New Year’s Day

So it’s only three months later, but we’re now on MovableType 3.1.

As for everything else, well… Long story.

The election happened, and we all know how that went. I was too upset to write much of anything for a bit, and of course my computer chose that moment to expire spectacularly (no kidding, sparks and all!). No chance to blog or novelize as a result, yuck… and you know I have a hard time reading blogs when I’m not updating, so apologies to those I’ve lost track of for the past couple months.

Anyways, neon e’s back now & cuter than ever, plus a brand new computer for the new year. There’s lots to catch up on, and some tweaks to do, so hold on to your hats!


Jan 1, 2004 2005

2004 2004 2004 2005

Seems like I only just got around to not writing “2003” on my checks!


update 1

@ces in las vegas - won this in a drawing - scary people w/scary hats - emeril’s restaurant better than expected - more to come


update 2

snowing — snowing!! — in vegas. totally inadequate photo follows:

[It's snowing in Vegas]

show continues despite resulting civil emergency, bad t-shirts abound. also re: picture, seeing new cirque du soleil tonite. excited!



Apple’s announcements from MacWorld are out, with lots of shiny & pretty to look at. Included is a long-awaited “budget” version of iPod called iPod Shuffle, which caused a bit of a double-take when I read about it. You have to see the promotional spin on this device to fully appreciate the genius of its marketing. What Apple has done here is to cut costs by removing functionality taken for granted on every other portable music player — the ability to browse for and play a specific song at any time — and turned it into a saleable feature. No LCD + barely any form of navigation = well, not exactly iPod, but something new. We’ll have to see if marketing pushes iPod Shuffle from experiment to the zeitgeist, but if it does who knows what’s next?

TV Shuffle? Fashion shuffle? Vacation shuffle?

Where will you go this summer? Paris? Vienna? Kabul? Check your bags. Board the plane. See where it takes you!

Oh, but Mac mini! So definitely hot!


Zhang Yimou is a hack

Zhang Yimou is a hack.

It’s sad to say, and I didn’t want to believe it (even after watching Hero — earlier thoughts here), but I’ve little doubt left after watching House of Flying Daggers, a movie of very little substance trying to get by on style alone*. Hero managed to just get over that hump; its story, despite being paper-thin, at least drove to a point (discussions of the distressing political message aside).

House, however, is a messy, bloated thing with nothing to say and no idea how to hide that fact. It’s filled with unconvincing plot turns and offers no emotional connection to any of the paper cutout characters (just one of the things that happens when you put Andy Lau in a film. He’s way outgrown his value as eye candy, although Takeshi Kaneshiro does his best to make up for that). As far as looks go, it’s not even top of Zhang’s own heap, and I like bamboo forest fight scenes as much as the next gal, but how many have we seen just in the five years since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?

Can I just say that I can’t understand our country’s love affair with Zhang Ziyi? She’s good at two things: looking sullen and looking emotionless, and somehow this makes her China’s hottest actress?

But I digress!

I suppose Zhang (Yimou) has always been hit-and-miss as far as characterization goes. I had lots of problems with Ju Dou and Raise the Red Lantern because of a lack of sympathetic characters, but I could appreciate them as art pieces. But now, I just get the feeling he’s given up trying.

Also, the movie seems over-long at 119 minutes. Doesn’t seem promising for that oft-rumored extended cut of Hero that people have been drooling over**.

* usually lots of style, thanks to cinematographer Christopher Doyle (also a Wong Kar-Wai collaborator). But he’s not involved with House.
** there’s a “director’s cut” DVD floating around from Guangdong Face (the Chinese company that also released the original Chinese DVD) which is something of a farce — in reality only a few minutes longer and nothing of substance added. For that you get the bonus of terrible video quality!



I can unabashedly recommend The Incredibles and The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Completely, utterly devoid of hackery.

Also not hackish, Katamari Damacy is just the best thing ever — one of those games I get so into that when I can close my eyes, I can see the game running there. People around me think I’m a freak because I’m constantly humming the theme song without realizing it. Somebody hook me up with a place to get the soundtrack. Please??


Portable love

I did tell you my computer exploded, right? This is my new lovely & tiny little laptop. So small I had to buy a portable DVD player bag, because none of the laptop cases were small enough!

I’m still trying to get used to having five to six hours of battery life per charge. The upside is that when the battery indicator suddenly gets to the halfway point, I don’t have to start saving all my documents (don’t even really have to when the battery indicator’s nearly empty, either!).

[This has parallels with my move from Canon to Pentax in the digital camera realm, because for some reason, Canon engineers have developed the most useless battery life indicator ever: one step that reads “full” and another that reads “halfway” but actually means “you’ve got two shots left, so dude! make them count!”]

Add in a beautiful widescreen, transflective display and built-in DVD burner and, well, I think you can call this love.

But! I reserve my judgement until we see where things are in two years. Laptop love is too-often cruelly short-lived.


Please take the eggs with you, Jasmine

Three small items:

1. This blog: still flitting between awkward-looking and unspeakably ugly to my eyes. I’m not sure how or when it is that my brain “snaps” and suddenly the world looks different, but it seems to have happened again. Clearly, something will have to give soon. Did fix a little self-inflicted Typekey problem, so if you tried to comment with Typekey but couldn’t, you can now (again). Lo siento!

2. Still sick with absurd cold from frozen weekend in Las Vegas(!). I’ve come to suspect that this affliction and all (too often, conspicuously often!) others of the past few months may in fact be a single, lingering condition. And then, the unavoidable thought that perhaps illness is written in my genes and this thing goes all the way back. Prevailing mood of unhealth & pessimism.

3. Really, this should be #1, because triumph in the kitchen makes me happy, and best to lead off with happy. Made posole last night with a mess of hominy and pork, and I think quite a success for a first attempt (not to get too big-headed about it). Yum! More things should be made with hominy! Anyone have recipes to share?

Saw Cirque du Soleil, as mentioned below — my first ever. I can’t begin to describe how amazing it was! I understand that , which is still in previews, is quite unlike any of their previous shows, with a strong narrative (and narration, as well) de-emphasizing traditional cirque aspects of production. Several scenes, including an elaborate set-piece of a ship adrift on stormy waters, and a chase scene set on a “mountain” stage continuously rotating in three dimensions, were just mind-bogglingly brilliant in conception. The fusion of story, special effects, martial arts, acrobatics, design and music was just completely absorbing. Especially the design! I really wanted to get one of those elaborate cirque mask/headdresses in the gift shop afterwards — at least until I saw the prices! Sadly, not even the soundtrack will be available until 2006, according to the show staff, although it does make the question of how you should experience KÀ very easy: go see it, silly!

Speaking of gloriously audacious visual design: learned my friend J. is possibly the only other person on Earth besides me who loves Julie Taymor’s Titus! Taking this as some small comfort after years of unsuccessfully trying to get anyone to watch it with me.


Don’t follow me there

Here we are, two weeks since MT-Blacklist 2.04 was installed, and since then it’s blocked 1212 spams and forced 270 others into moderation. The number of spam comments that actually made their way onto a page? Zero. Which is why I owe Jay Allen my firstborn, or at least several pans’ worth of cookies!

Still, that’s 270, or almost twenty a day, that I still have to moderate. And there was no reason to believe that number wouldn’t keep steadily rising as more automated spamming tools become available.

And as proof that everyone hates a spammer, Jay’s site announces an unlikely alliance between the three heavies of internet search — Google, Yahoo! and MSN — as well as a group of blogware companies including Six Apart, for a new HTML property that will prevent spam tactics on blogs from boosting a spammer’s page rank. Using rel=”nofollow,” a link can be classified as “reader submitted” and hence ignored by indexers from these companies. Since Six Apart is responsible for MovableType and LiveJournal, and Google for Blogger, we should see immediate and broad adoption on the content-producer site as well (and everyone using MovableType should download and install the nofollow plugin to be a part of the solution today). By removing the main benefit spammers get from flooding blogs — prominence on search result pages — hopefully we’ll see a sharp decline in these sorts of attacks.

Yay for the victory of common sense!

Oh, please forgive me for talking software. I know it’s boring and all, but if you only knew how many times I’ve had to bite back some rant about comment spammers — well! Just wonderful to hear some good news on the front for once!

But for those of you looking for something a little more emotionally satisfying, a gift from Hawai’i:

SPAM Hawai'i Limited Edition


Again with the spam

The rear of the tin provides clues to guide you towards the road to happiness:

SPAM Hawai'i Limited Edition
SPAM™ Musubi
SHAPE: cooked sushi rice to fit the slice
PLACE: SPAM® on top of rice
WRAP: with nori
How easy is this Hawaiian SPAM® recipe? Easier than swimming across the ocean, that’s for sure. But if you’re going to try it, remember to wait an hour after eating SPAM®. That’s what they always say about swimming. You should eat SPAM® in a boat. That would be cool. And no waiting.


Fool’s errand

Thought I could avoid it, but I’m going into a box now to try & learn perl (in another attempt to become one of the cool kids).



Good grief! I can’t possibly be sick again??


This will be about snacking

This will be about snacking.

But it’s not like I’ve been stuffing my face! I’ve just had these things on the backlog for awhile and now that I’m sick — well, it’s as good a time for miscellany as any…


This is Tim’s Cascade’s latest limited edition variety, which is the Best Thing Ever. Nice amount of sinus-clearing wasabi bite per chip, plus the palpable crunch for which Tim’s is known makes for a decidedly different snack! Wish the timer wasn’t ticking — but you can still get them right now at most any northwest grocery. Time to stock up?

Canada seems to be the place to get the best flavors of potato chips these days. When I was in middle school back in the midwest, I remember that you could get interesting varieties of Snyder’s of Hanover chips in vending machines, including salt & vinegar (which was still exotic to me at the time), ketchup, dill pickle, and pizza flavors. Alas, the company seems to have gone pretzel-only and I haven’t seen anything like them since on this side of the border. In Canada, though, you can get all that and more! And also these:


Ketchup Pringles! SO genius!

If you haven’t tried ketchup-flavored potato chips, you might be recoiling in horror right now. I did too, once. But they’re actually wickedly addictive once you get into them (haven’t tried dill pickle so far but I can imagine a similar effect).


On the candy front, Canadians love their KitKats. White chocolate, dark chocolate, caramel, KitKats of various thicknesses and lengths — they’re all available up there. Strawberry KitKats, something like a candy bar made of strawberry and milk chocolate Pocky sticks mashed into a rectangular mold, may just be the best of them all. Yummy!

[Emily tells me there are Green Tea KitKats in Japan. Heavens!]

There are Vanilla Smarties now too!

Seems like I’ve only been to Vancouver once in the past year, which should be a crime. Looks like I’ll either have to change that trend or find a friendly supplier to help me out — but for my sake, only at a trickle! Can’t have too much of this kind of good thing, after all.

Hope that was somewhat interesting for you. Off to try and get well!

More KitKats

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