner says they don't want a Valentine's Day present, please believe them. If your partner does want a Valentine's present, get them something romantic, don't get them a fucking phone unless that's really the thing they want most in the world that would make them feel sexy and adored - and if that's the case, you might want to send them to a therapist, because wtf.
redsage: (bipride)


WTF Dockers. The world *doesn't* need "men" - it needs people, kind and empathic people who care for each other and step up to do the hard work of protecting each other from suffering. Personally, I *prefer* our "genderless" society. Fuck you.
redsage: (santa)
Time for a funny cat picture! It's not even my cat, but this amuses me greatly: http://twitpic.com/v6k12

Over the last few years, I have been trying to come to an understanding with Christmas. I have a lot of conflicting feelings about this holiday which I will explicate in great detail below.

On the one hand, I am not Christian: Christmas is not my religious holiday. I like the Christ myth, and yet I don't really feel like we've been saved from anything - for a good dose of this, check out the news of genocides and misery across the globe. I also don't personify God. I have a pretty well defined concept of the divine, and it is not anthropomorphic at all.

I also hate most popular Christmas music. My first job ever was working in a card and wrapping paper store over Christmas. This has given me a lifelong snobbery about cards and wrapping paper (I like elegant and colorful, usually do not like "funny" or cheesy), and such an overdose of popular Christmas music that it used to make me flee stores.

I've been listening to classical music radio in the car lately, and they've been playing some classical Christmas music (which is nice - this is the Christmas music I actually like since it's not an overdose of schlock). The lyrics are often very peculiar to me - a baby is born and now we are all saved from Satan, o let us adore him! What? Really?? Because I still see a whole lot of "Satan" (or at least, what I would define as evil and against divine love of creation).... Similarly, it's hard for me to think of this as "the most wonderful time of the year." I like parts of the Christmas season (see later in this post), and yet I still see Spring as more wonderful.

The other thing I genuinely find unpleasant about Christmas is that it makes January seem deeply depressing. I have called January "the long, dark Monday of the soul." After a festive holiday season, January feels like every awful grey "back to work" stereotype. There's nothing to look forward to until April (with the exception of PantheaCon & annual visit from [livejournal.com profile] witchchild), and it's hard not to get deeply depressed every year. Part of me wishes I could avoid celebrating entirely, because then January might be less of a lifeless hangover.

On the other hand, I've grown up celebrating a secular Christmas, and I love any excuse for twinkling lights at night, spiced warm drinks, singing songs, cooking extravagant food, and exchanging gifts with people I call family. I love wrapping paper, and wrapping presents with gorgeous layers of colorful paper and ribbon. I love Christmas candles (as a kid, I was utterly fascinated by the giant white pillar candle with embedded fake holly - how did they get that in there?!??). I love ornaments that provide a sense of family history.

When I was little, so many family members gave me ornaments that I had my very own (smaller) Christmas tree in my room as a kid. The first time I stayed up till midnight was by the light of one of those trees, and I remember loving the warm glow of the lights in my room to fall asleep to. My mother labeled all our ornaments with the names of who they were from and to, and what year. Some day, I will go through all of them and cry at my mother's handwriting and miss her, and remember things I had otherwise forgotten.

Favorite ornaments from my parents' tree: precious hand-blown glass icicles (like the ones here), glass-encased miniature scenes from the nativity (a shepherd and sheep, three wise men, Jesus in manger, etc.).

Every year growing up, our Mormon neighbors (as opposed to the other side, where we had Polish neighbors) would bring us a Christmas pastry that was sort of cinnamon bun but vastly vastly better (I don't like regular cinnamon buns). That was always breakfast on Christmas. Other memories: every year, my mother filled the bottom half of my father's stocking with malt balls. I don't know why, but I usually continue the tradition and get Dad malt balls every year.

The only real holiday food tradition we had is that every year, my beloved great Aunt Ruth would make divinity. I miss her. She was my favorite relative for a long time. My dad's father's sister lived a block away from my grandparents in South San Francisco. She had been married, and her husband had died before I was born. She kept house for several cats, cultivated beautiful roses, and did the best kind of volunteer work at her church. She pretty much kept their food pantry running. She was the best role model for attitude and health in old age, kind and spirited and driven. She made our Thanksgiving cranberry sauces (yes, plural!) and the Christmas divinity. I try to do the same to honor her.

I loved the Christmas tree. [livejournal.com profile] metaphorge is sadly allergic to real ones, but we have a small red fake one up (will post pictures later). We have a larger fake one in storage that we'll probably put up when we move somewhere with a little more room for it. As a kid, I remember hunting for the perfect real tree every year, and the day we took to light and decorate it.

I love giving people presents. I am fairly good at gift giving, and I love everything about the process. I delight in picking out the right present for someone, knowing their tastes and preferences well enough to come up with something just right. I love wrapping presents. It's a little harder when the pressure is on to get something by a specific date; I usually work better when I can spend as much time as needed to find just the right thing. Still, giving presents makes me really happy.

Much as it makes me sad that people aren't like this the rest of the year, the "holiday spirit" thing that a lot of people do is also really nice. People at the grocery store last night were smiling and joking with strangers. It was warm. This is what being a person is supposed to be about.

As [livejournal.com profile] metaphorge and I have combined our lives, we've been trying to find the traditions that work best for us both. As [livejournal.com profile] darkmoon has joined the Hivemind, we have been trying to work out the holiday stuff that she loves too. What are our most beloved traditions, and should we create new ones?

So... as an adult, I've been trying to find a place with Christmas that I'm comfortable with. I have too many happy memories to be one of those dour atheists who hates on everything holiday. I spent a couple of years as a teenager being too not-Christian for Christmas, and mostly that just felt too self-righteous and lonely and sad to keep doing. At the same time, I don't have much of a personal relationship to Christianity (either way - we went to church a few times growing up, but mostly Christianity has felt orthogonal to my life) to really feel like I'm celebrating the birth of religious figure who means a lot to me. It feels very strange and a little inauthentic to celebrate a religious holiday for not-my-religion, and yet it's associated with so many good family memories that I don't want to let it go. Calling it a solstice celebration (and a "solstice tree") doesn't feel like a good workaround for me, either.

At any rate, I am probably overthinking this. I do that.

Merry Christmas to all of you, those who celebrate and those who don't. My Christmas wish is that those I love get the best this holiday season has to offer. May your day (and life!) be blessed with wonderful food, delicious people, and a feeling of magic.

What about you, friends? Do you celebrate Christmas? Why or why not? And for those who don't, how do you feel about those who do? Is Christmas a totally weird tradition for those of you who grew up Jewish or otherwise not Christmas-celebrating? How do you reconcile your current religious beliefs with family celebrations and popular culture?

a dream

Dec. 25th, 2009 01:35 pm
redsage: (weird)
I awoke this morning from a VERY odd & amusing dream.

We were at something between a street fair and the Five & Diamond sale I recently went to (check out Five & Diamond - they sell insanely expensive gear for post-apocalyptic circus performers - I would buy everything they make if I were 100 pounds lighter and way richer - almost nothing in there sells for under $120, most of it over $200). I was trying to find a garment that both [livejournal.com profile] metaphorge and I could wear because everything was so expensive. [livejournal.com profile] metaphorge was elsewhere hanging out with [livejournal.com profile] darkmoon and [livejournal.com profile] merovingian. I remember looking through racks and racks of distressed leather garments, considering holsters and garters and vests and antiqued Western-style floggers with agate inlaid handles....

[livejournal.com profile] merovingian had bought a poster about Atlantis that showed a lot about their local industries. [livejournal.com profile] metaphorge found the poster so insanely inspiring that [livejournal.com profile] merovingian gave it to him and went to buy another for himself.

Somehow this inspired [livejournal.com profile] metaphorge to think up the idea of selling crackers with peanut butter to finance our space travel and move to Caprica. We had to move because Earth was getting too fucked up. He had come to me to bless this new proposition, and talk about logistics.

When I pointed out that there are already prepackaged crackers-and-peanutbutter things for sale, he said, "no, but these will be *gourmet*!" in a very convinced-he-was-right way. He was not joking at all.
redsage: (Default)
There's a lot of really cool stuff going on this Halloween weekend. I'm not sure what event I'll choose, but hopefully my friends will go to the ones I can't make it to.

10/30:

*An Evening with Kevin Smith at the Warfield. Tickets still available, but pricey ($45 and up). We got tickets to this a long time ago, should be hilarious. SF.

*Live 105 Halloween Spooktacular giant party at the Cow Palace. Lineup includes The Faint, Infected Mushroom, Basement Jaxx, The Crystal Method and many more. Looks like a fantastic dance lineup, more dance-y than Live 105 usually is. $35 until the 29th, $40 day of show, or $99 for 4. Still pondering going to this in addition.... SF.

*Kinky Salon is having a Halloween Party. Live spooky performances, DJ sets, cabaret act at midnight. Also, as befits the name, there will be playspaces open for sexiness. $25 advance, $30 door. Both Friday and Saturday nights. SF.


10/31:

*Journey to the End of the Night is a street game that's like a cross between urban tag and a psychogeography derive. A bunch of my friends went to the last one in Oakland and had a really fantastic (albeit exhausting) time. It helps if you're in decent shape. Free, SF. Lots of walking and/or running.

*Ghost Ship - a Space Cowboys party. 12k square feet of space full of DJ music, massive Burning Man style art, lighting effects, Steampunk Treehouse, all kinds of crazy stuff. Will be over the top. Treasure Island, free all night shuttle from SF. $40. Likely to sell out w no door sales, so buy ahead.

*La Petit Mort with Rhubarb Whiskey is a bluegrass murder ballads show featuring some really excellent musicians. Expect great music, chatting, friends. Probably a more chill kinda night than most of these events. Sunshine Biscuit Factory, Oakland. $5-15.

*Otherworld Halloween is an underground dancey thing, featuring a fuckton of excellent DJs and lighting/laser effects by a friend of mine. $15 at the door, goes late (6a). Oakland.

*Cellspace Artfreak Benefit for sadly displaced Bill the Junkman. Imagine the entire Laughing Squid events calendar rolled into one night - Mark Growden, Attaboy & Burke, Extra Action Marching Band, Dr. Hal and more. If you're wondering what to do, PLEASE GO TO THIS! This will be amazing, and it's a hugely worthy cause. If you ever wanted to meet the SF Cacophony Society and all the artists it gave birth to, this is your chance. Not sure I'll make it to this, but I will definitely be there in spirit. Sliding scale, $10 up to however much you want to donate. SF.

*Kinky Salon is having a Halloween Party. Live spooky performances, DJ sets, cabaret act at midnight. Also, as befits the name, there will be playspaces open for sexiness. $25 advance, $30 door. Both Friday and Saturday nights. SF.


11/1:

Dia de los Muertos in Fruitvale. Sounds like the annual festival will be more entertaining and host more art this year than ever before. I've gone to this a number of years in a row, and always enjoy myself. Tons of people! Take BART, it's right at Fruitvale. Oakland. Free.



So, did I miss anything awesome? What are you doing?
redsage: (Default)
A few years ago, I wrote a post here about a real live eccentric millionaire.

Check it out here: http://tyrsalvia.livejournal.com/574173.html (friends only, as all my older entries are - check the one I posted in [livejournal.com profile] discord_society if we're not LJ friends, or ask for access)

Anyways, he's now talking about making his house a museum. I would *so* love to go to this!


read full article below jump )
redsage: (Default)
...I am actually not a big Halloween person.

Let me clarify.

I have a thing for skulls. Probably a third of my clothes have skulls on them, and this LJ icon is in fact something I think of as personally representative. My love of Oingo Boingo and Day of the Dead are well known, and I collect calaveras. I have a thing for happy bouncy death. I like the contrast. I like the happy bouncy stuff but it needs a counterweight, a darkness and an anger to it without which it flies away into Pokemon happyland.

So you'd think I'd be really into Halloween.

Similarly, my colors are orange and black, purple and lime green, red. I love things that glow in the dark. I like dressing up in ridiculous outfits, and elaborate makeup. I like big boots and flouncy skirts and strange hair. I like dressing up to go out.

Hell, my room is decorated with "Halloween" lights - strands of blacklight purple and bright orange, and a garland of lights shaped like eyeballs.

The truth is, I love Halloween *stuff* - decorations, Jack o Lanterns, stripey socks and witch hats and all that - but I'm not super fond of the actual holiday itself.

Like New Year's, Halloween is a big holiday for expectations. I want to be doing something intense and magical and fun and strange, and it's hard for anything to live up to that. This is not to denigrate any plans I have or have had, just that this desire born of a thousand bad movies makes it really hard to just enjoy stuff without wishing it was all more ...cinematic. This isn't even to say I haven't had a few of those amazing and cinematic nights, just that they're *really* hard to plan in advance. Cinematic usually has to sneak up on you at least a little bit; trying too hard is a quick way to ruin it.

The other thing that's hard for me is the whole costume angle. I love dressing up in ridiculous outfits, but they're very rarely "a costume." Halloween usually requires that you are "a thing" - a cowboy, a ghost, a cop, a pirate. I have a lot of clothes and a lot of them are strange going out sorts of clothes, but hardly any of them fit nicely into a single noun explanation. I'm not a cowboy or a ghost; I'm a me who wanted to look fabulous while still being comfortable, and blend in ok at that club night or that festival or that convention or that party.

A friend posted to Twitter last night: "Welcome to San Francisco! You will need: a dirndl, a Santa costume, a pirate costume, a steampunk costume, a clown costume, a hobo costume.." While he was kinda joking, he was also not wrong. The SF freak scene has a lot of events to which costumes are appropriate if not necessary. I think I might find next Halloween less frustrating if I spend the year collecting a fairly high quality set of four or five costumes. Fox and I had been kinda talking about needing to start costume trunks already, but like many things that has been on hold as we've been sorting through our things and organizing our house, and getting our finances back in order after my summer of unemployment.

On a purely practical level, Halloween is frustrating because there are so many fun-sounding things happening at the same time and it's hard to pick. It's hard to know which event is going to be the best for what you're wanting at the time, and hard to get a sizable number of friends to pick the same event. This year there are at least three things I can think of that I really want to go to, another couple that I'd definitely enjoy but don't make first tier, one thing that a ton of my friends are doing but I'm pretty sure I'm not up for, and a couple of things I think I've heard about that sound awesome but I haven't seen concrete details.

For some reason, I am feeling a lot more "bah, humbug" about it this year. I'm having a hard time coming up with a costume idea that I'm excited about, and I really hate going to costume events without being in costume. Wearing a meh assemblage of stuff out of my closet isn't really appealing, but I don't want to go buy a ton of stuff either. I'm sure I'll figure something out, but I'm feeling a little dispirited about it at the moment.

What about you? What are you doing for Halloween this year? Costumes? Events? What are your thoughts on the holiday?
redsage: (Default)
I am in the market for a new phone, and have been trying to decide what I want.

These are the features I definitely want:

*full keyboard
*decent camera
*good predictive text & T1
*long battery life
*durable
*good reception
*Bluetooth-enabled
*decent web browser
*integrates with GCal
*a few decent games

I am pretty sure I don't care about:

*streaming video
*streaming audio
*audio playback (battery life is a big deal, and I'd prefer to use an iPod & a phone than deplete phone battery)

The list of options is overwhelming and somewhat irritating.

I loathe handset exclusivity. The whole bullshit about not being able to get X phone on Y carrier is utterly stupid, and makes me almost wish I could avoid the whole issue entirely. I'm on Sprint right now, but my reception is painfully bad at my house. I can't tell if that's due to the age of both of our phones, or if it's actually a Sprint problem. If it's the latter, I'd rather switch carriers than continue to deal. Still, that's a giant pain in the ass and I'd prefer not to if it's actually just a problem with my phone.

Pretty much anything will be an improvement over my current phone - which I like a lot, but it's 3 years old and thus lacks a lot of the features I'd like, not to mention the degrading reception.

The keyboard is pretty non-negotiable. I've tried using the keypad of an iPhone, and it doesn't work very well for me. I realize that partly this is a learning curve, but it's also the fact that I like to press keys with my thumbs, and my thumbs have long nails, and nails can't press keys on an iPhone. I guess most people would never say this, but I actually really miss Palm Graffiti and the stylus.

Then again, the App Market for the iPhone is really attractive. I'd like to be able to use Yelp on my phone easily. Do I even need an app for that, though? Don't they have a mobile version of their website I can use with a decent phone browser?

Operating system is another issue. A lot of smartphones seem to be on Windows Mobile. I'm not an utter MicroSoft hater, but I'm also not a fan. Just how bad is Windows Mobile, anyways?

So... that leaves me pretty up in the air. I carry a BlackBerry for work already, and I am pondering getting one for personal use. At least the OS would be familiar. They do seem to have what I'm looking for, and there's a wide range available on my current carrier and also AT&T (the other carrier I am most seriously considering, for several reasons). I don't know, though. They're a little ...stodgy. Carrying two BlackBerry phones seems kind of silly too, but then I'd hate to get used to a feature I really like on my work phone and lose my job and be stuck with a personal phone lacking that feature.

ARGH. I am really not a gadget person. I enjoy shopping for clothes or groceries, but shopping for a device to cyborg with is mostly very frustrating, overwhelming and disempowering. A phone becomes a part of your brain, an immediate access point and memory store and connection to everything outside of you. Getting a new one and finding it doesn't work with your head is an almost painful experience, and yet there's really no way to try before you buy. Playing with a phone for 5 minutes in the store is not at all a good prediction of how well it will work in one's life, and while I realize you can often return something, the experience of "moving in" with setting things up and transferring contacts is so onerous as to be a total disincentive to do anything but live with whatever you don't like and just feel grumpy for a while.

Bleah.

Got any phone review sites you really like and can refer me to? I'm not really looking for personal reviews, but if you have strong opinions on phones, carriers or phone operating systems, I'm happy to hear those too.
redsage: (wtf?!)
Fox and I went looking for cars online, and we found this one:

Orange Mazda 6

We thought: It's orange! It's in our price range! Those are good cars, right?

So on Sunday we went to check it out. There are a couple of things wrong with it, but we figured that just might be why it's not too expensive. The glove compartment latch is broken, and it's missing a stereo (the dealer said the people he got it from removed it, though I think that's wrong).

Monday I rushed over there after work to test drive it. It drove a little ... funny. We thought: maybe it needs an alignment. We could handle that.

As much as we wanted this thing, we're also not idiots. Yesterday we took it to a mechanic, the *excellent* PR Motorsports in Hayward. I found them on Yelp - my local mechanic was too far away to take the car to. They looked it over very carefully, made detailed notes... and told us not to buy the car.

When we told the dealer what was wrong, he said he could fix half that stuff for free! And he knows a cheap mechanic who can totally handle all the rest of that stuff! He'll even reduce the price $1500! We're thought: no.

The dealer said that if we don't buy the car, he's just going to send it to an auction. Note to self: do not buy cars at auctions (I'm guessing you can't take those to a mechanic).

You'll understand why this is so funny when you see the estimate. As far as we can figure, it was owned (by meth heads?) by someone who thought they knew how to work on it, but didn't. That probable explains all the missing parts, all the wrong parts, etc. My boss suggested that someone may have been racing it and took the original engine out, replaced it to race, and then put the original back in to get rid of it. Who knows. Whatever happened to it, I think we just avoided a huge money pit.


Autumn

Here are your prices. Some of these items are not essential right away (see *) and the used spare tire is an approximate cost.

Is overdue for the 90k service $399.00
- Right side engine mount is broken $230.00
- Rear transmission mount is torn through $171.00
- Front, front lower control arm bushings tearing $295.00
- Wrong drain plug on engine oil pan - possible future problem/leak
- Right axle CV boots are seeping grease $570.00 *
- Oil leaking > either from oil filter housing or oil filter o-ring $ need further investigation to quote
- Engine cover insulation is eaten > rodent ? $122.40 *
- Glove box latch is broken $90.00 *
- Spare tire is missing $100.00 used part (not available new)
- right front (tiny) light bulb in headlight housing is not working $15.00? Small bulb & easy to replace *
- Front brake rotors are warped $417.30 > can wait until it gets worse
- Front engine under tray missing $54.00 *
- Hazard lights not working >>> probably caused by improper stereo removal
- Factory stereo $702.76 + labor to install + fix whatever wiring damage there may be *
- A/C not working >> We take our own cars to San Leandro radiator and air conditioning *
- Rear brake pads are down to 2mm remaining $223.00 *
- Rear tires could not be removed - need a special lug nut key $200.00 for correct lug nuts and a set of new wheel locks > includes labor to remove wheel locks >> This will need to be done the next time the wheel come off
Front bumper has been repainted; rear windshield wiper was loose and installed in incorrect position; brake pads are aftermarket; coolant, engine and power steering fluid are all overfilled
NEEDS TIRES $600.00 ? depending upon brand/quality

Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.
Thank you
-Laura

linkblargh

Jul. 8th, 2009 07:14 pm
redsage: (link)
I have mostly switched to posting my links on Twitter. If you're interested in what I'm reading or thinking about these days, follow me there (same username as here).

Anyways, I have a lot of links I want to post, so here they are:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0709/24722.html - Woah, the Democrat half of the House Intelligence Committee just accused the CIA of lying to them.

http://www.woot.com/Blog/ViewEntry.aspx?Id=8677 - humorous commentary on the proposed Google OS.

Article on how to convince a conservative to support public transportation.

http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/07/03/how-driving-a-car-into-manhattan-costs-160/ - brilliant analysis on money, traffic, and time.

Just in general, Infrastructurist is totally my new favorite blog. Urban planning, awesome!

http://www.stopthewaronfun.org/ - local morality cops have been persecuting owners of SF nightclubs, and it fucking sucks. Stop the war on fun!

http://www.kansascity.com/105/story/1293020.html - Ecstasy pills showing up as cartoon characters, mostly full of anti-worm medication BZP instead of MDMA

Inverse zombies, anesthesia awareness, and the hard problem of unconsciousness.

http://pugetsoundoff.org/how-to - great collection of digital media how-tos

http://www.flickr.com/photos/george_eastman_house/sets/72157606226772243/ - autochromes on Flickr

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/oscars/2009/06/qa-the-lyme-disease-controversy.html - interesting notes on Lyme Disease, and the complex of interrelated diseases that includes Chronic Fatigue, Alzheimer's, ALS, Fibromyalgia, MS, etc.

http://www.slate.com/id/2221397/ http://asert.arbornetworks.com/2009/06/iranian-traffic-engineering/ http://asert.arbornetworks.com/2009/06/a-deeper-look-at-the-iranian-firewall/ - three articles on the Iranian internet surveillance system; much more complex and scary than China's, by a lot.

That's good for now. There will probably be more soon.

Iowa

Jul. 7th, 2009 12:41 am
redsage: (Default)
My poor grandmother is about to lose a leg. She's had a staph infection in one of her replacement knees for the last year and a half, and they took it out hoping it could heal up. Turns out it had done too much damage, so she's faced with amputation. It looks like my dad and I are going out there to be moral support over this upcoming weekend. Sad for the occasion, grateful that we can be there for her when she needs someone.

Do any of my friends in Greater Freakistan know awesome weird people or places in the Des Moines area? Dad and I will probably spend most of our time with Grandma, but it would be nice to have someone to chat with or know cool places to go to spend a little time not worrying about family stuff.

Edit: Looks like we're going out sometime in August, not this weekend as we'd been thinking.
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