Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Lost cell phone?

Those of us without a landline are in deep doo doo when we lose our cell phones. How do you call it to find it? Do they make a mini clapper for them? Is there an online service that will find your phone?

So right now I can't find my phone - I know it's in the house b/c I haven't left the house since I last used it. I looked online, and sure enough, there is a guy in Texas who is trying to start a business helping people find their phones. He charges $1.29 through Pay Pal - but get this, it's not automated. He sits and waits for emails and then calls people. Such an entrepreneur, huh?

Here's the link: http://helpmefindmycellphone.com/. Funny.

By the way, could someone call me so I can find it? Thanks.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Lives of Others

The Lives of Others won best Foreign Language film at the Independent Spirit Awards, the LA Film Critics Association, and the Oscar, as well as many European festivals' Best Film. I saw it yesterday as a sort of film prophylactic to get through the Oscars... Too bad it wasn't released sooner so that more people could have seen it - I think it's only been released in major cities, a shame because complex, adult, layered stories are so rare. It would have been a welcome alternative to some of the dreck released at the holidays.

It's very similar to Pan's Labyrinth, in style of cinematography, its unpredictability, and in having fascist characters attempting to control the lives of others. While PL did basically tell a straightforward story as a framing device, fantasy is not everyone's cup of tea. And the metaphors the various creatures and their actions implied would be lost on those who may not have heard of say, Pan. The Lives of Others depicts the outcome of an experiment in governmental control in a straightforward way and in a setting that most people are familiar with - East Berlin prior to the fall of the wall.

The film reminds me of 70s films such as The Conversation, where there is a sort of doomed air during the entire feature, and you are riveted by the ambience and the acting. The film was entirely unpredictable, and had a tension one only gets with good horror, because you had no idea how heinously the characters would behave - both those pursuing enemies of the state, and those perceived as the enemies. It was also weirdly sentimental, but not in an overly saccharine way. It's sort of a thriller and love story combined.

Unlike Pan, it would be a fine rental - not a lot would be lost in moving to the small screen. So go see Pan if it's still playing near you, but don't forget The Lives of Others...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Southwest Gardener

My friend Lynn and her illustrious partner Amy run Southwest Gardener, the coolest garden shop in Phoenix. It's just south of Thomas on 15th Avenue. They have great stuff and it's very reasonably priced. Here's some pics - Lynn, the shop, and some of my stuff in the shop.

You should go there, you will not be able to resist buying something.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Contract adventures

So, as I expected it would, the contract job slowed to a complete stop and should be revived soon, just timing, and not worrisome. In the meantime, I have some blissful time off, and have been working on the house (concrete is really fun and versatile by the way) and may even clean out closets and the car. Eventually. Maybe.

But as one applies for unemployment (and gets it, by the way, eventually, through persistence and stamina), one must seek out new fortunes and prove, in writing, that those fortunes are being sought. So Kevin sends me a gig off Craig's List yesterday, and I dutifully submit my resume and hope for the best, which is that no one calls. Because seriously, I love Interactive Alchemy, and I love vacations.

Alas, someone called, and right when The Office was starting, no less. This is the only show I stay home for (see previous anti-Tivo blogs). When the caller ID was unidentifiable I should have known better, but sometimes answering the phone is just a reflex.

This very nice gentleman, who is apparently a big mucky muck in corporate America, (I won't mention his name b/c he seems like the type who would constantly google himself) called me personally for a phone interview. The interview, per se, went well, and it looks like I will be doing some technical writing in support of procurement software in the near future (stop my beating heart) but then the phone interview was apparently over, and Mr. Muck spent approximately 45 minutes telling me about his intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. And by the way, I did not ask any questions about his intimate relationships with anyone, including JC.

He also let me know that he has a much younger wife, she looks 30, and he is almost 60. I know how much his house cost, and that it has doubled in value since purchase. I know what he has done professionally for the past, oh, 15 or so years. I heard that I don't need organized religion, just a personal relationship with Jesus.

What I don't know is if someone is talking to me on the phone at 8 at night about all this, ad nauseum, how does one become a mucky muck? And would this person talk to his clients, those multimillion dollar entities for which he seeks talent and drones alike, does he talk to his clients about his intimate relationship with said deity? Do I get special treatment b/c I am, somewhat, a captive audience? Because I am a woman? I could not ask these questions, although Zoe could not believe I did not just hang up on him. Or counter with, "Let me tell you about my personal relationship with Shiva, The Destroyer."

To be honest, I was curious as to what he might come out with if I just let him keep talking. And it gave me a newfound appreciation for all my horrible former bosses, who while they may have been neanderthalean in their management skills and insight into human behavior, did not proselytize me as part of my wage, and definitely not as part of my interview process. This really seems to be inappropriate to the point of being illegal, no? Yet he did not ask me to put my hands on the radio or require in any way that I would have to have this same relationship with Christ if I wanted to write about proprietary procurement software.

Thank God for that. And also, for iTunes, so I can still see the Office.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Music news

Arcade Fire will be on SNL this week. Yea! New album. Yea!

Chris Cornell left Audioslave and is hooking back up with Rage Against the Machine.

Lucinda Williams' new album West came out Tues but it was trashed in the New York Times.

Sufjan Stevens is playing at my 'alma mater' on March 30, which means it is the first concert there I would have actually gone to see. Ever.

Rush has a new album coming out in May. Go Ryan, it's your birthday.

Bonnaroo announced the 2007 lineup. If you care, click here: http://www.kxvo.com/entertainment/5836256.html

Pitchfork is starting a 24/7 news service.

Wilco! New album! May!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

New stuff

I've been making pavers and stepping stones and will post them as they dry... also some new birdbaths.




Sunday, February 11, 2007

Make your own candy hearts






Click on the title for the site - you can make your own candy hearts for Valentine's Day, or for Anti-valentine's day, whichever you prefer.

Friday, February 09, 2007

C'mon

I have finally sworn off morning news - I refuse to pay for the level of cable that would provide BBC, and watching anything else just makes me embarrassed for the "journalists."

It was this week that did it. Anna Nicole Smith - her death a "tragedy"???? Really? We hit 3118 dead soldiers this week in Iraq, many many more dead Iraqi citizens, for what? THAT is a tragedy. The death of a very stupid, perpetually drunk, self-indulgent golddigger is not.

And the astronaut "love" triangle - seriously, this was on for an hour straight the other morning on CNN. What is the fascination? Do people really believe that intelligent, well-educated people can't be mentally ill? All of us working in corporate america know that mental illness is quite common among 'achievers.' And why is it a "love" triangle - sounds pretty much like a one-way obsession to me. Love and obsession - completely unrelated - but a lot of people make that mistake. Still not worth covering. Leave that sensationalistic crap reporting to Nancy Grace and her fellow wackos on Fox, et al.

It snowed something like 150 inches in Oswego, New York since Sunday - that I had to find out by going to the website. It's possible that they covered this on CNN - but it's really hard to get to stuff that is actually important and newsworthy when you just have an hour to watch and there are things happening in celebrityworld.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Monday, February 05, 2007

E-Z Things to do to fight Global Warming

1. Change 5 lights - Replace the conventional bulbs in your 5 most frequently used light fixtures with bulbs that have the ENERGY STAR label. If every household in the U.S. took this one simple action we would prevent more than 1 trillion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Look for ENERGY STAR labeled products -When buying new products, such as appliances for your home, get the features and performance you want AND help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Look for ENERGY STAR-qualified products in more than 40 product categories, including lighting, home electronics, heating and cooling equipment and appliances.

3. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle - Recycle your newspapers, beverage containers, paper, and other goods. Use products in containers that can be recycled and items that can be repaired or reused. In addition, support recycling markets by buying products made from recycled materials. Reducing, reusing, and recycling in your home helps conserve energy and reduces pollution and greenhouse gases from resource extraction, manufacturing, and disposal.

4. Use water efficiently - Everyone can save water through simple actions. Municipal water systems require a lot of energy to purify and distribute water to households, and saving water, especially hot water, can lower greenhouse gas emissions. Do not let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth. Do not use your toilet as a waste basket for toiletry items - water is wasted with each flush. And did you know a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day? Repair all toilet and faucet leaks right away.

5. Drive smart - To improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, go easy on the brakes and gas pedal, avoid hard accelerations, reduce time spent idling and unload unnecessary items in your trunk to reduce weight. If you have a removable roof rack and you are not using it, take it off to improve your fuel economy by as much as 5 percent. Use overdrive and cruise control on your car if you have those features.

6. Tune your ride - A well-maintained car is more fuel-efficient, produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and is more reliable and safer! Keep your car well tuned, follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and use the recommended grade of motor oil.

7. Give your car a break and combine your trips - Use public transportation, carpool, or walk or bike whenever possible to avoid using your car. Leaving your car at home just two days a week will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 1,590 pounds per year. When running errands, combine trips. Several short trips taken while your car’s engine is cold can use twice as much fuel and produce twice the amount of greenhouse gas emissions as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.

8. Manage office equipment energy use better - Office equipment and electronics use energy even when idle or on stand-by. To save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, always activate the power management features on your computer and monitor, unplug laptop power cords when not in use and turn off equipment and lights at the end of the day. Consider using a power strip that can be turned off when you're done using your computers, printers, wireless routers and other electronics.

Take the survey to both determine your impact on the environment and see what you can do about it:
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/calculator/ind_calculator.html

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Favorite flicks in January

Children of Men
Pan's Labyrinth
Sherrybaby
Boondock Saints
Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke
AB FAB Season V

Unwatchable:

Celestine Prophecy
oh, and Zoe reminds me... Borat

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Friday, February 02, 2007

Mollie Ivins 1944-2007


From her last column, on Jan 11, 2007:

We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there.

Quotes:

• It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.

• The first rule of holes: when you're in one, stop digging.

• What you need is sustained outrage...there's far too much unthinking respect given to authority.

• Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous.

• The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.

• Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful.

• The United States of America is still run by its citizens. The government works for us. Rank imperialism and warmongering are not American traditions or values. We do not need to dominate the world. We want and need to work with other nations. We want to find solutions other than killing people. Not in our name, not with our money, not with our children's blood.

She will be missed.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Affluenza: Rampant consumerism erodes us

British psychologist, broadcaster, and author Oliver James just published a book called Affluenza. His stance is that an epidemic of mindless consumerism is sweeping the world. The pursuit of money and possessions is making people richer yet sadder. The goal of having bigger houses, more cars, larger televisions, and younger faces is pursued by middle-class workaholics afflicted by this 'virus.'

Here are some quotes:

"We have become addicted to having rather than being and confusing our needs with our wants."

"Studies in lots of different nations show that if you place high value on those things, you are more likely to suffer depression, anxiety, addictions, and personality disorders."

"People in English-speaking nations are twice as likely to be mentally ill as people living in mainland western European nations."

"Always wanting bigger and better is an emotional cul de sac."

What do you think?