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October 3, 2006

Why I love Studio 60

Well, aside from the fact that every actor on the show--top to bottom--is incredible, and that Aaron Sorkin has earned every little bit of benefit of the doubt... just when I was thinking while watching this Monday's episode just now: "Oh, ok, that's a little too perfect..." Danny and Matt say to each other something to the effect that hey, you know there's only one way that this story can go from here.

I've long thought that finding the exact appropriate level of self awareness is the key to good TV, and that was exhibit A.

Lest you think I only watch Studio 60...

My thoughts one minute into watching the premiere of Season 3 of Veronica Mars:

"Hey, wait, I know this one, the criminology professor is actually an evil government scientist who will be skewered by his Frankenstein's Monster-like creation..." No, wait, that was my other favorite tiny-blond-girl-who-kicks-ass's first year of college.

October 5, 2006

Run with the chickens...

Overheard just now while getting my afternoon coffee, as spoken--quite truthfully--by the barista: "Because bulls are larger than me! I mean, if it was 'run with large dogs' or 'run with the chickens' I'd be down. But the bulls...? That's just too real."

October 7, 2006


That's what Sasha and I have taken to calling Battlestar Galactica. It started as a (partly) joking reference to what we thought the appropriate response to seeing Number 6 appear on screen should be. Well, I finished watching the season 3 premiere about an hour ago, and I think my hands are still shaking! I mean, there's riveting TV and then there's riveting TV! I've never been so disturbed and so pleased all at once. I don't think I've ever seen a show so nimbly knock everything over on its head while staying completely true to itself at the same time. I really don't know what's up for grabs now or where they're going to take things.

It's shaping up to be a really good fall season this year...

October 10, 2006

God bless Christopher Columbus, Netflix, and the legions of postal workers who deliver our mail!

Since reading, this morning, the dreadful words "For Wed: Alias: Season 1: Disc 6" in the subject line of the friendly email Netflix sent me on Monday--and simultaneously realizing why it was that I didn't get any mail yesterday--I had been planning on writing a very snarky little post today when I got home. It was going to be filled with bile. Don't they understand that my sanity rests on seeing the last three episodes of the first season of Alias as soon as humanly possible? Don't they get how cruel it is to marathon the first season of a show that you'd always heard was good, realize that it really is good, and have to stop before the last disc? To wait patiently all weekend, knowing that the disc would arrive on Tuesday. To then watch everything you had stored up on the TiVo while you were busy being caught up in the marathon. Only then to realize that some half forgotten pseudo-holiday shut down the post office making you wait one whole extra day?

Well, apparently they did realize because when I got home tonight, I found nestled (Ok, shoved in sideways, crushed and bent) in my mailbox a nice little red envelope from Netflix with my next fix waiting inside. So Christopher Columbus, you get a reprieve. Your holiday is a very fine day, and while I didn't get the day off, I'm very happy for any postal workers who did. And for those of you who may not have gotten the day off, just so I could get my mail on time, your sacrifice is appreciated.

October 13, 2006

Gallery: Seattle Walks Part One

Seattle Walks Banner

Continue reading “Gallery: Seattle Walks Part One” »

October 14, 2006

I appear not to have been disenfranchised

I'm glad to report that my voter registration appears to be all in order. I was somewhat concerned because a while back I got a disturbing answering machine message claiming to be from Washington State Democrats informing me that my name had been taken off of the voter rolls and that I should call them to get a new registration. I was skeptical because I got the call only a day or two after voting in the primary. Because it wasn't long after the primary when I checked online it only referenced information about the primary election--and I already knew I was registered for that.

So I waited for a while to check again, and yes, I am registered for the November election. Good thing, too, because they can pry my right to vote in the election where we take back congress from (please, please, please) from my cold, dead hands. I figure the call must have been either, a) an honest mistake, b) the most despicable pfishing scam ever, or c) part of an attempt to indiscriminately make sure that all democrats check to make sure that they are properly registered. I did a reverse lookup on the phone number they gave and it seems to be registered to "Washington Victory 2006," so my bet is on option c. The only thing that a google search turned up was a donation from the firefighters union, so they are probably at least somewhat legit. If it is option c and not a, I can't say I condone lying to people about that, but on the other hand, hey, if it gets people to make sure they are registered to vote, no harm done.

October 15, 2006

Gallery: Seattle Walks Part Two

Seattle Walks Part 2 Banner

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Fall at Tops

I've just signed up to start using Flickr. I'm not sure what mix of photos I'll post to there versus to here. I figure that Flickr can be more of my unorganized organized (I mean they do make it so easy) photo pile: lots of pictures that I just thought were pretty. As opposed to ones that I specifically wanted to single out, format, and comment on. Anyway, I'll see how it goes with time.

For the moment I'm posting different photos there than here, mainly because I've got the bandwidth limit of a free account. If I decide to get a pro account I might try to just post everything to there and make what is here a selected subset.

I'm certainly enjoying the Flickr experience so far (although I do find myself cringing a little every time I type the "kr" for some reason that just works against muscle memory). It's very easy to post to there especially using the Aperture Flickr upload plugin which works like a charm. My only complaint with that is that I have many hierarchical tags in Aperture which I depend on for searching so that if, for instance, I search for "Plants" that will get me everything that I've tagged with "Gardens" as well as "Trees" and "Flowers." That greatly reduces the amount of keywording that I have to do. But Flickr doesn't support hierarchical tags and the exporter just exports the bottom level tag instead of the whole tree. Still, that's just a nitpick. I'm very happy so far.

Oh, and by the way, the photograph is one I took yesterday of the trees behind the Tops school in Eastlake. We do get some fall foliage here.

Continue reading “Flickr” »

October 18, 2006

Fun and Not Fun Entertainment

I just ran across a post at the blog Mighty Girl complaining about something that I've been thinking about for a while in one form or another: the problem of making movies that that are both smart and fun. In the post she wonders whether it is a trend that we are getting more and more movies that are either pure--through and through--depressing, or light to the point of brain dead.

While I don't see enough movies anymore to know for sure, I think she's at least right that balanced movies are few and far between. The funny thing is that I think in recent years television, which used to be filled with the polar opposites of dour documentary and brainless fluff, has stepped in to fill some of that void. And no, I don't mean the increase in entertainment masquerading as news. The hour long drama has really blossomed in the last decade. Sure there's a lot of crap on TV, but there's also a lot more good stuff than there used to be, and good in smart ways that where almost unheard of before the mid 90s.

In part this may be in reaction to the blight that is cheep reality TV. If you can be so easily replaced by something that costs a tenth of what you do, I guess you have to work hard to be as good as you can and to capture an audience that is never going to watch whatever cheap replacement they come up with. Movies may be trying to do a similar thing, but I think it's just much harder to do it in a two hour format. A TV series can conduct its mood up and down over time, but a movie has to do it all in the space of what would be about three--maybe four--episodes if it was serialized. It's probably easier just to cut out one side or the other.

October 19, 2006

Speaking of TV: Oh please, please, don't abandon the scripted drama!

So I go and praise TV and immediately I hear on NPR a story about how NBC is failing and considering cutting scripted dramas. How sick is it that 8 million viewers (the number that Studio 60 got this week) might not be enough to keep the show on the air? You'd think that 8 million people plus critical acclaim would count for enough to keep trying for a while...

Continue reading “Speaking of TV: Oh please, please, don't abandon the scripted drama!” »

October 20, 2006

Copyright fair use intrusions: Not just for the digital realm apparently

Yikes: Misadventures in Copyright.

October 21, 2006

Random Studio 60 Thought...

Man, that time-to-show countdown clock must be a real pain to film with. I mean every take where they hit it or might hit it, they're going to have to make sure to start it from the right time so they don't have continuity errors. And forget it if you decide to cut things into a different order... That must be some prop guy or editor's weekly headache.

October 25, 2006

Ooooh, pretty new building!

Unfinished cafeteria in new building
Unfinished cafe, March 2006

I just went over and got lunch from the cafe in our new building. This is the building that we were supposed to move into last April, and are finally going to be moving into early November.

There's been so much trepidation and anticipation about moving that I've been left with largely mixed feelings, but I think I'm sold. It's sooo pretty over there. The food at the cafe was very nice. They've got these pesto, swiss, tomato sandwiches (with or without ham) that they toast for you. And the espresso machine they have looks to be one of those very highly automatic ones that means that there isn't that much that the barista can do to screw up your coffee--at least if you get an americano.

The lighting is so pretty in there. Things are relatively dim, but there are so many windows and little lights that everything gets perfused with a kind of glow. It's a nice change from the J wing over here in Health Sciences where the windows, if you are so lucky to have one, usually face another wall, and they've disabled every other fluorescent light in the halls. That last, in a city where pretty much everyone starts being affected by seasonal affect disorder at some point during the winter, is the most frustrating. I mean, I'm all for saving energy, but I'm also all for having not crushingly depressed employees.

Oooh, and my card works now to get in to the upstairs of the new building! It's all very exciting. I can't wait until we're all moved.

Continue reading “Ooooh, pretty new building!” »

October 26, 2006

Cruftless URLs without breaking links

Update, the second: Well, so it's not perfect after all. I'd figured that some of the problems encountered by other people had been fixed in the current version of Movable Type. However it looks like for some reason it still insists on sending you trackbacks to the "/index.php" and on sending you back to "/index.php" upon completing a comment. And for some reason it seems to break autodetection of trackback URLs as well. There is no reason for any of this to be the default behavior!

Update: Oh, crap, this seems to break trackback autodetection...

Ok, so at least 90% of the point of this blog so far has been as a tool for me to learn by doing how modern web apps and design works. Sure this is also a great creative outlet and a great way to share little tidbits with friends and family that are far away. As a consequence I find myself being interested in things that are really the purview of much larger sites. Sites that aren't so obscure that they don't even get spammed.1 But because the whole point is for me to learn, and because who knows, if I keep at this for years (and I don't see why I won't) this site might grow, I want to set things up as much "the right way" as I can while it is still relatively easy to make changes.

Continue reading “Cruftless URLs without breaking links” »

October 27, 2006

The son of cruftless links

Ok, so I went and did the whole "cruftless links" thing and no sooner had I finished writing the post but I found about a million little reasons why what I did and had just described didn't quite work.

I'm still not quite sure what the deal with some of the behavior I'm seeing is, but I've got things to a somewhat stable point now. This is what I've settled on:

Continue reading “The son of cruftless links” »

October 28, 2006

A footnote solution: fixing MT-Textile

I wrote a whole entry about my solution to the footnote problems that I'm having since I de-crufted my links. Basically I worked out that it isn't that hard (or long winded) to use Textile directly to make footnotes instead of using the specific Textile footnote syntax. It was great, a little longer than the simple [1] type of input you are supposed to use, but it worked... Except it didn't work1.

Continue reading “A footnote solution: fixing MT-Textile” »

October 29, 2006

Tip from Daring Fireball: Auto-Completion

I've been using macs for so long that it always comes as a bit of a surprise when I find out that there's a really useful feature that I never had any idea existed. John Grubber at Daring Fireball points out that MacOS X has an auto-completion feature based on the built in spell checker1. You start typing a word in any cocoa text field and hit f5 and a popup menu appears with possible completions for the word. Grubber says that you are supposed to be about to use the escape key unless you are in a context where escape means cancel, but I haven't been able to get it to work anywhere, which is too bad since I'm using a MacBook Pro and to access the f5 key I need to hold down the "fn" to switch the increase volume key into its alternate role as a function key. Maybe it's configurable in system preferences. If I have to use two keys, I'd rather it be an easier key combo...

1 By the way can I say how much I love that there's a built in spell checker. It's the #1 reason I wish all applications would move over to being cocoa, so I can have one standard way of checking spelling in every single text box.

Faith's Pumpkin Carving Party

die, pumpkin, die pumpkin guts! bucket o' pumpkin guts

Faith was kind enough to invite me over for a pumpkin carving party this year. Which was really nice because without having an excuse to do something like that I tend to just forget that it's a holiday at all. And even for a silly little holiday like halloween, it's nice to mark it in some way.

Faith particularly likes Fall, and I agree. Even with the encroaching darkness and the back to school feeling, there's something nice about the crisp newly cool air and the harvest imagery.

Continue reading “Faith's Pumpkin Carving Party” »

October 30, 2006


I didn't get it...

I got into blogging almost by accident when I decided on a whim to downloaded Movable Type and install it on a subdomain of the website that I'd gotten set up for Sasha. Since it worked so well and turned out to be such a rewarding experience, I've kind of taken off with it and in the last few months I've done a great deal of exploring the world of writing and reading blogs. I'd kind of sat on the sidelines of the whole "blog revolution," reading a few from time to time, but never participating and never taking the time to explore things more than briefly. The last time I'd done any serious web authoring myself, frames were the next big thing. As a consequence I didn't really get it on a number of levels.

I didn't understand how the technology worked any more. I didn't understand why blogs had become such an effective and popular mode of communication on the internet. I didn't understand the shear breadth of kinds of blogs. I didn't even get what the deal with Flickr was, thinking that it was trying to be some kind of iPhoto replacement only slower and over the internet. And although I still think that the term "Web 2.0" is about the stupidest thing ever, I certainly didn't get what made it different from "Web 1.0."1

Now, I think, I do get it. And playing around with Vox in the last few days, I think it has the potential to have a very important place in it all.

Continue reading “Voxiness” »

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