My cousins are visiting from England:

We went to Sea World:

Today we went to Laguna Beach, but the rocks were closed:

In which Jennifer gets all starry-eyed about the future...

Two years!

What will this mean? Singing cereal boxes, self-documenting appliances, hospital bracelets with updating patient histories, brochures or magazine inserts that beam slide shows to your phone: these are just a few of the things they can imagine (predictably, many have to do with advertising). This is one of those things that makes me wonder how we'll look back on present conversations about the future of networked media, caught up as we still are in a computer-based mode of interaction. As the functions of the computer gradually melt back into the physical environment, we may find ourselves, even five years from now, somewhere quite different from what we currently imagine: in a landscape literally dotted with texts, images and sound. A data minefield.
Yellow Dog on The Economics of Attention
I’d like a space to drift within, adding, reading, thinking about, commenting on as I move through the writings, as I read some and not others, as I sample and fragment my way along. “We have been thinking about human communication in an incomplete and inadequate way,” Lanham writes. The question is not that we should replicate already existing apparatuses, but invent (or try to invent) new structures based on new logics.

Salvation Army

We had a ton of stuff to give away after we moved and the Salvation Army came to our rescue. They were the quickest of all the charities I looked into, and they have a very nifty Web site that allows you to schedule a pickup online. Worked like a charm, except they don't take cheapo Ikea pressboard bookshelves, of which we had many (who can blame them). Fortunately Goodwill took those off our hands. Goodbye college furniture! Does that mean we're grownups now?



Today's interesting reads.

Decoding Digital Natives from the Sunday Times via The Chronicle of Higher Education

On Breeding from Down the Avenue


Now that I've confessed my love of office supplies, I feel safe enough with you, my Internet friends, to reveal that I have Hello Kitty checks. Jealous?

My "mother in law" saw them recently and was quite puzzled, since on the surface I'm generally not a cutesy kind of gal. "Uh Jennifer, I like your checks?" she said laughingly. "Those were unexpected."

And whenever I wear pink these days my mom finds it remarkable. "I never thought I'd see you wearing pink," she says, remembering back to my teenage years, when I would have associated the color with all that I considered corny, sentimental, and bourgeois. (Except the 1980s preppy kind of pink, of course, which was the height of fashion.)

But you see, now that I'm in my dotage, I can finally confess that I have a secret girly side. Though I dress like your average self-loathing Generation X hipster doofus, which I am, I also long for the days when a trip to the Sanrio store was the height of aesthetic fulfillment.

Any girl under the age of 40 or so probably knows the smell of those stores and the overwhelming sensation of cuteness. I especially loved the erasers, which were always scented nicely, and made of some smooth, slightly translucent material. (I never used any of them, naturally. They were too nice.)

Lately I've been thinking a lot about cuteness. I'm not talking about the Cute Overload kind, which, though pleasurable, depends mostly upon a basic human instinct to like baby animals. I'm talking about something else, which I've been struggling to identify.

In some senses I'm talking about the hip, Japanese, "kawaii" kind of cuteness -- the cuteness of Sanrio and anime, and girls in school uniforms and knee socks. Unfortunately, the fact that this aesthetic is increasingly popular among hipster doofi makes me suspicious that I only like it because it's cool and foreign, though I'm generally not a fan of anime and manga and all that stuff. Still, I'm big enough to admit that this might be the case.

What I love is bright colors and a cheerful, childlike spirit. I love Totoro and Hello Kitty. I love beads and spangles, stuffed animals and stickers. (Goddamit I love stickers. A switch in my head could easily go kerplooie and cause me to compulsively collect stickers (again). Worse, I could start scrapbooking. If that happens, shoot me.)

The common thread here is that all these things make me happy. Maybe it's the childless, self-indulgent life I've created for myself that makes me so infantile. Or maybe it's the fact that the world can really suck. Whatever the reason, I will take joy wherever I can find it.


I've found my new hobby!

See here for more pictures.

Image courtesy of Amigurumi Kingdom


  • Only Generous Bloggers Influence by Steve Rubel.
    Mentions one of my pet peeves, blog feeds that don't provide full entries.
    If you want to have a successful blog - one that is read frequently by even a small audience of import - you have to be generous. There's no way around it. You have to lavishly dish out links, advice, news, ideas, commentary, freebies, you name it. It's up to you. However, if you're going to live on the Dark Side of the blogosphere and be stingy, you will live a lonely life.
    Hence my new feature, linkarlos.

  • Are You Hearing the Whispers? by Dr. Charles.
    I love good medical writing. They say the most common symptom of a heart attack is denial...

  • George Gilder, Metaphysic by John Derbyshire (via Hit and Run)
    There are two reasons why George’s ideas, as presented in this essay, are a tough sell. First, he loses biologists right away with his Creationist patter. Second, George’s Discovery Institute and his Center for Science and Culture don’t discover things and don’t do any science.
  • Trade Against Jim Cramer by Tyler Cowen
    I knew he was full of it!

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Dumb cats

Dear cats:

You've lived together for years now, and although you don't always get along, I like to think that we've reached a certain state of equilibrium in our house. There's the occasional wrestling, and sometimes clumps of someone's fur hang from someone's mouth, but it's generally peaceful. I catch you snuggling from time to time, and there are forays in to feline lesbianism, so don't try to pretend that you don't like each other.

So why is it that you forget all that whenever we move or take you to the vet? Are your brains really that tiny? At some point during a ten-minute car ride, you cease to recognize each other. You approach your new home as a blank slate, no matter how familiar the furniture is, or how much of your hair covers the bedspread. You hiss and growl at each other like strangers. Then, after a few hours it finally dawns on you: "Oh yeah, she's that cat I've been living with for eight years. Maybe she can be trusted."




Series on bipolar disorder

You should really read this. It's scary, moving, and courageous.

Blog has moved

Hi, welcome to my new blog host. Saw this and thought I'd be just a tiny bit more anonymous.

Need a bethroom?

I've been looking at this sign all week as I walk to work, and I find it fascinating. Are there four bathrooms, or four bedrooms? Or is a bethroom an unholy hybrid of the two?

Just Say No

Many years ago, the smartest woman in the world gave me some great advice, hoping to mentor me into improving a newsletter I used to edit. She told me that being an editor is really hard, because you have to say no to people a lot. You have to be very demanding about what you choose to publish, always asking yourself if the story is interesting enough for your readers. You even have to say no to your boss sometimes, when he or she suggests a story that makes sense for internal reasons, but which you know will turn out to be a dud. It sounds obvious, but I think her point is often missed by people editing newsletters, and especially people publishing blogs.

I read a lot of blogs. I collect them compulsively as I surf the Internets. And as I peruse the blogosphere, I think about Virginia's advice a lot. As much as I believe that blogging is a revolution in our culture, I also see that there's a lot of really boring stuff out there, and as a reader, I wish bloggers would show a bit more self-restraint. For what it's worth, here are some of the pet peeves of a blog fanatic:

  • Don't describe your blog as "the random thoughts of..." or "a day in the life of..." Zzzzzzzzzz
  • Don't telegraph your humor. (Joke!) If you have to tell someone you're joking, it's not funny.
  • For god's sake, learn to spell.
  • If it's been on Boing Boing, or Instapundit, or the like, don't bother posting about it unless you've really got something to add.
  • (And just an aside, don't ever, ever, have music start playing automatically on your Web site. It makes me want to stab you.)
And finally, for the love of sweet boneless jebus, write shorter posts. (This one's really pushing it, I know.) Many of us read hundreds of blogs. If you can't get to the point in less than three paragraphs, maybe you shouldn't post.

Would the commenters like to add anything to the list?

New House!

We moved into our new house on Sunday. Lessons learned this weekend:

  • We have too much stuff.
  • Our new high-definition TV rocks. Especially for watching Italy kick ass in the World Cup.
  • Crickets are a menace to society.
  • It's pretty sweet to drink wine in your pajamas, in your very own backyard.
Oh, and moving sucks. Hopefully we won't do it again for another 10 or 20 years.

Fox Motards Beg for Censorship

Wow is right.