December 31, 2002
america buys more crap -- and the usual end-of-the-year blah blah blah

Interesting entry by Todd Dominey in his blog What Do I Know "Down is Up, Up is Down". He points out that retail sales are expected to be 1.5% HIGHER than in 2001. So why all the bitching and moaning about retail sales being so crappy this year? Because they didn't grow as much as expected. We didn't buy as much crap as the retail industry wanted us to buy.

end-of-the-year blah blah blah
Two-oh-oh-two wasn't so great: my sister got very sick and I was laid off from my part-time gig.

Well, getting laid off wasn't that bad, really, though I would've liked more notice. And more severance. But I've suspected for a while that the company is doomed (when the chiefs outnumber the serfs, it's a good sign that something not good for the serfs is afoot) so I wasn't totally shocked (though it was pretty shitty of them to lay me off while I was on vacation -- something this company is prone to doing).

My big plans for 2003? Finish the redesign of our company website. Grow our business some more. Pay the bills, feed the creatures, learn something new as often as possible, talk with Stanley more. Lose weight, reupholster the chaise, paint the bathroom, get more sleep, read more, get back to my silk ribbon embroidery, finish writing my book, garden more, work less, watch as many movies as we can, go with Stanley & Ginger to Sherwood Island at LOT more than we did in 2002, see as much of my family as we can manage, take our entire vacation this year. Protest against the war. Get more involved in protecting our Consitutional rights. Get rid of crap. Buy less crap.

No big plans for New Year's Eve. We're going to try to see The Two Towers this afternoon. I'll make a good dinner for tonight. We don't drink, so have no desire to go out and party and would rather avoid the drunk bores and the drunk drivers.

I wish for a peaceful 2003. I wish I would win the Powerball, too.

Posted by Lee at 02:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 30, 2002
Fascinating exhibits

picturing_the_century_90.jpgThe National Archives & Records Administration has a pretty fascinating series of exhibits on its website. Go here: List of exhibits and check them out. The Depression-era photographs, in particular, are amazing. There are four pages of exhibits listed -- enough to keep you busy for quite a while. I stumbled upon this in my quest for more information about 1920s and Depression-era kitchens. Yep, that's what we're shooting for in fixing up the kitchen -- may as well go with the flow.

Posted by Lee at 08:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 29, 2002
Christmas Pictures!

Stanley and I went up to visit my sister and family in Natick, Massachusetts for Christmas. It was a great couple of days, laid back, no stress, fun. The storm didn't start until we'd been there for hours, so we didn't have to deal with traveling in it.

The tree was pretty:


Ben, Jeff, and Kate are looking at the new alarm clock Kate got. She swears THIS will be the thing that will make her actually get up on time for school.

Ben, Jeff, and Kate

Stanley and I got a cool cd player/clock/radio to match our kitchen-to-be, which will be a kind of late 20s/early 30s/Depression era decor. Stanley gave me an antique Hoosier Cabinet for Christmas -- and this player will match perfectly!


Maureen got her annual Swarovski Crystal snowflake ornament from Mom and Dad -- it is beautiful:


We had a great dinner of prime rib and Maureen's marinated scallops and shrimp on lettuce, and other stuff. Everyone helped cook the various components, so it was a pretty easy dinner to prepare.

The power went out. Stanley and Maureen theorized the power would come back on at midnight because that's when triple-time pay for the power workers ended -- and they were right. We played Tri-Ominos by candlelight (Stanley won) and it didn't really matter if the lights came back on or not. A pleasant evening -- and no tv!

Boxing Day was beautiful. Stanley took this shot through the patio door:


The dog was insanely happy playing with Ben in the snow. Jeff and Stanley faced digging out, though:


Fortunately, a neighbor with a big, old snowblower bopped in to help out. Thank you Good Neighbor.

We hated leaving -- I miss them -- but we had to work on Friday. At least the roads were good, even if Stanley did have to shovel our own driveway when we got home. The dog immediately started moping for her boy. She's still looking for him.

Posted by Lee at 03:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 28, 2002
Paper, paper everywhere

Piles of paper are on my desk(s). I've been feeling a little frustrated by them all: why do I have so many piles when my work 95% is digital? Feeling kind of guilty, too. But this book review is very interesting, and explains a lot about our desktop towers: The Social Life of Paper by Malcolm Gladwell. (The New Yorker). [I found this in Boxes and Arrows, in a comment by Dan Saffer. What? I actually read the discussion comments?! Of course--they're usually much more informative, or have more sense, than the article under discussion.]

I am not alone:
"The consumption of uncoated free-sheet paper, for instance--the most common kind of office paper--rose almost fifteen per cent in the United States between 1995 and 2000. This is generally taken as evidence of how hard it is to eradicate old, wasteful habits and of how stubbornly resistant we are to the efficiencies offered by computerization. A number of cognitive psychologists and ergonomics experts, however, don't agree. Paper has persisted, they argue, for very good reasons: when it comes to performing certain kinds of cognitive tasks, paper has many advantages over computers. The dismay people feel at the sight of a messy desk--or the spectacle of air-traffic controllers tracking flights through notes scribbled on paper strips--arises from a fundamental confusion about the role that paper plays in our lives."

The review is about the book The Myth of the Paperless Office, by Abigail Sellen and Richard Harper.

So, the truth is, those piles all over the place make me more efficient, they serve a purpose, and those pieces of paper we print out and spread out when we're making a website or a kiosk interface are the right way to do it. So there.

Posted by Lee at 11:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
the year in review

Unhappily ever aftermath in the Phoenix. Barry Crimmins reviews 2002 -- "the middle of a fairy tale"

About Enron and Senator Gottagetmyfacetimeinevenifisoundlikethemoroniam:
"The best thing Enron did for its beloved GOP was spread money around on both sides of the ever-narrowing American political aisle. Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman's former chief of staff was a lobbyist for Enron. Lieberman also received campaign and PAC contributions from the corporation that he later gently poked and prodded at some Capitol Hill hearings.

"Responding to calls for him to recuse himself from the Enron investigation, the indignant Lieberman sputtered, 'To say Enron owns me is absurd. Anyone who knows me knows that I am first, last, and always a pawn of the insurance industry!'" Ah yes.

Earth Day:
"Bush went to New York’s Adirondack Mountains on Earth Day. During the week preceding his visit, the area experienced a heat wave, torrential rains, an earthquake, and finally, while he was there, a blinding snowstorm, making him the first president so environmentally unfriendly that an entire mountain range refused to appear in a photo-op with him. The Adirondack Chamber of Commerce asked W. to keep his stay short because it feared that if he hung around and kept lying about the environment, the Bowels of Hell would open."

"Court-appointed president Bush underwent a colonoscopy, in late June, during which doctors successfully located his head, but only after performing an emergency procedure to remove the entire Fox News Network."

Iraq & N Korea:
"The difference between Iraq’s alleged desire to possess weapons of mass destruction and North Korea’s admission that it is well on the way to having them is simple: should something go wrong with Iraq’s weapons, it could damage oil fields, whereas North Korea’s weapons most likely would harm only Asians."

The Democrats -- whatever that is:
"A lot of people say the Democrats didn’t have a message this fall, but they did, and here it is: we support the same things as the Republicans, it just takes us longer. We are bought by the same concerns as Republicans, just for less money. We are as silent about issues that matter to working families as Republicans, it’s just that our silence represents betrayal of our purported core values whereas Republicans are merely being consistent."

About Senator Ineverletmyreligiousbeliefsinfluencemyjob-psyche again:
"To close out the political year, Al Gore announced he would not seek re-election in 2004 and made a very gracious bow from the presidential arena. If only his old running mate Joe Lieberman would also do the right thing and challenge Bush for the Republican nomination, we might have a chance at having a semi-progressive Dem on the ballot in 2004."

Read the whole thing -- made Stanley (who sent it to me) laugh out loud many times.

Posted by Lee at 12:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 27, 2002
clone clowns rant

NPR had an inordinately long piece on the big announcement today about the alleged first human clone: The First Human Clone? I figure it must be a slow news day or something since an announcement by a lunatic fringe group, with no proof or even one shred of evidence, generally doesn't command more than a passing glance by a news editor. Yep, must be a slow news day. No hard-hitting analysis of what's going on in North Korea and why Bushie isn't threatening to blow them off the face of the earth like he is Iraq (could it be NK has no oil? Hmm.), no reports on the strike in Venezuela and the impact it's having, no media analysis of the Iraqi weapons report (guess we're relying on the gub'mint to give us the truth about what it says), nothing much about the real impact of the unemployment extension cutoff, which will affect several hundred thousand people ... nope, a good 20 minutes devoted to some dippy cult. Embarassing fluff. Definitely what I want to spend my pledge dollars on, right ...

Actually, now that I think about it, NPR has been very fluffy lately: a long piece on a guy who wrote an book on the anthropology of the rich, another too long piece on a book of photographs of girls at self-conscious points in their lives, etc. etc. It's not that I object to NPR covering these topics -- I love quirkiness and trivia and things like that -- it's just that 20 minutes is entirely too long to devote to weightless topics. Especially when the journalists covering them are, ah, less than incisive. I think the dippiest was the long piece on how states ranked on some charitable giving scale put together by some organization. The scale wasn't even indexed, so it means nothing. A guilt trip I suppose, just when people are worrying about how they're going to pay for heating and food and health insurance for their kids when their unemployment extension runs out.

Posted by Lee at 11:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 24, 2002
Feeding the Fetish ... the Solaris soundtrack ... and heading out sooner or later

Top 10 Space Science Images of 2002 -- very interesting, though the images of the Leonids are pretty weak. Except for the one of the Leonids and the aurora borealis (click the links, go ahead!)

Great Music
The soundtrack CD for Solaris by Cliff Martinez (who did the scores for Traffic and The Limey, among other movies) arrived this morning ... it's GREAT. Minimal and rich at the same time, ambient like Eno's stuff. I'll make a lot of webpages to this soundtrack.

Merry Christmas and all that blah blah blah
We're heading to Natick sooner or later. Since Stanley and I have a lot to do, we're surfing, naturally. We will be spending a couple of days with sister and family. We'll pack up the dog, cat, presents, goodies, and oh yeah some clean clothes, probably about two hours later than we expect. I have only one more thing to get, then I'm finished with everything.

I know it's sort of un-American to hope for no snow on Christmas -- but I hope it doesn't snow tomorrow. It's supposed to be wet sloppy dangerous stuff here (Connecticut) and in Massachusetts and we could do without it. I could do without snow all winter -- we've already had enough.

I like giving loved ones gifts. I like hanging out with family and cooking a great meal and all that. But I hate the pressure that goes along with Christmas. Have to have to have to ... yuck. But I'm not quite ready to resign from society, so I go along with it. I prefer Thanksgiving -- no demands other than good food.

Posted by Lee at 12:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
What is this fetish with lists?

Jakob Nielsen lists his once-in-a-while roll call of things that bug him when he encounters them on the web or in email: Top Ten Web-Design Mistakes of 2002. Nothing new here.

I have to admit: I don't read his Nielsen's Alertbox column very often any more. His stuff has become repetitive, or irrelevent, or more often than not a marketing come-on for one of the reports his company writes that are much too expensive for the vast majority of web designers/developers.

Besides, I'm tired of looking at uglyand hard-to-use sites -- and I don't think his site is ugly because it's supposed to be the embodiment of usability (too many large blocks of ugly type, unorganized lists) -- I think it's ugly because he's either too lazy or too cheap to make a beautiful and usable site -- or maybe he's just unable to put his money where his mouth is.

There is no reason Nielsen can't make a site that embodies the principles he's been blabbing about for years and is also beautiful. Edward Tufte does it with both his site and his books -- maybe that's why he has so many people acitvely applying what he teaches while Nielsen is becoming something of a joke. Tufte demonstrates what he's talking about. Nielsen just blabs.

When Nielsen fixes his site, maybe he'll be relevant again. But until then, yawn.

Posted by Lee at 11:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 23, 2002
spam blocker blocks spam blocker

It's just funny. CoffeeCup, a software publisher that makes stuff like html editors and ftp clients, sent me an email announcing a new spam blocker. Only I didn't get it right away since I always forget to check my bulk mail folder on Optimum Online. Seems the new spam blocker software Optimum recently launched decided the spam blocker software announcement is spam. Which I guess it is. I don't use CoffeeCup software (I looked at it once, for about twelve seconds. Why do I need another html editor when I already have Dreamweaver and Arachnophilia?), and don't trust spam blockers, so I won't go to the trouble of figuring out how to unblock CoffeeCup's spam, er, marketing messages. Maybe they shoulda left out the part about winning a bar of gold in the subject line. If CoffeeCup isn't smart enough to keep it's messages out of the spam folder, why would anyone ever trust the software to do a decent job of filtering spam. Like, duh.

Posted by Lee at 01:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
December 22, 2002
Are the drug companies running our country?

First, Rep. Scum Dick Armey sneaks a provision into the Homeland Security Act preventing pharmaceutical companies from being sued due to harmful effects from vaccines, which are suspected of causing disorders such as autism. And he's proud of the fact that he protected companies suspected of maiming children. He claims the White House made him do it.

Now our government is also killing babies and the poor in the rest of the world in the name of protecting pharmaceutical patents. This is unspeakably obscene.

US blocks cheap drugs agreement, BBC News:

"The United States has blocked an international agreement to allow poor countries to buy cheap drugs.

"This means millions of poor people will still not have access to medicines for diseases such as HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis. US negotiators say the deal would allow too many drugs patents to be ignored." [Emphasis added]

"The United States said the proposed deal would mean that illnesses that are not infectious, such as diabetes and asthma, could also be treated with cheap, generic drugs.

"The US negotiator, Linnet Deily, said her country 'could not meet the consensus on the issue.'"

Deily is a deputy trade representative, from Texas, appointed by the Compassionate Conservative pretender.

Deily said Washington could not support the proposals before World Trade Organization members, saying they would undermine the pharmaceutical industry's attempts to battle disease. "By threatening patents for all pharmaceuticals, for almost all countries, (they) destroy the incentive for the research and development that create new drugs, that save lives and help people cope with critical ailments around the world," Deily said. Which means that, according to the Republicans, drug companies won't develop drugs unless they're so profitable they make zillionaires out of a few executives and stockholders, rather than getting just a decent return on investment.

It's so depressing. Especially at this time of year. When you eat your Christmas dinner, think of all those babies dying of diseases we can prevent, cure, or at least ameliorate -- this allegedly Christian nation of ours.

Posted by Lee at 01:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
i want a machine that can make images like his!

SolaAuraClose136Dv1.1200.jpgImage Savant is the studio of Richard (dr.) Baily, who created the planet Solaris for the movie, as well as creating many of the images for The Cell. This is what he says:

"SPORE is an ongoing software/aesthetic development project that has grown out of a proprietary ultra-high speed particle renderer which runs on Irix and Linux. All the images on page 1 and 2 [on his website] are stills from animations, and some of these stills are constructed with over 1 billion particles.

"SPORE was used exclusively to deliver over 60,000 frames of atmospheric planet animation to the production of the feature film Solaris this year, and about 15,000 frames were created for The Core. It is currently being used to create character animation for the movie Wrinkle in Time. Ultimately, the goal is to build a living system that will breed and evolve designs and animations that I would never have thought of, and could not create with any other system ... "

Posted by Lee at 01:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 20, 2002
trivia - did you know "trivia" is the plural of "trivium?"

Poking around in cyberland, I stumbled across sites that amaze me not so much for their content, but for the devotion to the subject matter that's evident.

On Cinemorgue, the owner, DeMan (?) writes:

"On several movie-related sites (and among my circle of friends), I've noticed one question that pops up surprisingly often: "Has so-and-so done a death scene in any of her movies?" This site will attempt to answer that question for most of the "so-and-so's" that question's been asked about."

Must be a limited circle.

Catriona MacColl died in not one, but TWO movies. And Francesca Vettori was stabbed repeatedly in the mouth with an English Horn in Sleepless.

I wonder why it's only female actors?

And then there's Implosion World. Shows pictures of buildings that "blowed in real good." Lots of lots of them.

rocks.jpgWhere would we be without a site dedicated to traffic signs of the world?

The site owner has a detailed explanation of the benefits of traffic sign collecting (it reduces stress, for one thing) plus a list of suggestions for the novice traffic sign collector.

This traffic sign is from Ireland.

Enough for now ... time to watch the news.

Posted by Lee at 11:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 19, 2002
strange search terms

This is about nothing. Really. Just looking through my log files and noticing the top search terms that lured unsuspecting souls to my eighth of an acre of the world. Number one was, not really surprising, "800-650-8375," which is the phone number for those phony baloneys at the Republican National Committee, you know, the ones who claim you've been honored with a leadership award for just a $300 contribution.

Next up is "lara flynn boyle collagen lips," which is an entry where I commented she looked much prettier before she blew up her lips. Why it's so popular, I have no idea.

Other top terms include my ever-foaming rants about that political whore Lieberman and an entry I stole from Stanley about Styrogami.

Now I think it's time to pack it up and head west. Library night tonight. And CSI isn't on, damnitall.

Posted by Lee at 04:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 18, 2002
WTC Plans -- on the bizarre side

Register (it's free) to see the New York Times's slideshow of design proposals for something to replace the World Trade Center: Slide Show. One looks like a pair of number signs (#), others are twisted things. Why does anything have to go there, anyway? Why, if they are replaced, do they have to be so tall?

Posted by Lee at 01:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 15, 2002
My Christmas Present

I'm so excited -- Stanley got me my Christmas present early! It's a Hoosier-type kitchen cabinet, looks like maybe the Depression era, maybe later (or even earlier -- hard to tell). Don't know much about it yet, other than I've been eyeing it for more than a year and it's in need of some loving attention! Pictures coming soon! Thank you Stanley!

Posted by Lee at 11:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 14, 2002
sierra Club is pro war with iraq

Considering the atrocious amount of damage to the environment that was done during the earlier Gulf War, you would think the Sierra Club would be outspoken and adamantly opposed to the looming war, on environmental grounds alone, and actively promoting ways to end our dependence on the Middle Eastern oil fields. But they're not. Seems like the Club leadership is not only pro-war, but is also bullying chapter members who speak out against the impending environmental disaster that will happen when the US attacks Iraq.

Jeffrey St. Clair, in Torquemadas in Birkenstocks, details Sierra Club's strong-arm tactics:

... It's not, of course. Like any other corporation, the Sierra Club's managers are obsessively preoccupied with beefing up the Club's bottom line and solidifying its access to power, the bloodstream of most nonprofits. (Read: a snuggling relationship to the DNC, supine though it may be).

So here's a warning: When you join the Sierra Club and affix your signature to that membership card you are also signing a loyalty oath.

Loyalty to what? Certainly not the environment. These days it's loyalty to the image of the Club that matters. And increasingly the desired image of the Club is manufactured by its bosses, not its members.

How important is "image" to the Sierra Club? Well, it spends more than $2 million a year and employs 25 people to work full time in its Communication and Information Services unit-the outfit's largest single amalgamation of funds ...

Okay, so Sierra Club has betrayed its mission. What is the alternative? Earth Liberation Front? Greenpeace? The Nature Conservancy? The point is, there are plenty of alternatives to an organization that seems to exist mainly to sell calendars and be able to get the good seats at political fund-raising dinners. Check out EnviroLink to see what's out there.

Posted by Lee at 01:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Not for the dumb or the navel gazers

Stanley and I finally got a chance to see Solaris -- good thing we went since, at least around here, it appears it's headed for oblivion.

I read the novel (by Stanislaw Lem) the movie is based on so long ago I had forgotten the plot, for the most part, but not the mood. I watched the Russian version, which Stanley dug out of some now-defunct videostore -- I watched the entire movie while Stanley snored away. I thought the Russian version was so stupefying boring that the reviewers who claimed it's a masterpiece just don't want to admit that they fell asleep. "Oh, it's Russian, and there's Philosophy in it, and it's Existential, and therefore it must be a Masterpiece [even though I didn't understand it | fell asleep | screwed while it was on | knit an entire sweater]," they wrote [thought].

As we were going in to the theater, the ticket guy sneered at us. Hmm. I wondered side of the bell curve he falls under. If somewhere on the downward slope, that didn't bode well for the movie.

Solaris_desktop_1_sm.jpgThis movie is excellent. I found it fascinating; the two hours seemed to fly by. The mood was true to what I remember of the novel. The music was perfect. I actually got to think while watching a movie -- how damned wonderful! After it was over I realized why so many people didn't like it: it requires thought, there are no car chases, there are no martial arts, and it takes the time it needs to develop the story. No pabulum for the ADHD generation in this movie.

The acting was superb and the movie was beautiful just to watch. It touched on chords of irony and regret and, yes, existential questions. It leaves a hundred questions unanswered: it's up to the viewer to find the answers, if there are any answers. The impact is subtle, and you don't really notice it until the credits start rolling and you're sitting there saying, "but, but ... " Clooney is good. I believed his fear and confusion and sadness.

Did I have any problems with the movie? Well, really only a couple. I disliked the way Davis played Snow, and Solaris, while beautiful, didn't look like a water world to me.

I would like to see it again within a couple of months to catch the bits I know I must have missed. That, for me, means I like it very much indeed since, unlike Stanley and my nephew Ben (who could watch the same movie a hundred times in a month and be happy about it), I usually prefer to wait years before seeing a movie again. I might even, and this is very rare for me, buy it!

Posted by Lee at 12:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 13, 2002
Oh, this looks promising

Froogle (ha ha--geddit?) is Google's still-a-baby search engine for finding stuff to buy. Very cool -- when they get it fully functional, it will actually be worthwhile. I've wanted something like Froogle for quite some time now -- it's very frustrating to have to wade through hundreds of info-only sites looking for that one site where I can actually buy Hoosier cabinet pulls, for example, and not just read about them. I have no doubts Google will get it right.

Posted by Lee at 11:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 11, 2002
Gel (Good Experience Live) Conference 2003

Register for the Gel Conference (Good Experience Live), May 2, 2003 in NYC. Find out the details and get a discount if you buy your ticket early. When you buy your ticket, please type in "Lee Fleming," where the form asks who referred you. Pretty please.

Posted by Lee at 08:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
it makes as much sense as any other explanation ...

'Haves' know NASDAQ, 'have-nots' can eat yak by Dave Barry

What lies ahead for the U.S. economy? Will it remain strong? Or will it collapse? Will all the Internet billionaires go broke and be forced to use their Palm Pilots to kill rats for food? Wouldn't that be great?

To answer these questions, we need to understand how the U.S. economy works. We'll start by following an imaginary dollar bill on its fascinating journey as it circulates through our economic system:

Our dollar is "born" in the U.S. Mint when a blank piece of paper goes into a printing press and comes out with a picture of George Washington and a pyramid with a weird eyeball. It then travels, with millions just like it, on a conveyor belt to the office of the Treasury Secretary, who sits at his desk 24 hours a day with a pen and a huge bottle of amphetamines. After he signs the dollar, he places it into circulation by tossing it out the window behind him. At this point we lose track of it. All we know is that it eventually winds up in the possession of Bill Gates.

(read the rest by following the link!)
This is from Mark Hurst of Good Experience.

Posted by Lee at 04:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
it's not as easy as it looks

A game, Fly The Copter from South Coast Diaries - Seethru Zine. I won't tell you my best score -- it's too embarrassing.

Posted by Lee at 12:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Secretin, apparently, doesn't work

I was sorry to see this story about the effectiveness of secretin in the treatment of autism: Hormone's Benefit To Autistic Unproven (Newsday). Secretin hit the world of autism like a bomb in 1998-99, when Stanley and I were involved in analyzing research data for a physician involved in treating autistic children. There was so much hope that it was the answer. So many desperate families begging to get just one dosage of it for their autistic child. It's so sad that it doesn't appear to be the answer. Or even the glimmer of an answer.

Posted by Lee at 12:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 10, 2002

agrion-2.gifChronophotography is the name Étienne-Jules Marey (1882) used to describe the time (chronos) photographs of movement sequences. According to Chronophotographical Projections. This is a fascinating site, found by following a thread on Meta-filter about pictures of bullets frozen in time to this link posted by Ray Girvan. This site has an amazing collection of animations on it. The site was made by, I think, C. Lucassen (it's hard to find, let alone read, the website creator's signature!) Some pages are difficult to read even if they are gorgeous -- just stick with it. The illustration in this entry is a low-res version of a very fine gif animation by the site author illustrating an entry about Lucien Bull. (Oh, I could spend a long time on this site ... alas, I need to pay the bills.)

Posted by Lee at 01:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 09, 2002
Poopdex - yet another blog tracker we never needed

Popdex : the website popularity index launched, when? I don't really know. Recently, I guess. Oh, I just looked at the Poopdex blog -- Dec. 7th it seems (what an icky blog - Shanti, remember, hubris). Already blogged all over, but of course I have two cents to add. I thought it was kinda cool, until I read this by Shanti Braford, creator of the site:

Should a link shoot straight to the top just because a bunch of little-known sites linked to it, or can the ranking be based on the importance of the sites linking to it? This is where I would like to take Popdex...

Now, what I want to know is, what consitutues an "important" blog, fer cryin' out loud? The ones with the biggest buzz? The ones most people link to? The ones that get visited the most? (And how could you tell?)

Ah well, wish I had that much spare time on my hands.

Posted by Lee at 11:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 08, 2002
'tis a day to celebrate

Happy birthday to Stanley!

When I met him and asked what day his birthday is, he told me, "It's the same as the day John Lennon was murdered." Which, at the time, hinted at his outlook on life, the world, and humanity, I surmised. Boy was I right!

Posted by Lee at 07:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 06, 2002
Adm Poindexter, I presume?

I meant to write about this a couple of days ago. Better late than never? (Maybe.)

Adm. John Poindexter, an Iran Contra felon convicted of conspiracy, obstruction, and lying to Congress [gasp!], is in charge of creating the most humongous database of personal information ever, supposedly to contain the minutiae of each U.S. citizen's or resident's email messages, phone calls, and financial transactions. You know, the one that that Oracle smurf, Larry Ellison, sez his company's software will run. (No war profiteering there, no sirree.)

So a San Francisco Weekly columnist (must be a commie) decided to find out the details:

SF Weekly | Worried about what John Poindexter's up to as federal information czar? Call his home number and ask by Matt Smith.

Iran-Contra conspirator Adm. John Poindexter had been made head of a Pentagon division that would compile a vast database of every financial, medical, employment, school, credit, and government record for every American, so that law enforcement and spooks might better spy on us.

Still, there's always a bright side: Perhaps Adm. Poindexter may be able to also use his new database as a force for good, to divine exactly why America has gone so terribly, terribly wrong

Optimistically, I dialed John and Linda Poindexter's number -- (301) 424-6613 -- at their home at 10 Barrington Fare in Rockville, Md., hoping the good admiral and excused criminal might be able to offer some insight ...

Hmm, then there's this story:

Internet spammer can't take what he dishes out
December 6, 2002 by Mike Wendland, Detroit Free Press

West Bloomfield bulk e-mailer Alan Ralsky, who just may be the world's biggest sender of Internet spam, is getting a taste of his own medicine.

Ever since I wrote a story on him a couple of weeks ago (, he says he's been inundated with ads, catalogs and brochures delivered by the U.S. Postal Service to his brand-new $740,000 home ...

Think about it.

Posted by Lee at 11:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Harper's Index

Take a look at Harper's™ Index: November 2002. Interesting, sometimes even eye-opening.


Ratio of Japanese killed in 1945's U.S. atomic-bomb attacks to Iraqi children killed due to U.N. sanctions : 1:3

Number of reports that President Bush referred to on September 7 as evidence of Iraq's nuclear threat : 2

Last year in which the agency Bush cited as the reports' author had new information on Iraq's nuclear program : 1998

Number of "indications" the agency had then of "any physical capability" to produce weapons-grade nuclear material : 0

Click the "Sources" button at the bottom of the list to find out where these facts came from.

Posted by Lee at 03:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
I hope this was a freak storm

I know, I know, I live in New England, it's normal for it to snow ... but the last couple of winters have been so mild I've gotten spoiled. I got my lifetime fill of snow the winter it snowed five or twelve inches every Wednesday, 1993-94? (I forget -- I've blocked it), when the snow didn't melt until the end of April. But it's pretty. For about 20 minutes.

I'm not so good with a digital camera -- but I did get a few shots where I could actually figure out what I was taking a picture of. It might've been easier during the daylight, I s'pose.

Stanley, of course, had his usual cheerful, "gotta dig out" expression.

Ginger ran around like a mad dog, but ten minutes seemed to be enough for her. Made some yellow snow, then she wanted to go in.

It looks like we got about six or seven inches of snow.

Stanley just got happier and happier while he was digging out the van.

This snow is supposedly light and fluffy. Maybe it'll just blow away.

This idiot human keeps taking pictures. Damn it, you stupid cat, just open the damn door -- I promise I won't chase you. Tonight.

I could do without the snow. I really could.

Posted by Lee at 01:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 05, 2002
Ol' Henry to Save the Day?

Mark Fiore: Meeting Today's Staffing Needs with Yesterday's Staff. Village Voice. (It's noisy!)

Posted by Lee at 11:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 04, 2002
Terrific Toys

Oh, I just noticed I haven't blogged for a couple of days -- wrapped in the flow of building a new website.

MsElephant.jpgThis time we're working on Debora Lisoskie Designs, a website for a woman who makes wonderful toys by hand. She has a great collection of little toys like felt finger puppets and bigger toys such as stuffed dogs and bears, and probably a lot more stuff I haven't even seen yet.

As we get the pieces in place, visitors will be able to purchase the toys online via a PayPal shopping cart. Right now it's in "soft launch."

It's impossible to remain grumpy while working on this site -- I try, but I can't sustain it. I like the toys too much, and Debora is pretty cool, too.

Note: The image is copyrighted -- copyright 2002 by Debora Lisoskie Designs, Ridgefield, CT. All rights reserved.

Posted by Lee at 05:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
December 01, 2002

I stumbled upon Metacritic a little while ago. The site features movie, video, DVD, game, and music reviews -- well, mainly they keep track of all the reviews they can and then combine the results into a metascore. But what I really like is the list of review summaries with links to the entire review, plus reader reviews (some of which actually make sense). Maybe this site is widely known, I dunno, but it's new to me.

Posted by Lee at 01:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Are they?

Pitchfork: Top 100 Albums of the 1980s. So they say. I wouldn't really know -- I'm pretty retarded when it comes to music. Probably because I'm so hearing challenged. Or there could be other reasons, but I choose not to go there. Stanley thinks I'm a moron when it comes to my tastes in music, for the most part. At any rate, this site looks like an interesting place to kill some time with.

Posted by Lee at 01:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack